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Veeeery windy on the Cork coast today. Hoping we don’t all blow away.
No wonder David Meyer sounds exasperated in this week’s Connected Rights newsletter. Lots of sensible suggestions, and a vital read if you’re in the EU/EU-adjacent.
At this point, I’m pretty sure that the tech industry uses “engagement” as a euphemism for “addiction.”
If you care about inclusive design and accessibility, you must buy Inclusive Components. I refer to Heydon’s writings on a weekly basis to make sure I’m not making a mess of my designs and dev. Truly invaluable work.
Best thing I’ve read on the topic (algorithmic accountability) in ages: Algorithms alone can’t meaningfully hold other algorithms accountable, as posted on the Ind.ie Radar.
Book recommendations towards the end: Algorithms of Oppression by Dr. Safiya Umoja Noble, and Automating Inequality by Virginia Eubanks.
Hire me as a consultant to improve your site’s performance*!
* I’ll tell you to remove your ridiculous third-party trackers, then shame you for invading your site visitors’ privacy. You’ll be embarrassed, but I’ll have shaved off 200+ requests, ~2mb, and cut load time in half.
Sleepy day, but I’ve managed to add a load of Twitter feeds to my RSS reader, so I feel like I’m making more progress towards removing my “for keeping up” need to use Twitter.
This Saturday 18th August 2018, it’s one year since I announced I’d written Accessibility For Everyone. And that announcement got more attention that I could’ve imagined.
As a result of that early publicity, A Book Apart opened pre-orders. And those pre-order sales were nothing to sniff at. However, I still feel a little resentful when people suggest that the particular tweet “did me a favour.” (I’m not going to show the original tweet here, as it just attracts more harassment.) My end goal is that more people make websites more inclusive, and so more sales help me reach that goal. But I want to explain the feeling I had when I wrote this tweet:
“Sorry, I’m so new, I’m still learning the correct language. Nothing I wrote, let alone the book, would be worthwhile without other people.”
It was late at night. I felt small, and that I didn’t deserve to have a book published. And anxious that people would think a) I didn’t have the right to have a book published, and b) that I was ungrateful to all the people who made the book exist.
The resulting outcry, and massive wave of support, felt incredible. So many people, so many I didn’t know, saying kind things to me. It lessened that anxiety, and when people told me I should feel proud of my achievement, I really felt proud.
But then came a lot of responses along the lines of “you should be grateful, he did you a favour.” Because his big name brought publicity that my little name would not. People have said this to me in person too. Kind people, meaning well. Someone even suggested that I should get him to print artwork to include in the book. The suggestion horrified me. I’m not grateful. I was so excited to share that I’d been working on a book for three years, but that announcement was hijacked by a well-known person publicly chastising me.
I don’t want a book about inclusivity to be tied to a tweet that made me feel excluded. And yet people will introduce me at conferences talking about that tweet. If I bring the book up in conversation, people will bring up that tweet. I’m not cross with the folks who want to deride the nature of the tweet, or the systemic inequality that leads to such a tweet. But it means I can’t escape that feeling of being small, or knowing that many people think I owe a person for making me feel that way because it may have resulted in a few more sales. You might notice I find it very difficult to call it my book. I call it Accessibility For Everyone or the book I wrote.
Sometimes I’ll make a knowing reference to the whole event when talking about the book. Like, I WROTE A BOOK. Or (jokily) implying that famous people endorsed my book out of the blue. But I don’t want to make a big deal of the event, or celebrate it, because I can’t escape the implication that I’m indebted to a person who wanted to publicly berate me. Or a social system that makes men think it’s ok to patronise women and marginalised people based on the assumption that a man knows best and everyone else must want to hear him. I do not consider “victim of mansplaining” to be one of my life’s achievements.
I am grateful to the people who took thirty seconds out of their day to bolster me when I was feeling exposed. I’ll never forget sitting in a burger bar on the Malmö coast, reading supportive tweets aloud to my boyfriend. That strangers considered how I might be feeling in that moment, and tried to make me feel better, was so incredibly kind.
Sales are still going steadily, so I’m really happy. That’s a steady number of folks who care about accessibility. And with the audiobook out this month, I’m hoping that we’ve made the book itself more accessible too.
I’m posting this as a note so it doesn’t draw unnecessary attention/further harassment. Still, I thought it worth publicly documenting my feelings about it. I started writing a little post to note the announcement’s anniversary and it spilled out into feelings. So I want to be able to point people at this explanation.
Did a little update to the site this evening. I have have categories and tags exposed again. I also simplified the link styling and fixed some bits of layout that I’d previously broken. Hooray for iteration!
If you’re a person who is on Mastodon, you may be interested to know that we now have our own instances for Ind.ie, and I have my own instance for me.
So you can follow us on Mastodon at:
If you’re not on Mastodon, and are wondering what I’m on about, you might find the following link useful!
This comes from me wanting to add more types of content. Photos and notes are both informal, with photos being the most informal, and I don’t want them to each be in the navigation. They’re just not that important.
The RSS feed for Photos isn’t quite up and running yet. I need to work out how to make the template produce the images in the right manner. This requires more digging into Hugo.
But I have got a fancy grid for the Photos list, and pleased with how that’s working out.
Somehow I had fudged my site’s RSS feeds. They are now un-fudged (and showing full content as intended!)
Thanks to Julian who has sharp eyes and gave me a kind nudge.
Angry thoughts while updating the Better Blocker blocklist… (I get them every time!)
If you are providing third party services on a domain that is entirely unrelated to your (or any previously acquired) business name, you look veeeery sketchy…
I’m looking at you, Adobe. 👀
If you do this and you hide your domain ownership in whois, you are extra sketchy.
Nothing makes me angry quite like researching trackers for Better Blocker.
Use Better Blocker? There’s new block rules waiting for you. Open the app to fetch them. A couple of little fixes and a couple of new trackers blocked. I’ll get more sorted over the next week (these were a little tricksy!)
Now I am having a large G&T.
I seem to be doing a lot of cross-posting content in different locations. Not just farming out links all over the place, but cross-posting because the discussions we have in different locations (Twitter vs Mastodon vs here) are all valuable in their own ways.
This is in conjunction with Aral and I focusing more on our personal sites (ar.al and laurakalbag.com. As we’re looking at how what we’re building works in conjunction with/layers on top of personal sites.
Aral has put together a setup where he can blog from a phone. I have added a Notes section on my site where I can post short-form stuff like photos and statuses (anything shorter than a blog post, really.) Though my setup is a little more static than Aral’s, as it is literally a static site built using Hugo and I use an iPhone. So no posting from a phone for me. (Yet.)
The idea is that the Notes section of my site is the canonical location for those bits of content. Then I can cross-post to other locations. (This is similar to IndieWeb concepts.)
However, manual cross posting is a pain. If I post a note to my site (create post, write in markdown, push to Git, deploy), I then have to manually go to wherever I want to cross-post (Twitter, Mastodon, Facebook, here etc) , rewrite the content/link to content in an acceptable format (under 260 chars etc), and post. The whole exercise takes time. It may be a worthwhile endeavour for a blog post about something meaningful. But it’s a lot of faff to share a dog photo or a “subtweet”, let alone a reply or reposting of somebody else’s content.
Which finally brings me to my point… how do I make cross-posting easier?
It’s not great. It is only for Twitter (IFTTT doesn’t support Mastodon.)
How do I do this better?
One extreme side is that I could build and maintain my own interface for cross-posting like Jeremy has. There are alternatives to IFTTT like Trigger Happy. Though some social networks (such as Instagram) only let you post from their interface, so this solution will never be entirely compatible with those particular walled gardens. Also, I’m not being defeatist in saying these solutions are somewhat beyond my means.
The other extreme (the low-tech solution) is that I have a to-do list template for every time I post something to make sure I format my posts correctly, and don’t forget a particular social network.
If anyone has any ideas or thoughts on the matter, I’d love to hear them!
Given that there’s a couple of women in UK parliament throwing the word “prostitute” around, I found this and it seems to be informative:
tldr; sex work and human trafficking are different, lumping everything under “prostitution” is unhelpful/harmful.
Too many devs in my mentions complaining they have no say about marketing and business depts adding tracking scripts to sites.
I hear that it’s hard, but if it is genuinely impossible, why are you working there? You have no agency and you are complicit in unethical technology.
Some people don’t have the privilege to change jobs (mostly folks from marginalised groups)…
But let’s be honest, many of you actually do have that privilege. I’m not here to take your excuses, I don’t have that power. You‘re responsible to society to not build shitty tech.
How could you say no to this face?
Finally got Sam in the room to properly produce the Accessibility For Everyone audiobook in person.
Today we learned I use US English pronunciation for a few random words. As the book is in US English, and I’m very British, hopefully it won’t be too off-putting… 😬