Atheism+'s First Project: A+ Scribe!

One of the questions people have been asking about Atheism Plus is, “What exactly will it do”? Which is a very reasonable and fair question. A bit premature, perhaps, given that less than two weeks ago this was just a germ of an idea about wanting a new wave of atheism, and the actual tangible thing is, as of this writing, less than four days old. But still, a fair question.

And one which now has its first answer: A+ Scribe. A project to transcribe videos, podcasts, and other media in the atheosphere that aren’t accessible to the deaf and hearing-impaired hard of hearing. From their mission statement:

The mission of A+Scribe is to help improve the accessibility of resources in the A+ sphere (and eventually beyond) to Deaf and Hard of Hearing readers. We will strive to honestly, accurately, and completely transcribe as many inaccessible resources as we can.

Accessibility for the disabled is a major social justice issue. And accessibility on the Internet, where so much atheism activism and organizing gets done, is a major issue for the atheist community. I am delighted that this A+Scribe project is happening. And I’m tickled pink that it’s happening less than two weeks after this germ of an idea about Atheism+ was floated, and less than four days after the actual tangible thing was launched. If you have a podcast or video you want transcribed, let them know. And if you want to help, they would love to hear from you

And can I just say: I can’t wait to see what else comes out of this! As of this writing, the Atheism+ forum already has over 700 members, with over 2500 posts on over 300 topics. (I think I’m beginning to see the real peril of this thing: it is a huge, much too tempting time-suck.) There’s been a lot of controversy and debate over this idea, at least some of which is understandable — but I think it’s obscuring the fact that what this is, basically, is a community. A community of people who share some common values and goals, and who want to work together on those goals. If something this concretely useful has already come out of it just in its infancy, I cannot wait to see what else we are going to do.

Atheism+'s First Project: A+ Scribe!

85 thoughts on “Atheism+'s First Project: A+ Scribe!

  1. 1

    Sweet! Transcriptions are one of those “universal design” things–they work for people with or without disabilities. Sort of like how those curb ramps at crosswalks are good for everyone. I’m not hard of hearing, but I would still use transcriptions.

  2. 2

    You can use my videos now. Most are text, music and still images. links can be found in my blog if you can’t get hold of me.

    My only concern is getting the permission of the podcasters and video makers who are opposed to A+. I hope that A+scribes will respect their right to refuse respectfully for their material to be used and transcribed, and not just go ahead transcribing other peoples’ work and take no complaint as complicit consent. It might be wise to request people give permission in writing for their work to be used, for the sake of argument. I know it’s arse covering but I will avoid DMCAs being hurled at you all if you have proof of permission in advance for each piece transcribed. Might just me being paranoid, but could avoid a lot of tension in the long run. This is going to be a mammoth task, you aren’t going to appreciate having to take work back down after taking the time to transcribe it.

  3. 4

    I just registered for the forum today, and you are right, it is a time suck.

    I’m guessing that calls for transcribers will be put out on the forum or the A+ website? Because I’ve done lots of legal transcription, so I would be happy to help.

  4. 7

    Hiya Anna. I’m the founder, etc of A+scribe. If someone doesn’t want their work transcribed, we won’t do so. This would be quite unfortunate.

    However, if its one hostile person of a whole group of people, say an interview of a creationist, we would go ahead and transcribe it anyways; the greater good is served by the transcription than respecting one person’s attempt at screwing things over.

  5. 9

    I’ve helped on one of the finished transcripts, and I’m working on another right now. I think it’s fun! And it gets to me listen to/watch stuff I probably wouldn’t otherwise. If you’ve got a couple extra hours lying about, I’d recommend joining in! It feels pretty good to be doing something concrete to help out.

  6. 11

    I’m happy to be one of the people working on transcriptions with A+Scribe.

    It takes me about an hour to transcribe six minutes worth of audio. As you can see, that means we have our work cut out for us! The more people we can get pitching in, the less work we’ll each have to do. Every bit helps.

  7. 13

    I’m in! I sent an email to request “scribe” status. I’d done a few transcriptions before. Having an audio recorder helps too (easier to pause repeatedly, etc.).

    My question is, will there be a list of videos that need transcribing? If not, do we just pick any old video that is relevant to Atheism+ and transcribe it?

  8. 14

    My question is, will there be a list of videos that need transcribing? If not, do we just pick any old video that is relevant to Atheism+ and transcribe it?

    TerranRich @ #13: I believe people make requests for which videos and podcasts they want transcribed. But I don’t know for sure. Contact them, and they’ll fill you in. Cool that you’re doing that! Thanks!

  9. 15

    TerranRich: people can send their requests, or offer their content, for transcribing at the same email above for now. The website’s still rather primitive but it will have a posted Requests page for browsing and probably discussion. After the immediate A+ talks, one priority might be the videos that folks are suggesting for the A+ Resource Library. (They’ll be better resources with transcripts available!)

    And of course, anyone could talk to their favorite podcaster, vlogger or speaker and simply volunteer to do a transcript directly. A+Scribe’s mainly a way of crowdsourcing the workload while getting more works transcribed.

    One note: currently A+Scribe is only doing transcripts when the original source audio or video is already available to the public. No paywalled or for-profit materials, at least not yet.

  10. 16

    For the I did not say it was a bad idea, just voiced a concern and it seems it has been confirmed.

    Whether it’s for the greater good or not, the producers of these vids and podcasts, and those involved in them, have a say over how their work is used. They can transcribe the work themselves if it’s a legal ‘requirement’, but there are a fair few people, for whatever reason, who won’t want their work associated with A+. We should respect their decision to remain separate, and their autonomy, or how will A+ be any different from other domineering pressure group?

  11. 17

    Hi Anna,

    The law is actually on my side in this matter. It is considered more valuable to society to have transcripts and captions than to respect copyright ownership.

    The EFF has been involved, successfully, in previous cases.

    The problem is that there is a strategy, primarily employed by creationists in the past, whereupon you can block access to a work, by asserting copyright. Past incidences include debates with said creationists, at a conference.

    I will not allow A+scribe to be bullied like that. Nor will A+scribe bully people by honestly transcribing their words.

    Actually, when I write that, it sounds a bit ridiculous, right? How can we be pushy, bullies, domineering, whatever, by wanting transcribe a video or podcast? There’s no real logical connection there, to me.

  12. 18


    You are being very aggressive. I wonder why? Had it not occurred to you that it might be other atheists who would object? I know plenty who would. You seem to have decided in advance to override all objections people might have over their work being co-opted, and you still have not responded to the section of my initial post where I suggested that transcribers request permission from the producers of podcasts and videos, if not from a legal obligation then out of basic common courtesy. At least give people a chance to refuse, because after all is said we’re NOT the Mormon church and we respect the personal autonomy of others (and their work).

    I will again emphasise, that I think it’s a very good idea, but let’s just exercise some manners and demonstrate that we ARE capable of something other than bullish rudeness and overriding the autonomy of others’ whenever it damn well suits us (yet at other times defending that autonomy. Spotted the discrepancy yet?). Good manners don’t hurt and they don’t cost us anything. The aggressive “with us in every degree or against us” attitude that you are doing a very good demonstration of now, is not only unnecessary but it’s off-putting too, and right now I can sincerely empathise with other Atheists wanting nothing to do with A+ if it means being associated with this behaviour. I will not be in the least bit surprised when you are met with some very strongly worded opposition. Would you want someone, or a group, that you were opposed to, to have anything to do with your work? I very much doubt it.

    You seem to be working very hard to justify it to yourself, that you may act however you please, no matter how rude, as long as you can claim it’s for a good cause; that somehow people with a different view to yours are not deserving of the same level of consideration, you would expect to be treated with. So I will leave you to it. You have answered the main part of my concern, at least, and as I said you have confirmed it. I did not accuse you of being a bully by the way but as we’re on that isn’t one of our favourite clichés that ‘opposition to imposition is not persecution’? Surely that applies to our own conduct too, don’t you think? When people refuse (and they will) they will not be ‘bullying’ A+, any more than atheist objections to imposed religion is ‘bullying’ Christianity. We can’t have it both ways. If it’s wrong for one group to do it to us, then it’s just as wrong for us to do it to others regardless of their religion or lack thereof.

  13. 19

    Anna, this is what you said:

    We should respect their decision to remain separate, and their autonomy, or how will A+ be any different from other domineering pressure group?

    (Emphasis mine)

    First of all, A+scribe isn’t A+. Please do not make that conflation. We are a separate organization, but we’ll be sharing a lot of resources and working together a lot. Our volunteers are often the same people.

    Second of all, I pointed out facts. The law is on my side on this, and the fact is, it is morally the right thing to do. We want to do our best to be respectful, but respect doesn’t mean appeasement nor doing what other people want.

    Speaking as a Hard of Hearing person, it really offends me to see someone prioritize the comfort and feelings of the able-bodied over accessibility. Imagine, for example, that you are newly deaf.

    Accessibility is more important than people’s feelings. Its more important than copyright, and the courts have consistently ruled in that manner.

    I get the feeling you were looking for something to complain about, and speaking as someone who is disabled, I want to respect people’s wishes. But, there is a limit to how much I will condone, before it becomes able-ism, and I will not condone able-ism. Is that understood? This is called being assertive, Anna, not aggressive. I am standing up for my right to access media, not attacking you in any way.

  14. 21

    As a “hard of hearing” person, and soon to be deaf person, I approve this message. It is frustrating not being able to hear what people are saying in YouTube videos, and my speakers only go up to eleven…

  15. 22

    Anna, your complaint is ridiculous. You are complaining (and by proxy no less) about making it so that more people can access and use these works. Which has absolutely fuck all to do with any sort of acceptance and endorsement.

    Of course, you — and every single identified libertarian or right-winger I’ve seen — seem to be far more concerned about accepting people who hold different views rather than actually subjecting these views to inquiry and trying to form rational conclusions. Rather than discuss the actual issues, you’re stifling discussion by getting all up in arms about how we don’t tolerate bad arguments and then painting this as some sort of personal issue where the actual facts don’t matter, it’s just lefties hating on righties again (and it’s the lefties who are being mean and rude, of course). Not only that, but you’re not even in a thread discussing issues; you’re just stirring up noise in a thread about opening the discussion to more people. For fuck’s sake, you want more people to be accepted? Why don’t we accept people who, say, can’t hear?

    And sometimes the din from this wailing about acceptance gets so loud that it makes me think there’s a concerted effort to keep us out of political discussions, lest we start loudly and publicly denouncing these condescending walls of text (so wonderfully exemplified by Anna’s comment #18) that libertarians love to dump on the general populace…

  16. 23

    “Ablist”? You don’t know a thing about me. For the record I’ve dealt with the slurred speech, decreased hearing, co-ordination issues and other complications due to a late diagnosis of congenital hypothyroidism my whole life. This has come with all the jibes and bullying from my peers etc but his is not a victim contest.

    You’re ‘offended’? Oh dear. A lot of things ‘offend’ me, (hypocrisy is one of them: yes, I said it) but that doesn’t give me leave to declare that my rights come before someone else’s. Please show me where I said that accessibility was unimportant? In fact, I said twice that it’s a good idea so DON’T start with that passive-aggressive crap of insinuating that because I’m not 100% in agreement with you then I must there for be a(insert bigotry).

    I wasn’t looking for something to complain about. I was looking for more information before I decided whether to volunteer my efforts or not. You know, that thing called making an ‘informed’ decision. I now have made that decision.


    Thanks, One Thousand Needles,

    Well that’s sounding better than “we’re doing to transcribe whatever we damn well please because we feel OUR rights supersede those of the producers and we don’t care who’s got a problem with it” (summary).

    I wouldn’t feel comfortable transcribing someone’s work unless I had permission from them to do so, especially if I planned to publish those transcriptions. Nor would I be happy if a transcription I was using had been obtained against the wishes of the original producer. Like I said, its a matter of courtesy and consideration, and it does matter despite what some people may seem to think.

  17. 24

    Setár, self-appointed Elf-Sheriff of the FreethoughtBlogs Star Chamber,

    I’m not a libertarian or right-wing, I’m a self-confessed socialist (that means I believe everyone is equal btw). Don’t presume to know me: it makes you sound like a sanctimonious arse.

  18. 25

    Anna Johnstone: Dial it back. Now. Read my comment policy. Take particular note of #10.

    I am wielding the ban hammer with much more alacrity and much less guilt these days. I no longer feel any obligation to provide a home for people who want to spew venom. Especially when the venom is being spewed on a project like this one. Dial it back, or leave. Period.

  19. 26

    Thank you Greta. I had decided to disengage from Anna, because of her clearly disingenuous posts.

    Look, Anna, you need to first prove there is an imposition or violation of autonomy when someone’s publicly available words are transcribed. Who is affected? How?

    You’re making claims you are not backing up.

  20. 27


    The only ‘venom being spewed’ is IN my direction, not FROM it. Don’t bother banning me, because I am done with having accusations and negative assumptions hurled at me. I’m also a great deal more enlightened as to what A+ actually at this point.

    I don’t know how many more times I have to say that I’m well behind the idea before it finally sinks in with someone. Surely you can see the difference between my trying to clarify minor details and ‘dumping on a project’. Wanting to know that the vids and podcasts being transcribed have the permission of the producers of that work, is obviously a heinous offence, pardon me for not jumping straight on the bandwagon without thinking.

    Good luck. I’m off.

  21. 28

    I live in Fremont CA there is a school named the California School for the Deaf. My son has gone there for testing and therapy. It is a large internationally acclaimed school. I figured maybe someone there could benefit from something like A+scribe. Like I have said along with my criticism of A+ I already support the things it seeks to claim for itself.
    I signed into the a+scribe site to check it out. I used my own email. I did not do anything but take a look at the type of services it was offering. A short time later I get a tweet. It reads like this
    A+scribe ‏@aplusscribe
    @1AngryAtheist Might I suggest, if you’re trying to troll A+scribe, don’t use your own email?

    I guess among the 1st group of collateral damage are the deaf in Fremont? No one had any reason to think I was trolling. I used my REAL email address. Why would I do that if I was going to start trouble? I’m not an idiot, but obviously someone thinks I am. This is exactly what I said was going to happen. It looks like Richard Carrier nailed it and the rest is just smoke which is dissipating rather quickly. I’m pretty pissed off there is no reason for this shit. I know its the action of one person but if they act this way how many more will too? Real nice movement you got goin so far, real impressive.

  22. 29

    It may have already been done but the 2012 GAC in Melbourne would be terrific and Dawkins Growing up in the Universe have some fantastic content worth spreading

  23. 30

    Anna was merely looking for more information and got attacked and piled on. She then was the one that got threatened with banning. I happen to know her well. She has good reason to want protection for her work and simple answers to her questions. She has been the victim of copyright infringement and intellectual property theft by a bully cyberstalker. I actually turned over some evidence to the agency investigating just this afternoon that related to her. Her posts were hardly disingenous. Prior to this exchange, she was firmly an A+ supporter as well. I would bet that is no longer the case.

  24. 31


    Judging from the company you keep and the comments you’ve made, there is absolutely no reason to think you would act in good faith participating in a website that seeks to advance the goals of the A+ community.

    Allow me to excerpt from your comments, emphasis mine:

    I think it is safe to say we don’t need A+ because we already don’t allow the behavior you are talking about to go on. I can speak for myself and say I never have allowed discrimination or intimidation of any kind to go unchecked. That’s why I am speaking out against A+.

    At the moment, we’re a small group of people with limited time and resources. We absolutely have to exercise discretion when deciding who can and cannot edit transcripts. We’re familiar with the kind of dishonest and passive-aggresive trolls that we have to guard against. Due to their tactics, we must err on the side of caution.

    Let me make this clear: in no way am I criticizing you for speaking out against A+. But if you are going to criticize A+, in the SlymePit of all places, then you shouldn’t expect a warm welcome from an A+ supportive project.

    If you truly are interested in working with A+Scribe then you have a greater than average burden of proof to meet. I suggest you take it up with Trinioler personally. You have both the email and the Twitter account of A+Scribe, and to post in a comment here rather than through an email or tweet comes across as disingenuous.

  25. 32

    EllenBeth Wachs @ #30: No. Anna was not “merely looking for more information.” She was being aggressive, sarcastic, and hostile, towards people who are volunteering their time to do something awesome. She was not listening to them, and did not pay attention when they politely answered her concerns. I am traveling and have limited time for comment moderating right now, and I do not have the time — or, honestly, the patience — to monitor my blog on an hourly basis to see if a thread that seems to be going toxic is in fact doing so.

    I’m sorry if she had bad experiences with copyright infringement in the past. But I have had bad experiences in the past with hostile, toxic trolling wrecking my blog, and I am under no obligation to host it.

  26. 33

    It may have already been done but the 2012 GAC in Melbourne would be terrific and Dawkins Growing up in the Universe have some fantastic content worth spreading.

    Michael @ #29: That sounds great. I believe the way this works is that, if there’s a video or podcast you want transcribed, you put in a request… and the volunteers transcribe them. I don’t know how they decide what order it’s done in: whether it’s first requested first served, or whether they give priority to videos and podcasts that have had a lot of requests for transcription, or what. But if there’s a video or podcast you think would be good to have transcribed, they’re the ones to talk to.

  27. 34

    Hey Michael:

    If you would like us to work on something, make a request on this page:

    You will have to sign up first, though. 🙂

    Greta, the way I’m currently running it is based on volunteer interest. If a volunteer wants to transcribe something, they will. So more popular pieces will get done faster, basically. Its far too small of a group for me to start telling people what to do.

  28. 35

    Greta, I think it admirable that you want to protect your volunteers. They are doing something laudable. I get that you are hyper-vigilant because of trolling that has taken place.

    As I mentioned, Anna has been victimized by someone stealing her intellectual property work and bullying her in a very nasty way. I think you are well aware of how raw one can become when you get attacked repeatedly. She was told outright that she had no right to control who was going to do what with this transcription issue without any regard to her consent or lack thereof and then accused of being ablist over her concerns.

    Perhaps she doesn’t understand the law, perhaps it is very clear; but I understand how it is possible she may have gotten defensive and to use your words “hostile and sarcastic.” But to put Anna in the “toxic trolling” category?

  29. 36

    EllenBeth: first off, A+Scribe volunteers are not Greta’s. Greta has nothing to do with A+Scribe beyond mentioning it here and expressing approval.

    As I mentioned, Anna has been victimized by someone stealing her intellectual property work and bullying her in a very nasty way. I think you are well aware of how raw one can become when you get attacked repeatedly.

    With all due respect, she’s not the only one; see above.

    She was told outright that she had no right to control who was going to do what with this transcription issue without any regard to her consent or lack thereof and then accused of being ablist over her concerns.

    That’s not accurate. Specifically, “no right to control” and “without any regard to her consent” are not accurate. See above: trinioler specifically said that when a content creator does not want their work transcribed by A+scribe, A+scribe won’t work on it. See #7 above:

    Hiya Anna. I’m the founder, etc of A+scribe. If someone doesn’t want their work transcribed, we won’t do so. This would be quite unfortunate.

    Anna’s concerns about the misuse of individual work are misplaced, and have been specifically answered.

    However, in the case of publicly posted conversations or debates with multiple participants, if some participants agree to transcription but some do not, then trinioler stated that the public interest in accessibility outweighs those participants’ dissent. There is also legal precedent for accessibility (along with ethical and journalistic precedent).

    And in general, stating that copyright *takes precedence over* accessibility may in fact be an ablist position. The EFF has been working on this issue for years, countering copyright mythology and propaganda that’s used to shut down accessibility of electronic media.

    Obviously, when an individual WANTS their work transcribed, none of this is an issue.

    So while I sympathize with Anna being touchy about copyright (and with Greta being touchy about toxicity), the fact remains, Anna’s specific objections are incorrect and her hostility misplaced. trinioler as the founder of A+Scribe has stated how the group intends to balance the interests of content creators with accessibility.

  30. 37


    I can’t really argue with anything you said. I am just concerned that everybody is so raw and wounded that it is getting difficult, if not impossible, to actually listen to and hear one another.

  31. 38

    EllenBeth: I agree, but personally I’m trying to avoid policing who gets to express frustration or distrust of whom, at least about this topic. *The concerns* should be addressable, under it all. Copyright really can conflict with accessibility and there are resources discussing it.

  32. 39

    EllenBeth Wachs: I’m looking over the conversation, and I now agree that “trolling” was uncalled for. I apologize. I am doing this (a) on the fly, while I travel, and (b) during a time when my patience is worn extremely thin. It was very frustrating and demoralizing to be trying to switch the conversation about A+ to something positive, and have someone almost immediately start to piss on it. I overreacted, and I apologize.

    However, Anna’s concerns and questions were addressed in the conversation, and she nevertheless dialed up the heat on the hostility very quickly, in a way that seemed quite unnecessary. And she was aiming that hostility at a group that’s doing something admirable and important. And as has been pointed out, there are ableist privilege issues in the points she was making. I think when we’re discussing privilege issues, and we’re in a privileged group talking about a marginalized group, we need to be very careful about our language. I don’t think Anna was, and I have serious issues with that.

  33. 40

    Hi EllenBeth.

    I do admit things got a bit heated on my part towards Anna. I saw a lot of very dishonest responses on her part. She complained of us ignoring her praising the idea, while she ignored my initial comments on the copyright aspect, which Pteryxx kindly pointed out.

    I get why she’s raw about this. I can understand that, but it doesn’t excuse her immediate conflation of A+ with A+scribe, and calling us a potential “domineering pressure group”. That’s the kind of comment white republicans make about racial-focused groups like the NAACP!

    Here’s an example I didn’t really discuss as much as I should have.

    Let’s say PZ has a creationist one of his podcasts. That creationist then doesn’t want the video posted by asserting copyright. This isn’t hypothetical, this has actually happened. Let’s say the video finally gets posted, but they try to stand in the way of the transcript.

    That is a situation where the video would get transcribed against their wishes, because there’s more than one participant involved, and the original creator of the video(PZ in this case) would give his permission.

    See how that works? That is what I was referring to when I said we would transcribe the videos anyways, for the “greater good”.

    If its a single person talking into the camera or microphone and they don’t want to be transcribed? Fine. They’re the clear copyright owners, and they’re being ableist.

  34. 42

    Greta Christina, thanks so much. That is an amazing sign of character. Not that you need my validation but I certainly respect anyone that can publicly acknowledge a mistake and apologize for it.

    Did Anna get sarcastic? Yes. Did anyone else have reason to know why she was so defensive and touchy? No. Of course not. Did I? yes. I think that is why I was able to see the conversation in a very different light.

    I have Multiple Sclerosis. My Executive Director is legally blind. My best friend is deaf. I truly get that accessibility is an incredibly important issue. Disability rights should trump individual concerns. I have made numerous complaints to private business owners about the lack of access for wheelchairs. It also amazes me how many businesses place the handicapped parking spot at the farthest end of the sidewalk because that is where they located the ramp without taking into account some of us disabled actually do WALK but with canes or walkers.

    I think this is a great discussion that is taking place. I also do think that, perhaps, we do need to have just a little more patience with each other even though everyone has open wounds and is raw with emotion. We don’t know what has happened in someone else’s life. Well, unless it is Greta or Rebecca or Ophelia. I know they have a right to be grouchy. I will tell you, I have a right to be grouchy as well.

    Yes, Anna calling A+ Scribe “a potential ‘domineering pressure group'” was inflammatory. I think we all say things that are inflammatory at one point or another and, in hindsight, regret them. I don’t know if that is the case with Anna but I do know she is a decent person with generally good intentions.

    I am going to have to respectfully disagree with you, though, on your assessment that it was inexcusable to conflate A+ with A+Scribe. I don’t see why someone should automatically know the latter is not associated with the former. It actually seems reasonable to assume you are associated.

    Yes, it was unfortunate that the discussion got heated. I think that there were really good intentions on both sides and it simply got lost in anger, misunderstanding and hurt feelings. Look, I am not Anna’s mouthpiece. She obviously has no problem speaking for herself. I just don’t want to see someone get demonized that I don’t think deserves it based upon my previous history with her.

  35. 43

    @ EllenBeth,

    After Anna expressed her concerns yesterday, I updated the A+Scribe Code of Conduct to indicate that members should only transcribe material that has been made publicly available for free.

    I probably should have mentioned the change when it was made.

    Also, for each transcript, a prominent link to the original source media will always be included.

    I hope that these measures address any fears about breach of copyright.

  36. 45

    I’ll weigh in that I’ve worked on one of them, and it was hard work, but worth it. It felt really good to be doing something that was going to have a specific benefit. 🙂 Took me a little over an hour for 10 minutes’ worth – it seems to be variable depending on how clear the language is to start with. I noticed that it took a lot longer for some parts than others just based on who was speaking and whether I could accurately predict how their sentences would go or not.

  37. 46

    Something that I haven’t seen mentioned anywhere yet, but probably should be is that we should take steps to minimise wasted time and effort when transcribing.

    What I mean by this is that many of the things that are being transcribed are going to be live presentations. Talks from the 2012 Global Atheist Convention was something suggested above. A lot of the speakers who gave those talks probably have original text that they read from during their presentation. Being able to open up a .doc/.txt/.pdf kindly provided by the person who did the talk and reading along as you listen to the audio of the video, pausing to add/modify the text accordingly is going to be much, much nicer than transcribing from scratch.

    I haven’t checked out the A+ forums yet, and probably won’t for a while as time is scarce at present, so if someone would like to repeat what I’ve said above over there where more of the people involved more directly will see it, please do.

  38. 47

    maybe we could borrow your Executive Director to handle writing up some legal mumbo jumbo?

    Pfft, I need to get him to do my legal work first, lol! I could use an army of lawyers lately it seems.

    I realize this is a work in progress and appreciate the updates.

  39. 48

    After watching how people were treated by this “so-called” A+ stepford movement. I applaud Anna, and Reap that thought beyond the wicked queen of A+. Please block me now, and save yourself, and myself the drama this group thrives on. I hope everyone is reading closely at what is happening here.

  40. 49

    “Stepford movement”? “Wicked queen of A+”? Do you have any substantive criticisms that make sense in the context of a thread about a transcription project to improve accessibility of content, or shall we just assume you’re here to spew insults at A+ without regard for what’s going on…?

  41. 52

    @ Anna Johnston and other complete asshats

    Transcribing your work is nothing more than translating it. Just like google isn’t infringing on copyright or privacy or rights of any kind by translating from one language to another, A+Scribe is also just as not-guilty of any kind of crime. It’s just translating audio/video to text. It’s the language of the visually an aurally capable, to the language of the impaired. Nothing more.

    From that somehow you get copyright infringement? You think that it’s something you have to ask permission to do? Why aren’t you attacking google, hmm?

    FYI, there may be deaf/blind people who also oppose A+, but may want to read stuff.

    Funny how you just automatically assume people less able-bodied than yourself, not only aren’t interested, but must not be reading or listening to your own material already.

    You’ve done nothing but expose your privileged and entitled thinking.

  42. 53

    Can I ask Greta. We, a group of people, have digitaly purchased copies of your recent book. I think its a great idead to make such text freely available to underprivaledged, disabled, disenfranchised persons and I think the Scribe project you are pushing is a great idea. So I guess its ok with you to have your work so treated?, transcribed ( i even have two people willing to translate into French and German) placed in the public domain so to speak, audiobook included(for the seeing impaired) and well as print/ digital copies?.

    Please reply asap as uploading to various sites can take a while.

  43. 54

    Can I ask Greta. We, a group of people, have digitaly purchased copies of your recent book. I think its a great idead to make such text freely available to underprivaledged, disabled, disenfranchised persons and I think the Scribe project you are pushing is a great idea. So I guess its ok with you to have your work so treated?, transcribed ( i even have two people willing to translate into French and German) placed in the public domain so to speak, audiobook included(for the seeing impaired) and well as print/ digital copies?.
    Please reply asap as uploading to various sites can take a while.

    Except A+Scribe isn’t doesn’t transcribe paid or privately owned material:

    It’s right there in the code of conduct. You silly person.

  44. 55

    But in the push to get this going surely Greta would donate some proceeds from her book. I bought a Jamie Oliver cooking book yesterday and he is giving 100% of every penny to the ’15’ cause helping disandavantaged youth find work in the hospitality industry.

    What a wonderful demonstration of committment to the A+ scribe cause if she did it. I’m serious I would even donate some $$ to such a cause…even if she just donates, say 6 months profits from her work if she doesnt want it freely available to underprivalegded, disabled persons, it will stand as a shining example of someone who is serious about the issues.

    My main concern with all this ‘disability trumps copyrigth’ comments being bannied about, is if somone takes that advice and just uploads her work to torrent sites anyway, without even asking as I have done.

  45. 56

    Assuming you’re arguing honestly, InnocentInfidel (I know, I know, but for the sake of argument), books are different because *the publisher* has control over the copyright, through their contract with the author. Authors do not have full control of their own work unless they self-publish. Thus when a book is copied, even with the author’s consent, the publisher still can exert copyright claims over it – and this is the basis of the ongoing legal fight between big copyright companies and the public’s fair use rights through the EFF and ACLU, and the parallel fight over open-access science publication.

    One means of handling this is Creative Commons licensing, which an author can (sometimes) negotiate with a book publisher to their mutual benefit. I suggest researching Cory Doctorow’s extensive writings on the subject, as well as observing how he’s published his own fiction books under CC, which enables them to have worldwide fan translations and accessibility versions legally:

    Podcasts and videos freely available on the internet, however, generally belong solely to the creator. Youtube for instance holds no copyright claims to any of the videos it hosts.

  46. 57

    To clarify: under Creative Commons, what InnocentInfidel’s bandying about as a veiled threat is already possible and legal. From the link above, which is Cory Doctorow’s own site offering free downloads of his published book in a variety of formats, here is a list of fan-made accessibility translations:


    Official files

    Plain text file
    HTML file
    PDF file

    Download: Fan-conversions

    * ePub: EPUB file (Thanks, Hadrien Gardeur!)

    * eReader for Palm: .PDB file (Thanks, Roger Moore!)

    * FBReader: FB2 file (Thanks, B. Ross Ashley!)

    * Freenet download: Get the HTML version using the secure, private Freenet protocol (Thanks, Alex Davies!)

    * iPhone Books app .ZIP file (Thanks, Michael Verdi!)

    * iPhone Text on Phone reader: Link (Thanks, Matthew Jesse!)

    * iPod Notes Reader: .ZIP file (Thanks, Nathan Wells!)

    * iSilo: .PDB file (Thanks, Christopher Sol!)

    * J2ME enabled phones: Link (Thanks, Nicholas Bennett!)

    * Kindle: Link (Thanks, Ian Bone!)

    * LaTeX: .TEX file (Thanks, Mikael Vejdemo Johansson!)

    * Microsoft Reader: .LIT file (Thanks, Simon Sherlock!)

    * Mobipocket: .PRC file (Thanks, Steve Johnson and Will Wyatt!)

    * PalmDoc (for CSpotRun and others): .PDB file (Thanks, Nex!)

    * Plucker: .PDB file (Thanks, Michael Hellwig!)

    * Second Life Notes Format (Thanks, Bubblesort Triskaidekaphobia and RECHCstudent Obolensky!)

    * SiSu: .SST file (Thanks, Ralph Amissah!)

    * Sony e-Reader: .LRF file (Thanks, Andy Waschick!)

    * Speed Reader: Link (Thanks, Trevor Smith!)

    * TI-Reader for Texas Instruments calculators: .ZIP file (Thanks, David Bengtson!)

    * Unix help file format: .INFO file (Thanks, Daniel!)

    * XO Library Bundle: .XOL file (Thanks, FFM!)

    * YuDu version (Flash required) (Thanks, Jonathan Cornwell!)

    *Embeddable Facebook version (Thanks, John Peck!)

  47. 58

    I’m not going to argue with Innocentinfidel.

    What I will point out for the readers(I know you’re there!) is that II is trying to pressure and tell Greta what to do.

    This is the inherent hypocrisy I see in some of the A+ haters. They don’t like being told what to do, but are perfectly happy telling other people what to do, and meanwhile, making threats.

    Because what II is doing is illegal. Greta does not have the copyright to her book unless she self-published or her contract is different from every other author’s contract.

    In addition, inability to access a book because of not buying it, is not a disability. To allege otherwise, and then use it as a justification for copyright infringement, is ableism.

    II, I hope you used a proxy and a fake email to post here. Greta has access to your IP and email, which she could turn over for a criminal investigation, because you’ve admitted to a crime.

    II, we only transcribe free and publicly available materials, offered by their copyright owners.

    We also have a “Do Not Transcribe” list now, to track people who’ve made such requests.

  48. 59

    InnocentInfidel: My book is already available in a variety of formats for wide accessibility, including an audiobook, a print books, and multiple text formats of the ebook. The publisher made sure the print edition was given a Library of Congress number, which makes it more likely that libraries will acquire it when it goes into regular distribution (right now, technically speaking, the available print copies are all “advance copies” — don’t ask me to explain the mysteries of the publishing world). The publisher has also indicated a willingness to donate copies to freethought libraries of local and student groups, and in fact has already done so.

    So although, as others here have indicated, books fall under a separate category when it comes to copyright issues, I am taking steps to make sure it’s widely available to as many people as possible, as is the publisher. If people have other ideas I’ve missed on how to do this, I would be very interested in hearing them.

  49. 60

    trinioler said

    “II, I hope you used a proxy and a fake email to post here. Greta has access to your IP and email, which she could turn over for a criminal investigation, because you’ve admitted to a crime.”

    I have admitted to nothing, I mearly asked the question as to weather she wanted to have her work scribed in such a fashion. I use no proxy, I have no fear of using my real identity, and have over 30 years law enforcement experience, so what was the crime you accuse me of exactly.?

    Especially in light of the fact I make an offer to donate $$ to this? I await your apology.

  50. 61


    Your word-breakage in attempt to create the illusion of a parallel that doesn’t exist is making me sad. Please desist, for the sake of the words.

    Look, this is the thing, the realization that I’ve just had. See, I was taking part in A+Scribe while keeping FtB in my blocksite, staying away from the A+ forums, having my twitter locked so only followers can see and I’m not tempted to respond to atheist-movement-related arguments. Because A+Scribe, I thought, would be quite obviously useful enough to everybody to avoid being put in the headlights of the haters. There is nothing that we can do that will avoid this bullshit. There is no “reasonable enough,” there is no “obvious enough,” there is no “helpful enough.” These people will oppose anything if they see even the slightest connection to FtB or A+.

  51. 62

    It would appear my inquiry was a moot point after all, it seems that Greta’s book has already been uploaded to a number of sites and being accessed for some time. One also using the term scribed? a full colour reprint of the entire book? Did you know of this?

    Google finds them pretty quickly.

    And further to trinioler…How about you put your money where your mouth is or are you so paranoid you see enemies under every rock?

    I am prepared to donate $100US to this project. Greta can set up the Paypal donation and confirm the payments, you match my donation with digital proof confirmed to me by Greta, and we shall see who is telling who what to do? (if I do not receive confirmed proof of your donation I will terminate mine via Paypal accounts.)

    I still await your apology. Either way its going to cost you.

  52. 63

    Fine, apologies then II. You have admitted to nothing… but you threatened to do something.

    Look, if you do 30 years of charity service, that doesn’t excuse you from murder. I don’t get why you think that offering to donate money excuses the implied threat and pressure you tried to put on Greta.

  53. 64

    II, I’m the *founder* of A+scribe. I’ve already spent well over $100 of my own money plus my free time setting the site up, organizing volunteers, contacting people, and now dealing with assholes who are reaching for any reason to hate us because we’re associated with A+.

    Fuck you. You don’t get to tell me what to do, nor do you get to tell Greta what to do.

  54. 66

    it seems that Greta’s book has already been uploaded to a number of sites and being accessed for some time. One also using the term scribed? a full colour reprint of the entire book? Did you know of this?

    I was not aware of this. This has been done without my permission. If someone can direct me to places where this has been done, I would very much appreciate it.

    And as many people have pointed out and explained in detail: No, re-posting a print or ebook edition of a book in the exact same format as the original without the author or publisher’s permission is not the same as making a transcript of audio media in order to make it accessible to the deaf or hard-of-hearing.

  55. 72

    Trinioler, Law enforcement service, 30 yrs of detection, arrest and prosecution of offenders for crimes, intelligence work and forensic investigation. Not ‘charitable’ work as you put it but is that how you refer to law enforcement in your country? You would be wise to think before you accuse anyone of committing any crime, inferring IP traces and legal action next time… you never exactly know whom you are insulting.

    Greta, I came here and openly sought you, the author, about your work with suggestions to getting it more out there in exactly the same vein this ‘project’ purports to encourage. I even inform you of the very fact your work is already being put out there online, a fact you were blissfully unaware of without my inquiry. You can thank me anytime, if you want links to further sites I have discovered, then ask me to send them to you.

    Ban me, I’m good with that, the instant attack and paranoia I copped from trinioler certainly has soured any support for this and any other A+ initiative. But then again she does indicate a certain amount of immaturity and hence could be forgiven for her impulsiveness and strident desire to defend you at any cost. And it has cost. I keep my donation, I received an apology, even though she could not leave it at that… had to add the ‘fuck you’ comment further displaying the maturity level. And you, have lost any further contributions from me regarding any further ‘works’ you release.

    alas, I think the small comment count in this thread indicates just where this project is headed and I would have thought money and ideas might have been welcomed. Oh, and my two volunteer translators have also pulled their support. I would add though that allowing Amazon to freely offer your audio book version for the seeing impaired would be a great gesture on your part. Ban me as I am not coming here again, this A+ seems like the ‘plus’ is looking more and more like a ‘Cross’ each day.

    My $100US has just gone to Doctors without frontiers. Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF)

  56. 73

    My effort that could have gone into a detailed polite response to all your offensive implications will instead be spent at the A+ forums. *wavewave*

  57. 74

    InnocentInfidel has failed the asshole test, and has been banned.

    My effort that could have gone into a detailed polite response to all your offensive implications will instead be spent at the A+ forums. *wavewave*

    Pteryxx @ #73: Isn’t that wonderful? I love, love, love being able to do that now.

  58. 75

    He gazed up at the enormous face. Forty years it had taken him to learn what kind of smile was hidden beneath the dark moustache. O cruel, needless misunderstanding! O stubborn, self-willed exile from the loving breast! Two gin-scented tears trickled down the sides of his nose. But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

  59. 76

    You people are some of the rudest, and socially inept I’ve seen in a long time. The Asshole Award tonight goes to…..Wait for it….Wait for it….Wait for it…. Greta Christine. *WaveWave* What a joke you are turning into.

  60. 77

    @One Thousand Needles

    Do you have any idea the hours I have put into trying to make sure atheists are not misunderstood? Greta was a guest on my podcast, we had an enjoyable conversation. I have had similar conversations with atheists of many differing backgrounds, genders, and cultures. I helped Secular Woman launch their website/group. I still work with them on projects out of the public view. It seems there is a burden of proof on you to show I am anything but a critic of A+. My comments were mainly directed at Richard Carrier and those who fall in line with him in case your comprehension skills have failed you. it is interesting you would assume they are directed at you. I would also like to inform you I alone am responsible for my actions. I do not allow myself to fall into some childish ‘gang mentality’ and mimic the behaviors of others. I suppose my relationship with Secular Woman makes no difference to you..
    This is exactly the problem with this A+ mentality. Anna is a good person and I can tell you with certainty she in no way intended to insult or instigate. It saddens me to see what resulted from her voicing honest and valid concerns. You say err on the side of caution, how many innocent people get publicly accused of being what they are not before the practice costs too much? You don’t even know me. I have never had a conversation with you. You either don’t know about my past contributions or you are only considering the parts that support your negativity. I have had communication with whoever it is running the A+scribe twitter, the issue was resolved.Despite that I am defending myself against yet another person who knows almost nothing about me. I never had an email contact and when I asked who they were I was told “you can figure it out” I really don’t have time to play childish games. I’m pretty sure this response should serve as a lesson to you but if I consider your actions up until now I expect it will be a bit longer before you get it. When you treat people with disrespect by default the response is almost never good. I believe everyone deserves a basic level of respect until they deserve to lose that respect. If you keep treating and judging people based on incorrect assumptions you are always going to have the same problems. Just for kicks try doing something different like giving people some basic level of respect or benefit of the doubt. It isn’t full-proof but I think the positive will far outweigh the negative.Allowing past actions by socially stunted individuals to make you distrust the world not only means they win but everyone you meet loses.
    I won’t be reading any reply I think I have covered all your incorrect assumptions and anything else you or anyone else wants to say about me will simply be a product of whatever your imagination can conjure up. Let your own dignity take the damage from such actions from this point on.

  61. 80

    Was there something you’d like to add about A+ scribe? It’s a really great idea that helps out people that are hard of hearing or deaf. I can’t see why someone would oppose this, but if you do, is there some reason why?

    Tony •King of the Hellmouth• @ #79: Naomi Chambers has been banned. Unless they come back under a different IP address, you’re not going to get an answer. (And even, then, I’m almost certainly going to delete or disemvowel it.)

    But if you want an answer to your question, Cipher, OM, Sweetness and Fluff said it perfectly in #61 above:

    A+Scribe, I thought, would be quite obviously useful enough to everybody to avoid being put in the headlights of the haters. There is nothing that we can do that will avoid this bullshit. There is no “reasonable enough,” there is no “obvious enough,” there is no “helpful enough.” These people will oppose anything if they see even the slightest connection to FtB or A+.

  62. 82

    Appalling display of team spirit. Zero professional conduct. Hyper sensitive group of PRIVILEGED bloggers a little too high on the hog. I expect that won’t be the case for much longer. The drama and self obsession in this comment thread is all anyone needs to read to realize what A+ really is all about. Glory. Cash. Ego. How dare you try passing yourself off a do gooders. Quite the opposite. Enjoy yourselves. In a months time you’ll have banned everyone and lost a heap of respect you once had in the process. What a mess. Shameful. Everyone of you. That includes you, Queen Greta.

  63. 83

    @ Vonnie #82


    Um, I transcribe under an anonymous pseudonym.


    Transcribing is a time-intensive, volunteer effort.


    Yep, nothing like trolls shitting all over our hard work to boost one’s ego.

  64. 84

    I’m surprised at the hostility in the comments. I don’t see the need for name calling. Nor to I personally appreciate some of the language. I don’t feel safe here and feel the need to be prepared/braced for someone to say negative things to my comment in a personal manner.

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