Freedom: Good or Bad?

After reading Tori’s most recent Inquiry Blog I noticed that we actually shared our TEDTalk source. This got me thinking harder about the topic because we both took slightly different things away from Reid’s speech. I took it as more of a statement against big companies and their abuse of power through manhandling congress while she saw it as somewhat of a mockery of how big of an issue piracy is currently. To me Reid’s tone was mocking not of the seriousness of piracy, but the silliness of copyright laws and decisions made by congress. I think if we combined our insights from the other research we have done we would find similar differences in opinion. Tori has a more personal connection to piracy as her father is in the music business so for her the statistics revolving around piracy would be interpreted more negatively than for me. When I heard $58 billion lost annually from copyright I was baffled but after some explanation I realized how ludicrous that statement was and honestly felt bad for people who get busted for piracy, the penalties are outrageous. Aside from Reid’s speech I believe Tori has a good grasp of how piracy is impacting the music industry. So if I were to combine my understanding of why with her understanding of how I believe we already could have a strong stance on the subject matter.

For Taylor I connected more to her second Inquiry Blog  where she listened to sources about internet frauds and why people fall for them. Her research filled in a few gaps in my research, I was having trouble seeing ways people behaved differently on a larger scale on the internet. The information on frauds helped me see that not just everyday people feel safe anonymously doing inappropriate things on the internet but companies and organizations do the same thing. Honestly the fact that Nationalreport.net exists drives me crazy, not even the fact that they have another website witscience.org claiming to be a university that does studies for nationalreport! How the hell do these people get away with such insane actions, granted it would take an idiot to fall for most of their stuff but its still crazy that we allow it. This opened my eyes to other problem with the internet, there are no rules. No government organization has ever laid down a set of laws for the internet, they merely add the internet to the jurisdiction of current laws as necessary rarely adding new laws altogether. This is probably the best thing about the internet, but also potentially the worst. For now it means we have a lot more freedom online to be true to our feelings however it can also lead to ruin if people abuse this freedom. Taylor’s research has made me realize maybe anonymity in technology isn’t to blame for people acting out, maybe people are the problem. I believe this will warrant further study on our part and hopefully we can determine the true source of some of the problems with the internet.

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Ron is a Swell Guy

Harris and company refer to the way we write in a manner which can be summarized by our experiences. They state that our writing style comes not from our “discourse community” or our selves, as they see it we can neither write wholly in one manner or the other. Thus our writing must be a combination of all of our communities and ourselves, to say that we create our individual styles because we cannot separate ourselves entirely from our other communities. I agree with them on this point and think that logically it makes sense that we would bring our personality to our community writings, even if it may not be the most appropriate way of writing. Harris makes a good point that there should not be this expectation in academic discourse communities that the way “we” do things is proper and “they” are wrong, instead he thinks we should consider other pedagogues as equally valuable.

I really liked Ron’s excerpt about how other disciplines may not value the freedom offered by his writing course. In my academic experiences freedom is not only impossible, it is downright irrelevant. I have a decent amount of experience in Mathematics and less experience in Computer Science but in both discourse communities the idea of writing “freely’ isn’t possible. I suppose at the highest level of theoretical mathematics this sort of writing might exist but as a student I am not at liege to propose radical papers in an attempt to add to the community. Instead I am expected only to learn what has been discovered through thousands of years of hard work. As such I don’t value the idea of an academic discourse community at all. Honestly, I think this could only ever apply to liberal arts and has no real place in the worlds of Math or Computer Science. The reason I like Math and Computer Science is because there isn’t this sort of grey area of right/wrong, there is a very straight forward right and wrong and only the highest level of experts are allowed to argue otherwise. I do see value in what Harris writes about in other academic communities but I’d like to keep myself distanced from the notions exhibited. Like Ron said “I won’t break out because I have this bad habit, it’s called eating”. I have to say I like Ron, much more so than Harris or Swales, he seems like a swell guy.

As far as the relation between Harris’ ideas and Swales’ I noticed that while Harris does not disagree with Swales neither does he wholly agree. Instead I’d like to think Harris liked Swales’ idea but saw the flaws in it as well. Harris points out that by Swales’ definition leads us to fall back onto a warmly persuasive stance on communities. I think Harris’ main ideas line up with Swales’ but the way Swales addresses them is too unopposed. Without a counter to community the term loses significant meaning and Harris knows that. Overall I think Harris and Swales both make good points about discourse communities and I see no reason why both can’t be right.