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Being Blind

Dealing with transition issues associated with being seated on the IESG was a bit strange. I'm not used to actively having to think about being blind in a work context or to needing to answer questions about it. There's not a problem with such questions. For myself, I've mostly just answered them years ago and don't really think about the issues. However my blindness seemed to be a significant issue for several of the other IESG members and they were concerned about how well I would deal. Nomcom didn't discuss the issue although I offered to answer any questions they had.

People universally seem to focus on things that are not hard problems. For example when asking how I use a computer, most peoples' big question is how do I manage to type, not how do I get output. Last week the big question was would I be able to use IETF websites like the ID Tracker. The other question is how do I follow presentations. Issues that actually end up being somewhat challenging like how do I get around or communicate with people without disrupting a meeting tend never to be the focus.

None of this is a problem; it just feels strange. The questions are natural and they have relatively easy answers. The answers seem satisfactory.




Many people, especially those in more sheltered sections of society, have not had the opportunity to be exposed to varying types of people. When confronted with something out of the ordinary they don't know how to respond. The usual reaction is confusion accompanied by fear of improper conduct.

In such a situation the best palative to allay their discomforts would be your own experiences. Hey, I've got through college at MIT, I've led the Kerberos project for several years, I used to be the chief architect at a .COM. Such accolades should make it apparent that meaningful participation on Nomcom will not be an issue.

The most helpful adjustment mechanism in this case is a buddy. Your best friend on Nomcom, someone willing to help you around and explain visual presentation points that aren't entirely obvious from auditory input alone. Someone who can read printed-only material (does Nomcom even use this anymore?) and help you find your seat. The rest of the group will soon be used to your attendence and begin to feel at ease. In due time they won't even notice these minor preturbations anymore than they notice your faint trace of a Texas accent.

Have fun shooting down patent-laden Microsoft-submitted drafts. ;-)