Why the Starfish?

We have to go back to the birth of the SIG for the explanation about the starfish. Judith Skinner, founder of the then Special Needs Committee, which became the AccessAbility SIG and is now the Accessibility SIG, concluded her presentation at the STC conference in Orlando with the story:
I'm reminded of the story about the beach strewn with starfish and the little girl picking them up and throwing them back in the ocean. "Little girl," a passer-by said, "what are you doing?" "I'm saving the starfish," she replied. "But there are so many! Your efforts can't possibly make a difference," the passer-by said. As she picked up another starfish, the little girl said, "It makes a difference to that one."
Dan Voss, Judith Skinner's successor as Committee manager and later SIG manager, added this explanation in a presentation at the 50th STC conference:
It's not that we are ichthyologically inclined. The reason we have adopted the humble starfish as a "mascot" for our SIG is that it provides a perfect metaphor for the unique challenge of our mission. Providing information, advocacy, and support for technical communicators and users of communication products who have disabilities can be truly inspiring, but it can also be discouraging. Try as we might, we cannot possibly provide solutions for all the challenges faced by millions of people with disabilities. We can't even do that within our own profession.
You could say that each posting to this blog is another starfish! For more information, read

Comments are closed.