What Does DeafRead want to be when it grows up?

What Does DeafRead (DR) want to be when it grows up?

(I apologize that this is in English only – I did videotape myself signing ASL but it came out way to dark each time I tried (even brought in three lamps to the room- boo!)

For the past few month there have been some b/vlog entries and comments criticizing and examining how DR does business.

I think we can all agree that:
1. DR is important and precious to us
2. DR has grown huge at an amazing rate

With rapid growth often come growing pains so on the eve of their upcoming conference – it might be wise to take pause and ask “what does DeafRead want to be when it grows up?”

According to the guidelines for DR – it states, B/Vlogs should be:
1) Deaf Related Posts

The entry must pertain to the deaf community and culture. The blogger being deaf or the vlog being in ASL is not enough to qualify.

The guidelines also refer to a blog entry in Jared’s Rambling Thoughts:

We were interested in being able to easily track many reputable Deaf-related blogs that have high quality and thought-provoking content. In short, we could be able to watch in near real-time the stream of Deaf Consciousness on the Web!

Many people have been expressing their discontent with DR for not either revising their guidelines to properly reflect how it is functioning as an aggregator (virtually anything goes) or to stay true to its own original guidelines and intent by not listing b/vlogs that are not related to the Deaf community or Deaf culture.

I am hopeful that DR will take time to examine and reflect instead of react and respond.

Some folks have been equating a Deaf-centered aggregator to censorship.

I am not sure how asking DR to exercise good judgment and wisdom when publishing a listing of b/vlog sites in accordance with their guidelines is a bad thing.

I would like to propose that if DR would like to keep business as usual that they:
1. revise their guidelines to better reflect their present “anything goes” policy
2. consider creating special interest groups aggregators – i.e. a Deafhood and Natural Sign Language DR, a Technologies DR, etc

I’d also like all of us to understand that the first amendment applies to our government.

Amendment I
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.

This means if folks want to publish blogs and vlogs that assert their point of view they can but it does not mean that these folks can force another publisher or service to carry their articles / publications etc. DR has the right to decline to “carry” a blog/vlog that does not fit their guidelines/mission.

DR can exercise discretion. The Washington Post had to issue an apology because Arun Gandhi, one of their guest bloggers on the subject of faith – made anti-semitic comments. While Mr. Gandhi certainly has the right to his own views, it does not give him the right to have those views be published by the Washington Post. The WP has an obligation as a reputable source not to carry offensive statements – with its very public service comes a very public duty.

Furthermore, the first amendment does not give a person or publisher the right to engage in libel or slander or bigotry.

I have seen DR list blogs / vlogs that could be considered a form of libel and bigotry. Thankfully I have only seen this happen a handful of times.

Recently, a vlogger put forth a call that those of us who would like to see more Deaf-centered and Natural Sign Language centered v/blogging, we must lead the way. He pointed out that much of the recent onslaught of CI related blogs listed on DR have largely been inciting a great deal of commotion, dissension, hostile emotions, and distracting people from focusing on exploring, examining, and understanding Deaf rights, the Deaf Community, the Deaf Culture and Natural Sign Languages. I did not see him calling for the removal of such blogs, but rather a call for folks to produce b/vlogs that focus on topics that will inspire and hopefully enlighten (in no way does this mean that the original bloggers posting about CIs intentions were not of the same – to inspire and enlighten – but is about the debating, booting, booing, pooing, hooting, etc that is going on)

It is a call for us to keep our eyes on the prize and instead of cursing the darkness – to light a candle.

So while we all may feel free to encourage DR to take some time to decide who it wants to be when it grows up and might be tempted to point fingers at others, we all also need to figure out who WE want to be when we grow up as v/bloggers.

just as when pagers first came out and folks were navigating and developing a sense of proper etiquette (not looking away in the middle live conversations to check that precious and urgent, text message every second they come in) – we are also learning how to engage in a “virtual” “online” community formation – and how do we express ourselves firmly with love – how do we remember its better to be “kind than to be right” while at the same time trying to share about a Culture, Language, and a People that some blatantly have tried to discard, devalue, diminish, deny, and disable.

Its tricky. We can do it – we will get there – just hope we can do so more peacefully and lovingly.

Are our blogs/vlogs intentionally sensationalized in order to grab that precious click?
Are our comments within blogs/vlogs designed to create arguments and debate instead of understanding and growth?

We, as others have said in numerous ways and times, are ultimately the ones responsible and accountable for our own words and actions. If we do not like how DR is growing up – its up to us to generate high quality blogs / vlogs and comments to make sure that the quality and the standard of our discourse exemplifies excellence and serves a bit as a beacon to light DR’s way.

Much peace

Patti Durr


16 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. DE
    Jan 20, 2008 @ 21:38:46


  2. moi
    Jan 20, 2008 @ 23:30:38

    You expressed this so well, pointing out that private corporations do have leeway, that DeafRead is not following its own guidelines, and the need to enter into any dialogue with respect and caring. I love how you gently asked all of us bloggers/commenters to check ourselves and see if we’re contributing to a positive DeafBlogLand or not.
    Lovely, lovely, lovely. Thank you!!!

  3. cnkatz
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 00:02:12

    a good one here, helps me improve my presentation in two weeks! Not a check mark I give you but almost an exclamatory point, maybe something like both.

    peace too . . . .

  4. Candace A McCullough
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 06:40:50

    Thank you, thank you! Thoughtful points. Excellent post!

  5. Virginia L. Beach
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 07:27:01

    beautifully said.

  6. what
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 10:42:06

    Can you name the blogs that should be removed from DeafRead and why? Which blogs have to go before DeafRead restores its original Deaf-centric purpose?

    What exactly do you mean by “good judgment” in de-listing blogs? This post is too fuzzy.

  7. pdurr
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 11:47:47

    hi all

    thanks for the comments

    #6 What

    i want to clarify that i am not necessarily advocating for the REMOVAL of some blogs from DR but rather that DR should assess how well its guidelines are matching up with its selection of what it lists

    if u click the words criticizing and the word examining in my post above it will direct you to other blog entries that cite specific b/vlogs – perhaps this will clarify which b/vlogs are making people question how DR is functioning

    Also – i did not use the term Deaf-centric in my posting above – the term Deaf-centric is very different from Deaf-centered

    Deaf-centric could be misunderstood to mean a form of “ethnocentricism” – i have no interest in being involved in any online community of v/bloggers who are proclaiming their superiority over others

    a Deaf-centered purpose – is one that examines the Deaf Community and Deaf Culture from a Deaf center – not saying “being culturally Deaf and/or part of the community is superior to not being part of either – noooooo instead it says – hey look isnt this cool or hey look isnt this a shame or hey look me-like,like, how about you?”

    you wrote “What exactly do you mean by “good judgment” in de-listing blogs? This post is too fuzzy.”

    it seems you are very comfortable with casting judgment as you have assigned this blog posting as FUZZY so i trust that DR can also exercise its own form of judging to help make it the best it can be


    patti durr

  8. Jean Boutcher
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 12:15:05

    Merci beaucoup, Patti, for your
    post. I truly appreciate your thoughts and time. 🙂

  9. Tom Willard
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 12:18:50

    Thanks for sharing this with us. I have a few comments to add.

    Although I’ve disagreed with DeafRead’s judgment on specific postings in the past, I think overall they do a good job and I don’t envy the work they have to do.

    Part of the problem with DeafRead (and something that is none of their fault) is that an awful lot of deafies think the world wants to know their thoughts on anything and everything.

    Personally I think it takes an oversized ego to have that mindset, but the result is that the DeafRead editors have to go through dozens of submissions every day from the same people and decide what to post.

    If some vloggers & bloggers would edit themselves in the first place, DeafRead would not have to deal with so much ado about nothing.

    (If you don’t have anything to say, maybe you could go read a book or something instead of making yet another v/blog.)

    But the way DeafRead’s editors choose to deal with it — putting the deaf-related stuff on the main page, putting the other stuff on DeafRead Extra (I like Mountain Mama’s recipes) — is probably the best approach in the real world, though I wish they’d spice it up with pictures.

    It will be interesting to see how it plays out down the road. Will people still be vlogging and blogging so relentlessly in 10 or 15 years, or will the novelty wear off?

    Meanwhile, it’s good that people can go to DeafRead for the info that is there, if that’s what they choose to do.

  10. what
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 12:26:29

    I knew you would not answer the questions directly so you tried to be evasive by avoid giving examples of the blogs that are not meeting your expectations.

    For example, which “b/vlogs that are not related to the Deaf community or Deaf culture”? To use your own words…

  11. pdurr
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 13:31:58


    i agree – DR is to be commended for providing this aggregator – no doubt about that

    the blog above does have a main point about not just challenging DR to assess who it wants to be but also to have us ourselves – b/vloggers and commenters to assess our own actions and words

    Re: What #10

    you wrote “I knew you would not answer….”

    if you knew – why ask?

    you have used terms like Deaf-CENTRIC and you have issued judgment “too fuzzy” and “evasive by avoiding” etc. which don’t indicate a “i come in peace” stance nor do they indicate that you are seeking to understand

    i know some folks do need concrete examples

    if i thought it would be helpful and beneficial and received in the spirit in which i offered them – i would specify specific b/vlogs and comment sections but because instead you have indicated that your WHAT questions are really an attempt to incite and provoke an unpeaceful response from me and to engage me in finger pointing and name calling – i will humbly decline

    i have no doubt that you know exactly what you are trying to do here

    me im gonna aim for the “the better angels of our nature” – of course at times i will miss and be off the mark but at least i can aim

    i crave sincere and civil discourse

    i wish you all the best

    much peace and love

    patti durr

  12. pdurr
    Jan 21, 2008 @ 13:59:28

    Just realizing that im falling pry to focusing on the confrontational comments instead of on all the rest so i thought id go back and respond to each

    DE – smile icon back at ya (sorry I don’t know how to add the visuals)

    Moi – big thanks for ur comment – it was really kinda pleasantly freaky to see we had been creating blog entries at almost the same time last night within the same theme. Very different compositions but had that underpinning of a Deaf-collective consciousness – I was like COOL!

    Re: respect and caring – YEP! Me 2nd that notion

    Cnkatz – smile !! and check – ya hoo!

    Candace – thanks for ur comments – really value all u do so appreciate the thumbs up

    Virginia Beach – this is nice coming from my favorite pagan – smile

    What – I forgot to clarify that the Deaf Community and Deaf Culture subject matter as a defining parameter for DR – those were not really my words – those are DR’s own guideline words and also referred to in Jared’s blog.

    Tom – I forgot to mention ur comment re: “interesting to see…” yes I do think things will evolve and grow / ebbs and flows to meet the collective spirit that desires to emerge


    Patti durr

  13. jjpuorro
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 01:21:28

    Hi Patti,

    Nice entry…

    Yes, I think it’s time to refine the guidelines..that is something I want to do after the conference and when I have the time to do so.

    As for splitting up entries into many sections…I don’t know..the Deaf community is one of the most diverse minority groups you’ll find anywhere..we could set up different aggregators for different groups..but when would it stop? I think that is something we will deal with when we have wayyy too many entries..as of right now we average about 50 a day (a rough guess)…if we were to spilt them all up…there’d only be 4-5 for each special group..

    Make no mistake..DeafRead is growing every day and changes will be made when necessary..and we always enjoy listening to suggestions…

    Again, a nice post..

  14. pdurr
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 07:26:01

    jean –

    big sorry i overlooked ur comment when i listed everyone

    merci beaucoup – u r an avid DR commenter who always takes the high ground

    much peace


  15. pdurr
    Jan 22, 2008 @ 08:48:39


    Thank u for popping in and affirming that DeafRead will be reviewing the possibility of refining the guidelines

    re: the rapid fire growth – mais oui!

    i do agree that perhaps SIG concept might present other dilemmas (number, how to classify etc)

    maybe there is a mechanicism within DeafRead that could remedy some of this that folks simply havent thought of or dont know how to use – i know previously folks were trying to get b/vloggers to use the CATEGORIES option so maybe if we understood this a bit better we could SELF-IDENTIFY our particular entry better and that might guide DR visitors more easily?

    in no way would it prohibit them from seeing the full listing – it would just be a place they could click to see the subcategories if they r in a rush or seeking a specific thread / theme / POV etc

    again thanks for ur openness, ur response and most especially for making DR possible



  16. Trackback: “People of the Eye » Blog Archive » Deafread - pls re-consider your decision

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