Those of you who are familiar whith the process, know that the approval procedure here at Fingeralphabet.org has always been a challenge for many reasons. To summarize it, I would say:
When I say that people are too easy to please, then I refer to what happened to my very first postcard with the very first fingeralphabet: Despite my efforts of having it checked several times by several knowledgeable people, the signs G and H were shown not as seen by the viewer but as seen by the signer. Bummer!
Later I found out that the people who had checked the illustrations were completely aware of the situation. They had decided, individually, that they would not say anything about the orientation, because apart from that the signs were actually correct.
By the way, the orientation is an issue you find all the time when you look at material online and watch YouTube videos of people who unfortunately learned it from the wrong material and are now passing it on the wrong way around. This leads to a situation, where people now often are unsure about what is really correct.
How that happened in the first place, you might ask? Well, some of the signs are much better to understand if you see them from the side – apart from the fact that they are much easier to illustrate this way. I am sure that there were little notes attached to the orignials, informing the reader of the fact that a sign was shown from the left or right, but throughout many sessions of copy&paste, these little notes got lost, making a correct illustration become, in some way, an incorrect illustration.
My original beta readers, all experts, were happy with the results of my first fingeralphabet. They had witnessed how much work it was (the first one is always much more work that all the rest), and they wanted to spare me.
So they did not mention the common issue with the orientation of the letters G and H.
It made me change the approval process.
Because that is much more work and leaves me with a lot of material I will never ever use again (I could sell “Ps” by the bundle right now), I did the mistake of trying an unfortunate shortcut first:
The filipino fingeralphabet was the first guinnea pig for this, and because I did not find much contradictory material online, it ended working for it. By the way, the magenta marks were done by a beta reader.
But the next fingeralphabet on the line had me squeezing in up to 4 alternatives for some of the signs.
It started to look messy. I still squeezed it in, because I knew that if I did not offer the correct sign, people would choose the second best. And I did not want second best. I wanted the BEST.
Now, if you show your messy notes to your best pals, that is fully ok. But you should not try to show them to a college professor and expect any kind of response. Because despite of the enormous work you have put into it – each drawing of each variation takes a while to do – the presentation of the work could have implied that I actually did not care enough.
And that is absolutely a no-go if you are asking someone to invest their most valuable goods: time & attention.
So, during the last months I ended up experimenting with the approval procedure. I tried polls, I tried long lists of illustration, I tried skype. You name it, and I have probably thought about it. It had to stay reasonable, though. I am a one person show here, after all, with limited private time.
I sincerely hope it will work.
What do you think?