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!)
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.
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.