Re: Notice of list unification, and FAQ with more information

Like Ty I am not against the merge. You might want to take another look at the list membership, it has dropped more than three sense the lies have started to come out! Now with that lying to members, excusing George. The list was going to move all along with members having no say. Sorry I forgot the only member that had a say Jamal! Well you are no better then the no mod Jeff. The merge will be interesting, because these questions below mean that George has to change his lists policy. Because all the questions below are not what that list would let on list. Merging 2 list might be the thing to do. However, the lying from mods will it still go on?

At 02:28 PM 9/30/2011, you wrote:
This message is to notify subscribers of this list, ProgrammingBlind@xxxxxxxxxxxxx, that in about a week, probably over the weekend of October 7, we will be creating a unified list with PROGRAM-L@xxxxxxxxxxxxxx I have listened carefully to discussions of list merging on both ProgrammingBlind and Program-L. As the current list owner of ProgrammingBlind, I have tried to address concerns, and answer common questions in an FAQ-format below. I ask for your cooperation in helping the unification to go as smoothly as possible.

Q.  For what reasons are the lists being unified?

* Common purpose. Both ProgrammingBlind and PROGRAM-L have essentially the same purpose: to discuss and share information on issues of particular interest to computer programmers who are blind or visually impaired. Such issues relate to various programming languages, as opposed to other lists that are focused on a single language like JAWSScripts@xxxxxxxxxxxxx or Scripting@xxxxxxxxxxx (focused on the scripting languages of the JAWS or Window-Eyes screen readers, respectively). This common purpose leads to other reasons for unification, as subsequently explained.

* Increased pool of advice. With a unified list, more people will be available to help someone solve a programming or accessibility problem that he or she is encountering. The need for pooling advice is now stronger than ever because of accelerated changes in the field of software development, and the corresponding challenge of keeping up as blind programmers. For example, when the 2008 edition of Visual Studio was released (the leading IDE for Microsoft technologies), we had good access with multiple screen readers. Over a year after the 2010 edition of Visual Studio, however, there is only partial access with the latest version of JAWS (the most expensive screen reader) when combined with the commercial version of that IDE (this JAWS support is lacking in the free, Express editions of VS 2010). As another example, apps in the mobile space have been growing at an explosive rate in the last few years, yet our ability to participate there is seriously limited. The iOS development environment is generally not independently accessible; The Android platform has severe gaps in accessibility infrastructure; Windows Phone 7 still has no accessibility API.

* Decreased redundancy. With a unified list, people will no longer have to cross post to reach others on both lists, thereby eliminating duplicate messages that many of us receive because we feel a need to be connected to expertise on both lists.

Q. Why is ProgrammingBlind being merged into Program-L rather than vice versa? According to calculations made by someone on this list, ProgrammingBlind currently has about 10 times the traffic of Program-L, so would it not make sense for the merger direction to be the other way? Also, ProgrammingBlind is a more descriptive name than Program-L, so is that not a better name for a unified list?

A. These points were raised with the list owner of Program-L, George Bell, but he prefers to maintain the name of the list he started. Overall, these are relatively minor, administrative factors that are outweighed by the benefits of unification. There are about 350 ProgrammingBlind subscribers, and the management of will help us merge the lists effectively. ProgrammingBlind is more descriptive as a name, but there is nothing offensive about Program-L, and its more generic nature could arguably make sighted supporters of our issues feel more welcome.

Q. Who is George Bell? Should a list for blind programmers be owned by a sighted person?

A. Although a legitimate concern, George should not be disqualified for having sight in this context. He has many years of experience in the adaptive technology field, running a consumer-oriented adaptive technology company called Techno-Vision Systems in the United Kingdom, which is located on the web at

George is also a programmer, himself, and knows a lot about braille. Moderating an email discussion list is mainly an administrative function. The list is not intended to be a democratic organization of blind people with elections, resolutions, budget allocations, etc. The barrier to entry is trivial for anyone else who would like to start an alternate list if moderation by George seems unsatisfactory, e.g., via FreeLists, Yahoo Groups, or Google Groups. George has successfully moderated lists in our field for years, including Program-L, GUISpeak, and Program-Java.

Q. Will all programming languages be valid topics of discussion on the unified list?

A. Yes. In direct communication with me, George has agreed to welcome discussion of any programming language, including Java. The Program-Java list would remain for those who want to focus on that language via a dedicated list.

Q.  Will programmers of all skill levels be welcome on the unified list?

A. Yes. George has been clear that questions from beginning to advanced programmers are welcome, so long as the tone is professional and polite.

Q.  Will casual conversation be permitted on the unified list?

A. Yes. George and others on Program-L have a sense of humor, though currently it may be more British-oriented. <grin> List subscribers, however, are still expected to be respectful of the time of others so that the list can be productive for everyone. Common rules of list etiquette will apply, such as avoiding personal insults, speculation without evidence, "me, too" messages, etc. The goal is to keep the signal to noise ratio high, especially since the total volume of messages may increase.

Q.  Will I have to do anything to join the unified list?

A. No. This should be handled automatically for you by the list owners and management. It is possible that minor glitches will occur, as with any administrative process, but we will work to resolve those as rapidly as possible. Your patience and cooperation is requested during the transition. Naturally, filters you may have set up in your email client may need to be adjusted, but this should not be burdensome, especially for people who are technically inclined. Several years ago, the list was successfully transitioned from to This transition within the domain should be easier.

Q. Is it true that some active members of the ProgrammingBlind list unsubscribed because a merger was previously announced? Will this risk losing more people?

A. Three people did publicly unsubscribe previously. I have been in touch with two of them, who say they are now willing to try the unified list. We all need to make our own judgments about the value we get from a combination of lists. There are trade-offs, so all people cannot always be satisfied. I have outreached individually to others with concerns as well.

Q. If I do not wish to join the unified list, how do I unsubscribe from this list? Will ProgrammingBlind be continued?

A. The ProgrammingBlind list will be terminated after the merger is complete, since the purpose is to create a single, unified community. You can unsubscribe from ProgrammingBlind or Program-L via the web site. It is up to you, of course, but I ask that you give the unified list a try before deciding to quit in advance. If you do encounter problems, please let us know, but do so in a constructive fashion. We are doing this, not out of whim or for power, but for the best, long term interests of the blind programming community.


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