memevector (memevector) wrote in bicon_special,

potential proposals, part 1

I think it would be useful at this point to talk about what proposals we want to put to the decision-making plenary at BiCon. The proposals will come officially from the Disability Forum session at BiCon, but seems to me if we can get a pretty good draft of them in advance, it'll make that workshop time more effective and less stressful.

There are three main areas which I'm aware of having been discussed under this heading, and following my own suggestion about threading, I'm going to split them into three posts (even though LJ chronology will thus put them upside down on the page :-) ).

1. Referring from the (main) BiCon Guidelines to the Special Needs Guidelines in some way. The wording of this will fall somewhere between "You must do all this stuff" and "Here's this stuff, but we really don't care if you do it or not". It wants to copy the general flavour of the existing main BiCon guidelines.

Under "Access and anti discrimination issues", those already have

"BiCon literature should give a clear description of the level of disabled access available, and provision for people with disabilities should be a major consideration."

One way to include this new information would be to suggest an addition something like "The BiCon team should be guided by the BiCon Special Needs Guidelines".

Now, i.m.o. some people would not be happy voting for that without seeing roughly what kinds of special needs guidelines they were voting for, which is the point of getting the web site going before BiCon. But I don't think we need to have every last detail in place before the vote. Clearly, the specifics will evolve as people with different needs contribute to the discussion.

What I do think we need to make somewhat more explicit is the nature of the Special Needs Guidelines, in terms of who "owns" them and has the right to change them.

baratron and I talked a bit about this and we seem to think that the essence of it is people discussing here and, we hope, reaching a consensus.

baratron and potentially one or two others would take responsibility for updating the site when consensus seemed to be reached, which in a way would be the de facto control over what the guidelines said. (Currently it's me doing updates, but I don't envisage being the long term owner of it, (a) because I don't identify as disabled and (b) because I don't want to.)

We might also want to make explicit a principle that people describing their own special needs "carry more weight" in the discussion than people commenting from theoretical knowledge.

baratron also made the point that it would rarely, if ever, be a case of information needing to be deleted. It would be added to, and sometimes things would be superseded. But we're unlikely to get stuck in a debate over the "one true way" of something. E.g. if two different people make two different accessibility suggestions, then it'll go in like "Some people find X useful; to others that would be no help and they prefer Y".

Slightly tangential to this, but included here by virtue of its connection to the proposal:

I must confess that I'm having second thoughts about the name being "BiCon Special Needs Guidelines" (even though it was me that called them that first). I've had occasion to refer to both them and the BiCon Guidelines quite frequently in conversation this week, and they both naturally abbreviate to "the Guidelines", and I'm finding it rather tedious to have to keep making clear which one I mean.

Besides, the Special Needs site is sprouting to quite an enormous body of information, much of which is not exactly guidelines so much as awareness-raising and explanations.

So I wonder about changing the name to "BiCon Special Needs Data Bank" or "Info Bank" or "Advice Bank" or "Data Resource" or some such thing. Then it would naturally abbreviate in conversation to "the Data Bank" or whatever - and "The Guidelines" could go back to obviously meaning the main BiCon ones. I'm not bothered about the work of changing where I've written the name already.

The obvious objection to that would be if we felt that removing the word "guidelines" made it "less compulsory" to do all these things on the checklists. But (a) we haven't construed many of them as compulsory anyway, and (b) we could still use the expression "should be guided by" in the BiCon guidelines. E.g. "The BiCon team should be guided by the information in the BiCon Special Needs Info Bank".

Any other objections to that idea or thoughts about it? and if we do change the name, which words would people prefer?
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