IT MAKES ME SICK…

strsshoot

Some people that have been using Yahoo Groups for years without issue have reported various heath issues isnce Yahoo began rolling out Neo; in a recent update to the terms of service, Yahoo gave a response that chills me to the bone:

e. A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF USERS MAY EXPERIENCE EPILEPTIC SEIZURES WHEN EXPOSED TO CERTAIN LIGHT PATTERNS OR BACKGROUNDS ON A COMPUTER SCREEN OR WHILE USING THE YAHOO SERVICE. CERTAIN CONDITIONS MAY INDUCE PREVIOUSLY UNDETECTED EPILEPTIC SYMPTOMS EVEN IN USERS WHO HAVE NO HISTORY OF PRIOR SEIZURES OR EPILEPSY. IF YOU, OR ANYONE IN YOUR FAMILY, HAVE AN EPILEPTIC CONDITION, CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN PRIOR TO USING THE YAHOO SERVICE. IMMEDIATELY DISCONTINUE USE OF THE YAHOO SERVICES AND CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN IF YOU EXPERIENCE ANY OF THE FOLLOWING SYMPTOMS WHILE USING THE YAHOO SERVICE: DIZZINESS, ALTERED VISION, EYE OR MUSCLE TWITCHES, LOSS OF AWARENESS, DISORIENTATION, ANY INVOLUNTARY MOVEMENT, OR CONVULSIONS.

The reason this paragraph gives me chills is that it is simply Yahoo’s way of say that if the movement of ads and other on-screen elements of the site make you sick, you shouldn’t expect Yahoo to do something about it, but should instead cease using their service, even though it is their service and the ads or other on-screen elements THAT THEY PUT THERE that are the cause. It also give me chills because I know that there are caring developers out there that will move heaven and earth (figuratively speaking) to please their users.

I used to play the Massively Multiplayer Online Roleplaying Game City of Heroes, and while I was a very active participant in the game and on the forums, I read of certain game visual effects that cause players with certain medical conditions to experience illness when exposed to them. I also read with interest of the efforts by the game development team to find suitable substitutes that could fit with the specific abilities thematically, while not causing the health issues; it took time, and a rearrangement of the development team, but eventually both the developers and players were happy with the outcome.

Yahoo know about this situation that they have created, they know they can do something about it, and we, the users, both those affected and those not, know they  know, but will they be adult enough to admit they have created it and have an obligation to us to fix it? Or will they hide behind the few lines of text I quoted above, the very same lines that are printed in every video game manual that I have ever seen in the 15+ years I have been using computers, which Cryptic Studios and Paragon Studios could have done, but instead did something about it?

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