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From: Henrietta K Thomas <hkt(at)xnet DOT com>
Subject: 3rd RFD:
Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups, news.groups,,
Followup-To: news.groups
Date: Tue, 11 Jul 2006 13:34:53 -0700

                      REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
             unmoderated group

This is a formal Request For Discussion (RFD) for the creation of the
unmoderated Usenet newsgroup,

NEWSGROUPS LINE:	Living with visual impairment or blindness.


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).

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.  One purpose of is to provide a central location for some of
this scattered discussion.

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

One respondent was concerned that might have
an adverse impact on the existing alt.* groups referred to above, but I
think that has more to do with lack of propagation than unfair competiton,
so I plan to make arrangements with users of those groups to issue booster
control messages that might encourage more admins to carry those groups.

I also plan to publicize /all/ the vision groups on my personal website
complete with instructions how to find Usenet and subscribe.

A Feedback section was added to the 2nd RFD, and a few more people
expressed support for the group.  There were also further suggestions made
regarding the Newsgroups Line, Rationale, and Charter, all of which are
included in this 3rd RFD.

If created, I think this will be a useful group for people who have to
learn to live with vision loss or blindness.  It's always helpful to know
that other people have the same problems you do, and that there's a place
where you can meet them, swap stories, and offer moral support.  It will
probably start out a little slow, but I expect traffic to increase once
the group is fully propagated.

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, articles may be crossposted or redirected to related
groups in other hierarchies.  Other posters are requested not to change
the Newsgroups: line of such articles until and unless it appears that
posters in the related group(s) 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.


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.


This document has been posted to the following newsgroups:


The proponent will also post pointers to:


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


2006-07-11     3rd RFD
2006-06-22     2nd RFD
2006-06-03     1st RFD, formatted by Tim Skirvin
2006-06-02     Received from hkt; replaces