2nd RFD: soc.support.vision-impaired

Discussion in 'Eye-Care' started by Henrietta K Thomas, Jun 22, 2006.

    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.


    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.


    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.


    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. 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

    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

    "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 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

    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 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.


    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:


    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
    misc.handicap.vision-impaired, which is hereby withdrawn.
    Henrietta K Thomas, Jun 22, 2006
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