Sunday, 1 November 2009

Voices of America

What will they say?

Kasey Grey continues to spread the word on the activities of ACENA (the Association of Conductive Education of North America). Inter alia, the latest posting on her American Conductor blog reports that ACENA is arranging a North American Conductive Education Awareness Day for 25 February next year, providing…

…customizable press releases, letters to local government, Conductive Education stats and facts, sample advertisements with a common message, and a post-campaign evaluation.

She says to look out for the kit in late December.

‘…stats, facts… a common message’. Not just ACENA members will look forward to this.

Gray, K. (2009) Conductive Education News from North America, American Conductor, 30 October

Meanwhile, in another part of the forest

The Conductive Education Communications Center has announced that it ‘will be launched on or about October 30, 2009’. Well, some of its 'poral' is up and running, and it will be interesting to see in its entirety when it is all there:

To me, the most interesting bits will be the Forum and the Articles, since these will speak of Conductive Education to the world outside. What will they say?

So far there are no articles.

The forum is there to join but after my six unsuccessful attempts to transcribe the mystery letters the site lost patience and considered my claim not to be a robot unproven, and closed me down.

Tip to all forum providers

What you have there is not all that valuable.

Perhaps the punters whom you lose in overblown ‘security’ procedures (not me especially) are priceless.


  1. The other side of the coin

    While I understand and generally agree with your concerns about technology getting in the way, never being completely finished and seemingly over-zealous security measures that block access and cause great frustration, thus losing sites visitors and reputation, must I put my perspective across. These concerns highlight issues that negative impact for everyone using and developing social networking. I feel, you are failing to appreciate the other side of the coin, the impact on service providers and developers.

  2. Not ‘Over blown’

    I have to object to your comments about "overblown ‘security’ procedures ". Over blown, hardly. Intrusive, annoying, obstructive, maybe. But site designers do try to minimise the impact of such measure on accessibility and usability, they are just not always successful in achieving it. If there were no such measures ‘visible’ or behind-the-scenes then social networking sites (including fora) would very soon collapse under the burden of threats such as spam. Even then, if a site remains still available, nobody wants to wade through adverts for sex and drugs (at least not if they have a genuine interest in the topic being discussed). Not to mention the burden all the unsolicited junk causes for site administrators. Bear in mind, that site providers have to work with the security tools at the disposal no matter how well they are designed, or how frustrating they are for the end user.

  3. Security is a requirement

    Unfortunately, the days of the old forum and the Foundation's 1997-era website are long gone, so no matter how much you appreciated the anonymity of that site and the log-in free access, it’s not coming back. So we have to face the technology divide. Tackle the challenges facing CE as it strives towards 2.0. No going back.

    In the 1990s anything on the web that wasn’t a static page linked to other such pages, like say a forum, was probably a ‘roll your own’ solution. A developer had to write the whole software package that provided the forum capability from scratch without the benefit of software ‘stack’ providing reusable functions like security and log-in handling. This led to much re-inventing of the wheel, but also made it hard to forge the sort of links between sites that make social networking possible, due to incompatibility. So ‘early’ forums such as the CE one often had little in the way of authentication or security measures. Today’s software stacks include a lot of security features, but are also designed to require log-in, partly because of security. The way these stacks are designed means it is purposefully very difficult to remove such features to provide anonymous access. Such changes are a lot of work. Providers want to get there services running as quickly and cheaply as possible. That means using one of the software stacks with as little modification as possible, which implies having to accept their security model.

  4. Personal perspective

    I’ve tried to minimise the interference of measures security on my site but I have to balance it against the threats faced. I don’t like having to log-in answer security question or fill CACHTPA any more than you do, but I have to accept them as the reality of the modern web. I’d like to have the resources to contribute improvements to those parts of the system (I believe there’s a lot of room for improvement), but I do not have the said resources, and my priority has to be maintaining and developing my site, not the software that powers it. Same for the others involved in CE on the web, too. I’ve been aware of these issues from the beginning, I am still no nearer the ideal solution, there is no ideal solution. I have to accept the reality of the situation, I've worried about it long enough. To improve the situation we have to educate users and potential users. Provide support and guidance. (Who’s going to do that ? There’s no tech support centre, no staff. No-one to recruit from within the community). We have to face the challenges, cross the digital divide. But there are no easy answers. Wetware problem? You bet it is.

  5. Talking about annoying and inconvenient, I had to split my response into chunks, because of the 4,096 character per post limit. Technology annoyances are everywhere--they're part of modern life.

  6. I have just registered for this forum so it looks as though any glitches may have been sorted now.
    Technology is wonderful and I wish I understood the needs and systems better, but have decided to accept that it can be complicated at times and frustrating!

  7. Thanks, Elliott, for stating the problems on the other side.

    Thanks to your guidance over the last couple of years or so I have come to understand how the golden years of the Internet are being progressively forced into the past by the mindless Wallies who take pleasure in wrecking thinks.

    I am particularly sensitive to this at the moment since I am still recovering from a very nasty attack on my computer. Hence my late reply to you here, and hence a load of minor gremlins still that have yet to be sorted.

    I certainly respect the need to keep things safe! Just like in part I appreciate the need for ‘security measures’ in the rest of my life. Like in airports, if you know what I mean!

    Like elsewhere, though, I expect a certain balance. And I expect a certain amount of consideration in return. I think that you personally have a reasonable compromise going., in both respects.

    The site in question fell down in the respect for me as a user. Gill got in pretty quickly, after just two goes. I enquired how she did this and she told me that she ignored spaces. Why was I not told about this ambiguity? I also experienced too great an ambiguity in some of the characters presented. Ambiguity is acceptable in this, to a degree, but after a couple of straightforward rejections of my application, without any explanation or guidance, I could not help but feel that the site could not care a damn about me and my wish to get in.

    This is a discourtesy and an unnecessary loss of goodwill.

    After Gill’s hint I got in after two goes and now I take an occasional peek. It is very quiet there and I have to ask why.

    - Is it the ‘silence of the seas’ that seem to afflict almost everyone in Conductive Education (a very sad example of this on your site over the last few days)?

    - Or is it that there are others who, like myself, gave up trying, and don’t have someone to give them a helping hand.

    I shall keep complaining about the technology, whatever happens, though nor being able to resist trying it out where I can. Just you keep explaining it.