Wednesday, January 09, 2008

The DeafRead Controversy

DeafRead collects deaf related content and videos from deaf or hard of hearing bloggers and places it on their site. Human editors approve each posts to ensure that it is in fact deaf related. It really is a great site for deaf diversity, read a blog or watch people sign through vLogs (video blogs.) I am deaf and a blogger, I've clearly met the minimum requirements and I submitted my blog to their site. Almost instantaneously, I watched the CHRONICLES OF THE BIONIC WOMAN appeared in the blog list and then I waited anxiously for my posts to appear.

As time went by, I forgot all about it until I got a comment on my Greatest Moment of the Year post from a loyal reader.

KW said: Hi!! I've always meant to tell you I love your style of writing. What you wrote in the first paragraph of not being part of the Hearing or Deaf worlds-- I LOVED that. Do you submit your blogs to DeafRead? I wish you would, they need to read you. :-)

As soon as I read that, I surfed right on over to DeafRead, eager in anticipation to see my posts. When I clicked on my blog, I was disappointed by the fact it said that I had no posts. I surfed back to the blog list and recognized several Cochlear Implant blogs such as my bionic belle Jennifer with no posts (unheard of!). I scratched my magnet, something didn’t add up. I started clicking like crazy on the FAQ and browsing all around for some answers on why nothing was coming up! Then I get another comment from my loyal reader.

KW said: Hiya-- I hope this is OK. I noticed you were listed as a blogger on DeafRead and it's been bugging me that your blogs were never picked up, so I complained because I felt that maybe they were unfair to people with CI's. It looks like there was some kind of technical problem, and you're going to be in there now-- all the time maybe. I complained that Jen's blog wasn't being picked up either. I'm such a whiner.

Great! I scooted over there, again eager in anticipation to see my posts and nothing. I said the hell with this but then this post caught my eye, Paotie's site which gave me another suspicious perspective on the DeafRead site.

Finally, some good news by my loyal reader.

KW said: JJ checked into it and saw that you were inactive for some reason, so he asked Taylor who runs the site. Here's his answer--

So, the short answer is that if a blogsite is inactive for a long period of time the blogger needs to “reactivate” it with I’d shoot an E-mail to the person who runs the “bionic Woman” blogsite and ask him/her to reactivate their site by sending an E-mail to

I hope that this is a satisfactory answer?

BTW, I also checked out “…a work in progress” (thanks for pointing out where it was), it also seems inactive.

Eh, why couldn't this simple piece of information be posted in FAQ or HELP section of the DeafRead site? I shot them an email them and sure enough, i received lightening fast confirmation that it was activated. I am now on the DeafRead site, posts and all. Coincidently shortly afterwards the blogs of fellow CIer''s appeared began to make their way on the site.

I don't know what to make of the fact that a majority of the CI blogs were not "approved" or "activated." I sincerely hope this was just a mere technicality because I would hate to think that these human editors deem cochlear implant bloggers as unsuitable deaf related content.

We sleep in total silence too.


Jennifer said...

Abbie...I wondered that too...but I am not as brave as you are to post about it on my site! I get that sometimes...that we're not "deaf enough"...and I hate it.

Mike said...

Bravo! You're like me. Ask questions! Inquire. And then post it like heck.

Gonna let your CIborgs friends know about DeafRead and get their blogs on the DeafRead list?

Anonymous said...

It was due to a technical glitch. We do publish posts from deaf and hoh bloggers and vloggers and even few hearing posters, as long as the content is deaf-centric.

We also don't go out and look for blogs. It is spread by word of mouth or hands (smile). We have had cochlear implants stories last summer and one ongoing one since then.

Please do free to contact the human editors if you have a question or experience a problem.

Deb Ann and Hannah said...

Hi Abbie,
I'm glad you're in deafread now. I would really like to get to know you better. I look forward to reading more of your blogs.

Anonymous said...

We sleep in silence too-- LOL! That oughta get DR readers' attention! Keep blogging, you have an interesting view.

Anonymous said...


Well, I can tell you that my article, "Paotie and the Label Factory" was not picked up because one of the editors decided that the picture on the article was "pornographic."

But, go to Deafread and type, "Deaf Bunny" and the very first link you find is the Spanish/English blog that actually has the PORN pictures, which includes a woman in the ACT of having sex, saying, "Oh .. my .. God!", at the top of the article.

*shrugs innocently and kicks a small pebble*



Anonymous said...

wow, what a great post! it didn't occured to me that this was something actually happening because paotie gets so random and silly that its hard to take him seriously.

"technical glitch" maybe.... how convenient that it occurred to CI/cue bloggers. i noticed that we're now getting more of their posts those days. HIGHLY SUSPECT indeed.

Anonymous said...


Good post.. no question about it! I just want to say that some people need to know that there is no reason to panic or making some assumptions just because a post is not picked up or moved over to extra page.

All they have to do is shoot DR an e-mail to find out the real answers. You are right, something in FAQ or somewhere they should explain that if a blog is inactive in a long period. We have to shoot them an email to tell them to pick it up again.

Like I said, I bookmarked you so I look forward for more posts of yours.. You write them beautifully! :-)


Kim said...

Abbie--Thanks for posting. Again, I love you cuz you have such a great way with words. I happen to know you all with CI's do lots more than just sleep in silence. I really don't want to keep the controversy going, but without your side of the story how can Deaf really know and learn about CI's??

We all keep talking about giving parents of Deaf kids correct information. I want to know what you hear with a CI and what you don't, what kind of pain you have and what kind of pain you don't have -- the good and the bad-- ALL of it!! So when I have to decide I'll know. Isn't that what we all should want??

It's one thing if people really don't want to read your blog-- FINE! But I do. :-)

Unknown said...

Nice to see a mix of variety on DeafRead. I like how you described yourself as I can tell you are an interesting person.

Let me tell you about my experience when I first posted my blogs back in 2006. When I posted my blog for the first time, it wasn't a smooth sailing for me. I had to take the responsibility to contact Tayler inquiring about it and it turned out that it was a glitch. You can't trust technology as it does happen. Since I started to participate, there are more and more diversified v/blogs growing daily as more people get to know about it.

Have fun blogging your way!

drmzz said...

Hello, I'm a regular ASL vlogger in DR. I agree with what Miskazena, Seek Geo, and Barb are saying. First off, this has nothing to do with your status as a CI user, ok. :) Let's not get overly excited over something that is common. Clearly, I can see certain individuals here who want to stir the pot and I trust you to use your judgment of such. I just started vlogging last year Jan and Tayler and others were helpful to get me logged on. Anyway, best of luck!

Anonymous said...

thx4 sharing such vital information wid us. have recently known that many bloggers are spamming to people to get traffic. spamming is surely a threat to cyber space. most of the spammers are also hackers and they break into your pc as soon as you click on their email links. in order to fight the spam threat we need a strong spam filters for our emails which secures us from most of the spam mails. i have heard that is one of the good e-mail service provider who gives maximum protection from most of the spam mails, now that is what we internet lovers require.

Karen Mayes said...

I am looking forward to reading more of your blogs, because my son has been talking about CIs lately (he has progressive hearing loss and he loves music, on choir team, etc... so it is affecting him on several levels... emotinally, etc. He will turn 11 years old next month.) So I am devouring the blogs about CIs now. I'd rather wait until his hearing aids no longer work for him... it is a question of when.

Kudos to Kim for alerting DeafRead about you and other CI bloggers.

Welcome to DeafRead.

Valerie said...

"A community that excludes even one of its own members is no community at all" - Dan Wilkins

I am deaf with CIs. I sleep in silence and wake up in silence too.

Meryl K. Evans said...

I have a CI and grew up orally -- haven't had problems with my blog appearing on DeafRead. There was one controversy about a blog entry that referred to the site (the site was suspicious), but other than that -- no issues.

Keep writing and asking questions.

J.J. said...

Great idea...we do need a FAQ section. It would cut down on E-mail for sure.

Also, I think we need to re-do the guidelines...perhaps with a vlog with examples...

Right now we all are working on the conference...after the conference I'll discuss it with DR folks..and please REMIND me because I forget this stuff all the time :-)

As for the conspiracy me if DR excluding CI posts, I'd not be a human editor and I'd be blogging about their bias.

tayler said...

Hi there. This is Tayler.

First of all, Mishka Zena (disclaimer: she is one of the Human Editors) is correct. We don't go out seeking for blogs. Maybe we will add one that we find by "accident"-but we don't make it a business of going around the web looking for new blogs. We've had no problems getting new blogs. We average probably 5 new blogs a week. Right now there is 7 new blogs waiting in queue to be approved. Reminder to self: approve them! :)

Your blog was originally added to DeafRead by youreslf, I believe, a while ago. My memory doesn't serve me well, but somewhere in the vagueness, I recall checking your blog, and at that time, it hadn't been posted to in a while. We process a considerable amount of feeds hourly. I try to keep the number of feeds as low as possible, because it's taxing on our server when it goes out and fetches feeds.
We do it all at once, and we probably count at approximately 425 feeds. That's a whole lot.

About 3 months ago, I wrote a script to check when blogs had last been written to. I still have this script, and in fact emailed Jared about it. I email Jared a lot, whenever I do considerable work on DeafRead. He is the other developer. Swell guy! Anyway, using this script, a list is generated showing blogs that are "dead". Blogs that haven't been written to in a while. I can tell you with complete honesty, that approximately 30 feeds were de-activated. I did this with my eyes closed and blindfolded. I did not de-activate any feeds based on the feed itself. If it hadn't published anything (regardless of whether it was published to DeafRead) in a while, it was de-activated.

Fret not. It's easy to re-activate. Just email me or Jared.

I plan on improving this script to periodically check "dead" blogs to see if they've been "resurrected". If they are, they're re-activated. That's on my long to-do list. :)

Now, I'd like to bring up an issue that I saw on another blog, in the comments, I think. It complained about the lack of non-Deaf blogs. And by that, the commenter meant DeafRead doesn't have enough CI or Oral and so on blogs. That's outside our scope. We can't do anything about that. The content comes to us. If there is no content, then it cannot be published. We subscribe and publish several CI/Oral blogs. We are proud to. As a deaf person, I'm a full supporter of diversity, and want to ensure this happens in DeafRead. But what happens if there's not any CI/Oral blogs which to subscribe? It's out of our hands. If you know of any more non-Deaf blogs, let us know!

In the very early days of DeafRead, and boy it has grown a lot, and has more growing to do, I wrote a blog entry asking for more female bloggers. There was a lack of it back then. But we cannot be responsible if the blogosphere lacks blogs that meet certain needs.

There's another small minority at DeafRead. There's very few African-American bloggers at DeafRead. Most of the blogs subscribed to by DeafRead is white. Does that mean we are racial? Of course not. There's simply not many deaf African-American bloggers. If you've been thinking about starting a blog, there's definitely a niche to be filled. :)

I do feel the number of CI/Oral blogs at DeafRead is at a healthy level. There are wonderful writers in this "category". Mind you, DeafRead often receives emails about too much posts from a certain group that support an issue, but we cannot moderate based on numbers. What is there. This goes for whatever side of the issue.

Before you go twisting or manipulating what I'm saying here: DeafRead does limit the number of hearing blogs on DeafRead. Of course we have to. Or else, DeafRead wouldn't deserve its name. We welcome our hearing allies, and each of us on the DeafRead team has hearing friends/allies.

It seems particular persons are unfamiliar with how DeafRead operates. If it's not deaf-centric (we try our hardest to filter), it will show on DeafRead Extra. Often you will find posts there that are offhand or just interesting. :) In other words, except for extreme content such as pornographic pictures, everything is published at DeafRead. You can check our work by checking both DeafRead and DeafRead Extra. Notify us if there is a problem by using this contact form:

For newcomers, I strongly suggest reading all the posts at DeafRead Official Blog to see how much we've grown to better serve the community. For instance, DeafRead Extra didn't exist early on, then a RSS feed was added, then we eventually published it on the web. Even later, voting was added. We've responded to the community to ensure DeafRead thrives.

Sorry about the long read, and let me to close by saying Welcome to DeafRead!

Sam said...

Hello? Hello? Testing 1 2 3...Testing. Oh wait this is DeafRead. They can't hear they censor you or at least pretend they have the right to decide who is deaf and who is Deaf. I am so naive, will someone please pass me a CI battery so I can hear!

Anonymous said...

guess who is on deafread now?

Me, can you believe it. Thank you for opening up the doors for me.

Love ya,

*A place where everyone knows your name(and accepts you) That is how I feel about your blog.

Michael said...

"We sleep in silence too" - that's a wonderful line!
Mike Chorost

Anonymous said...

good for you, bionic! i'm not remotely surprised that CIers could be edited out (or at least those CIers who are not complaining about it). the new thing where i work is now "voice off"...signing but NO VOICE. ask yourself where this leaves those of us who have CIs. back in the deafhouse....

VBnBama said...

I love the way you write as need a book,you express yourself beautifully

Yana said...

Abbie -

Great post! :) I loved "We sleep in silence too". Shower, too.

But the green on black kills my eyes.