Reusing Online Context

Neilson indicates in his article that the online collaboration can contribute to the policy making (for Wikipedia); he also points out that having a rating system for the process of collaborative policy making can be helpful to prevent some problem( because we can’t just open the policy document to let any people edit it).

“Imagine you had a way of automatically scoring policy proposals for their social utility. You really could set up a Policyworks where millions of people could help rewrite policy, integrating the best ideas from an extraordinarily cognitively diverse group of people.” (Nielsen)

It seems that by reusing other people’s idea, millions of people could develop a policy that not a single person could think of. And, according to the argument above, if people could use other people’s text online freely, copy and rewrite, sometimes the new context might be very impressive:

“ the words could be copied, re-arranged, put to surprising new uses in surprising new contexts. By stitching to gather passages written by multiple authors, without their explicit permission or consultation, some new awareness could take shape…” (Johnson)

Well, I agree that by using the text online freely, the “textual productivity” will be increased. However, I don’t think “free of using the online text” is always suitable for every type of context.
First, if we could use the online text freely, can we use the text in any way we want? If an advertising agency tend to use a remixed text on TV, then who is the copyright holder? As more and more people start to remix the text and the online material,

“Copyright law enters a gray area.” (Shachtman)

Second, the idea of “death of the author” is to let people deconstruct text or re-interpret it in their own way.

“The ability for each reader to add to, alter, or simply edit a hypertext opens possibilities of collective authorship that breaks down the idea of writing as originating from a single fixed source.” (Keep, McLaughlin, Parmar)

According to the idea that mentioned above, each reader interprets and uses the text in different ways; in this way, the meaning of the text become not rigid (can be twist into other meaning). What I am thinking is: if people try to use this idea to defame a politician/celebrity by putting a snippet of his/her speech into a remixed context and twist the original meaning purposely, some people might be misled by the remixed context easily (if they didn’t hear the original speech).

By collage the snippet of the speech into other text, the speech of the politician can be change by the online users:

“from the sublime to the ridiculous, from the serious to the comedic, from linguistics to multimodal semiotics… “ (Anya)

In this way, the changing of the original meaning of the speech might influence the opinion of the public toward some politicians or celebrity. The free use of online text could help people to develop new thoughts; however, it can also lead to some negative consequence.

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2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Carol
    Nov 04, 2010 @ 17:27:26

    Reply

  2. Mindy McAdams
    Nov 12, 2010 @ 08:37:41

    That last quotation is very weak. It’s a random string of phrases. True, the blog post is related to your argument, but the quote could be talking about anything.

    Reply

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