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Grid and ASCII art

So I understand why we're not allowed ASCII art on the Grid, but it would be nice to be able to add a little graphical flair.

As I understand, screen readers are one of the big reasons that this is a no no.

Is there a way to have an "ALT" tag like HTML already has for images to facilitate that? So if you are not using a screen reader, you see the ascii, if you are, you get a text description.

There might be other reasons to not have it, but was just thinking that this might be a way to accommodate things.

Grid has plenty ways to add flair that won't fuck with screen readers, most of which is attainable with basic formatting

There are also images.

Using ascii makes the grid unbearable for screen readers from what I'm told.

No I get that.

HTML already has a solution for that in normal web browsing, it's the ALT tag on an image. For a screen reader, it get's a blurb like: "a girl on a bike" instead of nothing.

Just figured it might be a solution here.

Ascii also looks bad. I'd much rather we facilitate the proper use of images than seeing more people use ascii that often breaks their formatting or just looks awful
I think ASCII can look just fine, especially in small amounts. Just a little bit of flair. I do agree than Alt type tag could be really neat. Maybe a setting that people without screen readers can use as well, so that if they don't like ASCII art, they also just see the Alt tag description.
We'll do images at some point. Just need to build a gui to manage it.


  • we will require non bullshit alt text
  • will be reformatted to fit the qt screen

Options the community should debate:

  • colored green programmatically (or with a CSS filter?) - if we allow random images, it will likely dilute the theme of the grid, so do we want to enforce a degree of uniformity with how images are presented?
  • meme-ing tools - do we embrace communicating via images IC to the degree that we allow the same sort of memeing you all enjoy about Sindome, in Sindome?
  • animated gifs/webp - do we allow player sourced animated images?
  • Wheres the image ICly coming from? Should we require the player to communicate this when uploading the image -- sort of a mini note for GMs? (e.g. a representation of a photo of Bob from my nito-kodak)
I love the idea of a green filter, or at least a limitation to 256 filtering over the image (not all terminal colors are green now, foic)

I however hate the idea of making memes IC. It'd probably snowball way too hard.

The rest seems perfectly reasonable to me.

Color me excited!

I actually like the idea of Mono Green images. That would be amazing and yes, alt tags should be a requirement.

Personally I'd be a no on GIFs just because they usually are tacky and have all kinds of oddities.

I see a lot of potential problems with posting images of IC things and people. Who decides what photo is an representation of an IC character? Me? The first one to post one? Same for objects. What will force people to respect what was previously set as a standard? Or do we simply let there be four very visually different pics of the same IC thing? How will blind players be able to use alt-text in place of the graphical picture? Copy and paste the in game photo text? If I see a photo and am not blind how can I translate that into something I can use in the text game?
I would much prefer an agreed upon standard for 'text' images, like:


A tall, well-dressed man stands here looking at the camera, flashing a thumbs up.


or something, and then a policy that if you put an image on the Grid it needs to either come from a camera or be described as something drawn in line with your Artistry skill. (I don't think we need a code check -- I think a policy would be fine.)

Then Grid images become something that reference the IC world of the Moo, which doesn't have image files.

Yeah, I agree with the other opinions.

I'm also a 'No' on the memes or gifs on grid, even though I do love the memes on the board, and a 'Yes' for the limited colour pictures - with some stipulation below. Definitely important to have good alt tags as well.

Source of image... Hmmm... If its anything specifically Withmore related, that it should be in-game photo text, not an image, and I think a source for or verification of some sort from GMs would be needed.

Might be better to avoid specific pictures like that in general anyway, and stick to things that just add to the flavour of the post. Things like generic pictures of some food or ammo or something. Could pass it off as something like stock photos already on the grid?

The only problem with that is that the GRID is not in the MOO, it's HTML and having a well formatted and looking node can be important. Some people have AMAZING @nakeds/tailor descriptions, but you can't fit that in HTML without things looking terrible. I think an image, with an in game alt tag that allows people to understand an image with a screen reader, is a really good solution.
Please no IC memes.

There is already a policy against "modern" song lyrics being used on SIC or in the game.

I think memes would just blur the IC / OOC divide a bit too much.

That said, I do love things like Sindome twists on well known memes like, "I used to be a street samurai like you, until I took a bullet to the knee."

I think those are the rare exceptions.

Wait, ASCII isn't allowed on the Grid anymore? Not even on nodes? :<

This confuses me as much as the 'emojis were never invented' deal. Everyone makes smileyfaces on the Grid. Do I have to stop..?

There were some in game announcements the other day asking people to not do so.
I mean, I get why it's like that over SIC, but netspeak?
I agree with Pavane. Or even take it a step further and add code so that you can 'upload' pictures or art and this puts the text based image on the grit in the approved format. I think someone proposed a scanner idea once that was pretty awesome.

I have an idea that could satisfy all these needs.

Grid-enabled Scanner

A flatbed device with a thin front-facing slot with rollers to accept photos and documents. A backend chute collects the post-scan shreds items. An auxiliary port allows for connection to a Grid terminal.

What it does

Attachment to a LiteTerm (maybe QuickTerm too? Topside StreetTeems?) that allows for scanning in documents and photos to the Grid. Consumes the item and outputs a unique attachment #.

Then you can add to a Gridpost with some code like [attach]1950027621[/attach]

Which would give you:


(item name)

(look description of photo / all pages of a flyer)

(label on photo, if any)


In this manner, you require an object in-game to create an attachment. And to prevent overusage, it consumes the item upon use. Optionally, each upload is charged to your SICcred account.

The scanner idea is cool and perhaps you could use it to upload an actual image that the GMs can :thumbsup: or :thumbsdown: for you to include in a node. However, I think the how is separate from discussing whether images on the grid should be visual, or text based.

For me, anything that's a wall of words will never work in the grid as it's implemented now. In the MOO it works because you are not looking at formatted output. For Grid nodes, you are. HTML is a thing because it is concerned with the presentation of information not just the information itself. It's pointless to have tables, columns, rows or what have you when you can't control the size of an "image" because it's a very well written description.

Forcing images on the grid to be essentially blocks of text will likely ruin most attempts at trying to have a visually appealing node.

HTML is not generally concerned with the presentation. That's usually CSS's job.

But even then the presence of those features does not mandate the use of them. The web client uses these technologies to present the text world to you just fine. SO saying tht because the tech presenting the grid is HTML based and therefor can not present information in a text form well doesn't make sense to me.

I would take pure text representation of photos over actual images every time. I'd personally love to see ALL images stripped from the grid and a system like the ones Pavana and alittltlonger proposed implimented. That is my personal opinion.

Respect the opinion even if I'd rather see an alt tag on an image.

Maybe I'm explaining bad, or maybe just a difference of opinion. Take Photos in the MOO, I expect them to be a long wall of text and it fits because that's how the client renders things. The moo client is mostly not worried about presentation of how many lines of text there are, or what font I see it in perhaps short of the color stuff that's been implemented.

HTML by nature has a presentation element. A

tag doesn't convey information, it conveys formatting. Tables have little to do with what's in them and are purely there to help the eye organize things by lining them up in a certain fashion. True, there are some tags that convey content like
which would tell you the type of content in the tag. Agreed that CSS is an override to your client choosing how you visualize information.

But my point is that the Grid, which displays things in HTML is meant to have formatting. Sticking a wall of text into a page that's supposed to be inherently formatted kills immersion for me. Just like it would be jarring in the MOO portion of the game to have an image pop up (or it would to me). The "text pictures" which are fine in the text portion of the game, break format and immersion for me when they are on the Grid. Hopefully that explains what I mean even if you don't agree with it.

HTML is not generally concerned with the presentation. That's usually CSS's job.

HTML presents images...

Okay, I used tags in the above post not thinking the boards were going to render them, but I referenced CENTER and ADDRESS as tags above.

What if the attachment appears as a camera or document icon, and if you tap it or mouse-over it, you get a little box that shows the text /photo description?

Now you have your themely presentation and a text description.

If, for some reason, we can't have images, then yes, this would be a good way to handle both format and function. I would certainly want us to be able to have the ability to have well formatted nodes as a minimum requirement. That would accomplish that.

However, an icon and just having an image with a very good alt text added to it is not that far off from each other. So I guess while I wouldn't be crushed if that's where we ended up, I don't see much difference between that and just allowing a GM vetted image either.

Make it possible for us to upload our own avatars on the Grid, but add an OOC rule on an avatar. It has to fit the setting, so nothing like Mario, etc etca.
It's a great idea that we can put pictures that have limited colors so it fit the whole design of the grid, as by example green here. And that to not make it limited to blind people, I also agree that we could maybe put a description of the picture.

It could be nice to put pictures up as examples of the style of clothes that tailors may do, or food for cooks, etc.

I just want to be able to use smileyfaces on the Grid. Seems unnatural that no one ever thought of such things. They're a pretty old thing.
I think allowing for actual player-uploaded images or photographs would be crossing an immersion breaking threshold. To me the beauty of Sindome is in the expression of text.
I think NOT allowing player uploaded images is unimmersive. Actual cyberpunk isn't all in text. When did online networks go back to the 90's, 85 years in the future?
Not to be glib, but in 2072.

I've never had the impression that the IC grid as an idea and the coded grid as a workable player-used system were necessarily the same thing. It's common for characters to treat the grid as analogues to the internet, even though it does not have that coded scope.

Maybe I should say actual photographs or images that are meant to depict characters would be crossing an immersion barrier. Player-created IC logos and maps and other RP tools that are created for and only part of the IC world are one thing, but I think actual photographs are by definition not part of the IC world and would hurt the suspension of disbelief.

Ah, I get what you mean. But at the same time, displaying your art that way would still keep you as a player anonymous. Pros and cons.

And what I meant was that the game plays out 85 years into the future, not in the 1990's.

It's tough... it's really really hard to imagine a society that eschewed the kinds of digital imagery that we take for granted on a day to day basis.

I totally get that if someone posts their 'Picture' and it's not themely or match their l, then yeah it's kind of jarring. But, the whole Grid is kind of jarring without the flash and pomp that even BBS systems had back in the 80s where ASCII art was invented and king.

So for me, the lack of a semi modern Grid is kind of immersion breaking as the visions of people jacked into some kind of matrix like environment is one of the CP norms. But, I do get the challenge, I think it's why I would have a placeholder image that is inserted and let the GMs approve image insertion. Although that might be a pretty large burden.

I do think creating the grid as a web-based application opened the door to media, but I am protective of literary expression as being a core and primary part of the game's DNA.

I think photographs of any kind, or character/item/place depictions, or memes or those sorts of things that go on the BGBB would be a mistake to bring over into the IC sphere. I think canonizing any of those things in a form other than text would be a misstep.

But player-created staff-curated logos and abstract graphics that add to the visual style of the grid without co-opting the in-client textual expression of things? I can see the value in that.

If I was staff I wouldn't want to "curate" player-uploaded graphics.

What a sideshow.

Policing anything is the least enjoyable use of staff time.

I don't disagree.

I think it would be better for the game to remain entirely textual, and that total player discretion over IC media is the worst of the three options.

Johnny said that images are coming though, so I think curation is necessary or it will be a circus of immersion-breaking content.

I'm sorry beandip, I have to correct you...

I think you meant, "What a slideshow."


And yeah, as soon as the Grid was created with the web as it's interface, then the door was certainly opened wide for format and visualization to be as important to textualization. But as long as we have it in its current form, then being able to use would be fantastic.

I've still yet to come up with a way to address the many issues trying to bridge those two would present. Some of the questions I posed earlier I have managed to work out potential solutions for in my head but I think many are still going to be serious issues with no easy fix.

When I write 'abstract graphics' Those are the sorts of graphics I can see adding to the IC atmosphere.

The worst case I am imagining cyberpunk tumblr.

Ahem. These are the sort of graphics I am imagining. Sorry tag errors.

I mean... tumblr is awful, but would kind of work in the future. People posting pic after pic for attention? Defo CP.
Characters can roleplay doing that now, but what would that functionally entail to be an actual coded thing? There are no image pics, it's a text-based game. This would necessarily involve taking real-world photographs or artwork, and canonizing them as IC material.

I think that's a route many graphical-hybrid text games took before Meridian 59 and Second Life became a thing, and I personally don't think it's a route that Sindome should follow. I think it would harm immersion and theme.

A conceit to post textual "photos" on the grid from IC sources, rendered as text, would make more sense for that particular purpose in my mind.

I really like alittlelonger's idea of a scanner object, which a photo can be used on to store its description, and return a "filename" that lets you post it on the Grid in text form. Feels like a fairly simple, themely, and accessible way of implementing this.
as far as image moderation goes, just let players report or flag nodes/posts as an ic thing that just passes it to staff? that way staff dont have to manually approve everything

honestly though i really like the ascii art on the grid for its unique visual flair, would be a shame to see it go

an alt tag would be preferable, instead of banning it

i do also support the addition of images though, it feels weird that we dont have them already

Just a couple of more thoughts.

There is a set of controls that allows a block of text to be ignored by a screen reader. Might be perfect for allowing ASCII Art on the Grid. I think ASCII Art in general, for some people, might be preferable for some people who want to preserve immersion in a text based medium. Although perhaps I'm wrong on that.

That's the relevant link, although there are several other states of the aria tag that would also allow alt descriptions to be included as well.

Another thought that I had, which was kind of goofy was that allow images... of ASCII art. The biggest complaint about images seems to be that some people don't want to see an image that contrasts to what the look text, or their imagination has built up. ASCII art kind of obfuscates details with a low res grain. Perhaps allow images, but they need to be made of ASCII art... why? Because the IMG tag in a browser already supports the ALT tag for screen readers.

Just a couple of thoughts.

Is it currently acceptable to post "photos" to the grid, IE sections of text that describe a photo? That's always been vague to me.
As I understand, no. The Grid does not have that as a feature.