Saturday, June 28, 2008
Friday, June 27, 2008
I and many others have seen time and time again these detractors' hidden agendas and masks worn by many of them who pretend to be neutral on cochlear implant issues, AVTs, oral progams, parental rights regarding their deaf/hh babies and such. Their rift is simply too big for them ignore and hide behind their own masks. It’s simply too apparent in a lot of cases. Brian O'Reilly exemplies this fully though, ironically, he's a hearing person who is speaking on behalf of all Deaf people. Until these things are weeded out as early as possible no amount of PRs by DBC will have much an impact since the numerous Deaf vloggers and bloggers will simply overshadow DBC's laudable goals and efforts on positive thinking. Again, Brian O’Reilly’s article in DBC’s own official website was written to attack and demean AGBell and the organization thereby nullifying DBC’s own agenda on moving forward. It cannot if these attitudes persist.
Examples of negative remarks and darts thrown at AGBell seen in "Gearing Up" by Brian O'Reilly (a hearing person speaking on behalf of Deaf people at DBC):
- "Battle of the Conferences” (which implies that DBC is a protest of sort on behalf of Brian O’Reilly’s own writing in DBC’s official website)
- “…merciless references to the great antagonist and arch-villain of the story, Alexander Graham Bell.”
- “ …destroyed lives.. ”
- “ …damage done… ”
- “ …insidious method of preemptive strike… ”
- “Premptive strikes on the social level..”
- “ …force them to try to communicate… ”
- “ …Bellian-Oralist scheme… ”
- “ …still-born plan of the type of mad scientist better relegated to a Mary Shelley novel… ” (note: Mary Shelley wrote the famous novel “Frankenstein”)
- “ …having been fooled.. ”
- “ …silver-tongued embezzler of the mind.. ”
- “ ..mental hijinks lay dormant.. ”
- etc..etc… ad nauseum.
This article (that DBC implicitly supports) probably set back the goals and image of DBC by several years, if not decades, in the effort to get their word out. But with a single stroke of a pen the article, “Gearing up,” single handidly ruined DBC’s first day at the Milwaukee conference. There is nothing worse than to have a stuck mental picture in the public minds, who happens to be mostly hearing parents of deaf/hh children, seeing just how loathsome, angry and disrespectful DBC seems to be. And all because, with thanks, Brian thought it was a cleverly done article replete with negative attacks after negative attacks in an official DBC website?
Isn’t DBC about looking forward and not backward? There are simply too many Deaf people with hidden agendas and heavy baggage that are capable of ruining DBC’s main goal on getting positive information out to parents of deaf/hh babies and children so that they can make an informed decision. Now, Amy Cohen Efron won’t say these things but I will just to make myself a bit pointedly clear on just how obnoxious and damaging "Gearing Up" turned out to be.
Frankly, imho, putting the DBC “conference” right next to AGBell’s already produced one big honking red flag warning people on what’s to come. Good intention aside. Why are people surprised that the skywalk was blocked in the first place? Now, remember, the myths about Deaf people and their “attitudes” are already and firmly in place in most of the public minds and see them as simply “angry” Deaf people (see my points about the UFG protest here and here, and other protests of sorts).
Of course, all it takes is one DBC supporter at the Milwaukee site to cast a negative and angry glance at any of the ABGell’s attendees or a group of them and that alone will simply confirm to them that the DBC conference is nothing more than an opportunity to protest rather than to disseminate useful information in a neutral and positive way. So far, day 1 has been a “failure” on that part. People supportive of DBC need to look to the future and not the past without using accusatory tones and resentments or else DBC’s message and goals will not be heard but overlapped and swept under the rug. Plus, many people continue to be suspicious of DBC leaders’ intentions because the baggage of the past is simply too heavy for many Deaf people to carry and ignore. I and many, many others have seen this time and time again. Transparency gets ugly if people insist on wearing masks. They have turned that baggage into a ball and chain tightly cuffed to their ankles and they are unwilling to let it go.
So, now. What will it be? Look to the future or look to the past and let the ball and chain do the talking?
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Ok. Not exactly news to me on this forced requirement (instead of encouraging those to leave their "paraphernalias" behind) but this will be for many others who are reading this for the first time.
But before I begin, let’s look at “Accessible Rhetoric” discussion on his/her discovery of a deaf contestant with a cochlear implant in American Gladiator.
What’s going on here? Why does being deaf on this game show present a “bigger challenge” than being able to hear? From what I’ve seen of the show (I haven’t seen much, but I’ve seen enough), I can’t recall or imagine an example in which a contestant’s ability to hear or speak played a significant role in the game’s outcome. Contestants simply don’t need to hear in order to do well, and in fact not being able to hear may actually be an advantage in this context because deaf contestants may be less distracted by trash-talking gladiators or boisterous audiences.Now, let's turn this discussion around on whether the ability to hear offers any advantages in a game of golf which is, not surprisingly so, none. And revisit what I wrote 3 and 4 years ago on a subject where deaf and hard of hearing competitors are BANNED from wearing hearing aids or cochlear implants at any “officially sanctioned” Deaf Golf Tournaments which is a prime example of political correctness run amok in the guise of “spirit in the game of golf” where everyone is “equal.” I’m sure the USGA Resource Center feels the same thing.
Review my past blog entries from a few years ago here and here.
That was 3 years ago. Ah…such an example of “diversity” and “tolerance” and all those things that gives you that warm, fuzzy feeling. Yea, they, too, practiced discrimination. Not that I’m complaining just that it’s a critical observation of mine.
Though it is interesting that the US Deaf Golf Foundation (USDGF) is no longer but US Deaf Golf Association (USDGA) is and they have the same rules about competitors who wear hearing aids or cochlear implants in order to stay “compliant” with World Deaf Golf Championships' rules (WDGC):
2) Because the WDGC doesn’t allow Hearing Aids or Cochlear Implants during the WDGC; therefore, we will follow the same rule – Hearing Aids/Cochlear Implants are not allowed during the 2007 USDGC play.The funny thing is that you have to dig around in order to find this "Waiver of Liability" form that states the rules about hearing aids and cochlear implants which isn't apparent or visible off of their main rules webpage. Instead this is what they state under the rules section.
COMPETITION:See the last one highlighted in red? That's the only requirement regarding a player's deafness and no mention on anything about wearing cochlear implants or hearing aids during a tournament. There is nothing that states about the illegal use of hearing aids or cochlear implants during a "Deaf" golfing tournament.
- All play shall be governed by USGA Rules and its decisions; and where applicable, by local rules, conditions, and definements, subject to changes by the Committee. Decisions of the Committee are final.
- If a referee has been appointed by the Committee, his decision on the golf course is final. (Rule 34-2 and A “referee’’ is one who is appointed by the Committee to accompany players to decide questions of fact and apply the Rules. He must act on any breach of a Rule that he observes or is reported to him.)
- Competition is considered to have closed when all players have submitted their scorecards to the Tournament Director and the results are officially announced.
- Protest of any contest and/or tournament is not allowed.`
- Entry Qualification: Deaf/Hearing Impaired golfers must have 55dB or above in the better ear.
Interesting albeit a bit deceitful on not being upfront under their "Competition" rules page regarding hearing aids and cochlear implants. You have to dig around in order to find the exact rules regarding hearing aids and cochlear implants.
So, *ahem*, how dare they aggregate deaf and hard of hearing players and force them to remove their hearing aids and cochlear implants before competing in a tournament round of golf! Such paternalistic attitudes!! How dare they force their hands and require them to remove their paraphernalias from their heads and ears.
Oh, by the way, be sure to visit the 2009 Deaf Golf Championships to be held in Denver, Colorado. I am sure they could use an enthusiastic crowd of cochlear implant and hearing aid audience over there to cheer on the officials, er, competitors. I’m sure they’ll find a very tolerant crowd there all in the name of “diversity.” I guess other deaf golfing associations know better than not to put down silly rules regarding cochlear implants or hearing aids in the name of "diversity" and "tolerance."
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
Sunday, June 22, 2008
The NAD website is a site that most Deaf people would go to check out news, updates, upcoming conferences, legal issues and so on. But there is something that is glaringly apparent in the NAD website and that if Deaf people aren't complaining about accessing NAD's website you will notice that the NAD website is almost and completely devoid of any ASL videos!! I checked on all the tabs that linked to various topics under "Legal Rights," "Advocacy Issues," "Take Action," "Info & FAQs," "Newsroom," and "Inside NAD" and found not one single ASL video that is dedicated to explain each of the topics and subtopics in ASL. It is obviously and readily apparent that there is no ASL videos to click on anywhere on the NAD site under a variety of topics and issues.
Videos done in ASL (along with a transcript with no captioning for those who want to learn ASL) was done by Beth Scoggins, president of NAD, seen in her NAD's President Blog . These videos are basically done as a lip service to Deaf people because throughout the rest of the NAD site there is no ASL video equivalent to go with the printed versions of NAD's website to help explain in layman terms in ASL to those who may need it. But instead, the NAD website is overwhelming English dominated in the printed format.
Why is that?
Now, where are the pitchforks, the torches, the angry Deaf mob pounding at the door of NAD for ignoring and excluding them, Deaf people with poor English skills, from accessing their website with no ASL video equivalents? Yet, NAD claims the mantle of diversity and accessibility for 30 million people with hearing loss which would be questionable at this point. NAD's website is mostly accessible towards those whose primary language is the English language and not ASL. Why has NAD ignored these Deaf people for so many decades with their oppressive use of the English language that is the common language for the majority of the population, including Deaf people, in the United States?
So, my point is this. If ya'll are going to go after Deaf Village for requiring any videos or vlogs (ASL, voice, cued, signing) be captioned, subtitled or included with a transcript and you're angry for them requiring ASL vlogs or videos have the English text equivalent then I think it's better that you focus your efforts on going after NAD instead. NAD has been oppressing the few Deaf people with poor English skills for years by paying them lip service for not providing an ASL video equivalent to the printed formats on the NAD website. And NAD is supposedly proud of their ASL heritage but their website is not "ASL-friendly"?
Onto blogs and vlogs.
Blogs are personal in nature and it's up to the descretion of the blogger to do whatever he or she wants. The same for vlogs. The decision to include captioning, subtitling, transcripts or signing videos is up to the blogger/vlogger if he or she believes in providing equal access and inclusion. As for Deaf Village's guideline #5 requiring ASL videos or vlogs be captioned or included a transcript is for the expressed purpose on ensuring access to the greatest number of people with hearing loss (also for hearing people, too) since the English happens to be the most commonly used language in the United States, including among Deaf people, for the 30 million people with hearing loss. ASL is not.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Thursday, June 19, 2008
The one common language that all Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people in the United States have immediate access to on the internet is the printed English language.
Now, tell me. I'm utterly befuddled with this glaringly and obvious conundrum by those screaming about Deaf Village's #5 requirement (submitted video entries require a texted version). Why hasn't there been a collective hue and cry over Deaf bloggers for not including ASL video versions of their blog entries? Deaf bloggers have been doing this for years. Ridor is a good example who have purposely ignored those who want/require/need an ASL video version of the written texted entries. He is, after all, a well known and favored Deaf blogger. No? What about DeafRead? They failed to provide an ASL video version in their guidelines and elsewhere! Boy, talk about not having "mutual respect." And yet no one is screaming bloody murder over that one? What about Gallaudet University's website for not including ASL video versions with all of their texted versions? And NTID? Or other Deaf websites? Why not the outrage over these bloggers and websites? It's because everybody knows that English is the one common language that is immediately accessible to the largest group of people, including Deaf. So by eliminating the texted version requirement would not fit the philosophy of Deaf Village on providing the most common form communication access. The printed English language is that common ground we all have.
Now, until people start addressing the issue of "non-compliance" committed by Deaf bloggers, Deaf websites, Gallaudet University's websites, NTID, DeafRead, etc, for not including ASL video versions of their texted entries then those people "might" have a leg to stand on with their complaints. Otherwise trying to spin it in the direction of Deaf Village on not having that "mutual respect" would be nothing but a hypocrite response. I'd say that'd be a heck of an Achilles Heel right there by those making that complaint. I'm sorry to say this but people need to look into their own Deaf mirrors before making those charges of double standards. Go after the Deaf bloggers first for a change because these bloggers ought to know better to include ASL video versions of their texted entries. Right?
Ok. I'm being quite facetious and sarcastic, obviously so, but I'm trying to make a point here, and I apologize to those who may feel offended by my comments here. But if people are going to make charges of "double standards" then please apply those same charges to the many Deaf bloggers and Deaf websites for not including an ASL video version of their texted entries. Else you end up looking like a hypocrite.
Deaf Village's target audience isn't only just Deaf people but people with heairng loss from all stripes and those who want to learn more about deafness and read about deaf/hh people experiences. But the bottom line in all this is that the one common language shared by all is the English language.
UPDATE I (a response):
Secondly, Ridor’s blog is a personal site, which is different to deaf village which is anUm, Tony. That kind of reasoning doesn't fly which you infer that an aggregator site has an obligation to help ensure access. Not in the case of any aggregator business. People are saying that DV should somehow be obligated to provide a captioning or transcripting service for Deaf vloggers which are also personal blog sites in the form of videos. If an argument is going to be used in the attempt to somehow exempt Deaf bloggers or Deaf websites from their responsibilities on providing text versions of their ASL video blogs then it won't work if they scream in the same breath that they are entitled to these captioning demands simply flies in the face of incredulity. Else they'd be walking hypocrites. It's also called a "non sequitur" with that kind of reasoning.
“aggregator”. Once again, the terms for access are different.
So, for the case of Deaf Village you are saying, Tony, in fact, that Deaf Village should somehow provide a text version of vloggers' ASL video blogs so that they can be submitted properly? If so, then certainly DeafRead should also provide subtitles or transcripts for videos by those who speak and want to share his/her opinions to the Deaf masses on deafness issues supposing the person doesn't know how to type or don't know how to do subtitling. Ok. A far-fetched scenario but still equally applicable on the DeafRead side. The resources are simply not there to address these concerns. So, the onus or responsibility still falls on the person making the video to ensure access in the form of a text version. The responsibility does not fall on the content aggregator site when it comes to providing captions/subtitles or transcripts. It's the individuals. That's already clear.
Secondly, everybody knows that English is the one common language that is immediately accessible to the largest group of people, including Deaf. So by eliminating the text version requirement it would not fit the philosophy of DV on helping provide the most common form communication access. And that would be the printed English language which is that common ground we all share.
Now, if Deaf Village (or even DeafRead) or a future aggregator site had the resources, the time, the people and the money I'm sure they would be all too happy to provide a service to help include captions/subtitles or transcript for vloggers' ASL video blogs in order to stay compliant with DV's philosophy on equal communication access. The English language in the printed format is, again, the most common form of communication access that is accessible to the majority of people out there, including Deaf. Guideline #5 is there for a reason, to ensure that readers who do come to DV's content aggregator site will be ensured that whatever mode of communication used in blogs and vlogs will be seen in English.
Now, supposing a service is available for free, will Deaf vloggers take up this service and ensure that their ASL video blogs be captioned in English so that the larger audience can access their video blogs? Or will they take the "purity" route like Tayler did and forego any captioning because it "ruins" or "distract" those who watch ASL vlogs keeping to the mantra of ASL-only videos? Remember, these availble resources do take time, money and people power to make it work.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
When navel gazing goes too far into the trash can
What Mishka Zena said:
Actually, Shelley, I think Mike does get it. He doesn’t care as he apparently feels the needs of the oral deaf and hearing people more important than the needs of ASL users. Again this is my personal interpretation based on my observations on his posts and comments the last two years.
Incidentally he had already read this post the first time. This is not new to him, not at all, yet he is still pressing on for cc/subtitling of ASL vloggers while being quiet about blogs not being accessible to ASL users.
My response of which I already replied in her blog comment box:
Mishka, it’s a bit of a non sequitur (not to mention being a bit disingenuous) in the attempt to say that written blogs ought to have ASL video interpretations just to make it “fair.” If that’s the case then Closed Captioning on television shows and such ought to be replaced with an ASL interpreter in the corner of the tv screen. If it’s English is so bad to read then make sure you go after Gallaudet University for not including an ASL version for every article written whether it’s news, sports, administration update and so on. If you really want to see hypocrisy go after Gallaudet University or NTID for not including ASL versions in all of their writings over the internet. Or what about the countless Deaf websites that do not have ASL video versions next to their written English sections?
Secondly, you are making a statement (as well as helping perpetuate the 4th grade reading literacy myth/fact) about the literacy levels that Deaf people have by sayinig they are unable to read yet they have no problem taking the time to comment in many blogs. Maybe you ought ought to go after Ricky Taylor’s blogs for not including an ASL vlog version alongside each and every blog entry? But I don’t see Deaf people reaching for their pitchforks going after him for not adding an ASL version to his blog entries. Heck, go after DeafRead for no having an ASL version for their guidelines. After all I wonder how many Deaf people who already read DR’s guidelines didn’t understand them at all because it was all in English? Who knows, maybe they violated DR’s guideline umpteen times it’d make your head spin? You wanna talk about hypocrisy, diversity and accessiblity all in one fell swoop now, Mishka?
English is the one single common language that is accessible to the majority population, deaf or otherwise, who are literate. ASL is not accessible to the majority of the population in the United States. The majority of Deaf people are literate enough to read simple sentences to more complex ones such as yours, Mishka. I guess you better starting adding an ASL version of your blog entry just for the sake of “fairiness.” After all, you blogs are certainly not “accessible to ASL users.”
And for the record, I have not read or accessed Mishka Zena's post until today. Oh, and I do get it. It just perhaps you guys don’t get it and the level of hypocrisy y’all are displaying?
Location: Dog Canyon on the Sacramento Mountains in New Mexico near Alamogordo. February 2008.
I'm revisiting my "adversity" video blog that I did earlier this year and let people know that we all face adversity in our lifetime whether it's now or later. In the things that we do and the circumstances that makes us who we are, diversity is what makes the world go around. Adversity means that you have move past your fears, your shortcomings, your supposed "failures" and pull yourself up by your bootstraps rather than to blame a condition such as deafness for your supposed "short-comings" in your life. Adversity doesn't mean you dwell on your negatives but rather look ahead on the possibilities of what you can do yourself when nobody else will do it for you. It's about not using your condition(s) or what happened in the past as a crutch of an excuse for your defense. No one likes a whiner. It's about being positive in life as you face them over time and not about focusing on the negatives as seen here by one deaf person.
Adversity, we all face them at one time or another. For deaf and hard of hearing people, their adversity is hearing loss. In my case and for many others, the ability to speak and/or listen shouldn't be about the "audacity of hope" on achieving those things. Not with technology we have today or better educational understanding when it comes to early intervention for a deaf child or baby on developing better listening and speaking skills. Those things should be expected as achievable and very reachable goals and not some mundane "audacity of hope" kind of thing we're hearing about today. Maybe 40 years ago but certainly not today. And even less so 10, 20 and 30 years down the road when technology and, especially so, biotechnology will continue to change the landscape for those with hearing loss. But regardless of how you face your own adversity in life and in the case of your deafness, do not use it as a crutch of an excuse by using commonly used words in your vocabulary...."I can't."
Nobody asking you to be like Mighty Mouse but be yourself and do the best you can.
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Below is a picture of my hearing aid inside a protective case. It’s a Zenith. Along with a Battery Membership card, and that special yellow button as you can see what it says.
(see a larger picture here)
It’s so well preserved though I am sure it can work if I put in the right kind of battery in. But is my old hearing aid considered as an “antique” one since it’s approximately 38 years old? And that got me wondering. Is there a hearing aid museum somewhere in the Untied States? I was pretty sure there ought to be a few of them around. And sure enough there is one.
Pretty fascinating on how hearing aids (even cochlear implants!) have helped so many people with hearing loss. Isn’t technology great? And soon enough well have biotechnology to finally help restore hearing loss someday.
WARNING: - If you go into an apoplectic fit after reading this, read it again just to be sure. Step back and breathe slowly before responding. And please leave your conspiracy theories at home about me and this blog piece. Thank you.
Monday, June 16, 2008
It is NOT Deaf Village’s responsibility to provide captioning/subtitling or transcript services to video bloggers in order to ensure that their videos are accessible to the rest of the population. Deaf Village is in the aggregator business. After all, the onus falls on the vlogger to decide whether it's important to provide subtitles or transcripts for their online videos or not. And they should be mindful of their own demands from others (e.g. movies, tv shows, online shows, video blogs, YouTube videos, etc) on requiring/wanting/wishing that videos be subtitled/captioned or included a transcript at the very least. The irony of seeing people complain about Deaf Village’s guideline concerning subtitling or transcript requirement is that for years a certain group of people with hearing loss complained the loudest about how no captioning/subtitles were available over the internet when it came to online videos. Deaf Village now has that opportunity to help ensure that video blogs come with captioning/subtitling or transcripts.
Should a technology down the road come up with a software that can convert sign language into printed text automatically as easily as the spoken words into text then the issue of captioning/subtitling or transcript requirement wouldn’t be such an “issue.” But for right now those who submit videos online are asked to proactively make sure that their internet videos are captioned/subtitled or come with transcripts at the very least before Deaf Village accepts them. Doing so would allow deaf, hard of hearing and hearing people contribute and interact more fully in an accessible “village.”
Currently YouTube offers a way to add subtitles for your submitted videos. Overstream.net also allows subtitling capability for online videos. Laptops often contain software that allow subtitling such as Windows Movie Maker.
Regardless on how videos are prepared, the responsibility lies with each person to ensure that their own submitted videos be captioned/subtitled or included with a transcript at the very least. Lest he or she become a hypocrite by demanding all videos be captioned.
The idea of “inclusivity” simply opens more doors to those who want to participate and understand, in this case, what each vlogger has to say. For those who are serious about equal access themselves need to be proactive in what they believe in when it comes to captioning needs. This is about the assurances on providing an accessible service to the greatest number of people and not about a single communication ideology that promotes exclusiveness to the greater number of people. If one is serious on reaching out to the greater number of people then one should also seriously consider on taking the time and effort to add subtitles or transcripts to their own video blogs or online videos.
Deaf Pagan said it well,
“I’ve always been taught that it is not enough to just sit around and complain when there’s a problem. If you’re not willing to be a part of the solution, then you’re only contributing to being a part of the problem.”After all, when I make my own online videos I make sure I take the time and effort to include subtitles to all of my videos whenever I speak. Hopefully others will take to task this same philosophy when it comes to signing, using cued speech or by using one's voice by speaking.
UPDATE: Deaf Village's requirement that submission of vlogs be captioned/subtitled or included transcripts is not intended to create "apathy towards ASL" or "drive ASL vloggers away" but rather to create greater inclusiveness *FOR ALL*. Not all can sign or understand sign very well and having, especially, a subtitled video can help create a continued interest for those who want to learn sign language someday. Or cued speech. Or whatever. It's the message that people want to hear, watch or read about. But if your target audience is a Deaf one then you don't have to worry about subtitling or adding a transcript to your vlogs. Or if you want your message to be heard by reaching out to a greater number of people then include subtitle or transcript to your vlog. But if you want Deaf Village to accept your vlog then their guidelines must be met, which means a vlog need to have subtitle or a transcript. Otherwise, it'd be practicing greater exclusiveness to the rest of the population.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
1) No prior notification or warning
2) No due process
3) No real clarification on guidelines on what’s really permissible or not, and the unclear definitions of some of the words behind those guidelines.
The main guideline that prompted the removal of Rachel’s blog was under DeafRead’s #6 Guideline doled out to Rachel as their "reason" for her blogsite address removal which copied and pasted here:
“6) Commerical SitesNow, it is rather curious to read Jared’s latest blog entry regarding this matter. that he has done on behalf of DeafRead’s editors and owner was to try and clarify certain positions *AFTER* the fact and not *BEFORE* in the attempt to somehow “prove” as if they actually had these clarifications already set in stone (of course, fooling no one). If hindsight is your friend so is owning up to your own mistakes, too. But that has never happened…yet. However, in Banjo’s blog, “Oh the drama!” (and who hasn’t?) Tayler supposedly admitted his own error about Amy’s DVDs advertisements in an AIM conversation with Banjo. But why “admit” this one particular error in Banjo’s blog? Why couldn’t Tayler just post that “grievance” in his own blog as a step towards reconciliation and acknowledgement in making the faux pas of the year? Either Tayler gave Banjo the “ok” to print his particular comment from their AIM conversations or he did not. I am supposing it’s the former rather than the latter. And if so, then why? Is Tayler somehow trying to move forward in a way to save face by giving Banjo the “ok” to use his comments in his blog? Well, it seems so.
We do not link to commerical sites for the purpose of generating profit, other than our own (we have expenses to cover!).”
In other blogs I’m seeing comments that essentially point out how Rachel’s blogsite is more like exhorting a “religious experience” based on her own positive experiences with her and other people’s cochlear implants. But it’s funny when people try and point that out using a particular euphemism since there are those who are just as equally “religiously supportive” on the use of ASL even to the point where purists rail against cochlear implants as being “bad” and not good for the Deaf community. Whatever. People who do that reminds me of this phrase, “You can’t eat your cake and have it too.” Hypocrisy comes to mind, too.
Now we get into this conflict of interest complaint. In the last sentence in Jared’s blog a comment made by him that was really wanting.
“We believe it is petty behavior to target a blog by disclosing evidence.”I disagree. You say you (i.e. DeafRead) have “evidence” but the crux of this is you either have the “evidence” and you disclose it or you don’t have it. There is nothing petty about disclosing evidence to back up your assertions and reasons for a blog removal. What’s petty is targeting a blogsite based on circumstantial evidence hinged entirely on Guideline #6 that's open wide under the sun to interpretation with no means of due process, no advanced warnings or concerns, no efforts to contact the blog owner to try and work this out and get the underlying answers first, and no real clarifications on guidelines on what’s really permissible or not based on undefined set of terminologies. What’s obviously petty is to not acknowledge their own mistakes. Jared has made clear on behalf of DeafRead editors that they did in fact err in their judgment against Rachel based on the re-introduction on new "clarifications" about DeafRead’s quidelines. Which means, in short, that the DeafRead’s guidelines were never clear in the first place.
Jared's ends with this concluding remark on behalf of DeafRead.
I hope this vlog makes it clear the reason why we recently removed an aggressively marketing blog when its relationship to a corporation was discovered. As long as there is proper disclosure or the blogger stays true to the ethos of blogging, DeafRead will continue to list deaf-related posts of the blog.Aggressively? And against all common sense and logic they still see this as an aggressive marketing blog (Rachel’s) when all it was it was about her experiences and others about cochlear implants. All this has been at best a continuing of mixed messages by the editors of DeafRead while making no attempt at reconcillation, acknowledgement or accountability. Kind of reminds me of the last two Democratic hopefuls' own messages in 2004 and 2008.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
You as a reader might be hastened into thinking that this blog entry is nothing but negative things about Deaf people, Deaf culture, and the Deaf community in America. Not so. It is not my intention to present wholly negative viewpoints just for the sake of it but more accurately an attempt to provide a more equitabe and balanced look. Questions need to be answered and how our perspectives view things differently from many different angles.
Now, if we look at the definitions of the word “syndrome” we can see that it has primarily two meanings. From the medical definition it is defined as “a group of symptoms or signs that appear together and that tend to indicate, with some consistency, the presence of a certain disease or other condition.” From a non-medical point’s of view the definition of “syndrome” is defined as “a complex of concurrent things.” This blog entry, “Deaf America Syndrome,” is about the complexities of concurrent things that meshes together with the pitting of ideas, concepts, and long held mythical beliefs between hearing, deaf, Deaf, and hard of hearing people in America. Nothing about illness but the complexities that we see and experience today.
The issues Deaf people in America have to deal with involve all of their own complexities and idiosyncrasies, including how they feel about hearing people, deaf people with cochlear implants, late deafened, or people who are hard of hearing and wear hearing aids. Many people do not always see things as other people do. Of course, this is how people behave. Our perspectives are different about life and of each other. Some perspectives are negative while others are positive. Some people refuse to acknowledge certain things in life thinking it's all a conspiracy, while others simply accept it as a given and seek better ways of doing things. Some steadfastly stick to their words until one day something dawns upon him/her and do an abrupt but humbled 180 degrees turn on their opinions or beliefs. Deaf America has its own true richness in life combined with the unique cultural upbringing that cherishes Deaf family support and friends. People try and lead a good example for others to follow but everybody stumbles along the way. We have the good, the bad, and the ugly in America when it comes to diversity and perception issues. People cannot simply ignore these things and we must face these things head on instead.
When diversity is lacking you would know it right away. So, in the case of the blog aggregator business the best way to assure diversity is to first make sure that you have an example of that diversity in place. For a start, you have a group of people who contribute and maintain an aggregator site that exhibit that very same diversity make-up with those on the outside. Otherwise it’d just be a political tool in the attempt to claim the “diversity” label when it’s really not the case. Such an example of this may be in the form of a group that promote Deaf-centric values but do not reflect the same diversity mixture to those on the outside. Ideally, for a group of people to reflect that diversity mix would be a “cuer,” a person who is Deaf, a person who is deaf or hard of hearing, a person who is hearing and have a relationship of some kind to somebody who is deaf (e.g. hearing parents of a deaf/hh kid), CODA, late deafened, a deaf person who wears a cochlear implant and so on. Though philosophies may differ in the area of language or communication but you have a diverse group of people who share a common ideal and bond on the need to communicate with each other regardless the preferred mode of communication method. You may have people, for example, who know how to sign (e.g. SEE, ASL, PSE, BSL, FSL), those who do not know how to sign and do not want to sign, those who prefer to talk and listen only, or those who prefer to use cued speech with their talking. Each person has his or her own personal value when it comes to their hearing loss whether it’s a Deaf-centric one or not. Deaf-centric value does not take center stage on Deaf Village but is seen as an equal among other values that deaf and hard of hearing people share.
No one aggregator site is an island.
This latest incident about DeafRead (and here) reminded me of a time when people began abandoning Deafnotes several years ago for a variety of reasons. Former members began to design their own online forum websites and the net result was a noticeable shift by those who felt uncomfortable or disgusted to join these new forums. Others left and joined new forums because moderators were less heavy-handed and more neutral on allowing new members more freedom to discuss various deaf or non-deaf related topics. This includes less fear of getting booted or locked out of a discussion forum for political or apolitical reasons. The reasons for leaving or joining other deaf or hard of hearing website forums are many but in the end there are now more deaf and hard of hearing related forums that it was several years ago. And today we see many Deaf, deaf and hard of hearing related forums.
Now, for the aggregator business it is a niche business by catering to a particular subject for blogs to be aggregated. And there are just a few of them right now. But just because an aggregator website has a niche subject such as deafness to choose their blogs from, it isn’t necessarily enough sometimes. There can be this perception issue in regard to an aggregator site by those who run it. A perception by those on the outside who may see one aggregrator site as a wholly Deaf-centric and Deaf-controlled aggregator site that mostly aggregates Deaf blogs rather than a site that promotes true diversity while trying to fullfill and keep to the loyalty factor to their mostly Deaf bloggers.
And then we have those damning myths or half-truths where parents of deaf/hh children, older deaf/hh people and the late deafened from young kids who have lost their hearings to older adults who may view Deaf people as living in an insular Deaf bubble world. And why would they see that? Well, it only takes a few examples to help propagate those myths or even half-truths (and some cases wholly true) on a continuing basis where bloggers may end up on not wanting to be associated with a particular blog/vlog aggregator website simply for that reason whether it's true or not. It's the perception and the various myths, half-truths and truths that drive their decisions.
Take one particular example of a Deaf leader who represents the editors or moderators that help run an aggregator site. The leader may claim the “diversity” mantle by pointing to the fact that there are many aggregated blogs from bloggers who are deaf, Deaf, hard of hearing, deaf/blind, cochlear implant users, late deafened, deaf and blind, cuers, or those who wear hearing aids while each of them have a different and preferred method of communicating. And that would be fine. But then this picture gets a little skewed and wanting when, for example, the leader refuses to include subtitles in his/her own video blog but signs only. Now, would the average person believe this Deaf leader’s claim of diversity when he/she refuses to add subtitles in the first place on the basis of not destroying the “purity” of ASL signing? Since there are 30 million people with hearing loss you’d have about 3% of that population that can understand ASL well enough but to actively engage to exclude the rest of the population is not a sign on acceptance or the embracement of diversity in totality. Lead by example is the heart of this question.
All this becomes a Deaf-centric, Deaf-loyalty issue and not about the firm belief on diversity when it gets down to the core issue of communication access for all. This is what Deaf Village, a blog aggregator site, is set out to do and that is to embrace diversity, promote tolerance, provide common sense ideals in regards to communication access and the proper respect to bloggers who do share those common core beliefs.
Granted, this is a long discussion on “diversity” but it was necessary to put these thoughts down. I am sure there are millions of deaf and hard of hearing people who will share the exact same sentiments as mine. There is no doubt about that. We don’t strive to live in a bubble or insular world but to become a world where everyone can be a part of by welcoming one and all. After all, we all share the one common theme and that would be hearing loss and communication access.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Monster "DR" Squirrel Killed by Paotie's A-Team
Done laughing? Maybe send this one over to PETA? Ok. Now, go check out and see what Paotie has to say about the deaf aggregator business and something about squirrels, too.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
My email to one of the DeafRead editors:
Please remove my Kokonut Pundits link from the DeafRead aggregator list. This includes remove my blogsite name from the "Inactive Blogs" page as well. Also, remove "Deaf Strongman" and "Deaf Aikido" from DeafRead's "Inactive Blogs" page. I will not have my blogsite's name be affiliated with and used by DeafRead as part of their marketing efforts (ie. "Inactive Blogs" page). Tayler has overstepped his boundaries by pre-emptively removing Rachel's Cochlear Implant Online blogsite without any due process based on faulty reasonings and assumptions. The editors, including you Jared, are all complicit in this since Tayler is speaking on behalf of all of you. This single episode is utlimately responsible on fracturing the deaf, Deaf, and hard of hearing community even further. Yet, egos by editors seem to say that they stay the ground, not apologize or not retract what was said. Everybody knows this. Why do you think so many have requested, including Deaf, non-CI users, that their links be removed from DeafRead? Your policy is unsound, arbitrary and with no clear definitions or outline to help define your guidelines. An example can be seen in Joey Baer’s page where he promotes a Sprint Product. He is sponsored by Sprint. Hypocrisy is too mild of a word to describe DeafRead's policy/guidelines. Of all the blogs DeafRead had to pick to be forceably removed on a supposed "violation" you guys had to choose Rachel's blog which is one of the most popular cochlear implant blog around. Even I wouldn't be that stupid to use trumped up charges to remove her blog and without due process.UPDATE II:
Again, remove all of my blogsite names from the "Blogs at DeafRead" page, including the "Inactive Blogs" section.
Have a nice day.
You know what? Both Rachel and Paotie’s blog names are still listed on the “Inactive blogs” page. Paotie, didn’t you request DeafRead to remove your blog link? What about telling them to remove the name “Paotie’s Green Couch” on the “Inactive Blogs”?
Since DR removed Rachel's they still have her blogsite name on the "Inactive Blogs" section but mislead readers with this statement:
“Inactive Blogs (230)Those blogs are marked as “inactive” because they have not written anything in a few months. Blogs either “die” or go on haitus. If you have written something to your blog and wish to re-activate it, it’s as easy as e-mailing us!”I’d say that’d be seen as deceptive practices right there. Rachel’s site was removed and not because of “inactive” status or “died” but forceably removed. If DeafRead removed any blogs due to violation of their “guidelines” they should not have the names of these blogsites around. Plus, when blog owners request DeafRead to remove their links, it would also be in good faith that DeafRead remove their blogsite names from any list, including the “Inactive Blogs” list.
Seems like they keep the names for posterity sake or a “resume” sort of thing. I also see few others like Anonymous Deaf Law Student who recently requested DeafRead to have his/her link removed.
Why should bloggers lend their blogsite name to be used by DeafRead if they officially requested to have it’s link removed? Shouldn’t common sense say that if there is such a request DR should also be obligated to remove the name as well?
CONTINUE MAIN PAGE OF BLOG ENTRY.....
I’m writing this blog piece as probably a one time opportunity in support of Rachel only because I feel very strongly about this whole situation regarding Rachel’s blogsite. I have concluded, unamiously so, that the editors of Deafread have overstepped their boundaries using outrageous claims and the moving of the goal post.
Looking back with my contributions to the blogosphere I concede to the fact that many do see me as a “leader” of sort in the deaf and hard of hearing world and that I have something well worth contributing to those who need an anchor of some sort to help see the world for what it is which is why I’m writing this blog entry. It’s undeniable that this is not a friendly world when you have people who reject you on the basis of your hearing loss and/or cultural status. That's a simple but sad reality. And that there are people who thrive on paranoia thinking it serves as their logic in the real world.
Now, when it blows, it really blows. And when that happens then you know something is seriously wrong and you look to the source of why it went off. And this is perhaps turning out to be one of the biggest uproar in deaf/hh blogging history on the internet where bloggers who are Deaf, deaf, hard of hearing and hearing are in support of Rachel’s case in overwhelming numbers. More bloggers have asked Deafread to remove their blog link from their aggregator list at anytime than before. This is about a case where Rachel’s blogsite was summarily banned by the editors of Deafread on the basis of two things that were, of course, based on a lot of assumptions but were never checked upon or verified.
But before I go further there is this one undeniable and simple fact in all of this. All of the editors, including Tayler, FAILED to contact Rachel in the effort to allow her the opportunity to explain before them against their so called claims about the lack of notification of Rachel’s “affiliations,” “professional relationships” and the “commercialization” aspect of her blogsite concerning her cochlear implants and the company or organization that support cochlear implantation.
That’s an undeterred and undeniable fact. Face it. It cannot be shooed away with vacillating, defensive comments. It happened. That's the black eye.
Rachel was never given the opportunity for due process. Deafread editors’ own assumptions made them judge, jury and executioner without fully exploring and determining what the correct facts are in all facets of this case. This whole thing reeks of paranoia and self-righteousness. And the ironic thing is that Tayler discussed at length about “good faith” from bloggers in his recent blog comments when in fact he showed none towards Rachel in giving her the opportunity to reciprocate in her own defense. Instead her blogsite was banned from Deafread without a shred of proof based on circumstantial evidence and assumptions saying that she was there to deceive readers and (the horrors!) Deafread editors, too.
SHAME ON YOU, RACHEL!!
So, here we go.
Here are some, if not all, of the sound bites that came forth from Tayler, one of the editors, and Deafread’s site that just makes you go…”Hmmmmm.” But the first lob and accusation came from one of the DeafRead’s editors:
6) Commerical Sites. We do not link to commerical sites for the purpose of generating profit, other than our own (we have expenses to cover!).
“Blogs disclosing professional relationships earns trust” - yet never once bothered to describe what those “professional relationships” are supposed to be. Platonic or the quid pro quo type of stuff where financial rewards result? Again, nothing was clarified about those things in Deafread’s guidelines. NONE!
Claimed that she did not reveal her “professional affiliation” with a cochlear implant organization or company in her blog - (Fact: it has never been the requirement of Deafread to demand from bloggers to reveal any “professional affiliation” before a blogsite can be accepted. Furthermore, Rachel blogged about her being a Cochlear Awareness Network (C.A.N.) member back on April 12, 2008, almost two months ago. And again on April 20. But compare to the Ambler Rambler, she made her “affiliation” known on February 11, 2008 about C.A.N. five posts later after joining DeafRead’s aggregator list. Ambler Rambler is still around. Might as well get her blog out, too. All in all, things were made up along the way here.
“we publish their posts in good faith just as we did Rachel’s. If evidence surfaces that they are abusive of DeafRead Guidelines, appropriate action will be taken as we did Rachel’s.” - In other words they claim to have “evidence” that Rachel was “abusive” of DeafRead’s guidelines. They have yet presented any “evidence” to the contrary.
“It's DeafRead's job to ensure the blogs are not influenced by corporate ties.” - But I couldn’t help but noticed what Tayler remarked in Rachel’s blog comment, “It’s when they promote those products in entries that we cannot allow. This is written in our agreement with our sponsor.” – post #22. That sponsor would be Sprint. In short, Sprint is dictating to Tayler (i.e. DeafRead) on what is allowed and not. Fear of competition, I suppose. Fear of losing a sponsor, I suppose. Judgement gets clouded or influenced in this case, I suppose.
Tayler makes the statement in his blog concerning DeafRead Guidelines saying that “published entries should not promote or market a product by a blogger affiliated with the product’s provider.” - Should not? Should not!? But I then ask the question, why the hell not? Editors can simply not select that blog entry for link publication on DeafRead.
“One must reveal any commercial affiliation..” -Any? Just any? And why the hell should they? Even a little ol' volunteer work affiliation kind of thing? Is Sprint afraid of something or what? This is one person's conflict of interest telling others not exhibit any conflict of interest. Smart move, Tayler.
“DeafRead has humans who use judgment in deciding which posts are published at DeafRead.” – Does that judgement includes banishment of a website without proof and without contacting the blog owner giving him/her the opportunity for due process? Besides, what editors do is called “discrimination at work.” That is their job. If a blogger blogs about a product he or she is pushing in a blog entry then the editors would then have the power on whether to accept the new blog entry based on Deafread’s own “simple” and “direct” guidelines or not. Besides, this gets a bit weirder and cumbersome later on seeing the excuses for their justification to ban Rachel’s blogsite.
“lack of transparency also violates the trust of DeafRead viewers” - Uh, like not revealing that you have volunteered for an organization very early on in a blog, most notably the ones that support cochlear implants? What’s next, sign a loyalty oath to Deafread’s owner and editors or what? Sounds ominously very Orwellian-like.
“..published entries should not promote or market a product by a blogger affiliated with the product’s provider.” - “Should not"...? Well, if a blogger is doing that then make sure the editors don’t link to that blog entry!
“ …product promotion of any type cannot exist in the entry itself.” - Sigh, again, listen carefully editors, simply do not link to that blog entry. But your answer is to ban a whole blogsite instead? Isn’t that a bit too…um, reactionary?
“Recently a blog was discovered to carry undisclosed ties to a major commercial industry.” - And they make it sound like Rachel committed a criminal fraud here. She a friggin volunteer! Not a paid one. Does not get any commissions or compensations. No quid pro quo stuff, either. She’s returning her thanks by helping increase awareness about people who wear cochlear implants, namely herself.
“Blogs are based on the concept that people can write openly and freely about their thoughts and opinions.” - Though they’ve gotten a bit Orwellian lately.
“ …misled DeafReaders and as a result has destroyed trust in the blog as an independent source.” -Destroyed trust? If there’s ever an exaggeration, this is it folks. Hyperbole at its best. See Exhibit A. Rachel is now painted as a big, ole meanie set out to purposely destroy people’s trust. Outright defamatory, I’d say. Tayler, please provide proof that Rachel’s action has single-handidly “destroyed trust” of readers in her blog. Nobody was misled here except for those who insist with that fantasy in mind.
“Bloggers can mention or review products as long as they are not affiliated with the company.” - OK. Editors can, again, simply not accept that blog entry by not linking to it in DeafRead. IT’S THAT SIMPLE!!!! Editors? You are reading this? Is Tayler looking over your shoulders or what?)
And then Tayler was really grasping straws by espousing a conspiracy-theory-in-the-works about Rachel and her blog.
“This blog is part of a network whose purpose is to bring awareness about a company’s product; furthermore, the blog content fits into the network’s mission statement. Consequently it has been disqualified.” - Interesting. Tayler offered no link to Cochlear Awareness Network (CAN) website. Nor a link to what their mission statement is about. Let me help you, Tayler.
Q - What is the Cochlear Awareness Network?
A - The Cochlear Awareness Network is a group of volunteers each of whom have lived deaf but have had their hearing returned through technology. They have chosen to be members of the Network to tell their stories, proactively raising awareness for the wonderful changes in their lives.
Q - What do Advocates do?
A - Basically Advocates tell their own story. They do this by making presentations to community and interest groups or clubs or one-on-one to potential recipients. They may also seek publication of their personal story in local newspapers. They may also help out at trade shows and talk to people referred by their local Cochlear Implant Clinic.
Now, I see no mentioning about the requirement to bring awareness about a company’s product. Their mission statement does not even imply this. This whole thing by the editors (note: Taylor are speaking on behalf of the editors') are nothing more than a non-sequitur thing. Even if a volunteer does discuss a particular product, so what? Really, Tayler is grasping straws here it’s literally comical. Instead of a thousand paper cuts, it’s a thousand eggs on one’s face.
Rachel wasn’t pushing an cochlear implant product on her blogsite. They made it sound like it was some criminal enterprise on what Rachel was doing by going around constantly deceiving the readers and DeafRead editors! But if talking about her cochlear implants and her experiences while growing up and into adulthood to those who are interested on hearing her even with specifics on a company brand of her cochlear implants (or even about other people’s CIs) and call that deceptive “promoting” or “marketing” then I need to sit back and have a good laugh over that one. One phrase come to mind, “making a mountain out of a molehill.” Clearly aimed at cochlear implants all the while getting into an apoplectic fit.
The short of it:
1) They claim that she failed to announce her affiliation (ie. Rachel’s volunteer awareness work) with an organization such as Cochlear Awareness Network (C.A.N.) and was justified in their decision to ban her blog link from their aggregator site based on faulty reasonings and assumptions.
2) They claim that her site is a commercial site that benefits a cochlear implant company.
The long of it?
Ongoing BSing continues with amazing feats of dodging and weaving, and the latest buzz phrases.
Time to stop this nonsense, Tayler (editors, too), and do the correct and ethical thing by apologizing to Rachel and retract what you have said in your blog. And perhaps do some serious revamping of DeafRead's policy regarding acceptable and non-acceptable blogsites and blog entries.
But first I want to direct your attention to what “Deaf Anonymous Law Student” said about this whole farce:
Goodbye to DeafRead - June 5, 2008
It pains me to say this, but I am leaving DeafRead. I orginially joined Deafread hoping that I could present an unique point of view and encourage aspiring d/Deaf law students. However, these hopes become moot when DeafRead espouses a discriminatory and Deaf-centric policy by banning a certain blog.
I have posted about our need to UNITE in order to succeed (professionally, at least) and I cannot participate in an aggregator that thwarts this sentiment.
So, if you like this blog, please do bookmark me and say hi sometimes. I welcome everyone of all stripes, deaf, Deaf, Deaf-Blind, and many more. Hopefully there is enough supporters out there to make writing this blog worthwhile.
And that's coming from a law student! That is, a deaf law student who could one day become the first d/Deaf judge.
Indeed, the espousal of a discriminatory and Deaf-centric policy. Deaf Anonymous Law Student said it very well. The person decided to leave, perhaps for good. And I'm sure other deaf/hh law students who are a part of that network group are thinking negatively about the whole DeafRead thing, too.
Lastly, I make this challenge to the rest of the editors of DeafRead that they need to step forward and make their own personal statement, uncoerced and without any undue influence. I cannot on my good conscious accept Tayler’s words on what he has said in his defense on behalf of the editors. It is quite curious that these editors are silent on this issue which may be damning in its own right. I hope there is a King sized bed with enough room for all of the editors to lie in the mess they just made...on behalf of Tayler.
In a bubble world paranoia would be the people’s own worst enemy thinking the very worse when it has never been the case.
Now, let me end this blog entry by saying….
“My plan is working flawlessly!” *rubbing hands* Heh, heh!
More later…maybe…or should I turn off the lights now?