signpuddle entry disappeared?

Charles Butler chazzer3332000 at YAHOO.COM
Thu Sep 27 20:56:36 UTC 2012

Dear Maria,

Right now we are working on a Wikipedia, and I use the ASL Puddle to compare entries. When I see a difference in a sign, I post that sign for discussion to ensure that what I write or read is actually accurate and the clearest spelling.  Sometimes there are nine different entries for a given gloss, and I have to choose the one that to me is most accurate. Granted, that is entirely subjective, which your linguists may be disgruntled at, but if, over time, a body of literature grows in Wikipedia, more and more users will be using familiar writings that have become the "default" user-most-friendly writings. 

If one sign were written expressive, and another receptive, they are the same sign, they are reverses of each other, but if a sign is written that shows my right hand doing something and using a left arrow to show its movement, that is wrong on its face, factually wrong, not simply stylistically variant. You can't write an EEE sound with an AY, it can't be read. A movement up is not a movement out. 

Those are the kinds of edits that I have been looking at in LIBRAS. The published LIBRAS dictionary has descriptions as well as pictures, and if the arrows and palm facings don't match the description or the video, then the video and the description win. I'm going through the published dictionary, no more than 4 or 5 signs at a time, to put into the SignPuddle the most accurate transcription I can. In working with the editors of that published dictionary, they knew that there were a number of errors that would require a teacher certified in the system to note and correct before they put them on line. That's what I am doing, and if I am confused, a take the time to check with three or four native users of LIBRAS before I even put it in the SignPuddle. 

I don't remove things out of any dictionary without consulting the writers, but if something seems to be an "experiment" I am going to flag them as "experiment" so I can leave them alone, particularly if I don't know the source, don't have any kind of definition, and they look like scribbles. 

The SignPuddle is an amazing resource, and I don't want to see it less accessible, but there must be a way to separate out a "real" sign that has been vetted and compared to one which is just a "stab in the dark". My way is to quote the source, to put my name on it so that people can contact me, and try to put a clear definition of the sign, which sometimes fails to completely convey a translation. 

i expect the same courtesy from others, don't put something in the SignPuddle as an "experiment" without stating so, and be willing to put your name on it. Think of it as an exercise board, if you must, but I'm a teacher, and part of my job is pointing out things that are "errors" not simply "variations."
Charles Butler
chazzer3332000 at
Clear writing moves business forward.

 From: MARIA GALEA <maria.azzopardi at UM.EDU.MT>
Sent: Thursday, September 27, 2012 4:28 PM
Subject: Re: signpuddle entry disappeared?
Wow, what has happened here is really interesting, and it's something
that's been on my mind for a long time.

For starters this is another clear indicatin that signwriting is becoming

In the SLLING list there was a discussion about HamNoSys and SignWriting -
and sign linguists were criticizing SignPuddle Dictionaries for not being
traditional 'dictionaries' in the linguistic sense (1 lexeme: 1 entry)-
and they are right - but this does not mean that SignPuddles are not a
rich resource in themselves. They store written sign language entries not
just by linguists but by common folk, and this makes all entries in
SignPuddle an invaluable resource - since for a writing system to be truly
a writing system it needs to be accepted, and written by a community of
language users. If SignPuddle was a linguistic database, it would lose its
uniqueness. What makes SignPuddle so strong - paradoxically is what
linguists criticize as weak - the way data is entered into Puddle in such
a non-academic way : i see this a major strength :)

I see the public SignPuddles as editing tools for anyone using SignWriting
who wishes to write and store SignWritten entries in a particular

However my question now: are the public SignPuddles truly public? To have
an editor in a public SignPuddle 'respelling' and deleting entries to me
indicates that they are not very public. It might be a good time to
re-think what the aims and purposes of Public SignPuddles are. I can
understand that an editor would have to remove 'mistakes' etc..but the
mistakes are his/her interpretation of mistakes - at this early stage the
development of a writing system..mistakes may very well NOT be mistakes,
just different ways of writing the same thing..sometimes very different
ways but still the variance of writing would provide data which is
valuable for anyone studying the evolution of a writing system such as

Maybe what could be done is that the public SignPuddles remain or become
truly public, so that all entries are allowed to stay there..BUT then of
course I understand that the actual editors (with their different reasons
and targets for using SignWriting) cannot use these the Public SignPuddles
as they are, but they would take whatever they wish from the public
SignPuddles to their semi-private puddle (that can be viewed but not

Hope this makes sense.

> SignWriting List
> September 27, 2012
> Hello Stefan and everyone!
> Thank you for your message below. I have pasted a Google translation in
English below�
> These SignPuddles are growing!
> Maybe we need separate SignPuddle files for some countries and their
> languages, so that different purposes can be supported within the same
sign language?
> Let's think about what would be best later� Maybe the DELEGS related
SignPuddle needs to be separate from the general public's German Sign
Language SignPuddle, that would be for beginners to try to learn to
> and so forth, and both SignPuddles would be accessible for reading, but
the DELEGS related SignPuddle would not be open to the general public
> writing? Just a thought...
> Thank you everyone, for your remarkable work� It is so exciting to see
> that is being accomplished...
> Val ;-)
> -------
> English translation of Stefan's message:
> Hello Steve, Valerie, Charles and Oscar,
> There is a simple reason why the characters are gone. I'm
> the responsible editor of the German SignPuddles and have these entries
tonight deleted!
> At least times already great that we can now talk about it. Often I
delete that is misspelled or twice or three times
> Entries made by beginners, without ever a response to
> . experience
> Often, it is also different ;-)
> ... I get emails where someone points out that he also
> Want to learn to write SignWriting. This writer then asks for
> Feedback, help, support on the first write attempt.
> What is new is that our German SignPuddle a really great use
> in Delegs project experienced.
> With the fantastic Delegseditor we can in a few minutes
> Creating training materials for teaching German.
> It does not matter if you LBG - or create documents DGS
> want to be used by the students then to German or
> Single sign or want to learn German Sign Language.
> Overall, such a dictionary then makes more sense if a certain standard /
Quality assurance is maintained.
> I try through tireless efforts on for many, many years
> . reach Meanwhile, I have written far more than 35000 gestures and
Wheelbarrow full of gestures created written documents for the
> ;-)
> I want to avoid so that the number of additional search terms
> Variations mentioned, the creation of a rapid
> SignWriting documents difficult for my third graders.
> The characters that I deleted today night were sometimes wrong
> written, not to exploit some within the German language.
> So it makes sense that you might explain Oscar under which
> You bring in your sign Geichtspunkt entries in the German SignPuddle.
> Take for example the gesture with ID id00008 -
> You can find this gesture under the search word "no" -
> Mh - and why not, you might say.
> If you question a movement parallel to the execution of the hands is
Floor display outside with appropriate hand shape - and if you
> Such entries are not exactly the same time for text production but
require other purposes, it makes sense to the search word entry a
unusual characteristic letters preceded eg "Xidnicht"
> Then would the gesture other in this form with my students and
> Users to sign written documents do not show up when they are in the
Keyword line write "not" the word.
> Maybe for your project even the "Puddle staff" would be ideal. So for a
chance purely private / local database
> together to support your purpose.
> 'm Curious what exactly you have chosen as a research object.
> I just looked at SignPuddle and found that under
> id numbers were reinstated a few gestures.
> I lack the time in each case to make the correction work.
> At the same time I want to make as a responsible editor that
> as many (smile) entries are displayed correctly.
> This naturally leads to a conflict ... but as I said, maybe I
> I still do not understand exactly what is involved in your work ...
> Until then, all the best
> Greetings Stefan W�hrmann
> ---------
> On Sep 27, 2012, at 9:41 AM, Stefan W�hrmann wrote:
>> Hallo Steve, Valerie, Charles und Oscar,
>> Es gibt einen einfachen Grund, warum die Zeichen verschwunden sind. Ich
>> der verantwortliche Editor des deutschen SignPuddles und habe diese
>> heute Nacht gel�scht!
>> Zumindest ist ja schon mal toll, dass wir nun dar�ber reden k�nne. Oft
l�sche ich n�mlich falsch geschriebene oder doppelt und dreifach
vorgenommene Eintr�ge von Anf�ngern, ohne jemals wieder eine Reaktion
>> erleben.
>> H�ufig ist es aber auch anders ;-)
>> ... dann erhalte ich emails, in denen jemand darauf hinweist, dass er auch
>> Geb�rdenSchrift schreiben lernen m�chte. Dieser Schreiber bittet dann
>> R�ckmeldung, Hilfe, Unterst�tzung bei den ersten Schreibversuchen. Neu
ist nun, dass unser deutsches SignPuddle eine ganz wunderbare
>> im Delegs-Projekt erlebt.
>> Mit dem Delegseditor k�nnen wir in wenigen Minuten fantastische
Schulungsunterlagen f�r den Deutschunterricht erstellen.
>> Dabei spielt es keine Rolle, ob man LBG - oder DGS Dokumente erstellen
m�chte, die von den Sch�lern dann genutzt werden, um Deutsch oder
Einzelgeb�rden oder Deutsche Geb�rdensprache lernen zu wollen.
Insgesamt macht so ein W�rterbuch dann mehr Sinn, wenn ein gewisser
>> /Qualit�tssicherung eingehalten wird.
>> Das versuche ich durch unerm�dlichen Einsatz seit vielen, vielen Jahren
>> erreichen. Inzwischen habe ich weit mehr als 35000 Geb�rden geschrieben
>> Schubkarren voll von Geb�rdenSchriftdokumenten f�r den Unterricht
>> ;-)
>> Ich m�chte also verhindern, dass die Suchworte etliche zus�tzliche
Variationen aufz�hlen, die ein z�giges Erstellen von
>> Geb�rdenSchriftdokumenten auch f�r meine Drittkl�ssler erschweren. Die
Zeichen, die ich heute Nacht gel�scht habe, waren zum Teil falsch
geschrieben, zum Teil im Rahmen des Deutschunterrichts nicht zu
>> Es macht also Sinn, dass Sie Oscar vielleicht darlegen, unter welchem
Geichtspunkt Sie Ihre Geb�rdeneintr�ge im Deutschen SignPuddle
>> Nehmen wir beispielsweise die Geb�rde mit der ID id00008  -
>> Sie finden diese Geb�rde unter dem Suchwort "nicht" -
>> Mh - warum auch nicht, k�nnte man meinen.
>> Wenn es Ihnen darum geht eine Bewegungsausf�hrung der H�nde parallel
>> Boden nach au�en mit entsprechender Handform darzustellen - und wenn
>> gleichzeitig exakt solche Eintr�ge nicht f�r Textproduktion sondern f�r
andere Zwecke ben�tigen, macht es Sinn, dem Suchworteintrag eine
au�ergew�hnliche Kennbuchstabenfolge  voranzustellen z.B. "xidnicht"
Dann w�rde diese Geb�rde in dieser Form bei meinen Sch�lern und anderen
Nutzern f�r Geb�rdenSchriftdokumente nicht auftauchen, wenn sie in der
Suchwortzeile das Wort "nicht" schreiben.
>> M�glicherweise w�re f�r Ihr Projekt sogar das "Personal Puddle" ideal.
>> erhalten Sie die Chance eine rein private/lokale Datenbank
>> zusammenzustellen, um Ihre Zwecke zu unterst�tzen.
>> Bin neugierig, was genau Sie als Forschungsgegenstand gew�hlt haben.
Gerade habe ich im SignPuddle nachgeschaut und festgestellt, dass unter
id-nummern wieder ein paar Geb�rden eingestellt wurden.
>> Mir fehlt die Zeit in jedem Einzelfall die Korrekturarbeit zu leisten.
Gleichzeitig m�chte ich als verantwortlicher Editor sicherstellen, dass
m�glichst viele (smile) Eintr�ge korrekt dargestellt sind.
>> Das f�hrt nat�rlich zu einem Konflikt,... aber wie gesagt, vielleicht
>> ich noch nicht genau verstanden, worum es bei Ihrer Arbeit geht ... Bis
dahin alles Gute
>> Gr��e Stefan W�hrmann
>> -----Urspr�ngliche Nachricht-----
>> Von: SignWriting List: Read and Write Sign Languages
>> [mailto:SW-L at LISTSERV.VALENCIACOLLEGE.EDU] Im Auftrag von Oscar Koller
Gesendet: Donnerstag, 27. September 2012 16:28
>> Betreff: Re: signpuddle entry disappeared?
>> Hey Steve, and all the list,
>> thanks for your message.
>> The signmaker:
>> it seems it is not part of your
swis-server that you provide on github, but on above mentioned website
>> see, that it is GPL3 licensed. Can I get it somehow? if there is the
need for a little coding and adjusting to our system, that is no
>> When doing our annotations in public signpuddle (annotating our glosses
to signwriting), we need a way to link back the signpuddle entries to
our video database. we would use ids to give that information. probably
that was the reason, why the entries got removed. We denoted the id in
the "text" field. now we shifted to adding the id to the source field.
then it is not displayed too big and hopefully doesn't annoy anybody.
What do you think? Is that ok?
>> Thanks,
>> Oscar.
>> Am 27.09.2012 15:45, schrieb Steve Slevinski:
>>> Greetings Oscar Koller,
>>> It looks like your entries were deleted by an editor.  I do not know
why.  This shouldn't have happened.  It was very inconsiderate. Please
let me know if it happens again.
>>> If you send me the export, I can add back the deleted entries. In the
German dictionary, writing with heads is the current writing style of
Stefan W�hrmann. Question for Stefan, should we split into
>>> German puddles?  When dealing with spelling examples, dictionary lookup,
>>> and general use: I can see the benefit of having the body of work
>>> on particular rules of spelling.
>>> No free ways to edit SignWriting on a local machine.  Work in
>>> 2013 should be an amazing year for SignWriting editors. I hope we can
maintain compatibility with SignPuddle Online.  It is a great example
>>> great writers from all over the world.
>>> Valerie's non-profit does offer private puddles where you can set the
security for who can view, who can add, and who can edit.  There is
>>> the PersonalPuddle, a client side version of SignPuddle Online for Mac
or Windows.  Easy to install on Linux too.  The import / export is for
entire puddles or single entries.  These services are available for a
fee or private agreement.
>>> Regards,
>>> -Steve
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