In an email received at about 3:11 p.m. today, Stenograph announced the date of its town hall meeting and distributed an invite link. Participants are asked to send their questions to firstname.lastname@example.org by May 30, 2023.
I’ll start with something positive. I think this is a step in the right direction. Customers have been asking for a little love and attention for a long time, and this is definitely trying to give them what they asked for. The petition went out last week. Mr. Dutta’s public comments were discovered this weekend, and here we are.
There are some problems with the way this is being done. First, Stenograph being in control of the questions means that some questions may be disregarded. If you send in questions, consider saving evidence that you sent them and then letting me know if any of your questions were ignored afterwards. We can at least create a record of what wasn’t asked if my paranoia over Stenograph’s control of the event turns out to be healthy skepticism. Overlapping with that concern, there are questions about whether any live questions will be taken or whether the town hall will be exclusively limited to questions sent to the email provided by May 30. I have to admit, I believe that Stenograph should take some questions beforehand because it’s a company and it’s hard to answer questions on the fly about a company with no prep as to what those questions will be. But I also believe a healthy town hall would have some live question component.
Another problem that arises is that at 6 pm EST, it’s 3 PM PST. Many stenographers will be working at the time of the event, and if it is not recorded and distributed, they will miss it. Participants could record themselves using Open Broadcast Software or their phones or whatever, but it’s an extra step many won’t take. And again, paranoia strikes. What if low attendance is used to support the shortage narrative pushed by Stenograph, Veritext, US Legal Support, and the Speech-to-Text Institute? In my heart, I hope the company wouldn’t do that, but I’ve learned to stop thinking with my heart and understand that people play games.
If there are questions you want to ask that you don’t feel comfortable sending to Stenograph yourself, please comment them here. I will send them and keep a record of what I send. I will not send anything overtly inappropriate.
I’ve said many times before that if Stenograph admits that the Speech-to-Text Institute was wrong about the stenographer shortage being impossible to solve, it will make court reporting history. That’s what I’ll be looking out for. I have other questions about the percentage of revenue that goes into their R&D budget and what percentage of that is specifically spent on stenographic technology, but other than that, I haven’t yet decided what to ask.
For what it’s worth, if anybody from Stenograph is reading, thanks for doing this, but these are honest concerns court reporters have.
Court reporters, if you fight, you will win. You wanted a town hall and you got one. Make the most of it and remember this moment the next time someone tells you something cannot be done.
I messed up the times in the original post. It’s 6 PM EST, 3 PM PST. May 31, 2023.