OT: ACB & NFB (was: Sonar)

Linux for blind general discussion blinux-list at redhat.com
Tue Apr 25 18:06:39 UTC 2017

believe me, both groups are equally as bad, and for differing reasons and over differing issues.

the problem is that the ACB is a split off group from the NFB (sometime in the late 1960's). THis was due to political differences and those differences still exist today.
now, one of the items that irritates me most (especially about the NFB) is a written policy stating that the rank and file cannot speak out against the leadership (this is specific to the NFB btw). Where does that leave folks like me? looking for alternative resources when something needs to get done.

Now, what the NFB did over the accessible money thing was to shoot themselves in the foot. they had a bill reader (about $110 for the device) and any changes to the currency would have made that device irrelevant. However, technology changed anyway and that device quickly became irrelevant anyway. Of course, this is what happens when you put lawyers in charge! :) The ACB is the same way, but on differing issues.

anyway, thats my 2 cents worth for what it is.


On Apr 25, 2017, at 9:21 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:

> The problem with having 2 different advocacy groups is that turf wars are almost inevitable.  Of course, there is also an issue with efficiency, each group has to spend money and volunteer resources on things like offices, employees, web sites, etc. But the main problem is personality conflicts and turf wars. A good example is the NFB's reaction to a lawsuit by the ACB to make money accessible. The ACB sued the Treasury Department to make them make our currency accessible. The NFB issued a resolution calling the lawsuit a "publicity stunt" and the President of the NFB at the time, Mark Maurer, testified before congress that blind people didn't need accessible money. Another example is when the ACB helped get the Access Board to propose a regulation that would have required cities to install accessible walk signals whenever they installed a new traffic signal. The NFB organized protests to block the regulation from going forward.
> It may be unfortunate that the two best examples are both by the NFB. I've been told that the ACB is just as bad but I don't have any direct evidence of that. I am not trying to demonize the NFB but to make a point about how these things work. Take a step back and think about the basic facts here. After spending decades advoccating for accessible money, an advocacy group for the blind found itself sending it's President to Congress to testify against exactly that. An advocacy group for the blind found itself organizing protests to block regulations that would have greatly expanded the number of accessible walk signals. How do you get to a point like that? By being unwilling to compromise and letting the perfect be the enemy of the good.
> PS: This message is already longer than I'd like but I will admit I have not provided as much detail as I'd like about the 2 NFB positions I outlined. Having argued about this for years, I know that supporters of the NFB might take issue with what  I've said. But the truth is that my points are basically true and accurate. For example, an NFB supporter might say it is unfair to say Dr. Maurer testified against accessible money. But it is fair. Any neutral observer, listening to Dr. Maurer's testimony would conclude he was arguing against the Treasury department bothering to make our money accessible at all. An NFB supporter might argue that Dr. Maurer was right, we don't need accessible money. But the NFB itself had been arguing for that for years.
> On 04/25/2017 10:29 AM, Linux for blind general discussion wrote:
>> I know next to nothing about the NFB and ACB, and I could've sworn
>> there was an AFB in there somewhere, but unless one organization is
>> hoarding resources for their own members, refuse to let members be
>> part of other organizations, or abuse IP law to the point only those
>> willing to jump through their hoops can benefit, I'm not sure what the
>> problem is with multiple organizations opporating in the same arena
>> and pursueing differing goals. After all, the more choices one has,
>> the better the chances of finding something that works for their own
>> needs.
>> Sure, someone working to improve screen reading on the Linux Desktop
>> might be better off contributing to Orca than trying to produce their
>> own screen reader, and someone interested in improving screen reading
>> in Windows would probably be better off contributing to NVDA or even
>> applying for a job at Freedom Scientific than trying to create another
>> screen reader for Windows, but with how vastly different Windows and
>> Linux are as ecosystems, cooperation between the two sides might not
>> offer any tangible benefit not already provided by NVDA and Orca both
>> being open source. And even within the same ecosystem, speech and
>> braille are two completely different beasts, so not only could
>> cooperation between a speech developer and a braille developer not
>> benefit either side, trying to integrate their efforts into a single
>> program that does both braille and speech might just lead to something
>> that's harder to maintain than a pair of separate, single-purpose
>> programs.
>> Actually, I think that just might be a practical example of the wisdom
>> behind the Unix Philosophy of "Do one thing and do it well".
>> As for competing standards, when you only have a few competing
>> standards and one is clearly superior to the others(e.g. Blu-Ray vs HD
>> DVD), often the superior standard kills the inferior standard unless
>> the inferior standard has overwhelming backing of big business or the
>> government or is so much cheaper people over look it's inferiority.
>> However, when you have many standards in near perfect competition,
>> trying to introduce a new standard to replace them all often results
>> in just adding another standard to the list. Consider the various
>> document, image, audio, and video formats in common usage for storing
>> stuff digitally and how they tend to be an eclectic mix of formats
>> that have been around for decades and formats that popped up in the
>> last few years, and how the older formats aren't limited just to files
>> that have been circulating for years. Honestly, it's a small miracle
>> HDMI became the one standard to rule them all instead of ending up
>> with as many HD video connectors as there are different SD Video
>> connectors, and I'd say the same of USB if it wasn't a single
>> all-purpose standard replacing a multitude of single purpose
>> standards.
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