How can you Moderate Items if you are Blind?

Peter B. GiblettStarred Page By Peter B. Giblett, 10th Aug 2014 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/14be_sd3/
Posted in Wikinut>Writing>Personal Experiences

One of the pastimes that I have enjoyed so much is moderating articles here on Wikinut, so when I lost a lot of my sight in June it meant everything changed, For some time I could not use Wikinut, I could not use my PC, but when some of my sight returned it was possible to use the computer, but not in the same way as before, this is the story of how...

Walking a Mile in a Blind Mans Shoes

When something like eyesight is lost, even partially then everything changes, changes in subtle and sometimes annoying ways. I have had to change how I use the computer. To type I have to ensure that I touch-type correctly, slowing down when I spell awkward words, because I am less likely to see the red squiggly line underneath. I had to get assistance in changing many of the PC settings - so that everything is large, larger text, larger windows and using the "Large" settings from the Windows operating system, to help me see better, but even with this I had to find other assistance, from tools that hopefully did not cost any money, because I now have no income because of no longer having a day job.

I tried some text to speech software and found there was a lot if difference in what was available, but in using a product called NaturalReader I have found it possible to read the text that is in front of me on the computer and this is such an important leap forwards, it uses a natural voice and knows the right amount of pausing required for comas, full stops and paragraphs. Indeed I have to say it has helped me in so many ways, I am almost using the computer to the fullest extent again. NaturalReader also hiccups in a certain way when it encounters spelling errors, so that it is possible for the listener to understand something is wrong, this is really helpful (especially for moderation), yet it speaks "realise", spelt in the English way with an "s" rather than the "z" as in "realize" to both be correct and does not highlight any issue with the spelling.

Getting some eyesight back is a further key element - currently my left eye provides no practical assistance in doing anything - until a few days ago it was so sensitive to light I had to keep it closed, today I can see colour and shadow from it but it does not provide any assistance to seeing things around me, for that I rely largely on my right eye where the sight is slowly coming back I can read letters on the chart at the doctor's office and it can assist with normal everyday life, so I can read some of the things that I type and I can also read some of the things I need to read - for the rest I rely on NaturalReader, which means I that I have both been able to write and start moderating without the assistance of others.

So how about Moderating?

Once I was well enough to write with the tools that I had acquired surely I could help out with moderating some articles (especially as this was the Time Steve Kinsman announced that he was going into hospital and that we were down 2 moderators as I had not been present on Wikinut for over a month).

I was cautious about doing it for the first time, not because I had forgotten any of the criteria for moderating, but because I care about Wikinut and I care about writer's articles and I also care about how a visitor sees this site. Would I spot those people trying to cheat the system? Would I fail to respond appropriately to the articles (at that time I did not know the extent to which NaturalReader could spot bad spelling) I also think I was uncertain If I could spot bad grammar while having an item read to me, sure I had spotted some of my own mistakes but that is not the same as spotting someone else's. I decided I would moderate 5 articles and see how it went, it felt like I was going into the boxing ring to fight a heavyweight champion.

Every Day Gets a little Better

On that first day as soon as I had completed moderating five articles I was so tired that I actually sought a comfortable place to lie down - and I slept for about an hour, there was a massive list of items to moderate, but that was all I could manage.

The next day I looked at my inbox, and found that overnight many articles had been published - there were others moderating items, but the list was still large, so I tried again and moderated four articles before taking some rest and after a little rest I wanted to do some more, but being careful not to strain myself too much because getting better was all important and I had to go to the Hospital the following day. In some respects this would allow me to know what my limits were.

The Hospital

This was the first occasion when going to see the specialist at Toronto's Western General hospital that I started to become aware of my surroundings - places which on the previous visit had been blurs, light, or challenging places started to become visible. That was a positive sign because it meant things were on the mend for my right eye at least. The visit was actually encouraging for both my left and right eye, the net result being that we did not have to go back and see them for two weeks, although I still had to see the local specialist twice a week.

I started to feel that I was capable of making a positive contribution once again, albeit at a slower pace, but you know what I would take that any-time.

Time to Moderate

OK it did feel like I was somewhat a broken star, but at least it felt like I was achieving something once again. Moderating on Wikinut meant that I was assisting people in getting their articles published, I was reducing that massive queue awaiting moderation, so I got up the following morning with a purpose - to spend an hour moderating, rest a bit then do it again, but this time I was foiled - there were only three articles to moderate, Mark or Johnny had been there over the past 36 hours and tidied everything up. From the perspective of the Wikinut Writer that was good news, but not a good start to my plans.

After moderating the small number of things waiting I went and had some breakfast to think about things. Instead of moderating I busied myself with some extra tasks that needed doing and later in the afternoon there was a collection of items to moderate, I had my opportunity.

Some readers will have heard either myself or Mark Gordon Brown talk about improvements you, as a writer should consider, in order to improve the quality of the submissions you make here at Wikinut and I do not intend to reiterate those items here. My major concerns were:

  • Catching plagiarisers and other cheats
  • Spotting when people made mistakes
  • Giving people an opportunity to fix Page Title and Page Summary errors
  • Stopping small articles (under 300 words)
  • Checking articles all had page tags
  • Offering advice to writers when appropriate

Yet still that question lingered...

How can a Blind Person Moderate on Wikinut?

Well in truth I had been doing it for a couple of dozen articles by this time - so in part the answer was that it was already happening.

Truth is just because I have a limited ability to see does not mean that I lost the ability to quantify the value of a submission - the thing was I had to listen to articles rather than read them, having made that commitment I know that I am still able to analyse them mentally as well as I used to be able to do visually. You try to cheat and I will catch you let us be very clear about that, indeed I have to wonder if I am more cautious now than before, perhaps I am. There are rules that have to be followed and the writer that follows the rules will always gain the moderator's appreciation but the writer who breaks them will always catch the wrath of not one, but all, of the moderators.

If I am as picky about each word I use for my own work then I know I have not lost that ability to work with the English language, an important aspect of everything I am looking to do.

Today I wrote a moderator note to one writer that they needed to improve the standard of their English, given that their submission included several grammatical errors including a failure to pluralise a word when it was expected, not using a definite or indefinite article and other errors. Had they been a new writer I would perhaps not said anything but this person had been making a daily contribution for some time and I felt that it was time to say something, because the moderator is the front-line in ensuring the standards of submissions are high, yet I am aware that for many whose native tongue is not English I appreciate their efforts in writing here.

Needing a new Job

Having not been able to go out to work changes everything, I have lost my income and right now whether the loss of my eyesight is permanent or temporary is not yet known, but the truth is that I do need to have a replacement income of some type. I know that I am not interested in those fake "earn while working from home" posts you get daily in your inbox but am willing to listen to any genuine ideas that readers may suggest.

The following are some of the more recent articles that I have published on a variety of topics.

Each person has a unique voice and Wikinut is great a place for you to share some of your wisdom, insight and knowledge, you could start by adding a comment, but perhaps you need something more in which case should join Wikinut, write then become connected to others who share a passion for writing, supporting one another, and learning on Wikinut.

Tags

Blind, Cheat, Eyesight, Moderate, Moderating Articles, Peter B Giblett, Positive Contribution, Software, Steve Kinsman, Text To Speech, Touch-Type

Meet the author

author avatar Peter B. Giblett
Author of "Is your Business Ready? For the Social Media Revolution"

Social media consultant, with C-Level background.

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Comments

author avatar spirited
11th Aug 2014 (#)

That's a very good effort indeed Peter, and very informative about how wikinut works too.

I hope your eyesight comes back soon.

My brother had a detached retina which they put an artificial lens in after reattaching it as the lens grew a cataract on it. Unfortunately he gets skin growing over the new lens and so his eyesight from that one eye is very poor too now again.

His other eye he wears glasses and is coping as well as he can.

That's all any of us can do really, and you are certainly trying to cope. I admire your positivity.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Aug 2014 (#)

No matter what happens it is important to stay positive otherwise it is all too easy to fall into a spiral of despair.

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Being moderator is not an easy job by any means and surly would be hard for you with vision issues.
For sure some people are more understanding when we try to "help". I have been sent an angy note more than once by people not happy with an article being rejected

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Aug 2014 (#)

I have not yet received an angry note after rejection but I have seen people just press the publish button again (without fixing anything) clearly never reading the note I left them.

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author avatar Helen Thomas
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks for sharing about your personal visual limitations ~ Peter. I think that causes us to appreciate your moderating even more. I am PRAYING ~ that your vision be completely restored. Abundant blessings to you.

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author avatar cnwriter..carolina
11th Aug 2014 (#)

well done Peter am so glad you are back and your sight improving...hope Steve is on the mend too...light and healing to you..both

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks to both Helen and Carolina.

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author avatar Sherrill Fulghum
11th Aug 2014 (#)

From someone who deals with theses issues on a daily basis (and have since birth) - pressing the control key and the + sign at the same time makes the print larger, just keep pushing until the print is big enough to see. It makes for a lot more scrolling but at least it makes stuff easier to see.

After having to buy a new computer when the old one went kaput, I discovered that Windows 8 has a magnifier that magnifies the whole page and not that annoying one line at a time like it used to.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Aug 2014 (#)

I am not saying that I have found all of the tools available, but I am working with many that help.

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author avatar Etc.
11th Aug 2014 (#)

You are amazing. I can't begin to imagine what it's been like to have gone through what you have; but I can imagine that you will do well--look what you've done just since June!

After the darkness there truly is light. I pray light comes to you, Peter, both literally and figuratively. And very quickly.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Light has come in one way - one of the members of my Toastmasters club is a consultant that helps disables people find work and just as I was looking at the replies she called me and is sending a whole heap of things that may be able to assist me. Yet with all of this it is about understanding what is possible and taking it one step at a time.

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author avatar Mariah
11th Aug 2014 (#)

It's been a long and stressful journey for you Peter...and I really admire your determination and your perseverance..slowly but surely is the key and you are recovering just a little bit more every day, hang on to that positivity..we know you are a perfectionist in your writings and that you are a very thorough moderator, this can't be easy for you at all but you are carrying on regardless and it's that attitude that will pull you right through this.
We're all behind you..so keep on fighting the good fight x

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Perseverance usually takes us a long way. I will do what I can do to move forward and I am always pleased to be involved in such a great community.

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author avatar Retired
11th Aug 2014 (#)

What a journey you're on, Peter. Love your attitude and persistence. May you continue to improve each day. Healing thoughts.

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author avatar Retired
11th Aug 2014 (#)

My blessing are always with you sir. You are my first moderator and follower. I always read your new articles. I wish your eye sight come back soon.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Thank you.

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author avatar Retired
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Keep up the high standards, Peter. Folks want to read good writing. Maybe that's speaking for myself, but for those who disagree, there's always the geek-speak of FB and Twitter.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Aug 2014 (#)

I was always told that if you intend to do a job you should do it well, of course we do err from time to time, but we should all strive to be better next time.

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author avatar Joyce Singha
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Thanks Peter. For eyes that have trouble seeing, you're doing great moderating zillions of words. All the best with your recovery and thanks for being a moderator here along with the others; keeps us on our toes.

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author avatar Lee Hansen
11th Aug 2014 (#)

Appreciate your telling of your struggles but persevering in spite of it all. It's a lesson we can all learn from you.

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Aug 2014 (#)

Truth is when we put effort into something, we have a desire to keep that going in spite of any challenges we encounter.

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author avatar Retired
12th Aug 2014 (#)

Peter, I am in awe at your determination and strength. So glad your sight is slowly improving; I will keep you in my prayers, praying for a complete recovery. You're truly an inspiration to me.

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author avatar snerfu
12th Aug 2014 (#)

Wikinut is more than a picnic spot, it is a way of life. You sir, are one who makes it what it is. If you pull up one or two who throw in a couple of clangers, it makes Wikinut mightier. Jingy bing, Jingy bing, ding ding dong!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Aug 2014 (#)

My aim is that we all get mightier.

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author avatar Sivaramakrishnan A
12th Aug 2014 (#)

Inspiring Peter and I pray along with others here for your Godspeed recovery. I admired some of your posts written so meticulously leaving no stones upturned with a view to improve the quality of the site. I feel uneasy if I do not log in to Wikinut everyday and for a moderator it would be a double whammy. I too am getting to a stage where eyesight is becoming an issue. Also when regular income not certain. But we fight on till our last breath - fighting the good fight - siva .

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
12th Aug 2014 (#)

Siva - i am sure I make some errors, but a lot of the reason for writing things such as this is to help everyone grow.

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author avatar Phyl Campbell
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Great work Peter! So proud of your recovery and the efforts you are making.
In humor, I wonder how your reader would handle my homophone articles. It gives me the giggles, I must confess.
I am also looking to return to work. I have had the most success with a temp agency, though still haven't been given a start date. Don't really want to start until September with school in comfortable swing, but I knew I had to start now to have a job by then. So if nothing pans out from your Toastmasters contacts, maybe that will be useful to you. Good luck!

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author avatar Peter B. Giblett
13th Aug 2014 (#)

Oh Phyl you have set a good challenge. I know that it has trouble differentiating "I read that book" from "I will read that book"

I am talking to an advisor and have a bunch of forms to fill in - but I am hopeful on the job front.

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author avatar Jack Goblin
17th Aug 2014 (#)

An excellent article! Best wishes for a full and speedy (or at least speedier) recovery!

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author avatar Retired
26th Aug 2014 (#)

Sorry to hear you lost your sight. I sincerely hope you have a full recovery.

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author avatar johnbee
5th Feb 2015 (#)

Best wishes for a quick and speedy recovery. Be blessed!

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