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Is enforcing common courtesy a bad thing?

This came in my e-mail the other day:

Hi Joyce and Doug,

...ProQuest will be making a montage of events at NECC and so has a camera crew retained and able to come to the breakfast. ProQuest has offered to video the talking portions of the breakfast, and that would be YOU both!

Peggy thinks it would be useful to have the video segments to use later to promote the SIG, etc. I believe SIGMS also plans to video the Forum later in the day. So, please let us know if you are okay w/being videod. Thanks much.

Paula Farley Jackson, Associate Publisher, Linworth Publishing

My reply:

I am OK with video provided you only shoot my good side and I NEVER have to watch it.


Now, was that so difficult?

There were some feathers ruffled by ISTE when it ordained that at this year's NECC "full video/audio" capture of sessions was not permitted without the written permission of both the presenter and ISTE.

This rule is only asking attendees to exhibit a little common courtesy. A pity that what seems like a simple polite behavior, asking permission, must be mandated.  I can certainly understand why presenters may prefer not to have their efforts video or audio-taped given the technical quality of some of these amateur recordings. There may be presenters for whom presenting is their livelihood for which such broadcasts may cut into their earnings. If such a rule is not in place, presenters need to know going in that their sessions are basically thrown into the public domain with or without their permission. And hey, maybe some people just plain don't like being recorded for whatever reason. Maybe you have a big zit on the end of your nose that day and it's not how you want others to think of you. Whatever.

Should permission from ISTE be required? For recordings of full sessions, I think so. No videotaping rules have long been announcement at concerts and theater events. How different is a keynote? Might educators who listen and view recordings of conference events never actually feel moved to attend NECC in person and so miss out the the powerful F2F networking there? ISTE members, NECC is indeed a revenue generator for the organization. The profits from it help keep your membership dues low and services high. I personally don't believe pocasting would have a negative impact on revenues for the conference (just the opposite, I am guessing), but if it did, the membership would feel the hurt.

Hopefully this issue will be resolved well in advance of the 2009 NECC conference with guidelines that respect both the rights of the attendees, the blogosphere, and the presenters. More reasoned discussion and less knee-jerk reaction by both bloggers and ISTE would be helpful in creating such guidelines.

Miguel, lighten up.  Cathy, think again. ISTE staff, don't be wimps.

Oh, for the record, I've never turned down a request to be taped. But if I ever show up on YouTube, I might well reconsider... 


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Reader Comments (10)

Actually, no, enforcing common courtesy isn't such a bad thing, if you think of it as the "grease" that keeps society's cogs moving smoothly.
(But then I was an anthropology major in college.....)
I just wish it happened w/o mandates.

June 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJanet

i admit my response was kneejerk in nature. This will only be over and done when we see the wording in the proposals and literature that come with next year's conference. I'm going to remove my post that you point too now, as I don't want to embarrass ISTE leaders or board members or paint a wrong picture. I've been thoroughly chastised directly and indirectly for it enough today.

June 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Nelson

Just throwing this out there but I wonder if part of the reaction from members stems from the legalize language and approach. As I read your post, it comes across as much more tempered and reasonable since you include bits of levity and explanation that is simple to understand and appreciate. As I pointed to on my blog, I've seen other conference policies that offered a much less litigious tone and indeed leaned towards openness and transparency.

I agree that common sense goes a long way here but wondering if ISTE could have alleviated some of its criticism by adopting a more personable, less corporatesque speak. I'm probably too naive and certainly have no legal expertise but again, just throwing that out there.

FYI, did you realize that ustream for example now has a direct upload to youtube? Hope that doesn't scare you.

June 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDean Shareski

Doug, I'm light as a feather (NOT!), you just don't like I sting like a bee.

No, seriously, the policy was worded to be restrictive and to close down the sharing that has characterized the edublogosphere. That said, the attack--if it must be called that--was directed at a policy that failed to live up to the ideals expressed by ISTE, its leadership and members.

In light of that fact, I applaud those who spoke up against the policy. Sure, there were some pot-shots from folks, but none we hadn't heard before. As a matter of fact, I was surprised David Thornburg, David Warlick, and others didn't speak up. But ISTE moved so decisively--and correctly--to affirm our hopes for ISTE rather than feed the fears that are the reality for so many in K-12 schools that it all ended quickly.

Now, the question I have is, are the advisory boards and elected members of ISTE leadership really involved in decisions that open the door to noncommercial educational uses of content? And, shouldn't these subversive elements--yes, you--noticed this?

Of course not...old policy documents have to be updated and ISTE leadership made it happen and then setup a process for feedback from members.

Lighten up? I encourage you reconsider your light-hearted, skilled attack of Cathy, who is now withdrawing her blog post because the Blue Skunk sprayed in her direction! That's something to get mad about!!


Ok, that was fun. We're still on for arm-wrestling at dinner? Winner takes on Scott (that'll be you).



P.S. Cathy, ignore Doug and keep your blog post up there. It's on wayback machine anyways...nothing disappears on the web.

June 21, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMiguel Guhlin

@ Janet,

Had the mandate come (or come to light) earlier with some rationale, I am sure it would have been better received. I am no fan of heavy-handed rule making either.

All the best,

@ Cathy,

I'd leave my post up! Don't let different points of view keep you from maintaining yours. No chastisement intended!

Points like those you and Miguel made are a part of coming to a sensible policy are are necessary.


@ Dean,

Wow, there is a huge difference in tone between the two conference statements! Perhaps had ISTE even word their statement as a positive (Recording of sessions is permitted provided these criteria are met...)

Like most organizations, ISTE tries to play it safe. Perhaps this is no longer possible...

Thanks again for sharing the link. It makes me wonder how I might approach a conference differently knowing EVERYTHING I said or did might be recorded!

All the best,


June 22, 2008 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

@ Miguel,

I instantly regretted my harshness when I told you to "lighten up" and Cathy to "think again." No one should be subjected to such an extensive, public verbal drubbing, especially from a master wordsmith like myself. I can now only hope that one day extensive therapy will help me alleviate the guilt associated with this brutal act.

The role of the ISTE board in decisions like this is (like in most organizations) somewhat fuzzy. I don't remember being asked for input on policy at this relatively micro-level, nor do I think the board should be involved unless the CEO or a committee requests input - which I am guessing they may now well do. The line between active involvement and micromanagement is an easy one to cross.

While I would agree the wording and roll-out of this policy was not well executed, I still don't really have a problem with it. To my mind, the unauthorized use of intellectual property without the consent of the creator still constitutes theft.

Sorry, Mr. Hymenoptera Dude.


June 22, 2008 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

I did not totally remove my post, just the parts that were not conducive to positive interactions. I stand by my original opinion. Thanks. I've had other pings that felt much worse than this one LOL. For those of us with questions or concerns, if we are not happy about the status quo, then we must strive to get in the ballgame by vying for a position with ISTE--each year at NECC I recall how they advertise for openings here and there amongst the ISTE organization, from board members to conference planners. I've never really felt qualified, so never have pursued such a position (and I'm not even 100% sure what kinds of positions are available for members.) But this experience has certainly made me pay attention to how I can have an impact and have my voice heard. Of course getting a response first from a Leslie Connery designee, and then a second follow up today from Don Knezek (and it could very well also be a Don Knezek designee as well, though this one is just short enough to make me wonder if it is the real deal), well--it does make me feel like my tiny little member voice is bing heard. I don't know that I've ever had responses to anything I've done for a larger organization like ALA or even state legislation on legislative day. So, despite my initial emailed whine, I feel very good knowing 1) someone cared enough to make sure I knew my voice was heard, and 2)my voice mixed with others was enough to make ISTE rethink their late decision. I certainly hope what is coming next (and there is no doubt a policy is coming) will be positive and hashed out with member input. No harm done, and I think this has been a fabulous debate and conversation, and it shows there is a need for updating policy to match the times, and a need for members to be more actively involved. Step or shut up, right? Instead of coming with complaint in hand, bring forth a solution. Are we still on for dinner? We need to set a time and day, as well as how many...there will be 3 in my party.

June 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterCathy Nelson

Hi Cathy,

If you would like to get more involved with ISTE (which I DO think is a responsive organization!), I'd suggest attending SIGMS events and those sponsored by your local ISTE Affiliate. Leaders and workers and voices are welcome in both areas.

I believe dinner is still in order - so long as you promise not to pick on me!

All the best,


June 22, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterDoug Johnson

Hi Doug,
Common courtesy is fine. However, I think it's definitely worth more than a second look at how the video or recording will be used. Who will they sell/share it with and do you have any control over that? Do you mind if it is used for commercial purposes? What if it is to become part of a marketing promotion for the company? Do you want your words and ideas used for any purpose, in perpetuity, to support (and implicitly promote) projects that you may or may not believe in?

I'm not saying anything bad about ProQuest, or Linworth Publishing, but their request seems incomplete, at best.

June 23, 2008 | Unregistered Commentersylvia martinez

Hi Sylvia,

Good points. But at least Linworth and ProQuest asked and did indicate the purpose of the taping.

As I understand it, some bloggers are advocating a "record at will for any purpose" policy which seems many times more problematic!

All the best,


June 24, 2008 | Registered CommenterDoug Johnson

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