Thursday, December 4, 2014

Reflecting on Wiki

This project has been one of the most challenging assignments that I have completed in college thus far. I was challenged in so many ways and I never thought that I would be part of a group to author a Wikipedia article-- an article that people will actually read! Throughout the process I referenced many of the texts that we analyzed in class to help figure out what I could contribute to the article.Initially, choosing the most appropriate top for this was frustrating and difficult to find a common ground with such a large group of people. At first I really did not to want to look at public sphere writing as something that needed to be debated but noticing that in fact, there is no wikipedia page on public sphere writing the exigence definition of exigence as a "call to action" as defined my Jimmie Killingsworth in Ecospeak, because I felt that as spearheads of public discourse as students we have a lot of insight to share on this topic and the lack of reference on wikipedia was enough justification for me to get on board with the topic.

As the page slowly began to take shape I noticed how as an individual and the class used our personal opinions from discussion throughout the past semester and implemented them in the class as well as shedding light on topics that I did not even believe to be relevant. For example, defining Queer Theory was something that I was not at all familiar with at all and being able to see that concept be explained in relevance to the readings that we looked at in class was interesting. By including that as well as gender and race theories are ways that a multitude of different audiences can appreciate the concept of public sphere writing and relate it to their own personal lives. When we came to a time that we starting working collaboratively in the sandbox I was quite hesitant to work on other sections because I did not feel as though I was capable of inserting my own edits into other groups sections.
In addition to evaluating our article composing this page it made me think of Wikipedia as its own medium within the realm of blogs as stated by Rettburg a "digital blog platform is a medium within itself". After the finishing of this product I definitely have a new found respect for those who choose to contribute and edit Wikipedia article because of the vast amount go hard work and research that it requires. I would hope that after we see the results of our approval of the page that it does in fact get page views and I plan on sharing it with my family and friends because as discussed in class, creating this page is quite a feat for our class and something to be proud of, which I am.

Works Cited:
Killingsworth, M. Jimmie, and Jacqueline S. Palmer. “Transformations of Scientific Discourse in the News Media.” In Ecospeak: Rhetoric and Environmental Politics in America. Carbondale, IL: Southern Illinois U P, 1992. 133-60. Print.

Rettburg, Jill Walker. Blogging: Digital Media and Social Series.Malden:Polity 2014. p.12; 32-33.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Edit Away

Democracy and Leadership by Irving Babbit...

At first glance I noticed that the Wikipedia page for this book was in deed very succinct and not discussed in great detail. The biggest issue with attempting to edit this wiki page was the lack of information about eh actual subject in general. After researching and looking for more sources and analysis of the title I discovered that all of the sources I had chosen were already used in the article and I wanted to bring about fresh information from different sources. As  result I made some small changes to the general knowledge of the book such as the publishing information, language and genre of the book.

I feel as we approach beginning to edit our own wikipedia pages we must take into account the sources that are already included and fact check those as well, in addition to trying to bring about new information.I feel as though there are many genres within the wikipedia world but there should be a sort of accessible commons that is static throughout all wikipedia articles, some articles should be held from publishing if they do not supply adequate and/or factual information in an effort to prevent confusion and misdirection.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Who Has True Ownership?

In response to MaryAlice's blog post...

I think MaryAlice brings up an interesting point when she asks "does the right of using the image lie in the subject or the photographer?" In Maggie's case not only was her picture used on the front page of the Michigan State University website but it was also remediated and remixed, then placed on other portions of the web page. With the tools and freedom that the internet gives suit is quite easy to take an image from an original source and spin it for its own benefit. Within the discussion of rhetorical velocity and copyright there is an embed image that states the students were "hoping creative tactics will get the attention of the current administration." Who is to argue that the method the school administrators to remediate Maggie's image was not just an example of another "creative tactic" to appeal to a new audience and enhance their schools website? Though it is difficult to think of recreation of imagery as harmful within the artist community, as it happens frequently, we do have to acknowledge that Maggie was never contacted, questioned, or asked to be photographed.

A specify example relating to FSU...

Currently, in the Dirac Science Library there are flyers posted throughout the building that state there may be a photographer around the library, whose intentions are to take pictures of the construction and remodeling of Dirac. It outwardly states that the original intention is not to photograph student but to be aware that it is possible you could be featured or included in a photograph.

This type of disclaimer is commonly seen around college campus, during events, seminars, concerts. Although I feel that acknowledgment swell as permission is also necessary that there has too be some sort of takeaway from students. Attending a post-secondary institution, especially one as popular and publicly criticized as Florida State, I expect for there to be many opportunities where I could be photographed.  Where the real issue I believe lies is when the remediation of images is recreated that the image of the person or event is spun so far as to be viewed in a negative light.

We can look at this commonly remediated image of the well-known "Mona Lisa Smile" painting
 You can seed that all of these images have been recreated towards the aim of whatever new perspective or angle the artists was truing to take. Could these have been offensive to Leonardo Da Vinci, the original artist of the painting? Or are these view in a new genre of images that because of there remediated quality are separate in value and aim from the original? The beauty and exclusivity of the internet and just creative ability in general makes the idea of "true ownership" a difficult concept to materialize.

This type of artistic freedom can also directly linked to MaryAlice's comments of the definition of plagiarism and its foundation in a power structure where those in the realm of business and teaching are free to "exchange, take and remediate" materials while students must come up with their own original work to submit for class assignments. Some might believe this recreating of the Mona Lisa is not an actor plagiarism because most think that it is common knowledge who the original artist is and that ancient paintings and works of art are commonly remediated for a multitude of afferent reasons. My inquiry is that how come this sort of viewpoint is not believed to be under the same umbrella as taking from different scholarly sources and publications in order to write an essay or project. Does the public knowledge of a work make it easier to plagiarize and is it still considered plagiarism when an well-known piece is remixed?

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Wiki World

Part 1:

Wikipedia is an interesting and trailblazing concept. Although Wikipedia claims to be an online encyclopedia, the internet aspect of the text has created an entirely new and community of readers than those who just research using printed text. This website is essentially controlled by the general public because of the ease at which anyone with internet access can add information to a Wikipedia page. The community of writers is a diverse group of individuals who often edit and update pages anonymously, allowing for multiple viewpoints and a sort of neutral perspective on a variety of topics. The biggest difference that I notice between a print encyclopedia and Wikipedia is the infinite aspect of the supply of information. In a book encyclopedia, the references, images, pictures and facts are finalized and can no longer be edited after it has been printed When new discoveries are made, new editions are published and distributed whereas Wikipedia's source of information is constantly being updated and edited by a variety of contributors. The popularity of Wikipedia has expanded its discourse community so that many of these Wiki pages can be displayed in over 200 languages. This type of diversity allows for less one-sided articles: pages can have multiple authors, writers from different countries, with different points of a view and entirely different experiences with the subject. Although most of the content is generated anonymously and from multiple contributors Wikipedia does posses a certain level of restraint in how they control the knowledge that is displayed on their site. Wikipedia states that all the content on their site "must be verified by a reliable source."

Another interesting aspect of Wikipedia is the way the content is organized. Readers have a search box where they can input the specific topic they are looking for but Wikipedia also displays randomized and "Did You Know..." articles on their front page. The continuously updating aspect of Wikipedia results in different sub categories that organize information based in completeness, factuality of the content, opinion of peer reviewers and repeated article knowledge. For example, I searched the term "citizen criticism". An option came up that was titled "Citizen Journalism". The definitions according to my understanding of the topic were essentially the same but what I noticed was that this topic was marked as "disambiguation". The means that two or more articles have been written about similar or totally different content but possess the same name.  When looking on the citizen journalism page I was able to view the link to the second page equally titled "citizen journalism" and compare content. Another note worth mentioning is how Wikipedia marks its articles based on the quality of the content. Featured articles are ones that are the most well-written and receive a lot of positive feedback from the Wiki community, they are marked with a small star in the upper right hand corner of the page. Likewise, "good articles" which are not marked with a star seem to be the more mediocre or poorly written articles. Readers can view topics within these category What I really enjoy is that Wikipedia posts alerts at the top of its content pages that show readers the parameters in which the knowledge is accepted on the site. I've seen examples stating "this page has multiple issues", "this site doesn't represent the worldwide view of this subject"  which lets me know that there is sort of this blame that bounces off multiple sources on Wikipedia. Although there is a review pboard in place to keep things like vandalism and defamation of persons from occurring on Wikipedia pages, there is a large of risk in accepting content displayed on their site.

Part 2:

I chose to analyze an article about the Sharp-snouted rock lizard. The page sites only two sources, a book about reptilian species in Britain and Europe and the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. My only issue with the references is that I cannot read the book online so I am forced to believe it to be a credible source of information. The Red list website seems to be credible as well. This group has been working for over 50 years in the area of animal conversation and so I would assume the personnel working there to be experts on a variety of different species. The Red List not only gives you information about the species itself, along with providing images but it also provides an extensive bibliography of the sources they used to compose their content. The Red List site seems very well operated and provides in depth information on different animal species. I fact checked a few pieces of information about the lizard like it biological classification, habitat, endangered status level, and its color in accordance with the Red List website and only found one discrepancy. Wikipedia states that this lizard, though it enjoys a "basking in the sun", it can also be found in a snow habitat during extremely cold weather in Europe. The Red List explains that this lizard's natural habitat is strictly hot and sunny areas. This doesn't necessarily seem like a large problem but it makes me wonder who is the contributor on Wikipedia that made the decision to include that the lizard also likes cold climate. Perhaps this person has actually witnessed the Sharp-snouted lizard in their hometown, walking around in the snow during the winter whereas a researcher from a conservationist group may have only traveled to hot climates and so they expect to find the lizard species there. The lizard species Wiki page is not the most detailed. In fact, under the "behavior" category of the article I was looking forward to reading about how this lizard interacts with others of its kinds as well as its predators and dispositions towards humans (that is if they are usually surround by people). In reality I only received information on it's eating habits, the size of the female clutch and its habitat. Other than this issue I believe this page to be generally reliable because although the facts presented to me are minimal, they match up with its sources.

Wikipedia is definitely a new and great source for finding tons of information on different topics but it is really up to the discretion of the reader to fact check against the listed references and pay attention to the alerts that Wikipedia gives about the reliability of the content that is displayed.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Everyone's A Critic

I found a few parallels between the terms Donald Lazere defines in "Viewpoint, Bias, and Fairness: From Cocksure Ignorance to Thoughtful Uncertainty" and Eberly and Corbett's discussion on becoming a Citizen Critic:

  • Primary Certitude and Faculty of Authority:
    • Through Lazere's definition we know that primary certitude is a result of someone's fixed and unwavering beliefs, causing a set of ethnocentric biases that prevents the individual from being open to and understanding an opposing viewpoint. I see this as a correlation   with use of "expert testimony" and possibly even the use of ethos as a rhetorical discourse tool. Often times self proclaimed "experts" in a field of study validate their hesitance to explore opposing research because they feel as though their standpoint is the only form of truth and relevance in a situation. This type of attitude coupled with the Faculty use of Authority is an ineffective way of arguing as it does not allow for the expanse of ones own opinion by looking through the lens of another. Though the fault may be with the writer or the speaker ,the audience member can also be a victim in this situation as well. Often the use of language like "expert", "professional", "qualified" or "experienced" has the ability to sway an audience member into thinking the viewpoint of which they are reading is the only opinion of relevance, especially if they do not take it upon themselves to research different ideals other than their own. 
    • Secondly, the Fallacy of Quotation and Personal Attack are also closely linked together. I believe that political advertisements are a perfect example of how we see these two at work. Candidates use bits and pieces of speeches from each other and piece them together in an exaggerated fashion in order to create a whole new and more negative (depending on the audience member) identity of the candidate.
    • Lastly, the Rogerian technique discussed by Lazere directly addresses the issue of the straw man theory discussed in "Citizen Critic. By using the Rogerian theory, opposing sides acknowledge the existence of another viewpoint, validating them and then showcases their differences without the need for defacing their opponent.

  • Connection to "The New Jim Crow" by Michelle Alexander
    • The biggest similarity that Lazere, Eberly, and Corbett pose is that in order to argue an issue in a public space effectively one must acknowledge, validate and understand the opposing force and use that as ammunition for ones rebuttal/claim, all without dehumanizing or defacing the identity of the antagonizing opinion. Alexander begins her article with this technique in stating "I am well aware that this kind of claim may be hard for many people to swallow. Particularly if you, yourself have need spent time in prison or been labeled a felon, the claim may seem downright absurd. I, myself, rejected the notion that something asking to a racial caste system could be functioning in the United States more than a decade ago". (Alexander 7) In this way she stays clear of not only using the Faculty Sense of Authority as validation for her research but also positions herself and readers in a way that acknowledges their possible inexperience with a situation. The only issue that I have with this statement is that it can also be used as a fallback for potentially harmfully or offending statements in the rest of her article. She states this almost to say as "I do not have experience with this sort of occurrence but I am going to try to explain it the best way that I can but I don't do well, do not blame me." This type of incident is something we see Nakasa explain in Writing for South Africa. In order to relate to an identity of a group, one of which you are not apart of, you must acknowledge some sort of common experience. This way your image of the group you write about is not seen so much as from an "outsider" perspective but a humanistic one .

  • Complicated Views of Citizen Criticism:
    • "Blogging as a Social Action" is a text that I believe complicates the idea of citizen criticism. The identity of the "blog" implies a certain contract that allows for a different type of rhetorical freedom in comparison to public speech. The self-expression theme that is common throughout blogs essentially means that the parameters of political correctness are not necessarily as concrete because of the internet medium. Something about the opportunity for anonymity within the internet makes it easier to and almost encourages the theories of Red Herring, Scapegoating and so many others that the previous authors suggested to refute. Something about the internet aspect creates a new sub genre of citizen criticism. A writer can utilize the Rogerian technique and abandon syllogism if he/she pleases but the basic need for the blog sphere says that those types of rules and regulations are not necessary. Not to say that without these rhetorical techniques a discourse cannot be efficiently handled but that the blog was created almost in opposition of types of ideals. 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Kairos in Relation to New Media

In response to Katherine's questions from I definitely believe the idea of kairos is changed if you look at it from the perspective of a web developer or designer. Handa explains "...the visual syntax of complete Web sites, we can better judge whether businesses and organizations, present a consistent appearance on the digital "street" and furthermore whether these sites reflect an understanding of local audience..."(85).

When analyzing the way images in digital spaces are perceived through audiences the idea of kairos is much more than the exigence of inserting the picture within the text. If we look at a website, all of the decisions a designer makes to create and efficient, well-run, exciting and informative site are all part of kairos because those reasons are in fact a portion of the "why" (purpose) aspect explained Appeals in Modern Rhetoric by M. Jimmie Killingsworth. The exigence of creating a webpage involve everything from deciding where to put the search bar on a page (is a search bar even necessary?) to deciding the color scheme of the page, because you are  designing it so that the emotes some sort of feeing.  The fluidness in which a website runs and the ease at which it is to navigate the site and find an answer can be a part of Kairos also, because decisions in regards to these issues are (should) be assessed by the designer. In the conversation about the "5-headed monster" in relation to college websites for example, a form of kairos might be how the web developer creates each page to appeal to a different portion of the educational sphere: what information is important and unimportant to them? What type of downloadable forms need to be displayed for prospective students rather than current students? All of these decisions are a part of the new definition of kairos.

Part of the modernity of webpages is that they do include moving parts: images, sound clips, videos, all of which cannot be effectively viewed in printed text. These additional pieces help to build a rhetorical argument by appealing to multiple senses and engaging different parts of a person's cognitive thinking. For that reason, incorporating images and other digital facets on to a website is the best way to convey an idea on a web-based platform. Other than mobility and the ability to share documents easily, if I just included alphabetic text on a webpage, what is the different between printing it out and handing that information to someone?

To answer the last question about images providing a clearer exigence than text I would say "not necessarily". Though images, like the anti-abuse advertisement displayed in Katherine's blog post would make the position of the NFL seem obvious  (if one is familiar with current events surrounding recent NFL player allegations) images also possess the ability to be viewed in different context. Text provides us with a clear understanding of an opinion and where the writer wants the readers to place themselves in regards to his/her piece but images leave a lot of room for interpretation. That is why when images are coupled with text not only does the claim appear evident to the reader because it is plainly stated but images provide a better understanding of what that claim is.

Kairos in the digital arena involves making much more decisions than just how an audience can be affected by a writing peace. The ways in which we engage with digital media open up a new forum for how web developers need to think in order to appeal to an audience. There is much more at stake than just making sure an argument is clearly stated. The incorporating of images, fluidity of scrolling and ease of navigation are all aspects that work to either aid or frustrate the audience member in understanding the writers point of view.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Editing Analysis

As stated in "Working With Words", "As a journalist, you work to communicate the truth. As an opinion writer, you work to persuade others to perceive face in a certain way. But, whether you communicate truth or persuasion, your credibility rests on getting basic reality right (Brooks 287). The main issue that I see with Mark Bauerlein article is an inclusive sense of direction. He begins his "argument" by providing research evidence from the British Library that supports the title "Society is Dumbing Down". From the title ad initial paragraph I gathered that the author believes that the public is becoming less intelligent and as a result of the internet but that is where my understanding of this rhetorical concept ends.

Within regards to the overall aspect of the piece Bauerlein only unitizes the evidence of another study to support his claim, which can only be assumed from the title. Though the topic of internet attachment is relatively new, I would consider it to be a stock issue, like those describe in "A Plan for Teaching the Development of Original Policy Arugments", by David Kaufer.  From the reading I understand the focus of the piece is utilizing the study to prove how new technology is creating a literacy disconnect within the new generation but It is difficult to decipher because the article is so vague on commentary. Perhaps if the author has utilized the method that Kaufer described he could not only identify the type of issue that that technological literacy creates but also find a possible solution, if there is one.

You can see here, in the image below how I have made comments regarding including claim information, citing researchers, and furthering the investigation.

The biggest issue that I see in this article is a sense of individuality. While I made notes concerning the grammatical organization of the piece I believe those problems are secondary to how the author essentially copies and pastes research results but does not further it any way.  There are numerous opportunities for the author to continue delving into the issues by creating a new claim or using the findings from the British Library and then describing ways in which we can fix this issue but those claims are not made.  This article is the definition of obscurity in my opinion. In Style:The Basics of Clarity and Grace, the authors spew about unintended misdirection of the author, creating a cacophonous author-reader relationship. "Most of us do hard work to understand-at lease until we decide that a writer failed to work equally hard to help us understand, or worse, deliberately made our  reading more difficult that it has to be" (Willams 132). What this article does for me as a reader is forces me to assume a resolution about this issue without understanding why the problem is in fact a problem, who are those affected, and what I can do about it. The article leaves readers up in the air about technology creating communication illiteracy.