The Fediverse is a kind and inclusive place and to keep it that way it's good to follow a few guidelines.
There are blind people who use the Fediverse and are reliant on screen readers to deliver them what's on their screen. This technology is not perfect and it can't decipher what sighted people can understand. To help screen readers properly pronounce the content on the screen, here are some ways to make your posts screen reader friendly:
- Use image and video descriptions
Describe what is going on in your videos and images for blind and deaf people. You don't need to do so in the post, but there is a caption function in Mastodon and most other software.
- Use CamelCase
When using hashtags that contain composite nouns or are even full sentences write the first letter of each word large. For example, #FridaysForFuture or #WhatDoWeWantClimateJustice.
- Don't use too many emoji
Screen readers read them as text and lots of emoji can be horrible to listen to.
Write in a way that is inclusive and respectful to everybody. For example, avoid discriminatory (ableistic) terms like "retard" or "gimp", anti-queer language like using "gay" meaning "bad", racist terms like "blacklist" (use "blocklist" instead, or refer to "blocked users", "blocked domains", etc.) or "master" (which has slavery connotations for some people) for software branches. Facultative but highly appreciated: add your gender/pronoun(s) in your profile even if you are not transgender, it will be interpreted as a sign of acceptance.
Some users are privacy conscious. That means they might for example prefer avoiding visiting mainstream platforms. Others don't wanna click on links that look suspicious (with domains they don't know, or ones that are shortened). Here are some tips to make the Fediverse a bit more safe and privacy-respecting:
- Avoid links to mainstream platforms (e.g. Facebook, YouTube, Spotify, etc.)
There are alternatives for most of them. For example, if you have to link to a Twitter thread use Nitter (an alternative Twitter reader). If you want to post a video and you have the rights to upload the video use PeerTube (a federated YouTube alternative), otherwise use Invidious (an alternative YouTube viewer). If you want to link to Instagram use Bibliogram (an alternative Instagram viewer), and so on...
- Avoid using short links
It's impossible to know what's behind them on the first glance. It could be a link to a safe, shady or privacy-disrespecting site.
- Use content warnings when appropriate
Some people might be triggered by certain posts, so it's a good idea to hide them behind a content warning or CW. Often used examples for content warnings are "mh-" (bad mental health), "ph-" (bad physical health), "uspol", "depol",... (politics) & "corona"/"covid".
- Don't repost retweets to the Fediverse
There are Twitter-Mastodon crossposters. It is generally okay to use them, but try to avoid giving Twitter credit on Mastodon. Generally it's best to crosspost from Mastodon to Twitter but if you have to do it the other way around make sure you don't crosspost retweets and don't crosspost posts that contain Twitter handles.