Dumb post to the Stargardts Facebook group

Jason White jason at jasonjgw.net
Tue Apr 9 05:45:26 EDT 2013

Tony Baechler  <speakup at linux-speakup.org> wrote:
>very disappointing to me how many people don't know Braille and rely 
>entirely on speech.  I don't read Braille regularly and prefer audio when 
>possible, but knowing how to read Braille helps me to form proper sentences 
>and helped me to learn to spell when in school.  I've always been good at 
>spelling.  I am sorry to say this, but I can often tell when a blind person 
>posts to various lists because they can't spell and don't know how to use 
>punctuation.  What's so disappointing to me is that they don't know how 
>badly they look to the sighted world and it's usually too late to do much 
>about it.  In other words, they either can't or don't want to learn Braille. 

The Speakup list, along with several other Linux-related lists, is an
exception to the above, perhaps because using Linux proficiently requires a
certain level of literacy. On several other lists, however, I have noticed
precisely the phenomenon that you describe, and it is not attributable to the
posters' being non-native speakers of English, as many of them evidently have
English as a first language. What worries me most is that the people to whom
it looks terrible may include prospective employers. (Searching for posts
written by job applicants, whether justified or not, is becoming an
increasingly common practice. Even in the absence of active searching,
employers want evidence of a potential employee's literacy skills; anyone who
falls short in this respect will find his or her opportunities somewhat

Linux-related work certainly offers accessible and potentially rewarding
career paths. It's encouraging to learn via this list that there are at least
some efforts to educate people who are blind in this area of computing, for
which purposes Speakup is a valuable tool (recall recent certification-related
discussions for example). Competent administration requires access to the
system from the boot phase onward, and Speakup, like BRLTTY, is an important
component in addressing this need.

For the record, I use braille extensively, mostly nowadays via a refreshable
display rather than in paper form. I am sure that writing and editing my Ph.D.
thesis in braille contributed greatly to the typographical accuracy of the
final text, which I carefully proofread before submission. The examiners only
found a handful of errors, and the lack of typographical mistakes was remarked
upon in one of their reports.

With apologies to Kirk et al., for continuing an off-topic thread...

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