May. 3rd, 2011

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I should have thought about this earlier, and asked you guys for feedback, or maybe I should have waited until next year. But here's what I just sent to this year's Wiscon access committee:

Problem: Panelists sometimes forget to use the mike or to move their hands away from their mouths when they talk.

The only method I, as an audience member who cannot understand what is being said, have to address this problem is to put my hand up and wait for the moderator to call on me. This solution is not available when the panel is not taking questions[*], takes some wait time even when it is available, and is an interruption to the actual discussion.

Suggestion: Print HANDS or MIKE (depending on whether the panel has mikes) on cardstock in large friendly letters. Leave them on the blue-stripe seats or at the entrance to the room. Somehow inform everyone that these are intended to be used to remind the panelists to move their HANDS or use the MIKE.

ETA: The access team thinks this is a great idea. They're going to see what they can do for this year.

[*]ETA: I know that some people can call out "mike!" even when the panelists are talking. I appreciate it when they do. But. I wish everyone could understand how painful it is for a shy person to push herself forward, when it is not her turn, to ask.

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