From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
From: Henrietta K Thomas <hkt(at)xnet DOT com>
Subject: RFD: (Was: RFD -
Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups, news.groups,,
Followup-To: news.groups
Date: Sat, 03 Jun 2006 12:10:09 -0700

                      REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD)
               unmoderated group

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

This RFD supersedes the RFD for, which has
been withdrawn.

NEWSGROUPS LINE:     Living with impaired vision on & off the net.


The 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.


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.

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, these  blind/vi people have to deal with two
different sets of problems: the medical aspects of their impaired
vision, and the social 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 living with impaired vision. is intended to fill that role. would be a place where blind/vi 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.

At first glance, this looks 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

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.

For the first five months of this year, 394 articles were posted to
alt.comp.blind-users, and 97 were posted to
Most of these articles appear to be on-topic for those groups, but even
if we add them together (491), it still isn't enough to justify
automatic creation of  It might, however,
be enough to justify creation of the group on a trial basis for not more
than six months.

There is traffic on vision impairment in other Usenet groups as well,
but not very much.  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 may be possible to draw some of that traffic into the* group, but that is not guaranteed.

Nevertheless, I think this proposal should at least be considered.

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

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

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 with the
underlying cause.

Medical topics should be posted to

Posters are expected to abide by normal Usenet standards of decorum, and
to ignore articles intended to disrupt the group.  The usual suspects are
prohibited (spam, binaries, direct advertising, etc.)



This RFD has been posted to the following newsgroups:


Pointers will be posted to:



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


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.