An Overview of DeafRead

Introduction

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Hello! Welcome to DeafRead. DeafRead is an aggregator that gathers blogs from all over the internet into one central location. We have below a number of short clips that will explain different parts of DeafRead and how it all works-- where DeafRead has been, and how it's changed over time.

Among these clips are a brief history of DeafRead; the different elements of DeafRead; what an aggregator is; a general overview of guidelines; and the various features at DeafRead. DeafRead started with just a few basic touches, and has grown over time; I'll explain a few of the major changes that have been added. Last, I'll explain how to add your blog to DeafRead.

History

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Now I'd like to offer a (very) brief history of DeafRead. DeafRead began in July 2006, and was created by myself (Tayler Mayer) and Jared Evans.

Why did we establish DeafRead? There were a number of deaf blogs scattered around the internet; it was difficult for bloggers and readers alike to find these blogs. We realized that DeafRead would solve this problem. By using an aggregator, we gathered these various blogs and funnelled them into one site accessible to all.

One central reason for developing DeafRead is that Jared and I wanted to empower the deaf community; we wanted to allow everyone a voice, a place where people could speak out.

Aggregator

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Hello! DeafRead is an aggregator [the sign is the same as "consolidate" or "summarize"]. So what is an aggregator? Basically, what happens is the program will search the internet, and gather all the deaf-related blogs into our database.

Every hour our database will check to see if you [the blogger] have typed something new. If a new post appears in our system, our human moderators will open the post and review it. If the post is deaf-related and meets our guidelines, it will be posted on DeafRead.

An aggregator simply gathers posts; it does not mean we support or reject the content within each post. We don't censor blogs based on the bloggers' opinions. We publish everything as long as it is deaf-related and satisfies the guidelines.

Components

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DeafRead has different sections. I'll explain briefly about each area.

First, the main page of DeafRead. This is where you'll find posts that are deaf-related and meet our guidelines. Later, we added a second page, called DeafRead "Extra"; the posts here are not deaf-related and do not meet our guidelines.

The next section is our Official Blog. This is where we communicate with the community and keep our readers updated on what's happening at DeafRead. You can comment, share your ideas and feedback with DeafRead through the Official Blog.

We also have a separate site called DeafRead Youth. On DeafRead itself, the bloggers must be 18 or older; DeafRead Youth is for bloggers under 18. But if a DeafRead Youth blogger has their parents' permission, their posts can appear on both DeafRead and DeafRead Youth.

Now, last, our guidelines. Ideally, we at DeafRead wish there was no need for guidelines. But we have seen abuses, and thus there's a need for some limitations/rules. We always celebrate freedom of speech and encourage as healthy and open discussions as possible, but some boundaries had to be established. There's a link on DeafRead that will take you to our Guidelines page, a full page that explains exactly what our guidelines are.

Evolution

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DeafRead started in July 2006 with just four blogs; now it includes over 600 blogs. Since DeafRead started, it has changed a lot, to serve the community better and provide a better experience. I want to discuss a few of these changes that have helped to improve DeafRead and make it better.

The first addition was DeafRead Extra. Originally DeafRead had just one main page, with just one list of deaf-related posts that met our guidelines. But people wanted to see what wasn't approved, so we decided to add a second list of blog posts. We realized after establishing DeafRead Extra that one nice aspect is that it showed we publish everything. Now, if readers feel that a post on Extra should be moved to the front page, they can inform us either through e-mail or by voting; if there are enough responses, the post will be moved to DeafRead's main page. However, the move depends on the post satisfying our guidelines; if the post's content doesn't meet the guidelines, it cannot be moved from DeafRead Extra.

Next, hearing bloggers. Hearing bloggers are allies, and many support the deaf community. I feel that some hearing bloggers should be welcome on DeafRead. However, hearing blogs cannot be more than 5% of all blogs on DeafRead; 95% of the blogs must be by deaf people. Additionally, all posts by hearing bloggers cannot be more than 10% of all posts approved for DeafRead. Now, how can you tell if a post is by a hearing blogger? Easy-- if you look at the posts, you'll see on the left a box, where the number of visits are listed. If the box is shaded grey, it's a post by a hearing blogger. Deaf bloggers have their boxes in color.

Now, number three. Categories-- on DeafRead the large number of posts contains so much information-- how can readers filter through these posts? Sometimes the summaries don't contain enough information about the content, or there might not even be a summary. A post's title might not clearly indicate what it's about; should you click on that post or not? Our team of moderators decided to develop categories, and we review the posts to determine which categories apply, or where they fit best. You can look at the category list to see what they're about, or click on the categories themselves, to see all the posts under that category.

Another big change is DeafRead Mobile. What this means is we made DeafRead friendly for pagers-- SideKicks, BlackBerries, iPhones-- any number of mobile devices. DeafRead Mobile is faster with no graphics or other elements-- just the posts and their links.

Next-- we added what's called DeafRead Custom. Custom means you can personalize DeafRead. On the top of the DeafRead page, you'll see a link that says, "Customize your DeafRead!" When you click on that link, you can then decide what you don't want to read on DeafRead. You can always return and change it back to how it was before. Another way to hide blogs is to go to the DeafRead page. There you'll see a link under each post that says, "Hide this blog." Now, I must caution you: clicking on that specific link doesn't mean it will hide only that specific post; it will hide that blog and all the posts on that blog. So if you click that link, you will no longer see that blog on the DeafRead page. You can always go back and unblock the blog. This feature allows you to make DeafRead YOURS-- personalized.

Last, flagging posts. This is a way for you to communicate with us, to make it easier. You can always e-mail us, but now with one single click, you can flag a post. This will alert us, and allow us to reconsider whether it should be published in DeafRead. A high number of flags will prompt a review. Now, to be able to flag, readers will need to sign in and create an account. Once signed in, you can flag posts that violate our guidelines.

That covers our changes; there have been many new features in over two years of DeafRead, and we will continue adding and adjusting features to make it a better experience for everyone!

Adding Blogs

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Now, if you're interested in adding your blog to DeafRead, we've made it easy. Look below for the link-- it'll take you to a form. Just type in your blog's address [the URL], and your e-mail. That's all!

Give me a few days to approve your blog and add it to DeafRead. We will review the blog content. If there's nothing deaf-related at all, it won't be added. If there's at least some deaf-related material, it will be approved and added.

Once a blog has been approved, it will be moved into moderation. When a new post appears, we'll look it over. If that post is deaf-related and follows the guidelines, it will appear on the front page of DeafRead. If the post is not deaf-related and does not meet the guidelines, it will appear on DeafRead Extra. We will publish everything, just on two different pages depending on the individual post's content.

Now, will we publish ALL blogs? No, not true. For example, blogs containing porn, or commercial blogs that advertise or offer products for sale aren't welcome in DeafRead. We will screen for these blogs.

Last, some blogs fade away and are abandoned. This is normal, and happens from time to time. Some blogs will have a lot of activity, then go quiet, then be busy again. Some blogs will die out completely and never return.

When this happens, and a blog is inactive, it will be moved. If a blog has not been active for more than 3 months, we will check to see if there has been any new material. If there's nothing new, the blog will be moved from the list of active blogs and posted under the list of inactive blogs. This helps us maintain control; DeafRead has over 600 blogs. Checking all these blogs consumes a lot of time. By dividing blogs into "active" and "inactive," it helps everyone.

Now, suppose you have not written for a while, and you decide you want to blog again? On the list of blogs at DeafRead, you'll see the top part is a list of currently active blogs. The bottom half is a list of inactive blogs. If your blog is in the inactive list, just e-mail us; there's a link there for you to use. Once we hear from you, we'll move your blog back to the active list, so your post will appear on DeafRead!



Gratitude is due to David S. Evans, for helping with the script and translating the videos. :-)
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