By Sue Lichtenfels, Communications Leader
It is not a surprise that with the divisiveness across our country, we are seeing impact within PCB. Some have expressed concerns that the PCB organization has been supporting one political side over another because peers have posted content of a political or partisan nature to our listserv. Conversations on calls and in chapters have included comments about politicians and ideological positions. In respect for our fellow PCB peers, please ask yourself one question before you speak or post. Is this blindness specific? If the answer is no, please save your communication for platforms outside of PCB. If the answer is yes, this does relate to blindness, then please explain how so, in non-political terms as you proceed to share. It is especially important that those of us who serve in chapter, team, or statewide leadership remain focused on policy, not politics when we are interacting in council affairs.
While minimal moderation has been required in the past, PCB’s leadership has asked the Communications Team to develop content guidelines for our two statewide listservs, PCB-L and PCB-Chat. Moving forward, peers should use PCB-L as an announcement forum and PCB-Chat as our discussion forum. In a nutshell, PCB-L is a resource list for sharing fact-based information and announcements relevant to blindness or vision loss such as: assistive product info, legislative and regulatory efforts, meeting/training/webinar announcements, survey/research postings, Council news and updates, employment opportunities, business or service provider resources, and the like. If you wish to reply to a post, it should be done off-list. Individuals interested in sharing opinion pieces, having an idea exchange, and carrying on conversations relevant to blindness issues or adjusting to vision loss are strongly encouraged to join and utilize the PCB-Chat list. Replies on the chat forum will go to the list so that all may participate in the discussion. Regardless of the list, peers should be respectful of others and act with decorum. Subject matter on both lists must remain relevant to blindness or vision loss. Complete guidelines for participants will be posted to each listserv in the coming weeks.
While we address listserv content concerns, the Technology Access Team is administering a platform change for all public and team listservs. The current provider, YahooGroups, is ending listserv hosting on December 15, 2020. This means our tech volunteers are transferring us to Groups.io for all listserv hosting. If it goes as planned, peers will experience no interruption in their ability to send and receive posts. Peers may receive a welcome message from Groups.io when the transfer occurs.
The lists will function the same way as YahooGroups, except when sending a message, you would replace the @yahoogroups.com with @groups.io. For example, firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org, or the like. To subscribe to any lists you are not currently on, send a message to the list name followed by +email@example.com. For example firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. Should you feel you are encountering technical difficulties with PCB’s listservs, please don’t hesitate to email our tech team for help: firstname.lastname@example.org.
In closing, a reminder that as a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, secular organization, PCB may not and does not affiliate itself with, endorse, or financially support any specific political party, platform, or politician. PCB’s focus is on the promotion of public policies, community practices, service provisions, accessible products, and legislative pathways which will lead to greater independence and opportunity for all persons with blindness or vision loss. Each peer within the PCB network, regardless of his or her individual political beliefs or preferences, is vital to accomplishing our mission. In these highly polarizing times, it is vital that each peer remain laser focused on our shared experiences as persons living with blindness or vision loss to accomplish our mission.