On Tue, 2006-03-21 at 18:27 +0200, Orna Agmon wrote:
> On Tue, 21 Mar 2006, Omer Zak wrote:
> > 2. Money to pay for paid work transcribing lectures:  from where will
> > the budget come?  If there are more lectures than budget, how to select
> > which lectures to transcribe?
> >
> > 3. The solution which I suggest is as follows:
> > After the lecture is recorded, make the recording available only to
> > volunteers, each of whom is to agree to transcribe say 5-minute or
> > 10-minute segment of the lecture, in exchange for early access to the
> > lecture and for giving them credit for transcribing it.  Once the
> > transcribing work is done, make the audio recording and the textual
> > transcription available together to the Web surfing world.
> > [If the lecture is in English, the transcribers can first run
> > speech-to-text software on it and then manually fix its mistakes.]
> >
> Hi Omer,
> The system you drive at is unstable and cannot work.

Do you have a better idea?

> You suggest limiting the availability of recorded lectures until
> transcribed. This witholding of information will only cause the recorded
> lectures to be made available through other channels rather than the
> official one, because information will leak.

I agree that this is (can be) a problem.  Need a better idea.  Maybe we
can set up a system of usernames, and when people download a the audio
recording of a lecture, the Web server will give higher priority to
people, who transcribed more minutes of previous lectures?

>  Also, at the cost of making
> sure that the deaf have the lecture transcribed quickly, you suggest
> delaying it for many others.

If there is enough motivation to volunteer, the delay will not be that
long.  The first 17:25 minutes of Larry Wall's lecture were transcribed
in 10 days by 9 different volunteers (isn't it nice that
http://wiki.osdc.org.il/ has an history page?).  And this was without
the benefit of external motivations at all.

If we can motivate people, then 1-hour lecture transcribing job should
be complete within less a week.

> You suggest forcing people who want to listen to the lecture to "pay" by
> transcribing it, while this is not their itch at all. This is completely
> against the spirit of free software.

This is similar in spirit to projects, in which the software developer
says something like "after I get $20,000 in donations/sales, I'll
release the software under GPL".  There were such projects in the past,
but I understand that they were not successful.  This did not become a
viable Free Software business model.  But this was not due to moral

One part of my suggestion was that after the entire lecture has been
transcribed, it is "unlocked" and becomes available to all comers
(including the deaf users of the textual transcription).

>  You know I have volunteered in the
> past to trnascribe meetings for you (from which others have enjoyed as
> well), but I personally refuse to be forced to "volunteer".

I know and appreciate your efforts.

>  Even if I
> refuse to volunteer to transcribe, you already plan for me as
> [EMAIL PROTECTED] the job of dividing a lecture into tiny tidbits,
> spreading the work to volunteers and assembling it together, if I get your
> idea correctly.

Nadav (in other E-mail messages) suggested that software be written to
handle those administrative details.  I already agreed to work on
writing it.  So my plans for you as a webmaster are limited to
essentially one-time tasks:
1. Install the software.
2. Decide to implement any policies needed to get the software to
accomplish its mission.

> You say you "have a life" and does not have time to put in effort for this
> cause (for example by writing the software to do it).

I do not have the time to enlist volunteers to transcribe each lecture.
This is repeating task.  Writing the software is one-time task, and the
software can be useful also for deaf people in other countries.

>  Splitting the work
> among athoer people does not make the work
> less, rather the opposite, it has an overhead.

I agree, and this is why I was glad to see Nadav's suggestion to develop
software for this purpose.

>  We are not talking about
> donating free computer cycles like [EMAIL PROTECTED], but about forcing actual
> people to volunteer. It is like saying that every person can give 10
> shekels, in order for one person to be really rich.

This is more like asking everyone to give 10NIS to help someone, who
needs an expensive medical procedure, for which no insurance is

Making a lecture accessible to a deaf person is not about making him
richer than other people.  It is about pulling him from below to a level
equal to that of his hearing fellows.

> You compare the accesability of a volunteer site or a volunteer
> organization like Haifux with the accesability of a public building. You
> compare the transcription to having an elevator, which is the right of
> those who cannot climb stairs to have. This comparison is misleading,
> since when a building is built, and especially out of tax money or using a
> government permit for a public place (like a cinema), this building has a
> budget. Caring for those who cannot climb stairs means allocating a part
> of this budget towards this purpose. Haifux does not have a budget, so
> demanding hours of work is inappropriate.

I am not demanding transcripts of lectures.  While budget was offered to
make AP 4 accessible for me, I did not utilize it.  Neither did I ask
for or get back money to pay for the interpreters in lectures which I
gave in HAIFUX and TELUX last year.

What I am asking for is that for people to care enough to make textual
transcripts available together with audio recordings, to keep the
playing field level for both hearing and the deaf.

If no audio recordings were to be made available, I'd not raise the
issue of textual transcripts.

I do not want to be (or put other deaf software developers) in a
situation 10 years from now, in which I visit Hamakor's Web site, see
that there are 100 items about lectures with cool subjects, but they are
available only as audio recordings, with no textual transcripts.  To be
made to feel that parts of this Web site are off-limits for the deaf.

> I agree that you have a case when we are talking about organizing an event
> with budget. But demanding "volunteer" work just does not work.

                                                --- Omer
Delay is the deadliest form of denial.    C. Northcote Parkinson
My own blog is at http://tddpirate.livejournal.com/

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