Censorship on DeafRead



I remember reading a comment from DeafRead’s founder, Tayler Mayer, where he claims that DeafRead is all about neutrality and that blog entries are published on DeafRead in an unbiased manner.

Well apparently, that’s not the case. Instead of allowing for healthy discourse on the subject, the DeafRead editors appear to have decided not to publish my last entry which questions their ethics in participating in a contest they are running. This blatant censorship is shameful. It makes me wonder how much censorship goes on at DeafRead.

Let’s face it. We’ve given too much power to DeafRead. They currently have way too much control over our Deaf blogosphere. They can suppress dissent and easily block information and ideas at their whim. We all have enough oppression in our lives. We don’t need it from DeafRead, too.

Like it or not, DeafRead currently has a monopoly on our Deaf blogosphere. It’s time for our community to come up with alternatives to DeafRead. DeafRead should not be the only place we obtain our news from and we should have other means of connecting with other Deaf bloggers.

Wouldn’t it be great if someone came along and created something better than DeafRead that celebrates free speech, sans all the egos, ads, and b.s.? If you have the technical know-how, please step forward. We need your expertise. We need more choices and alternatives. Most of all, we need more people who truly believe in free speech and who do not simply give it lip service.


January 25, 2008 at 4:29 pm 97 comments

Unfair Advantage: DeafRead Editors Should Recuse Themselves

DeafRead Awards Contest Ethics Questioned

I’ve heard a lot of grumbling lately about the DeafRead editors being candidates for the upcoming DeafRead Awards taking place in California next month. Nearly all of the editors have been nominated in one or more award categories. I have to agree with those who think this stinks to high heaven.

When a contest takes place, there’s always the fine print in terms of eligibility. It goes something like this: “Employees, volunteers, immediate family members, and anyone working directly for the organization or on the contest are not eligible to enter.”

All of the DeafRead editors should have automatically been disqualified from participation in this awards contest. Especially since they are the ones running the contest, counting and “analyzing the votes”. On top of that, your e-mail address is required for you to vote, which allows them to know whether or not you voted for them. This puts undue pressure on some to vote a certain way, giving the editors an unfair advantage. They also have more name recognition than most due to their names and blogs being prominently displayed on the DeafRead web site.

I seriously question the DeafRead editor’s ethics and judgment in allowing themselves to participate in a contest they are running. Frankly, it’s plain wrong. The editors should immediately recuse themselves from the contest and call for a revote. It’s the right thing to do.

January 24, 2008 at 10:30 pm 43 comments

Ridor Threatens to Sue

Two weeks ago, I did an interview with Ridor of RidorLive.com for this blog. I have no problem saying I’m a Ridor fan. While I don’t agree with half the things he says or writes about, I love the guy.

As I got home from work today, I made a mental note to finish the Ridor interview piece tonight and publish it on this blog.

Imagine my surprise to open my e-mail box and find two threatening e-mails from Ridor himself. He was threatening to sue over a comment a poster made on my blog and demanded that the comment be immediately removed. The e-mail said that if it were not removed within the next 12 hours he would take legal action. He also demanded that I block the comment poster from further access to the blog.

I don’t know about you, but I found this a bit ironic coming from the “arguably most controversial deaf blogger in America”. This is the same blogger whom the term “ridorize” was coined after. [ Coined on GallyNet-L, the term “ridorize” is defined as “the process or method of using cyberspace to terrorize (launch personal attacks against) people who don’t agree with your radical views.” ]

Was Jamie Berke’s “he can dish it out, but can he take it?” declaration proving to be true? I couldn’t help but chuckle and shake my head. That’s Ridor for you.

I also felt annoyed. Was the threatening tone really necessary? He and I have been on amicable terms. All he had to do was ask. I’m a nice, reasonable guy.

With that in mind, I opened my Web browser and entered the URL to my blog, curious to see the comment that had offended Ridor so. Normally, he’s a good sport about comments made about him. As I read the comment, my smile faded. I understood why he was upset. The comment really crossed the line. I’d be pretty upset, too if that kind of comment had been directed to me.

Under the cloak of anonymity, the viciousness of our community is escalating. We currently live in a Wild Wild West blogsphere where anything goes. People are taking liberties and saying things they’d never say face-to-face. Ironically, when I think about where it all started, I think of Ridor’s blog. This new level of viciousness, however, is definitely taking us to a whole new low.

Can Ridor sue over the comment? Of course. In our litigious-happy society, you can sue over anything. But that doesn’t mean he has a case. At least not against me. Thanks to Section 230 of the Federal Communications Decency Act, bloggers are not liable for comments made by third parties. If not for this, I’m sure Ridor himself would have already seen countless of lawsuits against his person for the comments made on his blog.

While he has no case against me, he can sue the person who made the offending comment. Because Ridor posted a response disputing the comment minutes after it was made, I doubt he has much of a case. As I pointed out to him, the Delaware Supreme Court ruled that people aggrieved by a blog have the opportunity for redress simply by posting a response to the offending comment. Which he did. In addition, because Ridor could be considered a public figure, he’d also have to prove the comment was damaging and made with “actual malice”. Then there’s also the issue of whether anyone really takes anonymous blog comments seriously. For these and other countless reasons, such libel cases are extremely difficult to win.

That said, the fact remains that the poster went too far. Where do we draw the line?

Those of you who post comments on this and other blogs need to understand that using a pseudonym and a fake e-mail address doesn’t necessarily shield you from liability for what you write. Anonymous bloggers can be tracked down by their IP addresses.

I’m all for freedom of speech and freedom of expression. This is why I neither monitor nor censor comments made on my blog. The responsibility for your comments lies solely with you. Please blog and comment responsibly.

January 8, 2007 at 10:40 pm 126 comments

Chris Leon’s Roar #1 on WordPress!

Much to my surprise, WordPress ranked this blog #1 yesterday on it’s “Growing Blogs” and “WordPress.com Blogs of the Day“. Awesome! Especially when you consider the fact that WordPress is home to over a half million blogs!

Chris Leon’s Roar Ranks #1 on WordPress

This blog has generated a great deal of traffic lately. I’m humbled by this. A thank you to all of you fine readers who have taken the time to visit this blog and share your opinions on the issues raised here.

We’re a passionate community with differing viewpoints. Blogging has become an invaluable tool that is serving to unite our community in many different capacities. While we may not always agree or share the same viewpoints, I firmly believe that dialogue and dissent are healthy and serve to help us grow.

As someone commented on this blog, 2007 is without a doubt going to be the Year of the Deaf Bloggers!

January 7, 2007 at 5:46 am 15 comments

First-Ever Deaf B/Vlogging Conference

Gallaudet University’s Coalition for Critical Inquiry is putting together a one-day blogging / vlogging conference to take place on February 3.

Kudos to Gallaudet for recognizing the importance and impact of b/vlogging. Among those invited to participate as panelists include yours truly.

Here’s the official announcement:

Gallaudet University

‘Vlogging/Blogging the Future of Gallaudet’

This conference will be held February 3 at Gallaudet (9 am – 5 pm, location tba)
Organized by the Coalition for Critical Inquiry

Internet communication played a major role during the recent protests at Gallaudet, even catching the attention of media analysts outside the deaf community. Vlogs and blogs were used heavily to share information, publicize fast-breaking news, and debate events and issues. Popular websites generated unprecedented traffic levels and several crashed during the arrests as thousands of people sought live updates from bloggers on the scene. Other sites hosted lengthy discussions about the protest, with people from all corners of the deaf world coming together in sometimes respectful, sometimes raucous debates. What changes will come to Gallaudet as a result of these discussions? How is vlogging/blogging impacting the deaf community? How will new communication technology continue to change the shape of our world?

This one-day conference, organized by the Coalition for Critical Inquiry, will explore these and other questions. Noted deaf vloggers/bloggers will share their experiences and ideas about how Gallaudet and the deaf community should move forward after the protests. Participants have been selected based on quality of previous posts about the protests and represent diverse perspectives in the deaf community. The conference is open to the public and will be available online via realtime captioning and. Voice and ASL interpreters will be provided.

The Coalition for Critical Inquiry provides public forums for objective debate and critical reflection on controversial issues affecting Gallaudet’s future. Membership is open to students, faculty, staff, and teachers. Its goal is to model intellectual dialogue, respect for diverse viewpoints, and commitment to social justice for the Gallaudet and larger deaf community. All events organized by the coalition are committed to presenting a range of perspectves to help members of the community come to informed opinions and decisions.

For more information about the conference or the Coalition, contact Jill.Bradbury@gallaudet.edu


Tentative Conference Schedule / List of Panelists:

Panel 1: “Whither Gallaudet?” (9-10:30 am)
Robert Cox (Deaf DC)
David Evans (mrsandman)
Ryan Commerson (Signcasts)
Elisa Abenchuchan (elisawrites)
Moderator: TBA
Respondent: TBA

Panel 2: “Future Visions of Deaf Identity” (10:45-12:15)
Alok Doshi
Chris Leon (Chris Leon’s Roar)
Kristi Merriweather
Rebecca Wilova (Bellamoden)
Moderator: Christopher Heuer (Tactile Mind)
Respondent: Cheryl Wu

Panel 3: “The Futuristic Classroom” (1:15-2:45 pm)
Katie Roberts
Patti Albee (Curious Eyes)
Mike McConnell (Kokonutpundits)
Carl Shcroeder (Kalalau’s Corner)
Moderator: TBA
Respondent: Karen Kimmel

Keynote Panel: “Vlogging/Blogging and the Future of the Deaf Community” (3-5 pm)
Joey Baer (ASL Vlog)
Jared Evans (DeafRead)
Taylor Mayer (DeafRead)
Shane Feldman (Deaf DC)
Elizabeth Gillipsie (mishkazena)
Moderator: Allison Kaftan
Respondent: Tara Schupner

January 5, 2007 at 2:40 pm 182 comments

Bay Area Getting Too Big for Its Britches?

I’m imagining one of Dan McClintock’s great political ASL cartoons here in this exact spot. It’s a cartoon of the state of California signing “big headed”. He hasn’t drawn it yet, but I can see it so vividly.

Big Headed Bay Area.

In case you haven’t heard, the Bay Area in California has put together a “Deaf Unity Gala” with “the Gallaudet Student Leaders”. The $50-per-ticket event takes place tonight.

Who are the student leaders you ask? Well, the Bay Area organizers of this event have decided there are just four. That’s right. Just four. They’ve also gone so far as to decide just who these four are.

Ryan Commerson
Tara Holcomb
Chris Corrigan
LaToya Plummer

Listed in that exact order.

Where do they get off, you ask? Well, I wonder the same thing.

There were many student leaders of this recent protest. Delia Lozano-Martinez, Leah Katz-Hernandez and SBG President Noah Beckman come immediately to mind. Why weren’t they included?

It also makes me wonder about the Deaf President Now protest of 1988. How did we end up with just four student leaders, when surely there were more than just four? Who made this decision for us? And why did we allow it to be made?

December 22, 2006 at 11:11 am 317 comments

Silly Hearing People

Did you read about the guy in New York that had his gym membership revoked for “grunting” during his workout? Yep. Sounds farfetched, but it actually happened at the Planet Fitness Gym in Dutches County. See the related news story in the previous entry.

When I first heard about this story, I had a good chuckle. Silly Hearing People!

If they’re so bothered by grunting, why don’t they use ear plugs?

I couldn’t help wondering if any deaf people frequent this gym or others like it. And if they do, are they exempt from ridiculous rules like these?

I also began to wonder… do I grunt?

During an especially arduous workout, could those deep breaths I take be construed as “grunting”?


As a deaf man, I rarely give much thought to the kinds of sounds I make. I’ve been told that I sometimes make vocal sounds when I’m excited. This always surprises me as it’s not conscious.

If I were a member of this gym and I do in fact “grunt”, should I be expelled for doing something that I can’t hear myself do?

November 22, 2006 at 7:32 am 10 comments

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