Autorecognize text in image for Alt-Text

Although Discourse has a slick feature to edit alternative text image descriptions in the preview pane (for those who are wary of Markdown editing), in our community of 1800+ almost no one writes alt-text. The file name is pretty much useless in my book…

I know there is hope/possibility for AI to do a first cut, and I can see that as some minimum bar, I prefer human authored alt text for other low vision humans to read. It does not “solve” the problem, but wonder about the ability I see in Mastodon to have an option to OCR the text from an image and insert in the editing pane.

Here I have uploaded an image in Mastodon, that has text, and I am preparing to write my Alt text.

When I click Detect text from picture it only takes seconds to populate the text entry field:

Minor editing might be needed but it save a lot of time. And it’s better then a screen reader comeing across this and speaking “Screen Shot 59.jpg”



Referenced this feature request on the OpenAI Discourse forum.


We’re working on a feature that will use AI to generate text descriptions for images, so we’re jumping over the OCR step for now. We’ll announce it on Meta once it’s available!


Captioning is now an available option in the AI plugin: AI Image Captioning Feature in Discourse AI Plugin - #6

Also worth noting that this isn’t a true OCR replacement: