Please don’t post screenshots of text. Depending on who is seeing it, they could be annoying, hard to read, or impossible to read.

Post links to the text or something you want to quote, and transcribe important parts into your toot.

If a screenshot is unavoidable, use the feature for describing an image with text to transcribe the important part of the text.

Thanks for making the fediverse a friendlier place for everyone. 👍🏻


online pads are good way to have a short term storage for a bigger piece of text.

Very helpful reminder because I still do that way too often.

@zigg fwiw I support the practice of including transcriptions when posting screenshots of text (and am trying to be fastidious about this when doing so myself) but disagree with the underlying directive here to avoid posting screenshots of text altogether. written language is more than just an array of unicode characters—things like annotations, typefaces & layout (and even e.g. the paper that the text is printed on) are important, contribute to meaning & aren't easily captured in transcriptions

@zigg also—often when I post screenshots of text it's because the source is either something that isn't online (like outputs from my own programs), or something that's behind a paywall, or something from a physical book—sources that are hard to link to. (which is to say nothing of written language that is difficult or impossible to transcribe because it's not supported by unicode—e.g., math notation or languages whose writing systems aren't a part of the standard yet or are poorly supported)

@zigg in other words: I feel like this kind of directive (to not post screenshots of text) makes it seem like the trade-off involved is between accessibility and laziness, when in fact it's way more complicated than that. I also feel like capitulating to the idea that you can represent all text reliably as just an array of unicode characters is ultimately WORSE for accessibility (since that formulation excludes the very aspects of text that we'd want to make more accessible, if that makes sense)

@aparrish I really respect you and appreciate your thoughts; I think your point about reducing things to an array of characters is especially useful and a good guideline. I am annoyed most often with screenshots of things that are already reduced there.

I also do hope we can try to describe the things that aren't already textual in text form, like mentioned. I realize that's not always possible, of course; it's something of a spectrum as to how possible it is.

@aparrish That makes a lot of sense. I've seen cases where a picture (less often a screenshot... more on that in a moment) has value beyond its pure textual form.

What prompted my toot this morning was someone screenshotting a Reddit post. Nothing about it was conveyed by being in the screenshot medium that couldn't have been conveyed by a good quote and a link to read more.

@aparrish Uh, sorry, I forgot to follow up on the first point.

The kind of screenshots of text I often see are those like that Reddit post, standing in for what is already almost 100%, if not 100%, representable by a string of Unicode characters. I have really good vision and I was really struggling with this tendency on Twitter when I left; it was often really hard to read that sort of content. (Of course, 140 characters drove that a bit.)

@zigg Pictures of text drive me bonkers. I saw a thing on Facebook where someone had typed something and then printed it out and then took a picture of it and I shouted WHY because now I'm old enough to shout at the computer, radio etc

@zigg thisthisthisthis plz help disabled individuals with your sharing choices

@eryn @zigg Some sort of OCR function would be awesome. It would be awesomest if it ran locally in people's browsers and automatically included OCR'ed text in the alt text before posting.

.@zigg extra tip: if something needs more than 500 characters to transcribe, there's always - very simple hosting for very simple posts.

@zigg I rather wish that micoblogging sites, rather than for example increasing the utterance length from 160 to 280 characters had instead allowed for arbitrary lumps of text to be attached in the same way images are.

@pdc Yeah, that’s a thought I’d had back in the Twitter days myself. I wonder if ActivityPub supports it.

@zigg My mostly-joking alternative is to create an image format that is explicitly an picture of text. The issue is finding a way to make it easier to use than just mashing the screenshot button.

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