From Usenet Big-8 Management Board
From: Henrietta K Thomas <email@example.com> Subject: 2nd RFD: soc.support.vision-impaired Newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups, news.groups, alt.comp.blind-users, alt.disability.blind.social, sci.med.vision Followup-To: news.groups Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 08:30:25 -0700 REQUEST FOR DISCUSSION (RFD) unmoderated group soc.support.vision-impaired This is a formal Request for Discussion (RFD) for the creation of a world-wide unmoderated newsgroup soc.support.vision-impaired. PROCEDURE: The Big 8 newsgroup creation process is currently undergoing revision. Please refer to the newsgroup creation policies listed here: http://www.big-8.org/dokuwiki/doku.php?id=policies:proposals All discussion of this proposal should be posted to news.groups. Please pay special attion to the 'FEEDBACK' section, below. NEWSGROUPS LINE: soc.support.vision-impaired Living with visual impairment on & off the net. RATIONALE: soc.support.vision-impaired 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. http://www.tiresias.org/guidelines/visual.htm 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. http://www.afb.org/Section.asp?SectionID=15&DocumentID=1367 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. sci.med.vision 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. soc.support.vision-impaired is intended to fill that role. soc.support.vision-impaired 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 alt.disability.blind.social (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 blind.social 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 soc.support.vision-impaired 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 news:firstname.lastname@example.org "I will be your number one contributor in any event." --Neil Brooks news:email@example.com "I would heartily welcome an opportunity to become a member of a community of those dealing with vision challenges." --Aula news:1I-dnXei-PL6VAjZnZ2dnUVZ_qCdnZ2d@adelphia.com "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 news:firstname.lastname@example.org "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 news:44e14$449604cb$d066138f$26055@FUSE.NET A poll was taken and five more people expressed an interest in using the group. http://www.ckdog.co.uk/php/voting/results.php?ballotid=448dd365a8c58 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 soc.support.vision-impaired 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: soc.support.vision-impaired soc.support.vision-impaired 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 tasks". 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 cause. Medical topics should be posted to sci.med.vision. Where appropriate, posters should feel free to crosspost or redirect articles to related groups in other hierarchies, such as alt.comp.blind-users, alt.disability.blind.social, alt.support.glaucoma, 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. END CHARTER. FEEDBACK: soc.support.vision-impaired (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: DISTRIBUTION: This RFD has been posted to the following newsgroups: news.announce.newgroups news.groups sci.med.vision alt.comp.blind-users alt.disability.blind.social Pointers will be posted to: alt.support.glaucoma alt.support.diabetes alt.lasik-eyes misc.education soc.seniors PROPONENT: Henrietta K Thomas <hkt(at)xnet DOT com> HISTORY: 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 misc.handicap.vision-impaired, which is hereby withdrawn.