Accessibility and Patronizing language and euphemisms

When JS is off, you get:

“Works best with Javascript”

Yet it obviously does not work without JS at all.

The german translation does that even more patronizing.

Also please make content viewable without JS.

This is a real accessibility problem for me.

I deactivate JS by default because websites are so full of clutter, things jumping around and visual noise that I can’t bear this at all without having apparently unusually high amounts of mental pain.

Another note, I was just told that new users couldn’t add more than 1 file.
That came after pressing send.
How about telling before sending?

You should see a read-only page when you disable javascript in the browser:

What device/browser are you using?

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Chromium (Vanadium Flavor) on GrapheneOS (Android) on a Pixel.
It has a JS toggle. No Noscript Tag usage.

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Discourse serves a basic HTML read-only view when JS is disabled, or the browser version is too old and not supported anymore.

However, in a effort to reduce our request payload and get better speeds for mobile users, specially for users on old Android phones, we don’t ship the basic HTML view if we detect that the user-agent can handle JS just fine.

The trade-off is the behavior you just found, the intersection of the three groups:

  • User in mobile
  • User in a recent modern browser
  • User who manually disabled JS

Will get this sad screen, instead of the basic HTML view we ship for other users.

This was a deliberate choice after checking the number of users who would get a faster site against the users who would not.

That message is there for users who actually get the basic HTML view, like users in Internet Explorer 6.

We made no effort of making the basic HTML view scale well for mobile, as it was designed for search engine bots and users on old desktops. If you want to see how it would look, you can try sending an old browser UA string.

Otherwise, you will need to hit that JS toggle and enable JS for Discourse.


I think this is crucial - if you just look at the proportion of users affected, you might miss the demographics. You might be excluding an unintentionally large proportion of the disabled, or the elderly, or the disadvantaged.

It’s preposterous to say that any minority group would be over represented in the demographic of people running custom mobile browsers with javascript disabled.

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Maybe, maybe not. But more generally, making design decisions based on an impact to only a small proportion of users seems potentially problematic to me. Support for older browsers, and for unusual ways of accessing the web, would fall inside that concern. I don’t know a lot about accessibility tactics - but I would hope someone does, inside the decision-making team for Discourse.