Feedback on the TWiT Backstage Forum

We’re just getting started, but we’d love to know what you think, and what we can make better!

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Hey @Leo and TWiT team! Thanks for pinning my Introductions post. Really cool.

I wanted to give two points of additional feedback on Backstage:

  • I think you promoted some hosts to leader/moderator today. I don’t know much about Discourse’s admin backside, but you might want to consider password/2FA policies for accounts with powers. It would probably be an un-happy day if one of the moderator accounts got breached by a malicious script that wiped the forum.

  • I know it’s a lot of work, so maybe consider crowd-sourcing the theming of the various installed themes. (And please, pretty please, don’t take the other approach and lock me into the default Vincent. I like the brighter and extra whitespace of the Light theme. :man_shrugging: )

Thanks, y’all!

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Thank you @leo and the TWIT crew for testing this type of forum.

The accessibility on the forum could be improved with more navigable CSS/HTML headings. This doesn’t mean that everything has to be a “heading”, but intelligent heading divisions for each post, and headings for different parts of the page would be greatly helpful when someone is using a screen reader.

Please let me know if there are any questions.
Thanks SO much!!!

Hi @blindinsight. I’m sighted, but I’m also a web developer that cares about making websites accessible to as many as possible, and I’d like to help contribute to the discussion here.

I’m curious about what accessibility software you’re using. From what I’ve experienced (as I’ve tested) the accessibility options built in operating systems (like Windows, Mac, iOS) rely less on HTML header tags and more on the well-organized final rendering of the page. Obviously “alt” attributes on images and buttons are very important, but from what I’ve seen, Discourse seems to do a good job of that.

Perhaps you could screen-record your user experience and share it “unlisted” on YouTube, then post a link here? That might better help to demonstrate to TWiT and to the Discourse development community what issues you experience.

Just my 2¢.


I posted on the welcome forum as well, but thought this might be a better place. Sorry for the duplicate, you can delete if necessary. But i notice, if you want to reply to a specific question or person, the reply goes all the way tot the bottom of the string rather than be grouped by with the original question/ reply. not sure if there is a way to get reply to specific individuals or not but it would be very helpful.

Hilight some text, and a "Quote will appear. Click on that and you’ll start a reply. Those sorts of replies do end up at the bottom, but the referenced post will also get a box at the bottom where you can drop down the replies.

Or it has in other locations, but doesn’t seem to now on this one… so… um… I donno?!?


This time I clicked the “Reply” button… so I wonder if that will show up as a reply in the drop down… ?

Edit: Oh, LOL: It just took some time. Eventually it showed up after I refreshed a few times.

It looks like @PHolder already helped some, but just for what it’s worth, the flatness (lack of threaded replies) is a specific design choice of Discourse. “It’s a feature, not a bug.” :slight_smile:


Yeah Discourse is very flat - there’s no good way to thread responses.

I guess the idea is that each topic should be a discussion for everyone. Responding to any single message is cross-talk to be avoided. Not sure I agree but that’s just the way it is.

As for accessibility, I’ll look for a theme that’s more accessible. If I can find one I’ll add it to the list of theme choices.


In the forum SignUp popup Menu, when entering one’s…

‘Favorite Show’
‘Desktop OS’
‘Mobile OS’

…you might want to create some drop-down menu options, otherwise if you want to query that data, you’ll end up with tons of misspellings.

I left it open ended so people can be flexible with their responses!

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Thank you so much for the suggestion!
Zoom Meeting is very accessible and I can definitely record the way Jaws reads the screen.

Try to not look at the entire page and it’s layout. A screen reader relies on navigation elements like heading, links, buttons, combo boxes, etc. If there are no headings on the page, it requires me to navigate by pressing “u” on my keyboard for “unvisited link”, or “n” for “next text”. The number of links on a single page can be staggering, and completely overwhelming to someone using a screen reader if the navigation elements aren’t there.
I’ve gone to websites to potentially purchase something, only to find out that the site is so poorly designed that I simply had to close the tab because it was too frustrating to figure out.

Try it yourself:
Turn on a screen reader, Narrator in Windows, install NVDA, or turn on the built-in screen reader in Mac, IOS, Chrome OS or Android.
Study the hot keys for navigating. Screen readers have a “virtual” or “forms” mode that allows you to navigate the page from top left and left to right down the screen, or when interacting with an edit box, radial button, or combo box, the screen reader will switch into forms mode to allow you to directly interact with that element.
The arrow and hotkeys are the only way to move around the screen without vision.
Disconnect your monitor, or turn on the darken screen when reader is on for privacy.
Navigate to the browser, and your favorite website.

Modal pop-outs, dynamic pages that change without indicating to the screen reader that the page has refreshed, or when the page changes dynamically because of a selection, the cursor should move to the “heading” that was requested to be changed, and allow me to get to the info more quickly than having to explore the entire page to find what changed. I can demonstrate this in the video on the Preferences page on this forum.

Remember that a screen reader can only provide 1 line of info at a time because it’s having to read the page line by line.
When I go to a website that I’ve never been to, it requires me to test the site to see how I’ll be able to navigate it, and that’s before I can try to find the info I went there fore.

I do accessibility testing with a programming engineer through Zoom Meeting so that she can hear see, and take notes for clients she works with.

I would be happy to demonstrate the accessibility of a website or program through Zoom Meeting.