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Visual Verification: Changing the Frame of Reference?

July 22, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

Recently, I have been engaged in discussions with several close friends and colleagues concerning my ongoing comparison between the exclusion of the blind from online participation through visual only CAPTCHA and the historical issue of racial segregation in the United States. These friends tell me the comparison is too controversial, that it doesn’t really work (either as a vehicle to explain the harm done by the exclusion or as a means to persuade others to do the right thing) and some find it deeply offensive. Though I will continue to use the “No Blind People Allowed” sign as a description of the problem caused by these visual verification schemes, I will cease using the segregation analogy. It is still absolutely critical that a workable analogy be found that can be used as a frame of reference to explain the harm caused by inaccessible CAPTCHA and persuade those without a reasonable accomodation to change their attitude and simply do the right thing as soon as possible. I am thus opening the floor for your thoughts on an alternate frame of reference. Please post a comment to this article or feel free to e-mail editor@blindaccessjournal.com with your frank, honest thoughts on anything we can do to move this issue along in a constructive way.

3 opinions on “Visual Verification: Changing the Frame of Reference?

  1. its sad. you’re showing your true flip flop please anone ways publiccally.

    if I believed in something as strong as you claim you do, I wouldn’t back down to no one. I actually think you are wrong for using the blacks as a comparison, but would respect you more if you stood by your beliefs.

    but since you want to please all I have lost of small amount I did have for you.

  2. Dear Gabe,

    Of course, I am not backing down in the slightest. As I explained in my original post, I am simply attempting to change the frame of reference from racial segregation to something the people I am trying to persuade might find less offensive.

    Of course, I still believe everything I did before. Nothing there has changed one iota! It is just, sometimes, necessary to modify one’s public position to make it more palatable to those one needs to reach in order to achieve the desired result.

  3. Why not use the honest and true comparison that it’s like having an otherwise wheelchair-accessible building require the use of stairs for entry?

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