Using images in the forum

Every so often I ask people not to use screenshots, or post images
without explanation.
This isnt nitpicking, as some users think.

There are two reasons why I dont like this use of images.

First, search engines dont (as yet) index images - so someone with
exactly the same problem as you, wont be led to the thread and
the solution.
If you add a text explanation to your image, then the search will work

Second, when I say I cant see these images, I mean that literally.
Let me explain.
I usually interact with the forum by email - often with a screen reader.

So what you see as a helpful image, comes to me like this:


Actually, I usually just get <img> - if there’s alternate text, I get
that - in the above case it would be <hvm|2690x249><img>
Not very informative.

It’s possible to add alternate text to your image - perhaps someone who
uses the web interface could explain how.
Better is to write a brief summary - something like:

eth0 is set to the same ip settings as in the Qubes Settings page,
as shown in this screenshot:

But there is no network connection - I cannot ping any IP address:

That’s more informative, and will be indexed by search engines.


Thank you, and while I have not done this I have at least started to explain the image in my posts now at least

Thank you for the additional Forum “How To” resource,
there is also this too which I haven’t knocked out yet:

Wait the “Alt Text” doesn’t work for email users with image blocks?


I had no idea that bites

So then what @parulin showed me here:

Still doesn’t show up on an email image screen reader or blocked privacy image alt with a screen reader???

This is frustrating

While I have been adding context now right before or after the images, I guess I can be more explicit by literally writing “image description” then proceed to explain it. My current explanations have been lax by not declaring it as a descriptor. My apologies for that

EDIT: I completely rewrited this post, see next one.

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@unman has told me email doesn’t send “edits” so he would have to log into the Forum to see this edit apparently

Someone else told me that too here, that the email list doesn’t send edits so no one sees my Update edits I was told

Well, this is a copy of my previous post:

So there is an example image with alt attribute set.

And this is the corresponding Markdown code:

![Example alt text of a Minion img](upload://ffEWnsYwNcTVTWtqOnTy8F4ppcj.png)

The problem seems to be that Discourse doesn’t alert enough the users about the necessity of a good textual description. I could write a Community guide about this.

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First, search engines dont (as yet) index images

"Google can also index the following media formats:

  • Image formats: BMP, GIF, JPEG, PNG, WebP, and SVG"

Source: Types de fichiers indexables par Google | Google Search Central  |  Documentation  |  Google for Developers

Google also does involve image recognition and does read text inside images (OCR). However, I don’t think SEO for forum screenshots matters at all. Qubes OS does not sell image and doesn’t need prime positions of screenshots in image SERP.

What is important is this:

Second, when I say I cant see these images, I mean that literally.
Let me explain.
I usually interact with the forum by email - often with a screen reader.

I also use the forum by email and I surely understand that part. However, visual impairment is a far more serious thing. If you can’t see, that is huge. We should all consider it when replying to you as much more important than SERP placement.

I wish you well!

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Thanks @Lace and @parulin for your contributions.

Yes, it is a feature of discourse that people who use email dont get an
update email when a user edits their original post.
It’s often possible to pick up such edits from the Previous Replies
section in an email, if one scans it. (I rarely do, unless there’s good
reason to do so.)

This also means that the “Guides” section is pretty hopeless for us,
because we dont get to see any updates or corrections outwith the

@parulin example works well with the alt attribute set. You can do this
in Markdown, but there is (I am told) a method of doing it in the web
But alt text only goes so far.

is a great guide - it makes it clear that images and graphics are
essential for many people, but also explains how to make those images
accessible to everyone.

I think a guide explaining good practice in the forum in providing
alt text, or a text summary, and how to do it, would be useful.

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I’m not a google user for reasons.
I dont see anything on that page to suggest that Google does OCR. I
think that the privacy engines do not.

I seem to recall Nina commenting on receiving survey comments from
visually impaired users. I wasnt surprised.


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I’m not a google user for reasons.

Neither am I (perhaps for the same reasons). I have done a significant amount of SEO in previous years though, heavily focused on images in particular. So, I speak from first hand experience.

I dont see anything on that page to suggest that Google does OCR.

Yes, that particular page does not. It is known though. Here is one that links to Google’s patents related to image recognition:


Google uses all available technology to suck as much data as possible.

As for privacy engines - I am not sure I understand the phrase. Web crawlers harvest public data. If you mean search frontends (e.g. SearXNG) - they use the same data, users just access it differently.

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I tried to do this: How to write useful posts on Qubes forums: images with descriptions.

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To address this fully, there’s a need to eliminate the underlying reasons fully, and that’s not simple.

  • New users who use their phone to capture errors for troubleshooting.
  • Capturing screen for non-fully loaded OS: boot/bios etc.

There is an attempt in some countries to enforce WCAG by law.
That isn’t quite working, sadly.

However, an introduction rule/suggestion on how to write posts for new users would be good.

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Well, with the how-to, I hope that we can easily tell new users about this issue and how to correct it. Not sure if a OCR tool will work pretty well with a picture of a screen, but at least, copying some of the textual output could be enough?

I think that we can let new users make a first post with a picture without description, then tell them how to correct it?

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IMO, it is not possible or relevant to forcefully stop users from posting images. It would send a wrong message. As @Zeno explained, there are valid reasons for such images to be posted and it is unlikely that the user will take the time and effort to type everything that is seen on the image.

It seems more appropriate to have a warning in the community guidelines to respect the fact that there are users who cannot see those images, so that people can expect reduced feedback by notable community members. That may hopefully stimulate participants to be more descriptive (yet concise).

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21st century solution: hook A.I. image processor into screen reader and tell it to parse images into text :smiley: :handshake: :robot:

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Could that be automatically done through the Forum so not to burden the users who need to see images through text, as that is asking a lot out of the user just to see an image when it could be done for them

I think that was a smart arse comment from Quben.
If I see a genuine solution that works consistently well I’d see about
implementing it. Hand Wavy, “AI dood” comments help no one.

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