Blog Post

Bloggers' Bible

If you click on "blogging" in our folksonomy on the right on any HASTACblogging page, you will bring up about a dozen postings on the ethics,intellectual property interests, communication possibilities, and otherissues basic to blogging. Great for reading, great for teaching toyour student loggers. Not only has Jonathan Tarr been live blogging the NC Science Blogging Conference all weekend, he has written several previous blogs about what exactly it means to blog and to assume the public/private voice of a blogger. These are questions we all are interested in now. And the lines are very fuzzy. danah boyd, the consummate blogger, says the blogging voice is the equivalent of dressing go to out at night. You step it up a level . . . it's not like plodding about the house in slippers and jammies. You are in the world, so you have to present the face that the world can see, now and in the future. Plagiarism is another issue. For example, I often use images on this blog because Drupal, that powers our HASTAC blog, has a very handy direct link to Flickr and YouTube. I try to give credit for the images I use (this one among the many beautiful photographs on Flckr by N. J. Dodge), but, even when I don't, our mechanism allows you to click on the image and it takes you directly back to Flickr with full acknowledgement. What happens when people use ideas, images, and actual words from other people without proper links and citations? As I can remember, it has happened only once that we've had to remove a blogger from HASTAC--where anyone who contributes to the HASTAC mission is invited to post---because he was plagiarizing from someone else, literally passing off someone else's words as his own. Jonathan's blogs, and others you will find by clicking on "blogging," address all of these issues and many more, but right now I want to reverse the ethics: why in the world would someone like me want to be giving away all her own ideas for free? Several hundred people read the HASTAC blogs, and by the end of the year that goes up to a few thousand, sometimes several thousand for some posts (such as my posts on Wikipedia). That's not a lot by many standards and yet by the standards of both academe and the new field of digital learning, it's a lot. I often write her new ideas that will also appear later in the book I'm writing. Am I crazy? Well, perhaps! But the main reason is that I often hear back from people who contribute to the conversation and I am a firm believer that the most important reason for blogging is exactly that conversation. Even when it occurs only in my reader's head. Whatever finally appears between two covers under my name will have my own stamp. It will also have loads of footnotes to so many people who contribute ideas that I use, develop, dispute, borrow, emend, or adapt to my purpose. That, to me, is what the intellectual life is about. Blogging is my way of sharing and contributing and returning ideas I have read and am thinking about to a larger public who can play them forward. Early in my career, I used to worry a lot about plagiarism. Then I lived in Japan where there is no such concept since it is assumed that the process of learning and living in the world is the process of melding with and then differentiating from others. I spent a lot of time trying to teach my students what, in the West, we mean by plagiarism. "Why don't we have to footnote everything, then?" my brilliant students would ask, bewildered. To answer them, I was suddenly giving them a crash course in self and individualism in Western philosophy going back at least to Aristotle. Additionally, what I have learned is that ideas themselves are rarely original. We all borrow and all think up the same thing at once. It is shaping, fashioning, implementing, developing, and communicating ideas that is the point. That's why I blog every day. It helps me fashion and also helps me create a community whose ideas nourish my thinking. Thanks to anyone who reads me, thanks to anyone who takes the time to respond, and thanks to everyone whose ideas keep me humming. More specifically, thanks, Jonathan, for a great weekend of blogging the science blogging conference and for giving us so much to think about as we blog and as we read blogs.


Finally:  we've now added a blogroll to the HASTAC site.  What are YOUR favorite blogs that contribute to the HASTAC mission?  Let us know! 


No comments