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03 September, 2012

Shit Like This, Atheism+

Being a student of ASL and a friend of people in the Deaf community around Sacramento, when I heard the controversy of A+Scribe, I immediately thought of the campaign CaptionTHIS, which is a movement to influence major internet sites with video to make closed captioning available universally. For some reason, A+Scribe feels it would be better to transcribe people's work without bothering too much about permission from the content owner and hosting it on their own site, generating traffic for themselves and saying that the content owner can go ahead and link to the A+Scribe site if they want.

Justin Vacula has a great video regarding the comments in a post on Freethought Blogs that will give you an idea of why a transcription service affiliated with Atheism+ might be controversial (even though A+Scribe insists it is not part of Atheism+), and what suggestions were made to resolve the issue of permission and copyright on the transcribed videos. Justin also reads the comments by Greta Christina flies off the handle for no reason and then makes a not-apology to the person who originally suggested that A+Scribe contact the content owners before transcribing the videos. I suggest you watch that video in its entirety (it's about 20 minutes) if you don't have any background on the issue.

Knowing about the CaptionTHIS campaign, I decided I'd ask the A+scribe twitter account what they thought. After all, with the controversy surrounding A+, one would think an already established, uncontroversial and unbiased group might do better to resolve these issues. A+ is so interested in social justice, but their first pet project is to start an A+ organization that is admittedly willing to disregard the wishes of content owners in order to reach their goal. It's sad.

After just one tweet to @aplusscribe, I got a knee-jerk, condescending response from user @many_miles_2_go.

So here's just one more example out of many over the last year where someone has asked a question or offered a solution to a controversy only to be treated like a troll and insulted. Here's an image of the conversation I put together. See for yourself.

A+Scribe and I didn't get to an agreement. It eventually descended into being told that A+ is all about defending people from the trolls and misogynists that are apparently running rampant as leaders of the atheist movement, and they ended up asking me if we could just leave Atheism+ alone (what exactly are we doing other than criticizing their divisiveness)? It got a little bizarre and they couldn't actually tell us what we were doing wrong other than pointing to the anonymous trolls that not only don't represent the detractors of A+ or of atheism, but are found in every demographic on the internet. I let them know how I get away with not being trolled (ignore the bastards and they have nothing to do), but I suspect the advice will fall on unwilling ears.


  1. They are transcribing people's work without permission and then posting it on their site? They must not have anything to do with atheism plus because the atheism plus crowd was so quick to rally around "Surly" Amy when she filed DMCA complaints against her critics. To take a stand for copyright and then turn around and steal content from others would be the height of hypocrisy.

  2. If they ignored trolls they wouldn't have anything else to write about.