Archive for the ‘BC Update’ Category

BC Update: To BC, or Not To BC?

Sunday, June 1st, 2008

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 site is inaccessible, and that submissions are accepted through other means as well (which we list). We’ve written to 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’!

Stand Up, Change the Attitude!

Friday, May 30th, 2008

Ever since deciding to bring the issue of Blog Carnival’s inaccessible visual CAPTCHA to   the blogosphere, I wondered how many people would truly be willing to take a stand. The use of Blog Carnival does not have much impact on a person’s “real” life as inaccessibility of a bank or financial institution may.

However, Blog Carnival quickly escalated the issue from inaccessibility to disrespect when the conscience decision was made to ignore the multiple requests of many in the community. (If this is your first time reading about this issue please use the “BC Update” tag to see a history of posts.)

When Lon from the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival pledged to cease from using the service if BC continued to ignore the requests for an accessible CAPTCHA, I wondered if and at what point would  he follow through.

Well a big shout out to Lon for continuing to blog and pool together other’s writing on the topic of Assistive Technology, without using Blog Carnival. Yes, that’s right without the BC service.

Thank you Lon for taking a stand and saying No to inaccessibility. I urge all readers of RMM to visit the Assistive Technology Blog Carnival and those of you who are blogger’s, submit a post to the next AT Carnival.

As I write this, I am trying to remain diplomatic, while honestly saying what’s on my mind, that is the name of the blog after all. Recently I read that the latest edition of the Disabilities Blog Carnival was released and I noticed they continue to use the Blog Carnival service.

I’m not sure how many of those who contribute to the Disabilities Blog Carnival are aware of the CAPTCHA issue. I know of a few that are and I really wish they would take a public stand. If for whatever reason you disagree with my position, that’s cool, let me know. 

Just remember, the issue is not just about the inaccessibility of Blog Carnival’s site, it’s their attitude regarding our request for access. They choose to ignore us. If this wasn’t a digital request, but rather a request to access a brick and mortar store front and people were denied access solely on the basis of their blindness, I am pretty certain that more people would stand up and be heard. The digital age provides too many   possible excuses;
“I didn’t get that email”
“I sent you an email, didn’t you get it?”

There’s no personal interaction, the requests and denials simply boil down to bits of 1’s and 0’s as everything ultimately does in the digital world.

Getting organizations to provide access is not the permanent solution. The highest hurdle facing the blind community on all fronts, is the attitude and beliefs  that people manifest about blindness. There are great advancements being made in the areas of Access Technology, legislation and even political influence. However, if we don’t change the beliefs of society then unemployment rates, appropriate funding and even getting a response from a company like Blog Carnival, probably won’t change either.

BC Update: "A Soldiers Story"

Monday, May 26th, 2008

This was a busy week, I slacked off in my efforts to contact Brad Rubenstein. I have not heard from him or anyone else from Blog Carnival.

I guess Brad Rubenstein has not received or simply chooses to disregard my emails, faxes, voice mails, and snail mail. Maybe it’s true that the leadership sets the tone for an organization.

A few weeks ago I was at an event where one of the speakers talked about the large number of soldiers returning home with disabilities. Many of these soldiers have lost their sight as a result of direct contact with explosive devices.

I was thinking about these young people who will more than likely go through a rehabilitation program where like others who have lost their sight, will among other things, learn orientation and mobility skills and receive computer training.

With the popularity of social media sites and blogs, I speculate that at some point, some young soldier, wanting to share his story or views on a particular subject, will eventually be blocked from BC due to their use of visual only CAPTCHA. If not Blog Carnival, then some other site.

I think of the access issues these soldiers will in no doubt encounter. I only hope they choose to apply their fighting spirit to gain access for themselves and their new community.

If you are interested in this subject of CAPTCHA, you may be interested in listening to this week’s Main Menu on ACB Radio. It’s all about CAPTCHA and the Blind community.

Read more on this week’s Main Menu at the ACB Radio Blog.

BC Update: Snail Mail?

Sunday, May 18th, 2008

In this week’s note to Blog Carnival Support (Also known as Denise!) I explained that I have taken to of all things, snail mail.

After emailing Brad Rubenstein, a founder and CTO of Blog Carnival, I left a voice mail asking him to discuss this issue with me. I have not received a response from either so I wrote and sent a letter to him, again hoping for a response.

I’m not sure if the address information I have for him is current, it is based on the resume posted on his website,
I don’t honestly feel this issue should be dropped. It’s not about access for me individually, it’s not about access to the one site, it’s about the way BC decided to simply ignore the request. It’s about working to  make accessibility a component of every website, every consumer electronic and brick and mortar establishment. Maybe this is an unrealistic goal, but then again sometimes reality sucks and needs to be changed!

Note to Denise below
—– Original Message —–
To: “Blog Carnival” < <>>
Sent: Sunday, May 18, 2008 12:54 PM
Subject: Blog Carnival Should do the right thing.

Dear Denise,

My latest attempt to discuss Blog Carnival’s refusal to make their
submission form accessible, snail mail. In addition to sending email and
voice mail to Brad Rubenstein, I have sent off a letter to the address on
his resume posted on his web site, <>.

One would think every day it gets more difficult to remain optimistic that a
positive outcome will eventually occur. However, I not only remain
optimistic, the negative feedback in the way of the lack of response from
Blog Carnival’s management is fueling my persistence.

Denise, if you have not made BC management/owners aware of this issue, you
can help bring this to a close by informing them of the multiple requests
made by myself and others. I truly believe that management will make a
commitment to resolving this issue. If not, I believe at the very least, an
official statement as to why they are not interested in providing access is

I hope to hear from a member of the BC management team.


BC Update: Let’s Talk to the Owner

Sunday, May 11th, 2008

Thanks to Ron from the Access Ability Blog for providing me with the contact information for the owner of Blog Carnival.

The fact that the only reply received was from Denise, a customer support representative, leads me to believe that upper management/owners may not be aware of the request to provide access.

Earlier this week I sent an email to the owner, Brad Rubenstein. I have not received any response so far.

I have also sent another email to Blog Carnival letting them know I have contacted Mr. Rubenstein. While  the "official" response to date is not one that satisfies our community, we are still expecting due access.

If you are not satisfied with BC’s response and do not want to tolerate blatant disrespect to the blind/disabilities community, then take a moment to write BC and Mr. Rubenstein.

Here’s my latest note to Denise from Blog Carnival followed by my note to Mr. Rubenstein


—– Original Message —–

To: "Blog Carnival" <>

Sent: Sunday, May 11, 2008 12:58 PM

Subject: Blind Community Wants Access

As I noted in my last email, I will continue to advocate for access to the
submission process via Blog Carnival.
Others in the community have expressed their commitment to do the same.
Other Bloggers have taken on the issue and will continue not only to raise
the awareness of inaccessibility of visual only CAPTCHA, but the
discriminatory practice of simply deciding to ignore a community’s request.
With the assistance of others in the community, we have determined that the
owner of Blog Carnival is Brad Rubenstein.
I have contacted Mr. Rubenstein to be sure that he is aware of the
"official" response to date. (See my note below)
It is still my hope that we can resolve this issue by implementing
additional CAPTCHA solutions such as;
It is not to late to let members of the blind and disabilities community
know that accessibility is important to your organization.
—– Original Message —–
To: <>
Sent: Thursday, May 08, 2008 2:34 PM
Subject: Blog Carnival – Message to Blind Community
Dear Mr. Rubenstein,
It has come to my attention that you are listed as the owner of Blog
Carnival LLC.
Over the last two months, I and other advocates in the blind community have
sent numerous emails to your support team, in order to raise the issue of
inaccessibility of your submission form. The problem is your submission form
requires users to complete a visual CAPTCHA. While we all understand the
importance of eliminating spam and malicious software, the use of a visual
only CAPTCHA excludes people who are visually impaired and blind from
independently submitting both posts and requests to customer support.
You should be aware that the problem was escalated when no one in the
community received a response to any of the numerous emails submitted. The
message, whether intentional or not, was that the blind community was not
wanted at Blog Carnival.
This past Sunday, I received the first response from someone in your
organization named Denise. I have attached her original email along with my
She essentially stated that Blog Carnival does not intend to  rectify this
problem. If you research the complaints that were sent, several of us have
pointed out alternatives such as audio CAPTCHA and
I am asking that you, as the owner and ultimately the official voice of
Blog Carnival, commit to resolving this problem. You have the opportunity to
change the message that is currently circulating in not only the blind
community, but the disabilities community at large.
You should be aware that I will be posting this email to my blog by Sunday
5/11 for my weekly BC Update. I would like nothing more than to post an
update that reflects a positive message from your company, rather than those
that have been posted thus far.
I look forward to hearing from you.