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more chatter: thoughts on the digital humanities manifesto

spleenfiend's picture

The Digital Humanities Manifesto sounds rather extreme at first site, and I can't help thinking that at times, the language may not be one hundred percent clear, but I also think arguing with how something is written goes against the point of the article.  We talk a lot about making things accessible, but I think it might be obvious that nothing can be accessible to everyone.  The importance of putting everything out there, no matter what it is, is becoming more and more clear to me, partially due to the Manifesto and partially due to our last class discussion about "chatter."

Speaking of chatter...after our last class meeting, I decided I believe new ideas are born very often, because there is a low probability that the same combinations of the same exact ideas could happen with very much frequency.  Each idea born of each combination is unique and nuanced.

So chatter is necessary, no matter the cost.  And I don't think anything in this post in definite.


Shayna S's picture

Redefinition of Plagiarism?

 JRF, I believe you are on to something. People are called for plagiarism today if they fail to give credit to someone, even if they create an entirely new idea off of what they had used.  You brought up an interesting idea that failure to progress a discussion/ add to the chatter would be the only crime in a free-knowledge world. Perhaps adding something to the manifesto along the lines of "Plagiarism will no longer be thought of as the unauthorized use of another thinker's ideas, but as the failure to build upon those ideas, a failure to help in the construction of this free-knowledge ideology." But then, what about copying and distributing things? Both of these are ways of adding to the chatter by amplifying a single idea through repetition. I might have hit a roadblock here. 

jrf's picture


I agree with you that the DHM and our last class discussion make "putting everything out there" seem like the best/only way to advance/evolve group thought. That idea brings up a lot of tangled connected ideas in my head that I haven't sorted out yet-- what is the ultimate goal of all this pursuit of the development of ideas? and does the need to pursue this goal mean that we should abandon all sense of ownership over our ideas, etc. in order that they contribute most usefully to the advancement of common knowledge? In class, we all seemed to agree that the offense in crimes like plagiarism was largely based in the sense of loss of property felt by the creator of a stolen work. If we aim to create a common pool of entirely free knowledge, would the only offense be the plagiarist's failure to contribute anything new to the discussion?

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