Alt text and media types for preformatted text

Katarina Eriksson gmym at
Mon Mar 1 14:14:15 GMT 2021

On Monday, March 1, 2021 10:20 AM, Caolan McMahon <caolan at> wrote:
> One way I think gemini got this right was in using links for images. It requires a textual description of the image, and it's shown to all users. There's no split in the presentation, everyone is treated that same. I like that.
> Unfortunately, alt text for preformatted blocks does introduce content only likely to be seen by a minority of users. The only way I can see around that would be a practice of repeating any visual content in prose descriptions in the surrounding paragraphs. This gives reinforcing content that everyone can see. Unfortunately, I don't know how practical that would be in all cases.
> But if anyone has an idea to make preformatted blocks more accessible without hidden content for the visually impared, and instead using content shared by everyone, I'd be keen to hear it.

These are the signals I want the documentation to send:
(The exact wording can be improved upon.)

# Capsule authors

1. Write a caption for everyone to see.  It should include all information needed for a reader to decide if they want to see the preformated lines or not.

2. The toggle line with free form alt-text.

3. Preformatted lines.  Hopefully not too many.

4. End of file or another toggle line followed by more gemtext.

# Clients

Consider making configuration items for "always show", "always ask" or "ask if it has alt-text, otherwise show" when preformated lines are encountered.

If the reader wants to see the preformated lines, show them.  Otherwise, show the alt-text if it exists.

Put some kind of marker or boundary at the end so that you can skip to it past the rest of the preformated lines.

Ideas taken from:


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