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From: Henrietta K Thomas <>
Subject: 2nd RFD:
Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, alt.comp.blind-users,,
Followup-To: news.groups
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 08:30:25 -0700

                      REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
               unmoderated group

This is a formal Request for Discussion (RFD) for the creation of a
world-wide unmoderated newsgroup


The Big 8 newsgroup creation process is currently undergoing revision.
Please refer to the newsgroup creation policies listed here:

All discussion of this proposal should be posted to news.groups.  Please
pay special attion to the 'FEEDBACK' section, below.

NEWSGROUPS LINE:     Living with visual impairment on & off the net.


In 2002, the World Health Organization estimated that more than 161
million people were visually impaired, of which 124 million had low vision
and 37 million were blind.  These figures do not include millions more who
are visually impaired due to uncorrected refractive error.

It is not known how many of these blind/vi people use the Internet, but
some estimates have been made.  In 1999, for example, the US Bureau of the
Census reported that roughly 1.5 million blind/vi people in the United
States over the age of 15 claimed to have access to the Internet.

There are thousands of websites for, about, and by vision-impaired people
on the Internet.

On or off the net, vision-impaired people have to deal with two different
sets of problems: the medical aspects of their impaired vision, and the
impact it has on their daily lives. appears to be a good
place for discussing the medical aspects of impaired vision, but not
necessarily for discussing ways and means of dealing with the personal
side of the equation. is intended to fill that
role. would be a place where vision impaired people,
their relatives, friends, caregivers, teachers, and professionals in the
field can get together to share experiences and exchange ideas on how to
cope with the social aspects of impaired vision.

There is plenty of interest in the general topic of impaired vision.  An
Advanced Groups Search on the phrase "visually impaired" gets 40,800 hits,
of which 2,006 occurred in the last six months, and 458 occurred in the
last three months.  Similar results were obtained using similar phrases,
such as "vision impaired", "legally blind", "visual impairment", etc.

At first glance, the numbers for "visually impaired" look promising,
but closer inspection reveals that this data was collected from 15
Google groups and only two Usenet groups: alt.comp.blind-users and (which doesn't have a short-line description
and thus may not even be a valid group).

Popularity in Google groups may not translate into popularity in Usenet.

The Usenet groups are both low volume groups originally created in the
mid-1990s, but traffic has decreased in recent years.  In the first five
months of 2006, 394 articles were posted to the blind-users group and 97
to the group, for a grand total of 491 articles, or slightly
more than three articles per day.

There is traffic on vision impairment in other Usenet groups as
well. alt.www.webmasters and some comp.* groups occasionally get
articles related to vision impairment, as do groups related to medical
conditions, such as diabetes, where vision loss is a problem.  It is not
possible to get an accurate count of such articles because they are so
widely scattered around so many different groups.  A major purpose of is to provide a central location for people
who wish to discuss the problems of the visually impaired.

Reaction to the first RFD was fairly positive.  Suggestions were made and
accepted for improvements to the Newsgroups line, Rationale, and Charter,
and some posters expressed interest in using the group, to wit:

  "Well, I'd go for it, assuming the mailserver I subscribe to can be
   persuaded to take it."  --Brian Gaff

  "I will be your number one contributor in any event."  --Neil Brooks

  "I would heartily welcome an opportunity to become a member of a
   community of those dealing with vision challenges."  --Aula

  "I wanted to say that I support the creation of this group.  I cannot
   *guarantee* posting there because I have limited time on usenet, but I
   certainly will post *if* I have information to offer and the time to
   read once it is created."  --toto

  "Make that two (three?). My husband is visually impaired, I have a
   difficult time finding information about his impairment, getting him 
   to discuss it is like pulling teeth, and I'll be following this 
   discussion/vote closely." --Victoria

A poll was taken and five more people expressed an interest in using the

A Feedback section has been added to this RFD in the hope of encouraging
more people to "sign up" in advance for the group.

Andrew Hodgson was quite concerned that might
have an adverse impact on the existing blind users groups in the alt.*
hierarchy, but I have a plan which I think might help to prevent that.  I
want to issue valid booster control messages for both groups in the hope
of increasing propagation, and I'm using the s.s.v-i charter to encourage
people to crosspost to those groups when it seems appropriate to do so.
I also plan to publicize /all/ the vision groups on my personal website
complete with instructions how to find Usenet and subscribe.

CHARTER: is an unmoderated Usenet newsgroup for the
discussion of the personal and social aspects of being vision impaired,
where "impaired vision" is loosely defined as "any visual impairment which
significantly interferes with a person's ability to handle daily living

The group is open to anyone who has a genuine interest in visual
impairment, including fully sighted people.

Blind/vi people, their families, friends, caregivers, teachers, and
professionals in the field are especially encouraged to read and post to
the group, to share experiences and exchange ideas on how to cope with
impaired vision.

Topics include: learning how to get around in the dark; using your other
senses to compensate for vision loss; utilizing resources on and off the
net; learning to cook and do household tasks; selecting and using various
types of vision aids (both hi-tech and low-tech); selecting and using
special hardware and software designed for the vision impaired.

All types of vision impairment are on topic in this group, regardless of
the underlying cause.  Whether a person was born blind or lost his vision
in an accident or due to a medical condition is immaterial.  This group
focuses on coping with the vision loss, not necessarily on the underlying

Medical topics should be posted to

Where appropriate, posters should feel free to crosspost or
redirect articles to related groups in other hierarchies, such as
etc.  Posters are also asked not to change the newsgroups line of such
crossposted articles until and unless it appears that posters in the other
group are no longer following the thread.

Posters are expected to abide by normal Usenet standards of conduct and to
ignore articles intended to disrupt the group.

The usual suspects are prohibited - spam, binaries, html, direct
advertising, etc.



(This is optional for followups.  If you want to use it, answer the
questions, then delete everything above and below this section before
hitting "semd".)

1.  Are you OK with the name of the group and the short-line description?

2.  Are you satisfied with the proposed Charter for the group?

3.  Do you think the Big-8 board should approve the group?

4.  If the group is created, will you use it?

5.  Additional Comments:


This RFD has been posted to the following newsgroups:


Pointers will be posted to:


Henrietta K Thomas <hkt(at)xnet DOT com>


2006-06-22      2nd RFD posted.
2006-06-21	2nd RFD submitted by Henrietta K. Thomas contains revisions 
                to the Newsgroups Line, Rationale, and Charter; also added 
                optional Feedback section.
2006-06-03      Formatted by Tim Skirvin.
2006-06-02      Original text submitted by Henrietta K Thomas as a
                replacement for a previous proposal to create
      , which is hereby withdrawn.