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Visual Verification: Slashdot Persists with "No Blind People Allowed" Sign While Ignoring Requests for Assistance!

July 26, 2007 • Darrell Shandrow Hilliker

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 to receive assistance.

Over two and a half days ago, I sent an e-mail to 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!

4 opinions on “Visual Verification: Slashdot Persists with "No Blind People Allowed" Sign While Ignoring Requests for Assistance!

  1. Try Myspace. They are really great at ignoring emails on this subject. The last time I tried, a message came back three weeks later telling me to be patient and that they were working on it. Not even the Yahoo! telephone solution. Now that is a definite ‘keep out’ for blind and partially sighted people!

  2. And it is not even like they are being asked to come up with the solution! There are readily available audio captcha solutions to put in place and some fine examples of big name sites using it at this point.

  3. darel: has it ever cross your mind that it isn’t them, slashdot in this case. that maybe its you, I have an account on slash dot. and I know many other blind profession I.T individuals who are on slash dot. have you ever thought this flaunting of your blindness and woe me woe me aditude maybe holds you back from what you want, the attention that you crave being you are angry at life’s unfairness of being blind……

  4. Gabe,

    Are you saying there was no CAPTCHA when you created your Slashdot account? How long ago was that? I can certainly tell you there there’s a CAPTCHA now, and the situation is even worse. If you don’t have an account, you must solve a CAPTCHA in order to post a comment! Surely, you don’t find this acceptable?

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