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Home :: Archive :: 1996 :: March ::
Re: About This List
Shakespeare Electronic Conference, Vol. 7, No. 0215.  Saturday, 16 March 1996.

(1)     From:   Susan Mather <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 12:44:55 -0500 (EST)
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0199  Re: About This List

(2)     From:   Suzanne Lewis <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 09:02:05 -0700
        Subj:   Re: SHK 7.0207  Re: About This List

(3)     From:   Ellen Edgerton <
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 96 15:00 EST
        Subj:   About the list

(4)     From:   David Evett <R0870%
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        Date:   Friday, 15 Mar 1996 15:46 ET
        Subj:   About this List

(5)     From:   Ken Steele <
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        Date:   Saturday, 16 Mar 96 05:40:39 UT
        Subj:   RE: SHK 7.0207  Re: About This List


(1)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Susan Mather <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 12:44:55 -0500 (EST)
Subject: 7.0199  Re: About This List
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0199  Re: About This List

While we have continually talked "about this list," I was going to let it go
and delete when M. Saenger, obviously addressing the remark about Shakespeare's
audiences, said something to the effect about undergraduates and their papers
topics.

I wonder then if this includes me--to say that I am asking people for help on
topics--so that I may plagiarize.  I, by the way, am a graduate student and
while many ideas I have are covered by the time I finish a paper on
Shakespeare, nevertheless, it is I who am writing despite any help with sources
I am given as to what materials I need to be looking into.  To ask for sources
is not plagiarism.  If it was then my professors wouldn't tell me what sources
I need to use on top of the ones that I have collected when I turn in my
prospectus for a paper. Not only that, but Shakespearian criticism is vast and
sometimes, even with the help of librarians, good sources are lost between the
cracks of the MLA CD ROM, etc.

If you are concerned about plagiarism, I would suggest you limit what you
convey to an audience--regardless of what list you should choose to belong to.
But I feel that "education" does not always come from the lofty corners of
discourse; at times, it comes from those little bursts of (perhaps) naivete
that can seem small and insignificant at the time and then branch into
something marvelous.  But, if a move is to be made--so be it.

(2)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Suzanne Lewis <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 09:02:05 -0700
Subject: 7.0207  Re: About This List
Comment:        Re: SHK 7.0207  Re: About This List

I tried so hard to stay out of this discussion; however, I must address Michael
Saenger and his "rules."  So, let's see...

*Any one can subscribe
Meaning we're all welcome to bask in the intellect of those deemed worthy of
posting

*Submissions will be screened
Meaning anyone with the audacity to post better be worthy

*[Naive questions] will be welcome
Which contradicts your later rule that *Questions that should simply be asked
to a librarian [will be screened out]

 *[Diverse points of view] will be welcome
Which contradicts your later rule that *Excessive discussion on any one topic
[will be screened out] You see, the more diverse the points of view, the more
extensive the discussion...

*Questions that are obviously from undergrads fishing for ideas (also called
plagiarism) [will be screened out]
Exactly what is your implication here?  That undergraduates possessing the
intellectual wherewithal to seek the critical analysis of SHAKSPEReans (people
who share such analysis on a daily basis) would plagiarize their findings
rather than utilize them as sources?  Please!  Have you no faith in those who
aspire to academic (specifically Shakespearean) greatness?  Shakespeare is not
a course of study often pursued by unintellectual riffraff.  Besides, I'm sure
every good Web Surfing researcher has visited a Web site to find out how to
cite Internet resources.  Since you obviously haven't considered this, perhaps
you should check out the following:

"How to Cite Internet Resources"  _Classroom Connect_  March 1996
http://www.classroom.net/classroom/CitingNetResources.htm

MLA Citation Guide
URL: http://www.cas.usf.edu/english/walker/mla.html

Citing Computer Documents
URL: http://neal.ctstateu.edu/history/cite.html

Williams College Library Web
URL: http://www.williams.edu:803/library/library.www/cite.html

*Excessive contributions from any one member of the list [will be screened out]
So you'll force these well-informed intellectuals you speak of to quell their
multitude of responses for fear of being seen as an "excessive [contributor]"?
My!  Yet another contradiction.  In my estimation, this rule would include you,
Michael Saenger.  I find postings of yours in digests on an almost daily basis,
and some days I see your name glaring up at me more than once.  Seems excessive
to me.

I'd like to receive your listserv digests to see just how similar they'll be to
SHAKSPER.  Your rules don't seem much different from ours, with the obvious
exception of your intention to keep out the rising intellectuals, which--I
might remind you--you once were.  You *are* an elitist, aren't you, sir?  (BTW,
the title is the result of my fine upbringing and polite nature, not my
reverence for you.)

Good day all,
Suzanne Lewis
English instructor
& graduate student

(3)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ellen Edgerton <
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 96 15:00 EST
Subject:        About the list

If you can stand one more comment about people dissatisfied with the list...
I'm curious as to what makes those who want to start a new, "improved" list so
certain that a few months or even weeks down the line, there won't be cries of
dissatisfaction from people who think the >new< list isn't serious enough.
Where do these schisms ultimately end, anyhow?  SHAKSPER itself is the result
of cry for a more "appropriate" forum for discussing Shakespearean drama and
related issues, as opposed to theatre groups on Usenet or other more general
drama mailing lists.

In the future, everyone will have their own custom-tailored mailing list, with
one subscriber each.

(4)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           David Evett <R0870%
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Date:           Friday, 15 Mar 1996 15:46 ET
Subject:        About this List

I side with the democrats as regards keeping the list open to most comers.  I
must say, however, that I, too, am troubled by undergraduates using the list as
what appears to be the first step toward the working bibliography of a paper,
not because it's "plagiarism" (a very peculiar use of that word) but because
they need to be learning how to use the traditional tools of the scholar,
resort ing to broadcast appeals only when the standard data bases have not
yielded up any useful materials.  On similar grounds, I get irritated by
contributors who offer up vague remarks or ask questions that could be
sharpened or answered by easily available standard authorities--the OED, the
Arden or Oxford or Cambridge editions of the plays, and so on.  I've been
guilty of this sort of thing myself--part of the appeal of the medium is its
immediacy, and it's deflating to have to leave the terminal, maybe even to
postpone writing and sending the item until you've had time to check a few
things. But taking that kind of responsibility would respond in some measure to
Michael Saenger's complaints.

From the Glass House,
Dave Evett

(5)----------------------------------------------------------------------------
From:           Ken Steele <
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Date:           Saturday, 16 Mar 96 05:40:39 UT
Subject: 7.0207  Re: About This List
Comment:        RE: SHK 7.0207  Re: About This List

Dear Fellow SHAKSPEReans;

Until now, I have watched in quiet alarm but refrained from interfering in
Michael Saenger's proposal of a segregated Shakespeare discussion group for "a
higher level of dialogue." Like an anxious parent, I have told myself that
SHAKSPER must live its own life now, and make its own decisions. Or perhaps, as
a Canadian living in the time of Jacques Parizeau and Lucien Bouchard, I have
simply grown accustomed to sitting back quietly and watching separatists incite
rebellion and attempt to divide a promising community I helped to build, and
still hold dear.

Well, every now and then I appreciate my parents' advice...

I believe Hardy Cook is doing a superb job moderating this list -- and those of
you out there who have never tried to moderate an internet conference should
know that it is an incredibly *BIG* and largely thankless job, too. Michael
Saenger's naive announcement of a new list, although he has "no particular
passion to run it," no idea which backbone Listserv would control it, and no
editor to volunteer the roughly 80 hours a month it would take to edit it, is
doomed to failure before it begins.

When I first founded SHAKSPER, I had youthful passion, the support of the
University of Toronto computing services department, the continual advice and
assistance of Willard McCarty (founding editor of HUMANIST), and the unlimited
time only an undisciplined graduate student can provide. I also had the
delusion (for all of a month) that it was possible to edit an Internet
discussion group like a scholarly journal. I corrected spelling and grammar
errors, provided references when they were omitted, answered routine queries,
and tried to shelter the few "big names" I had recruited from anything that
might drive them away. I eventually learned my lesson -- the Internet is not a
journal, and we shouldn't treat it as if it were one.

In the end, we created a dual structure for SHAKSPER, including a "formal"
fileserver for conference papers, abstracts, draft articles and other research,
and an "informal" discussion group for chat amongst colleagues. Those
antisocials who were merely annoyed by chatter could send a one-line command to
Listserv, "SET SHAKSPER NOMAIL", which would still allow them to download
articles, logbooks, and other resources from the fileserver. (These would be
the same folks who attended the plenary sessions at Shakespeare Association
conferences, but shunned the far more invigorating after-hours conversations in
the halls.)

The premise was that academics would willingly share their ideas in a
collaborative forum. We hoped a revolution in scholarship would result, in
which credentials and credit were less important than advancing knowledge and
understanding Shakespeare. Inevitably, though, society and psychology lag far
behind the technology. Nobody gets tenure by posting a brilliant idea in an
email note. A Shakespeare list committed to the level of quality in Shakespeare
Quarterly (which really isn't raising the bar very high!) would be dead silent.

If you want higher discourse, try it NOW, HERE, and see what happens. Don't
wait for someone ELSE to set up a forum, someone ELSE to edit it, and someone
ELSE to start the conversation. Here on SHAKSPER, we have assembled the single
largest collection of Shakespearean scholars, actors, students and enthusiasts
the world has to offer -- "infinite variety" and immeasurable intellect. Browse
the membership list and you will discover some very respected Shakespeareans,
literary theorists, stage historians and bibliographers. Separate the
bibliographers from the actors, or the students from the professors, and
everyone will lose.

I urge EVERYONE to become their own editors -- decide for yourself whose words
are worth listening to, which topics are worth pursuing, and when you have the
time or inclination to indulge in some idle chatter. But don't expect some
infallible editor to come along and do it FOR you.

Yours ever,
Ken Steele
 

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