BC Update: To BC, or Not To BC?

In my last post I gave a big shout out to Lon from the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival for taking the position to stop using Blog Carnival’s service to manage the AT Carnival.

I asked for those who participate in the Disabilities Blog Carnival to take a public stand on the CAPTCHA issue.
In the comments of that post Penny informed me:

Um, we are already taking a public stand:

That’s great!

Rather than replying in the comments section, I thought her comment and my reply deserved its own post.

She goes on to say:

In every single Disability Blog Carnival edition announcement so far at DS,TU (since October 2006, twice monthly, so we’ve been at this for a while), we’ve indicated that the CAPTCHA at the blogcarnival.com site is inaccessible, and that submissions are accepted through other means as well (which we list). We’ve written to blogcarnival.com about this, more than once (as you know, they don’t necessarily respond). We’ll keep using their site, mostly for the publicity it provides, until we find a better alternative–but it’s definitely only one of the ways we collect submissions (and not the main way, these days).

I understand the desire for publicity in order to get the information an opinions out to those who may not necessarily search for such blogs. I know this is a personal choice and I truly respect everyone’s individual opinion, but BC works on traffic. Continuing to use BC supports the organization. As long as such an organization is receiving such support, why will they need to change.

I remember when companies were being urged to divest from South Africa as a means of showing their support for the anti apartheid movement. (For the record, I am not relating BC CAPTCHA to Apartheid.) Individuals were urged to show their support by not purchasing the products of companies doing business in South Africa. It wasn’t until a large number of people who enjoyed these products and were reluctant to stop purchasing, finally took a stand and companies chose to respond. These companies realized that the community was in support of the anti apartheid movement and would only support those who divested from South Africa.

I understand the position that the Disabilities Blog Carnival is in and I don’t envy the person who has to make that final decision. Please remember, it’s Blog Carnival who brought this on by refusing to respond and allow a segment of the disability community access, for what appears to be almost two years.

Two years, I guess it just ain’t happenin’!

4 Responses to “BC Update: To BC, or Not To BC?”

  1. Penny says:

    Here’s what I wrote to T. Reid offlist, more or less; might as well put it here too–

    If I thought removing our link from the blogcarnival.com site would improve our carnival, I’d do it in a heartbeat–and if it would also have a salutory effect on the blogcarnival.com site, all the better. But it wouldn’t matter a whit to them–we don’t pay for the service, it’s just a free listing. It wouldn’t make our carnival more accessible, AND we’d lose a lot of potential audience and links. So I’m not sure what good difference it could make to anyone. We already routinely link to blogs that have imperfect accessibility features–no alt-tags, bad text size or contrast, captcha on their comments–so disengaging from blogcarnival.com for those same shortcomings would seem inconsistent. The Disability Blog Carnival (not “disabilities blog carnival”) is a diverse, inclusive, come-as-you-are carnival, as you’ve probably seen.

  2. T.Reid says:


    I guess I would agree with you if the sole issue were one of accessibility.

    The issue as I see it with BC surpasses access issues including CAPTCHA and those you mentioned. It’s about their disrespect towards the community.

    Just because you don’t pay for a service directly doesn’t mean you’re not paying. Free sites like BC, Yahoo Google etc. work on the advertising business model. Therefore the more users/visitors the more ad revenue.

    Your explanation “If I thought removing our link from the blogcarnival.com site would improve our carnival, I’d do it in a heartbeat–and if it would also have a salutory effect on the blogcarnival.com site, all the better.” makes your position very clear to me.

    Thanks for your response both off and online and for the record I apologize for the incorrect name, it’s Disability Blog Carnival.


  3. It’s about their disrespect towards the community.

    Yeah, I agree–they’ve been jerks and seem set in their jerky ways. The question is whether one or two carnivals leaving would change their attitude. I really doubt it. But I’ve never been persuaded that boycotts are all that effective, most of the time. Boycotts generally have to leverage a significant portion of the target’s revenue to make any dent, and we don’t have that. Our traffic isn’t huge–we might get 150-200 hits on carnival day and the day after, and a lot of that doesn’t come through BC.com at all, but from other blogs linking to the carnival directly. So…if we can’t really hurt BC.com, but removing our links there *would* hurt us–who wins that?

    So, for now, or unless the team of 40-some hosts and regular contributors argues otherwise, we’ll take advantage of the useful service they do offer, while continuing to point out their rudeness and inaccessibility, and continuing to ensure accessibility in our own practices as a carnival.

  4. T.Reid says:


    Sounds like the BC service really doesn’t provide much at all!

    “The question is whether one or two carnivals leaving would change their attitude.”

    One or two is a start in my book. 40 + Bloggers working together to say people with disabilities expect equal access in the digital age, that too can be the beginnings of an effective movement. Talk about publicity I’m pretty certain we could get popular media to pick up on that story. Everything has to start somewhere!

    I gotta get rid of these “rose colored glasses!” 😉