This board contains all our forum rules and guidelines which we expect all members to stick to (yes, that means YOU as well!!). Ignore at your peril! ;-)

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Post by iih » Fri Feb 17, 2017 3:38 pm

Another reminder about the importance of ensuring that your posts are clear and easy to read. The moderation team have contacted a number of members regarding their posts, asking that members make some amendments to their postings, but there are still a minority of members who persist in using posting styles that make it difficult for people to read posts, and this is a particularly important issue for users of assistive software such as speech software/screen readers, and screen magnifiers. Given that a large number of our members have visual problems, it's more likely that our members and visitors to the forum may be using such software.

This follows the recent announcement about Good forum netiquette. We accept that not everyone is a perfect speller, or necessarily knows all the complex rules of grammar, but we don't think it's too much to ask that members show some consideration for their fellow forum members, by not using "text speak", unnecessary abbreviations,  basic punctuation, and appropriate capitalisation, paragraphs, and checking their spellings. There are a number of online dictionaries available (for example but the forum is equipped with a spell checker (you'll find the button for it next to the posting button) which you can use before posting your message.

The basic rules:
- no "text speak" or excessive abbreviations or smileys
- check your spelling, and use paragraphs, punctuation, and capitalisation appropriately
- as described in the Forum Rules keep signatures to a minimum and within the rules for signatures (i.e. maximum length of three lines of text and no large images)

We're not expecting perfect spelling all the time – none of us is perfect, and we're all unsure of how to spell certain things from time to time, and the odd typo's only to be expected, but there's no excuse for not making use of the spell checker when it's available for everyone to use. We're not suddenly going to turn into the spelling police, and there'll be no weekly grammar tests or an English essay to write at the end of the year, but just because it's on the web and not on paper doesn't mean it's not important.

Why is this so important?

As we said, with the visual problems that come with IIH, a large number of our members and visitors to the site are likely to have difficulty in using computer screens, and this makes it more likely that they may be using assistive software such as speech software, screen readers, and magnification software or a lower resolution setting on their screen.

A screen reader/speech software reads literally everything on a page. Every word (and if the word isn't a recognisable word it will either try and pronounce it very badly or spell the word out. Repeated words and excessive abbreviations can make a page or a message practically unreadable by speech software. Without punctuation a screen reader will simply read a whole block of text as though it were one sentence, with no pauses, which often means it simply doesn't make sense.

Screen magnifiers, as the name suggests, magnify a portion of the screen, but that makes the amount of the screen that's visible very limited, and the greater the magnification, the bigger the problem. Text lacking punctuation and capitalisation, or using a large font size, or one big “wall” of text make it difficult for someone using a screen reader to follow sentences, or work out where they are on a page.

Screen readers and magnifiers

For anyone who's no experience of screen readers and screen magnifiers, here a couple of sites with videos showing what it's like to use screen readers and magnifiers. 

Introduction to screenreaders: ... enreaders/
Introduction to screen magnifiers: ... agnifiers/

Using either is an extremely tedious and time consuming way to read web pages. It's incredibly frustrating because it takes so long to read something which for someone who is able to read a web page without assistive technology may take only a few minutes. For someone using a screen reader or magnifier for example though it may take half an hour or more, and often discussion forums are a no-go area for screen readers and magnifiers, because of the problems that can be caused by badly spelled posts, abbreviations, lack of punctuation, large images, etc.

As we've said before, we don't make rules and issue guidelines because we like doing it – in fact it's less work for us if we don't – but because we want all of our forum members to be able to use the forum easily. Please be considerate towards other forum members and check your message before you press the "submit" button.

Making the forum accessible to all our members is something we take very seriously, but editing members' posts to correct spellings and insert punctuation etc. is not something our Moderators are here to do, or should be expected to do. Therefore members who persist in posting messages that are difficult to read or cause problems for users of assistive technology, after they have been warned by a moderator that their posts are not easy to read, or breach the forum's rules or posting guidelines will find that any new messages that are not easy to read, or breach the forum's rules or posting guidelines are removed from the visible area of the forum.


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