End of Semester Stuff

Do your reviews of your colleagues on the course website by Wednesday, April 29th at midnight using the following criteria: http://www.guiseppegetto.com/engl7780/reviewer-criteria/

Gina will have hers up for us soon.

I will do so as well, through Blackboard. Please read my response, but remember that it is a simulated peer review. You will not be able to make my requested changes by next week. Try to make one or two of them, at most. Try to make the rest of them before submitting your manuscripts for review.

Your final project will be due Wednesday, May 6th at midnighthttp://www.guiseppegetto.com/engl7780/final-project/

After I submit grades, I will delete all draft material from this website so that when you send your manuscripts out, there won’t be any problems for you with copyright.

Let me know any questions you have! I’ll be around.

P.S. More Things About Memes

DeAngelis Module 5

Draft of Tutorial Article for IEEE

Constructions of Memetic Research in Technical Communication: An Introduction

Introduction

The field of writing studies, and technical communication in particular, has long concerned itself with issues pertaining to the “hows” and “whys” of human communication. Successful communication—by which I mean the transfer of information between individuals, contexts, or media—can occur in any number of situations and it is our job to discover the means by which that communication takes place and, when possible, to teach others how to utilize those means to their own ends. A primary goal of technical communication is the successful transfer of information across a variety of contexts and media. This goal, while essential for success, has become increasingly difficult to achieve in the Digital Age. Not only has it become more challenging to anticipate the types of users who will need to access and interpret a given set of information, but now also technical communicators must contend or coexist with the myriad other sources of information available on the topic in question in order to make their own voices heard. In this tutorial I will discuss the ways in which a systematic application of Meme Theory (“memetics”) can be useful to technical communicators who wish to understand how and why certain concepts may be successfully communicated in a given context while others are not. To demonstrate how such a systematic application might take place, I will first discuss the history and foundations of Meme Theory; next I will re-imagine the original definition of a “meme” to better suit the purposes of technical communicators; then I will offer a series of steps to guide a researcher wishing to conduct a productive memetic analysis; finally, I will offer suggestions for the application of this research in the broader contexts of technical communication as a whole.

Key Concepts

The science of memetics was born out of Richard Dawkins’s 1976 publication The Selfish Gene, a work in the field of biology that advocates for understanding the world from what Dawkins calls a “gene’s eye view” [1]. While genes are confined to the study of biology, Dawkins coined the term “meme” to refer to the units that play the role of the gene in the evolution of culture or, to define the term more precisely, collective human thought. The “gene’s eye view” mentality tells us that evolution—both cultural and biological—is forged through competition. As such, the field of memetics is built around the idea that concepts, at their most basic level, compete with one another on order to survive and gain dominance in their environment: the individual and collective human mind. From this point a few central questions emerged to drive memetics forward: What determines the success of a meme? How do memes replicate? And, the most important and elusive of all, what is a meme?

Why Do Memes Succeed?

The success of a meme can be best understood as its continued replication [1, 2, 3] or, in communicative terms, its ability to transfer from one mind, context, or medium to another. It is important to understand that memes do not succeed or fail in a vacuum. Think of biological evolution: plants and animals evolve in tandem in certain environments, creating ecosystems such as the rain forest. Once some manifestation of an ecosystem exists, the gene pool for each species continues to evolve based on what is best suited to that context—the genes are dependent on one another, not only within an individual animal or even a whole species, but also in the entire ecosystem. The same is true of memes: they combine together in order to further their own survival, creating what Dawkins calls “coadapted meme complexes” or, to use Susan Blackmore’s shortened term, “memeplexes”:

Memes, like genes, are selected against the background of other memes in the meme pool. The result is that gangs of mutually compatible memes—coadapted meme complexes or memeplexes—are found cohabiting individual brains. This is not because selection has chosen them as a group, but because each separate member of that group tends to be favoured when its environment happens to be dominated by the others. [2]

Such patterns are easy to recognize at virtually any level of abstraction: an individual will adhere to or build off of practices that align with his or her existing understanding of the world; specified sets of practices and beliefs are what define our understanding of culture; even writing genres can be seen as akin to our metaphorical rain forest, defining the set of parameters within which communicative actions are most likely to be successful in a given context.

How Do Memes Replicate?

If the success of a meme is determined by its ability to continue to replicate, then in order to discuss that success in any meaningful way we must understand how that replication takes place. To put it simply: memes replicate through imitation. In fact, Dawkins’s original definition of the meme referred to it as “a unit of imitation” [1]. In other words, in order to reproduce, a meme must be observed and then enacted by the observer to the same end as the original instance. Once this second enactment takes place, the likelihood of the meme having been observed doubles, therefore increasing the likelihood of its enactment. This process continues exponentially in the cases of the most successful memes until they become cultural norms such as waving one’s hand hello or goodbye, or saying grace before a family meal.

It is important to note that because the replication of a meme depends entirely on its observation, memes are not able to act as agents in the traditional sense. It is common in memetics to see discussions of what memes “want” or to witness scholars anthropomorphizing the meme, but this is merely an extended metaphor to help cope with an extremely complex subject. Memes do not think, they do not make decisions in their own interest, and they do not situate themselves consciously in ways that will allow them to replicate. However, if our understanding of the memeplex discussed in the previous section is taken to the extreme, it becomes possible that a vast and complex array of meme systems has complete control over which memes do and do not replicate successfully.. The focus of memetic analysis is and should be on the memes themselves. In order for this to be the case, we must put aside our commitment to human agency and instead ascribe agency to the replication processes of memes and memeplexes and only to these processes. Our discomfort with this framework might be somewhat alleviated if we consider that social construction is by no means a new concept in our field. If we are able to reconcile ourselves to the idea that our understandings of the world are shaped by social interactions that contribute to cultural paradigms, it is not such an unreasonable leap to suggest that ‘intention’ is also determined by our interactions with the world around us. We can then understand intention and therefore human agency in conjunction with the successfully replicated meme in a given scenario as one single—albeit very complicated—co-adapted meme complex. Memes do not act as agents but they do have agency; just as memes are not conscious, but consciousness may, in fact, be a series of memes

What Is A Meme?

Countless definitions of the term “meme” have arisen since Dawkins’s original publication. As the most common critique of meme theory is that “anything could be a meme, therefore the concept has no value” the majority of these definitions attempt to constrain the term however few, if any, are successful. Neuroscientists and neuropsychologists have attempted to isolate phenomena in the brain which might define the meme while social scientists, when they address the subject at all, remain focused on what a meme looks like from the outside—perhaps it might be a physical action, or a thought, or a process, or a value. For the purposes of memetic analysis in technical communication, however, the majority of these definitional issues are largely irrelevant. My definition will distill this sea of definitions down to two essential concepts: 1) a “meme” is a unit of analysis and 2) the successful “meme” is the primary unit of successful communication. That said, there are certain defining characteristics of memes that must be taken into account in order for the concept to be useful:

  • Memes are replicated through imitation
  • Memes are isolated units capable of co-adapting
  • Memes are related to cognitive processes. That is to say, they have meaning.

 

Memes as Units of Analysis

Because a meme is a unit of analysis, the level of abstraction at which a given researcher will and should define a meme is dependent upon the nature of his or her project. A researcher studying digital communication trends in the 2000’s might consider a single website to be a meme, whereas if she were analyzing only that site a certain pattern of words or images might constitute her unit of analysis. As with most units of analysis in research, the smaller your parameters, the greater the number of variables there are to take into consideration. As such, the boundaries of the meme in an individual study must fit the purpose of that study.

Key Lessons

In this section I will offer a series of steps necessary to conduct a memetic analysis on a research topic related to technical communication. In order to illustrate the application of these steps, I will refer to an illustrative analysis of the social media site Pinterest. Using this as a reference I will proceed along the following steps:

  • Determine Whether or Not Memes are Useful to Your Project
  • Isolate the Relevant Meme(plex)s
  • Determine and Analyze Relevant Environmental Factors
  • Analyze Isolated Memes in Context
  • Interpret Findings

However, before we begin with these steps, I will offer a brief explanation of Pinterest so as to avoid confusion during the illustrative portions of the lessons.

 

Explanation of Pinterest

Pinterest is among the fastest growing social media sites in recent years, reporting a 2700% increase in unique user visits between 2011 and 2012 [5]. This website allows users to “pin” content from around the web to specific boards which comprise their user profile. Pinners can also view the pins of other users and add them to their own boards once they have been posted to the site. Pins are public unless otherwise specified and are organized by category in order to facilitate sharing among users—even those who do not “follow” each other’s boards.

 

Step 1: Determine Whether or Not Memes are Useful to Your Project

Memes exist in all contexts relevant to human communication and are therefore a possible avenue for exploration in all areas of research in Technical and Professional Communication. However, the strength of a memetic analysis lies in its ability to dissect information transfer across contexts, whether those are temporal, cultural, multimodal, or any other varying manifestation. As such, even though memes exist in all areas, they are not necessarily relevant to answering all types of questions. Here is a list of questions to help you determine if Meme Theory is a useful avenue for exploration in your project:

  • Would your units of analysis be too large to work with productively in this framework? Depending on the level of abstraction of your research question, your definition of “meme” in a given context might constitute a very involved system. If these systems become too large (if, for example, you would have to define “American Culture” as a single meme) then you run the risk of having to incorporate an unrealistic number of outside factors just to make your analysis plausible.
  • Would your units of analysis be too small to work with productively in this framework? Microcosmic units of analysis are every bit as problematic as those that are macrocosmic. If, in order to discuss the connections between memes, your memes must become so small as to be incapable of conveying meaning independently, then your analysis will likely not be productive.
  • Do you have adequate records of information transfer at your site of study? A memetic analysis requires the researcher to sort through all the relevant records of communicative interactions at his or her site of study. If you do not have access to those records than an accurate or productive analysis will not be possible.
  • Is the ‘transfer’ process relevant to your research question? Many research questions focus solely on manifestations of existing artifacts and not necessarily on “how these artifacts mean”. Meme theory cannot answer questions that are not related to how information passes from person to person.

Illustration: For my hypothetical research question, I want to know how the collaborative structure of the social media site Pinterest influences the way that users’ digital identities are constructed on its boards. Notice that my research question at this point is still somewhat broad—it has not yet been narrowed to its final manifestation, but is instead functioning more as a guideline in terms of research site and content.

In order to explore this question, I will need to bound my memes as particular identity-based ideas that move from person to person on the site (more on this instep 2). This boundary is large enough to yield sufficient information for analysis but not so large as to be unmanageable. Also in this case, the transfer of information between users is a key factor in understanding how these user identities are developed. My research site, topic, and question are all appropriate for memetic analysis.

 

Step 2: Isolate the Relevant Meme(plex)s

In order to conduct a focused study, you will need to determine which particular memes and/or memeplexes are relevant to your research question and isolate those from the others that surround them as your units of analysis. Remember: what you classify as a meme depends on the interests of your study. This process could work in one of two ways: either you select a specific meme and trace it through your research site, in which case your analysis focuses only on that area, or you choose a set of memes and demonstrate how those memes have co-adapted. With a little more work, the same can be true of memeplexes.

In order to select the most relevant memes you must spend some time with the data available at your research site. This process is somewhat similar to emergent coding—ask yourself what information sequences (what things you might call “memes”) appear over and over again. When and where do these sequences appear? You will most likely notice far too many memes to include in a single analysis, so you will need to narrow your focus to 1 to 5 memes that you deem the most significant. Any more than 5 and you will likely have too much data to handle, particularly in a large research site. You may notice after selecting these memes that the focus of your research shifts or narrows.

Illustration: My research question regarding identity construction on Pinterest now has to narrow somewhat. It would be impossible in the short space of a research article, or even in a full dissertation, to conduct a thorough memetic analysis of every pin on the Pinterest site and, from there, to the identities of all the pinners. Even a sampling of the boards would be too extensive for illustrative purposes. Therefore, I am going to narrow my focus to include only the construction of the identity of an idealized ‘fit woman’ on the Health and Fitness boards of Pinterest. This decision was based on the fact that the most common memes that I noted had to do with how a woman might “get fit”.

Now I need to isolate the specific memes that will be my units of analysis. Based on my observations of the data, I will call these memes: “Just do it,” “Motivational bodies,” and “Self-shame.” At this point, I posit that these memes form a memeplex that dictates the appropriate way for a woman on this site to obtain a fit body.

 

Step 3: Determine and Analyze Relevant Environmental Factors

As we have determined, the success or failure of a meme is dependent on its ability to survive in its environment. During this stage, you will need to analyze the environmental factors of your research site that have contributed to the proliferation (or lack thereof) of your chosen meme(plex).

Illustration: There are several relevant contexts in which I have situated my study. These include the cultural associations and stigmas surrounding “fit” versus “overweight” bodies, public sexualization and self-sexualization of women, and health awareness culture as well as the context of the site in which my study takes place. For illustrative purposes, I will focus on this final context in this section.

Based on my observations, Pinterest is heavily focused on image-based representation. “Pins” themselves are image-based constructions—the site will not allow users to create a pin unless it is tied specifically to an image, and the image is the largest part of the pin display both publically and privately. While there is a text-based description section on the pin as well, this is most often ignored, as indicated by the fact that most users to not alter the description when re-pinning an item, even when the original description contains a reference that is unique to the original poster.

 

Step 4: Analyze Isolated Memes in Context

At this stage you are combining the work done in steps 2 and 3. Having analyzed the meme(s) and context independently, you will now analyze them together, demonstrating how and why the meme succeeds or fails in this environment.

Illustration: For this section I will focus on the “motivational bodies” meme in the context of the Pinterest site. The motivational element of this meme comes from the images of the bodies themselves—they are pictures that show the idealized version of a “fit” female body. One might also characterize these images as goals. Because the driving emotional factor of this meme is image-based, the likewise image-based representational system of Pinterest is an ideal environment for this meme to flourish.

From here we might extend our analysis to the other memes in the memeplex. “Self-shame” is tied to the “motivational body” because the image of the already-fit woman reminds the viewer that she herself does not meet the criteria that this construction mandates. Constant repetition (proliferation of the meme) only reinforces this idea. The “just do it” meme is the bridge between the other two—it characterizes fitness as a state of mind rather than a physical quality, allowing the self-shamed pinner and the image-motivated pinner to coexist in a single identity.
 

 

Step 5: Interpret Findings

While the success or failure of your chosen meme(s) within your research site might be interesting, it is not, in and of itself, necessarily meaningful. The significance of that success or failure in that specific context should be indicative of a larger trend that could be useful for technical communicators in the future, either as a heuristic for operating within similar parameters or as a means of tracing information backward to discover where there was a break in communication.

Illustration: By examining the proliferation of these memes in this context, I have discovered that Pinners who do not respond in normative ways to these memes are unable to construct representative digital identities on this site. As such, the site is representative of only one particular kind of body held by one particular kind of woman. Any woman who does not fit this norm may look for information on this site and be misled or disappointed when that information is not relevant to her personal goals.

 

Implications to Practice

As information becomes more widely accessible, our understanding of what it means to be ‘technical communicators’ must change. Information about products, services, industries and ideas is no longer disseminated by a handful of individuals, but instead can be owned and altered by bloggers, pinners, commenters, and Internet aficionados of all kinds. As such, if technical communicators are going to be effective in the coming generations, we need to increase our understanding of what causes ideas to ‘stick’ in the minds of our target audiences as well as develop techniques for making use of that understanding. Memetic analysis of technical communication sites is the first big step in this essential direction.

Article Rough Draft

Abstract

This paper discussed the legal literacy in Saudi Arabia, and how we as a technical communicators can improve our countries attitudes if we want through a non-profit or profit organization. In addition it discusses the differences between Saudi Arabia and the United States in the law of intellectual property protection. This research discussed the law’s gaps in Saudi Arabia, it also shares some solutions in how we can as a technical professional communicators can prove the new generation. It discovers the law’s gaps through view some famous cases in Saudi Arabia, which have been perpetrated by famous people. It discusses the professors’ methods in promoting the students paper and teaching them that the quotations and references is only to make evidence on their argument. Saudi Arabia should transfer the improved knowledge in the United States to Saudi Arabia to promote the intellectual property laws in the Middle East as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Introduction:

Thousands of books about improving the world have been written by authors with unique ideas. The process of writing will never stop, and writers need to protect their ideas. Writers will stop writing if they feel their own ideas have been stolen. In The United States, writers have a motivation to write since they have a law to protect them. In my country, Saudi Arabia, writers stopped writing, and as a result, we have a lack of sources in the libraries especially sources for the master’s degree studies. In addition, we lost so many sources because writers go abroad to publish their writings to save their thoughts from plagiarism. This is not only in Saudi Arabia, but also in all around the Middle East countries. As an Arabian person, we have gaps in the law of intellectual property. We have cases that discussed these gaps. We have different kind of intellectual thefts using different methods like translation from different languages, which effect on the global improving. Under this bad condition of poverty in sources, we technical communicators, need to teach the new generation about the law and the copyrights, in other words the intellectual rights. Informing people and writers about the rights will improve the country from different aspects. Arranging an organization is one of the most important steps to the legal literacy in the Arabia Country. Applying the research moral course in the schools also one of the best solution to build a new generation thinking. Saudi Arabia and the Middle East should go forward to build a strong base on the new generation to create brighter knowledge future.

The Intellectual Property:

Intellectual property is what the writer’s mind creates like ideas, thoughts, or even creations objects. Each idea comes from the writer’s mind is intellectual property, and it has an exclusive protection and law in the modern world. It has different types like copyright, patents, and industrial design rights. According to The making of modern intellectual property law: the British experience, 1760–1911, “Although many of the legal principles governing IP and IPR have evolved over centuries, it was not until the 19th century that the term intellectual property began to be used, and not until the late 20th century that it became commonplace in the majority of the world” (Brad). We can recognize that the term of intellectual property is a pretty a new one in the academia writing field. As a result, we will not see this term has an effect on developing countries, which is the third world. Developing countries are in process to make organizations and teaching the new generation about this term to promote the next decade writings and encourage writers to write again their thoughts under the power of protection.  According to World Intellectual Property Organization, these line which describes the importance of the intellectual property laws, “IP is protected in law by, for example, patents, copyright and trademarks, which enable people to earn recognition or financial benefit from what they invent or create. By striking the right balance between the interests of innovators and the wider public interest, the IP system aims to foster an environment in which creativity and innovation can flourish.” (WIPO).This quotation describes how the Intellectual Property will motive the writer to w rite more because he earn financial benefits form their effort and their creations by their own thoughts. Why is the intellectual property important? According to Stopfakes, “Intellectual property protection is critical to fostering innovation. Without protection of ideas, businesses and individuals would not reap the full benefits of their inventions and would focus less on research and development. Similarly, artists would not be fully compensated for their creations and cultural vitality would suffer as a result.” The intellectual property protection organizations will provide an open environment for the writers to write and get the benefit from their writing. They also will focus on the research and inventions more than concerns on, “If I write, someone will protect my own ideas or not?”

We have many different kinds of intellectual property, but the kind that focuses on the writing is the copyrights. The copyrights protect the writings, music, motion pictures, architecture, and other original intellectual and artistic expressions. The copyright protection law protect the writings with the symbol of copy right, which is ©.  I derived this lines, which discussed the Intellectual property importance in the academy field, According to American Intellectual law association:

“Copyrights apply to writings, music, motion pictures, architecture, and other original intellectual and artistic expressions. Protection is not available for theories or ideas, or anything that has not been captured in a fixed medium. The act of creation itself produces a copyright and unpublished works are still protected. Use of a copyright symbol and date is common, but not mandatory. Most copyrights are valid for the creator’s lifetime, plus 70 years” (“AILA”).

The Intellectual Thefts:

Intellectual thefts is, when someone announces in public or in private that what he/she writes in his/her book is for him/her even it is not, and he/she does not use the right reference (Alrabiea).  It has different shapes through different methods. Like when one stole a book contents and change the name of the original writer to his/her name, and she/he thinks this is really his/her book. She went to a different publishing company to publish her/his stolen book.  This is not the only of intellectual thefts method, when one steals a context from a different language book, and he does not mention the source in his writing. Some writers steal the name of famous book, or add little word to this famous title to increase the sale for his new book. They can steal through pulling sentences from different book to their book and they treat as their own. There is no limitation for the intellectual thefts types which makes it difficult to create a hard law base. Especially in Arabic language, we have a huge vocabulary base, so the unreal writers can exchange the word by word without changing the style the phrase, which make it intellectual thefts with no clear way

In Al-Hayat journal, Abdulalsalam Alsaef made an interview with Dr. Sahar Al Khashrami, who is a professor in King Saud University. She focuses on the intellectual thefts problem in Saudi Arabia, and she consecrates her writings to teach the people about the issue perspectives. She wrote in newspaper some essays, and she did so many lectures for informing people about how they can help each other to figure out how to fill the gaps. In the meeting she talked about how the problem is complex. Firstly, she defined the intellectual thefts,

“The intellectual thefts intended to grab someone’s work, and the proportion of himself without reference to its owner, whether full by deriving as it is, or take excerpts and parts of it, or even distort some of what was in it, and minor amendments to blur the features key to seem new as an act, and some steals paragraphs The pages of the researcher or another author with him to keep the documentation, however, is the intellectual theft because it exceeded the allowable limit to quote” (“Al-Hayat”).

She said if we have a program to catch people, which steal the intellectual thefts, we will on the first list of this world. She means that Saudi Arabia one of the most country has intellectual thefts. She found some cases of thefts in the universities, and she contacted with the ministry of high education to find out some solutions. The ministry asked her to bring what evidence to prove what she said. She did. They ignored her when they saw the evidence. The interviewer asked her, “Why?” She said because the universities administrative do not have the ability of punishment anyone even the professors. The ministry of high education is in the process of making a spate organization for the intellectual property protection. In this point, in Arabic we said, “Start late better than does not start” Which means start late in making organization, and catch up with the problem better that do not start at all. The interviewer asked her if she had a motivation to focus her on the intellectual thefts cases, and if she face difficult in her work way. She responded yes she faced some issues with coworkers around her because they thought she wanted to catch on their mistakes. As a result, they tried to ignore her questions and her opinions.

Through the interview, we can see how the intellectual thefts has a huge discussion in the academic field in the Middle East especially Saudi Arabia. Since an academia field have a weak thefts’ program, an Arabian writer suffer from unprotecting publication. Even students in the universities know that maybe their professors steal some researches, or maybe they have fake degrees. Anything is possible around their academia environment. Depending on this insecurity environment, the students will do what their professors do. Because teachers are always a model for their students.

Legal Literacy:

Legal literacy has caused many people to not completely understand the laws that protect peoples’ rights. In Saudi Arabia, there are no laws to protect intellectual property. Technical communicators should arrange organizations to increase consciousness about copyright law protecting writing, ideas, thoughts and intellectual property. In addition, we may be able to make lectures for students in universities and schools about respecting other people’s efforts. Establishing censorship of Saudi intellectual rights to impose sanctions on who exceed regulations and systems. All of those factors will work together to improve the country especially the education field. For example, writers will write whatever they think useful for people, and they will publish in their country if they see the country and the law will protect his/her thoughts.

Overall, we need to teach the new generation the law of protection of the intellectual property through technical and professional methods. Inform people about the writers’ rights will improve the country in many fields.

Cases in Intellectual Thefts:

In March 2004, the Saudi Arabian government signed the agreement of intellectual property protection.  Before this date, Writers stopped writing because they were afraid from the intellectual thefts, so we delayed the improvement of the modernization like other countries for example France or the United Kingdom. The new generation of writers are trying to find out the intellectual rights gaps to fix them for lighter future in writings.

In January, 2012, Dr. Alqarni, well known in his knowledge and morals, and he is a professors in the greatest university in Saudi Arabia, stole a whole book for a primary writer, who is Salwa. She was one of Dr. Alqarni’s students. Their case was complex, and no one knew if the court gave a right judgment for them or not because of gap in the intellectual laws. Salwa wrote 60 pages from his books, and she referred to the sources at the end. Dr. Alqarni took the whole book and published it in a new name, and sold it in the markets. Salwa talked with Dr. Alqarni, and she described for him the case, but he said no, this was his book. He offered for her 10,000 R.S. At this moment, she decided to raise the issue against him (Alsohemi). The court accused Dr. Alqarni of intellectual theft, and they charged him 330,000 R.S, and the government prevented his book from Saudi Arabia.  The people or the readers have different views, because the both book are about the honorable stories from the Islam history, and they repeated the same stories in their books (Alosaimi). As a result people still respect Dr. Alqarni, and they did not see him a thief. The new generation see this mistake is a gap in the law because stories are not an intellectual property. In my point of view, I see him as a thief because he used his a high position in the society on stealing book from a female primary writer.

In 2014, Badr Al Zidan, who is a famous interviewer, published his book Bent Al Sultan.  The Saudi people refused to accept his book as an original work because they think he stole every word. Neither the court nor the intellectual property organization had any action in this case. Badr stole most of his book from different people from social media, and he did not use any references. His book is just a collection of tweets from different people, and he said these tweets were written by him, but in different ages (Al-loehag). No one complained against him because they, tweeters, did not sign their tweets for themselves.  They lost their thoughts in social media. Hence, we can say, tweeter should have a reference for the first writer of the tweet. People in Saudi Arabia provided evidence against Bader, but they sent the evidence via Tweeter to Bader AL Zidan. He refused to hear any one, and his book in the International Book Bazar. People blamed the ministry of culture and Media for keeping silent upon this case.

In 2015, Dr. Al Habib, a psychological physicist, stole an article from a writer, her name is Dala’a Al Mufti. She sent a tweet for Dr. Al Hapip on social media (Twitter). He refused to answer her question directly. He answered the question in general tweet. He ignored her tweet, and he answered her with two lines,” The essay that in the Facebook, I am not responsible about it” The stolen essay is on the Facebook, and he said he is not responsible.  She got really angry about his manner, and she said that she is a writer, and he should have respected her and answer her directly. He ignored her effecting on his high moral personality, and that show for the people that he acts on them by his speech. The court does not cover this case, and they did not give any attention for Dala’a Al Mufti complaint.

In Egypt, Dr. Abdul AL Haleem ALmusrafi, who is a great Arabic writer in the Middle East, had a bad story with one of the worst accidents in the world of publication. He published his book, which is (Sentence in Context) “Jomal fi Alnho”. When He was in Biuret in Lebanon, he saw his book in the library with different author name, who is the thief. Dr. Abdul AL Haleem had a shock. Then he got Hemiplegia. That led him to really bad conditions until he died. All of that happened to Dr. Abdul AL Haleem because someone stole his book in really bad way. The thief did not only steal the book, but he killed the author in indirect way through stolen his efforts without any permission.

These are only four cases, but in fact we have thousands of cases in the court or in the history of the intellectual thefts. These cases effect directly or indirectly on the writing production. Because of the lack of the law of intellectual property, the thief writers find their big space to work and earn money. They use the gaps of the law to make their own money by using the other people’s effort (WIPO). The new generation of writers and lawyers try to figure out how they could fix these gaps to create a secure space to write with confidence of protection.

In the technical and professional communication field, writers find that they should work hand in hand to improve the legal literacy in Saudi Arabia. People should understand there is no differences between famous people and the public. There should be equal rights for everybody to protect their intellectual property. TPC writers can inform people about the intellectual crimes though writings and organizations. Overall, we need to organize a non-profit organization to warn people about the dangerous of intellectual theft. In addition we can fight the intellectual theft through our scholar writing. Finally, we have huge education barriers that prevent us from improving our country.

Law’s Gaps:

Depending on the weak programs to catch up with the intellectual thefts in the Arabia countries, the law has different gaps. These gaps add a complexity to the decision making. That leads to more intellectual thefts and more obstacles in the improvement of the country. In Arabic history, there are uncountable stories in courage, generous, morals, values, etc.  In the law, this is not intellectual thefts if you write the same stories of other writers because stories is not intellectual property. Even though we have still the methods of narrate the story is different from one person to another, but the law does not cover that. We can see this gap in the Dr. Al Qarni case with Dr. Salwa.

During this net age, I must say the intellectual thefts are increasing especially after the social media. Twitter does not have a methods to find the source of tweets, so some people steal from the writers some thoughtful tweet, and treat the idea as they own. The law in the court does not cover the social media ideas. We have the youth ideas in tweeting and bringing creative thought to the society, but no law protect their property.  Now twitter has updated the program but it is worse because they delate the time of the tweet, so never know when the tweeter write this tweet. Depending on what happened with Bader Al Zeidan. He stole different tweet from different people and create his own book, and the country identified his book as one of value.

When I write some key words in the google icon, so many articles come down in Arabic language with different writers, and the reader will never know who write idea first. Probably it’s from Facebook, Twitter, or any information source. The law does not cover these as intellectual thefts, and no one can catch the thief from the original writer. That leads to limiting the space of writing, writers try to keep their writing in protect from public if there is no one protect that has been provided for their intellectual property.

All of these gaps and more break down the power of the court in protecting the writers’ thoughts in their production process. I deal my research on gaps in Saudi Arabia, which is my country, but I do not discuss the cases and gaps in the while Middle East country. The Arabian writers suffer with their intellectual property protection. When they write their own thought and published their books, they keep in worries about what if someone will steal their efforts and publish their ideas in different name. These fears stop them from constant writings. When the people stop writing, the improvement will stop.

The United States Law:

In the United States there are effective laws in place to protect writers. The U.S has a complex base of laws that support the creativity to promote more and more through years under the government protection. According to (An Introduction to the Law and economics of intellectual property) by Stanley N, Besen and Leo J. Raskind,

“Article 1, section 8, of The U.S. Constitution grants to the congress the power: “To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writing and discovers. “Under this general grant, the congress has enacted a number of statues, including the copy right act [17 U.S.C.A. Sec, 101-810], the patent Act [35 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1-376], and the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act of 1984 [17 U.S.C.A Sec. 901-914]. In addition, the federal government has enacted the trade mark Act of 1946 (“Lanham Act”) as amended [15 U.S.C.A. Sec. 1051-1127] and there is state law regulation of trade secrets and of misappropriation of other information. These six legal regimes constitute U.S. intellectual property law. In addition, the United States has sought protection for the works of its authors and inventors in other countries by joining a number of international intellectual property conventions, including the Berne convention for the protection of literary and artistic works, the Universal Copyright Convention, and the Paris Convention for the protection of industrial property. Intellectual property issues have also begun to occupy a prominent place in discussion of General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade.”(Besen and Raskind, 1).

According to this quotation, the United States applied many laws to provide a security environment for authors, writers, and inventors to promote their knowledge through the thoughts in their creativity production. We can see that the United States is one of the countries publishing the most in the world. In the Worldometers, there is a statistic that provides the number the books that countries publish in certain years. In 2010, the United States published 328,259 (new titles and editions). The statistic depends on, “The data on books published displayed on the Worldometers’ counter is based on statistics published by UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization)”. According to this website statistic, the United States gets a high number of publication in new title books, and this this the result for the intellectual property protection. As a result, for this protection, the publication statistics goes up more than other countries.

In the universities in the United States, The administration, which concerns about plagiarism issues, provides programs, like Safe Assign, to catch if the students’ paper has a paraphrase or quotations without references or citations. That supports for professors to work on promoting their students to write their own ideas, and use the citations and references as evidence on their argument more than as a main points in their research. Professors need, in Saudi Arabia, programs to find out what the students do in their papers, and if it is from their own ideas or from another sources. Since we have a lack of sources, the Arabian students should recognize their effective roles in improving the Arabia library through their effort to publish their ideas and knowledge, and make a new print finger in the academia field in Saudi Arabia.

In Saudi Arabia, old stories from history fall outside the law of intellectual property. As a result, we have so many cases have been refused from the court. For example, the situation of Aiad Al Qarni and Salwa in their books. In the United States, writers should write the person who had this story in his life in the reference, or they should cite the book that they bring the story from it. This this one of our gaps in the Middle East’s law, and we can fix it by use the same strategy of the American system. We should transfer the American system to the Arabia court, and get the beneficial and positive effect from it.

In the United States, the Tweet should be cited if the writer uses it in the research paper. That would protect the people all around the world from different countries. On the other hand, people in Saudi Arabia, the tweet will not be cited because it is a tweet and it is from social media. The students in the Universities are trying to find scholarly sources that they can cite. Even though, the United States is a more improved country, and they have a strong protection for the Social Media. Social Media is one of the most updated sources and the people start use them as one of the most fresh information websites. Since the user in the social Media provide the information when the reach it for people. So the people or specifically readers want to see the information new as much as they can. Social media is recognized in the years as one of the preferred sources for information in the world. The intellectual property organization in Saud Arabia should look to the modern world and how we should change different things round us. They should provide new laws as we have new things in this technology world.

 

Solutions through Teaching:

Through examining many cases in the Middle East, I recognized different gaps, and I discovered some solution to fill this gaps like transfer the modern United States law in intellectual property. In addition, Saudi Arabia should improve some teaching skills to inform the new generation about their rights in intellectual property. Teaching is the most important roles to improve the generations for the better future. Different solutions that the country has and different effects in different degrees. The most effective solutions are, teaching the moral of research course, Programs of plagiarism, organization to inform the Arabian society, use technology to serve the case.

The Ministry of Education should apply a moral research course for students in high schools and in the university system. And as a result, the student will know what they have to do if they want to research about a specific topic. They will understand how they should use the citations and references, and if they should make a quotation and paraphrase in the research paper. They will understand that every author has his own ideas and his ideas are one of his property, and the new researchers should respect that and refer for the original author work. Through the moral of the research course students will recognize red lines that they should not go across them. Secondly, the high ministry education has to provide a program to check out how much the students quote from other people and account it per percent. Also professors need a program to check if the students made plagiarism or not in their research paper especially for graduated studies. Master and doctorate’s programs should be under an examine process of checking the research paper, so they be able to teach students in quality skills of research and honestly. For example, when the students hand in their research and before the professor starts, the research should o under a program that check if the research is new or it is an intellectual thefts. In this situation the professor will promote directly the research’s moral in his students, who are the new generation for the country. Thirdly, we, as technical communicators, need to establish organization to provide for the people and writers their rights in what they write or even think. The organization goals are to inform the people about what they should respect when they make research, on what the writers have to do when someone steal their own thoughts. The organization should do her job in informing the people all around the country through lectures a broacher. Also, they should open channels in YouTube, Tweeter, Facebook, and Instagram. The new technology will teach the people in their houses or everywhere, especially the youths. The organization should touch the society from different perspectives, and show the society that the intellectual thefts will lead us to less production country, and less improvement country. When the organization should the positive and negative effectives for the intellectual thefts, the people will get more conscious about the future of their knowledge in their country. Finally, the government should encourage the writers to write more and get published, so they serve the academia field, and serve the students in graduate schools. Graduate student can nor find enough researches bout their research topics in different field, so they want more Arabian sources.

Conclusion:

Overall, Saudi Arabia needs to improve the conscious of people about the intellectual thefts, and how it effects the improvement of the country. The legal literacy is one of the requirement that the country needs to meet in the people to improve from different perspectives and in various aspects. The law has gaps that we need to fill, and meet thee expectations from current writers and from the future writers. Also, Saudi Arabia needs to create organization to support the people in the legal literacy importance, and they should understand the ideas and thoughts are one of the personal property for the authors and writers. The improvement of the country depends on the security of the country in different aspects. The writers when they know that their intellectual production will be protected, they will go ahead to write what they think, and they will help in supporting the country economically and rationally through their creations of creativity. I hope, my country reach in improvement like what happen in the United Sates.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reference:

AIPLA. “What Is IP Law?” What Is IP Law? AIPLA, 2015. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.            <http://www.aipla.org/about/iplaw/Pages/default.aspx>.

AlJazairi, Ab Abdul Al Karam. “Pictures from the Intellectual Thefts in      Science and Culture Field.” Al Alokah. AL Alokah the Science         Meeting, 2 July 2009. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.            <http://majles.alukah.net/t36595/>.

Al-loehag, Muhammad. “Bent Al Sultan Nerves Saudis and the Writer       Replies.”MBC. Althamenah, 28 Nov. 2014. Web. 22 Mar. 2014.

Alosaimi, Abdulaziz. “Alqarni to Salwa: Ask God to Forgive Me.” SABQ Online   Newspaper. SABQ, 22 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Alsohemi, Ahmad. “Salwa: Dr. Alqarni Tries to Keep Me Silent by Ten      Thousands Riyal.” AlArabia.            AlArabia, 25 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

Alsohemi, Ahmad. “The Judgement on the Alqarni’s Case.” AlArabia. AlArabia,    23 Jan. 2012. Web. 21 Mar. 2015.

“World Intellectual Property Organization.” WIPO Lex RSS. WIPO, n.d. Web. 21  Mar. 2015.

Brad, Sherman; Lionel Bently (1999). The making of modern intellectual    property law: the British experience, 1760–1911. Cambridge University          Press. p. 207. ISBN 978-0-521-56363-5.

GH Legal Sources. “Intellectual Property Law.” – HG.org. HG Legal          Sources, 1995. Web. 22 Apr. 2015. <http://www.hg.org/intell.html>.

Haoam, BalQaseem. “Intellectual Thefts.” Intellectual Thefts. AL Shroog    Online, 19 Oct. 2013. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.   http://www.echoroukonline.com/ara/articles/181576.html

 “property as a common descriptor of the field probably traces to the           foundation of theWorld Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO)    by the  United Nations.” in Mark A. LemleyProperty, Intellectual       Property, and  Free Riding, Texas Law Review, 2005, Vol. 83:1031,          page 1033,            footnote 4.

Stopfakes. “Why Is Intellectual Property Important?” Why Is Intellectual     Property Important? Stopfakes, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.         <http://www.stopfakes.gov/learn-about-ip/ip/importance>.

WIPO. “World Intellectual Property Organization.” What Is Intellectual      Property? WIPO, n.d. Web. 22 Apr. 2015.       <http://www.wipo.int/about-ip/en/>

Reviewer Criteria

This is the generalized reviewer criteria I use to conduct peer reviews in graduate courses. It is generalized from my experiences as a reviewer for a variety of TPC journals:

Significance/purpose: What is your assessment of the manuscript’s potential contribution for the field of TPC? Is the manuscript timely? Does it present new approaches, findings, and/or theoretical implications? Do you feel these findings will be useful to other TPC scholars?

Methodology: What is your assessment of the manuscript’s use of methods, theory, and/or overall scaffolding? Is the overall framework of the manuscript justified, given its topic? Is it sufficiently explored so as to be clear to other scholars? Is it sufficiently grounded in other methodological or theoretical precedents?

Findings: What is your assessment of the manuscript’s rendering of research findings or extended examples or cases? Are the findings rendered with sufficient clarity to provide necessary context for the research or development of the approach? Are the findings sufficiently connected with the methodology so that it is clear how they work together to form an argument?

Style/organization: What is your assessment of the quality of writing in the manuscript? Are all concepts sufficiently explained? Is the manuscript organized in a logical, comprehensible manner? Is correct grammar and syntax adhered to rigorously?

Forgot a Journal

With new journals cropping up in TPC all the time, it’s easy to forget one.

connexions international professional communication journal (http://connexionsjournal.org/) “provides a forum for researchers, practitioners, students and emerging scholars from diversified backgrounds, interests, and nationalities.”

“The journal focuses on the practice, research, pedagogy, methodology, and technology of efficient and effective written, oral, visual, electronic and non-verbal professional communication—academic, business, crisis, development, environmental, health, media, nonprofit, political, research, science, and technical communication—in local, national, international, and global work and civic activity settings.”

I added it to the last module for future reference.

-The Beard

Teacher Response to Module #4: Theory as Disciplinary Infrastructure

Grades on Blackboard, as per the norm.

If you have learned one thing: Theory helps a field understand itself

A photo of a famous philosopher in front of a tax form
Top Google search result for “Beard Infrastructure”

The real purpose of theory, as I have tried to explain in this class, is to help a field understand itself. Theory is what we use when we’re trying to figure out who we are as a discipline, in other words.

Are we writers? Empirical researchers? Professionals? Project managers? Designers? What kinds of objects do we write about and research? Do we build things? If so, what?

A healthy discipline keeps asking these questions over and over again in collegial conversation. There are rules of discourse, but the rules shouldn’t squelch new ideas, and they should always be up for debate.

I think we have something to learn about the latter point in TPC, but I think we do a pretty good job of asking questions.

Intercom 2015 editorial calendar

I’m posting Intercom‘s editorial calendar for the remainder of the year in case anyone has an idea for an article that fits the designated themes. Like some calls for papers, several of the themes are broad enough to include most anything related to technical communication.  (The page I linked to includes previous calendars, which might prove helpful for locating sources for our theory articles, e.g., there’s issues on plain language, global issues, content management, etc.)

July/August 2015
Content Primer: Curation Is Not Just for Museums
Submissions due: 5/1/2015

September 2015
Change Happens: Are We Ready?
Submissions due: 7/1/2015

October 2015
The Social Issue: Building Networks and Social Business Strategies
Submissions due: 8/1/2015

November/December 2015
State of the Industry
Submissions due: 9/1/2015″

JTWC Analysis

Journal Overview

Founded in 1971, the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication is a peer reviewed publication that aims to bridge industry and academia by addressing professional and scholarly issues in communication for use by both teachers and practitioners. JTWC publishes articles on methodology, techniques, theories, and case studies from classrooms and corporate settings.

Plain Language

JTWC published two articles specifically on Plain Language between 2008 and 2014, the most recent of which is Kim Garwood’s “Metonymy And Plain Language” from 2013. The author presents Plain Language as a standalone theory, and notes instances of this theory in other articles published in JTWC: “In previous issues of the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication, plain language has been discussed in terms of readability [6, 7], information design [8], and communicating with visual and textual elements [9].” Garwood also cites literature associated with plain language theory as either a summation of previous research or to make philosophical connections to cultural theories via Bahktin and Bourdieu, as well as composition studies via Carolyn Miller.

The second article published in this time frame specific to Plain Language is Natasha Jones’s “Plain Language In Environmental Policy Documents: An Assessment Of Reader Comprehension And Perceptions” from 2012. Jones also uses Plain Language as a standalone theory which she uses to frame her empirical research study. She cites literature associated with plain language theory as part of her literature review of existing research on similar empirical studies.

In addition to these Plain Language specific pieces, JTWC has also published several articles on related topics ranging from historical rhetorical analyses, like Elizabeth Tebeaux’s  “Technical Writing And The Development Of The English Paragraph 1473-1700” from 2011 and  “Technical Writing In English Renaissance Shipwrightery: Breaching The Shoals Of Orality” from 2008; issues of language and globalization, like Michael Jarvis Kwadzo Bokor’s “Moving International Technical Communication Forward: A World Englishes Approach” from 2011 and Pinfan Zhu’s “Language Problems To Be Coped With In Web Localization” from 2009; and analysis of health documents, like Eva R. Brumberger’s “Document-Based Decision Making And Design: An Analysis Of Medicare Part D” from 2010. Based on the scope and publication dates of these articles, Plain Language theory appears to be a topic of growing interest to the field.

Editor Email Query

Subject: Query about a Manuscript on Plain Language

Dear Dr. Sides –

I am writing to see if a manuscript I’m working on, tentatively titled “Blah Blah Something Something Plain Language in Online Contexts,” would be a suitable fit for inclusion in the Journal of Technical Writing and Communication.

In this article, I’m attempting to

  • theorize the impact of Plain Language in online contexts,
  • create a methodological framework for testing the impact of Plain Language in online contexts, and
  • apply said framework to a sample case study of a website.

I think my article would be appropriate for inclusion in JTWC in part because my argument aligns with the journal’s goal of bridging industry and academia, and because it advances the arguments made in recent articles published in JTWC from Natasha Jones and Kim Garwood on Plain Language by applying the theory to an online context.

I appreciate your time in reading this and your consideration of my request. Please let me know if you have any questions, and I look forward to hearing back from you soon.

Regards,

 

Gina Kruschek

IEEE Analysis

Journal Analysis of IEEE

IEEE Transactions on Professional Communication is a peer reviewed publication produced quarterly by the IEEE Professional Communication Society. For the purposes of this module, I examined the two most recent issues to see how this journal treats theory: how theory manifests in the various types of articles, what theoretical frameworks are the most common, and how authors write using theory.

The first thing that I noticed was that the structure of the articles in this journal was highly specified in a way that ensured that the authors very clearly oriented themselves in terms of theory—there is a short section in the majority of articles titled “Theoretical Orientation”. This convention makes the articles themselves very readable, but does also constrain the authors’ abilities to fully explore the theory that they are working with in the confines of their article.

Approaches to theory in this journal, while made explicit in the writing, were not necessarily consistent with the way that we think about theory in, say, composition journals. I did see a few ‘T’heories—Cultural Theory and Genre stood out to me—but more commonly the theoretical orientation section is more specific to the content of the article and less specific to a certain established “Theory”. In other words, theory is extrapolated from the content of the study or review and not necessarily imposed on it.

There also seems to be less of a connection than I am used to when it comes to linking theory with the article content. There seems to be an assumption, probably due to formatting, that because the theoretical orientation has been stated explicitly at the outset there is not necessarily a need to fully explain its implications for or connections to the later content.