Slashdot, a recognize source of news for technology enthusiasts and professionals, is an example of a site that claims to provide a manual intervention path for their inaccessible CAPTCHA. The CAPTCHA is used to protect the account creation process and prevent comment spam. Visually impaired users are directed to send e-mail to email@example.com to receive assistance.
Over two and a half days ago, I sent an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org asking for help to create a Slashdot account. Since then, I have sent two more messages, all of which have gone completely unanswered. While Slashdot allows sighted users instant access to everything, blind users must wait and are not allowed to participate at all when Slashdot staff fail to respond to requests for assistance. Slashdot is yet another example of a web site where a manual process of providing access to CAPTCHA simply does not work. Only an automated reasonable accomodation, such as an audio or text CAPTCHA, is sufficient to guarantee equal participation for blind and visually impaired users and tear down the “No Blind People Allowed” sign.
In another interesting development, there have been at least three attempts to submit a story covering the Yahoo! Accessibility Improvement Petition, all of which have been ignored by Slashdot. Are the Slashdot folks afraid to cover this story, knowing that their own CAPTCHA is inadequate? Come on, Slashdot, do the right thing already! Tear down your “No Blind People Allowed” sign!