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14 September 2005 | Uncompleted

"Disabilities" Affecting Conference Participation

an exercise in identifying the variety of challenges to dialogue

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This is an effort to scope out the range of "disabilities" that may undermine effective participation in conferences -- both in terms of willingess to attend and in the effectiveness of dialogue.

The emphasis here is on the less obvious "disabilities".

It is worth recalling that many people of the greatest eminence are recognized as having been constrained by disabilities, whether physical or otherwise, for example: Stephen Hawking, Kurt Gödel (paranoia), John Forbes Nash (schizophrenia), etc.

Physical "disabilities"

Each of these may require some special form of assistance:

Challenges are to be found not only in access to meeting rooms, and to seating arrangements, but in use of the podium to make presentations and the means of controlling electronic devices (microphone, earphones, etc) whether as speaker or as participant

Emotional "disabilities"

The effects of these may be cushioned by suitable uses of protocol and "minders"

Mental "disabilities"


It may be useful to recognize various forms of addiction as "disabilities" affecting (or enhancing?) conference participation:


Physical "disabilities" as metaphors

It is useful to consider the obvious physical "disabilities" of some as illustrative of possible information processing "disabilities" of others.

response: change of perspective

not us and them; need is not problem, problem is handicapped, from being a problem to being a citizen


podium, stairs

beyond wheelchairs

disability: seen, not seen -- handicapped

handicap depends on context

meetingpersons with special expectations

disability should meansas little as possible


presume to make decisions for those with disability

write about

turing test

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