Wheelchair Accessibility Designation on Venue Listings
It would be most helpful if this information was indicated on the venue listings. I have often thought about attending events that were being held by other groups but was unable to determine if the venue was wheelchair accessible without contacting the organizer or venue. This information could be easily included by adding another field or option that would be chosen when adding a new venue or editing a current one on Meetup's venue listing.
The Americans with Disabilities Act was passed in 1990. The ADA is a wide-ranging civil rights law that prohibits, discrimination based on disability. While I don't believe that it regulates website design, it does regulate public accommodations and commercial facilities. Public accommodations include most places of lodging, such as inns and hotels, recreation, transportation, education, and dining, along with stores, parks, theaters and places of public displays. A vast number of Meetup's events take place in regulated venues. I would hope that Meetup Corporation would be cognizant of these laws and be willing to accommodate their disabled members by providing access information on their venue listing.
I find it simply disgusting that this was suggested almost a year and a half ago and meetup is still unwilling to show any basic human consideration to members with a disability. Truly pathetic.
I was trying to find this info about co-housing. Imagine wanting to tour and not knowing if a home has accessible units!? As for meetup -- this is a service for anyone -- but not really. This "service" must include and meet ada standards for inclusion of people with disabilities.
Ona The Optimist! commented
As an organizer of walking groups. I post the following, at the bottom of the meetup details page, for clarity.
Dog friendly / No dogs allowed
Baby stroller and Wheelchair Accessible / No Baby stroller or Wheelchair Accessibility
Thank you for considering adding this feature. It would, also, be nice if the "option" of NO were included as well. Two options, like check box "options" on the meetup scheduling page:
* Babystroller and Wheelchair Accessible
* No Babystroller or Wheelchair Accessibility
* Dog Friendly
* No dogs allowed
Please consider adding these "options"
So far, we haven't been able to get Meetup to do anything on this, so a check or stars are a moot point. Frankly, if I'm going to a meeting, I can handle no bathroom. I just want to get in the door! I would love a bathroom, too, but in my universe, the most important thing is to be able to get into the event. Steps and locked doors are the worst!
This seems like a mandatory feature for Meetup, but also not as easy as we might hope. If an organizer doesn't understand what is meant by accessible, s/he might mark it as accessible when it really isn't. I would suggest a "5 star" rating option for sites, allowing members who have been to the site to rate it. For example, an organizer might think the site is accessible, but not realize that the bathrooms are not, or that, while the site has a ramp/elevator/etc., it is really not very comfortable for folks in chairs (limited mobility once in, unfriendly staff, etc.). So, the organizer might give it five stars, but then other users could lower the star rating. If, like rating of venues in general, it shows how many ratings, folks who need to know about accessibility would realize that a five-star rating by one person may require a phone call in advance, whereas a 4.8 star by 20 people may not.
"I can appreciate the concern and as we've seen in the discussion"
From reading your comments, Matt, you cannot.
If anyone can rate venues then why can't anyone just check a box within that rating as to whether or not it accessible? Why is there not such a box? And why under venue listings are there not options for more information and information that is updatable by the venue itself?
It is not simply an inconvenience to disabled individual to get somewhere that is not accessible. They might be stuck for hours out in the rain waiting for a return trip. Is this how you would treat say your grandmother?
Randall Bart commented
Matt, you seriously don't understand the issue. There really ought to be a wheelchair accessibility checkbox when an event is created. Without such a feature, most organizers just don't think to mention it. Spend a day going around town in a wheelchair, before dismissing this request.
Matt, you do not get it. When someone is looking to join a group, they are going to ask each time if it is wheelchair accessible? We are trying to circumvent that process because we obviously already go through that or get there and can't get in!
I can appreciate the concern and as we've seen in the discussion, adding a feature to designate a venue as wheelchair accessible still puts the onus on organizers / members to add / maintain the information. We're keeping this idea open and definitely consider it (and all of the feedback posted here) important.
Right now, reaching out to organizers of groups you belong to and making sure they consider this when selecting venues (and designating it in the Meetup description / venue keywords) is going to be a much more effective way of ensuring accessible venues are selected for future Meetups.
Matt, it is obviously a zero priority for you and Meetup, and that is sad. I would say that you have just given us the royal brush-off. You only answered because ChiMommie has been bugging you. It is an everyday concern for many people who need to get into Meetup events. Meetup as well as most Meetup organizers are totally clueless and seemingly want to remain that way. If something ever happens to you or yours, maybe then you will understand, but why wait for that? We have communication abilities! ChiMommie, et. al, I think we need to print out everything and mail it to the CEO of Meetup in hopes that he will see it the old fashioned way. The intermediaries are not resolving a thing. Access should not have to be a popularity contest with votes!
We're not working on this right now but will definitely keep in mind as we look to make improvements to venues.
Maybe Meetup could collaborate with websites that review public venues???
Yelp includes info on whether or not listed venues are wheelchair accessible.
I am sorry to say that people from Meetup who know nothing about accessibility and who are apparently busy with other things are being assigned to this topic or volunteering for it. When we complain that it is going nowhere - you protest, but look at it! You are ignoring what has been written already. Pleeeeze read and bump this up to someone who cares, knows, or has time for it. And please don't tell me you know someone who is disabled. That hasn't helped so far. We all know someone who is disabled. Forgive me for sounding cynical and impatient. I'm realistic and disabled. I am trying to get something changed here, that's all.
Matt, could you please scan what was already discussed on the Discuss Meetup Forum thread listed by ChiMommie? Then you'd get where we are coming from. Something to check for everyone would be good. Would it be possible to check Wheelchair accessible or Not wheelchair accessible or Don't know. Later that could be modified when someone found out.
I don't input data into Meetup, but I use a wheelchair and constantly try to get into venues that are inaccessible. How frustrating to travel an hour or two and be turned away! Someone in one of the organizations I belong to asked me to try to get Meetup to add wheelchair accessibility when I complained to him that it isn't on our Meetup information for our organization.
How about add a keyword "wheelchair accessible" to the venues?
Meetup couldn't possibly investigate all of the venues themselves, but they could include a "wheelchair accessible?" check-box on venue listings as a reminder to organizers, and organizers who know a venue is wheelchair accessible could click on that so that the wheelchair symbol that Susan (AKA ChiMommie) has elsewhere suggested would appear next to the venue name. But it seems like they should just do it regardless of the popular vote on it, given the nature of the request.
This is a great idea. While some event organizers might just say whether an event is accessible, having a designation that can be checked will further remind them.