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Search posts: says they don't allow blind people and they don't care if that's offensive

Posted Aug 24 2008 5:01pm
I’m putting on my advocacy hat today. I’m steamed, so that cap might be riding a little cockeyed right now.

Any regular reader knows that a royal thorn in my side is inaccessible CAPTCHA. That is initially what this post is about, but moreover, it is about web sites that turn their nose at providing accessibility.

I recently posted about the

Assistive Technology Blog Carnival,

Which at first used a widget to allow user submissions via a site called

Blog Carnival.

(That site hereafter is referred to as BC).

However, it was soon discovered that to submit a post via the BC site, users were required to complete a CAPTCHA with no accessibility feature. Lon, the host of the Assistive Technology Carnival, promptly removed that widget as soon as he learned about the inaccessibility of the BC site. Users can still submit to the carnival through comments on the AT Carnival site linked above, or via an email to Lon, whose email address is posted on the page.

Lon, myself and a few others have taken the issue up with the BC site and written letters asking for the site to consider using accessible CAPTCHA technology which would allow blind users to access their site. These letters have included suggestions of accessible CAPTCHA solutions such as


Unfortunately, nobody has received a response. Until today, when I read that T. Reid, of the

Reid My Mind blog

Wrote about the response he got from BC.

I’ve taken the liberty of copying the text of the infuriatingly smug letter from a woman named Denise at the BC site. (See below).

After reading her letter, please make a choice and do something proactive on behalf of people with disabilities. Write an email to the BC site and express concern for providing an accessible web environment for all. The email address for contacting Denise is:

If you’ve written a letter to BC already, then write again. Let them hear from you that the stance BC is officially taking is just wrong.

I coined a phrase several years ago: “If you’re not including somebody, then you are excluding them.” From the letter Denise wrote, it is very ovvious that BC is making a choice to exclude members of the blind community.

Here is the letter he received:

From: "BlogCarnival Support"

Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 3:12 PM

Subject: Re: Blog Carnival Refuses to admit the blind community

Thomas -

Thanks for your email about CAPTCHA and about the visually impaired community.

Unfortunately, Blog Carnival doesn’t have plans at this time to implement CAPTCHA. We are considering redesigns of the site, but we do not have a timeline for that. We will keep CAPTCHA in mind as we look at redesign options.

Good luck with your efforts to make the web a better place!



His response was:

—– Original Message —–

To: "BlogCarnival Support"

Sent: Sunday, May 04, 2008 6:34 PM

Subject: Re: Blog Carnival Refuses to admit the blind community


Thanks for the response.

You said,"Unfortunately, Blog Carnival doesn’t have plans at this time to implement CAPTCHA."

By this I am assuming you mean no plans to introduce alternative CAPTCHA solutions. That’s really too bad. Blog Carnival is missing out on an opportunity to make a statement not only to those with visual impairments, but the entire disability community. The statement, "Your participation is important to us."

I guess there is the possibility of an alternative statement based on the future redesign.

Based on this response, I personally will forgo from participating in carnivals that use BC. I will continue to make others aware of the official statement.

Feel free to let me know if there are any changes in Blog Carnival’s position on visual only CAPTCHA.



What are you waiting for? Go send that email to Denise at!
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