Law in Contemporary Society
1) The TWiki removes the externality of speaking on listening. (caveat: this is wrong.)
2) We're reenacting Dr. Zimbardo's prison experiment, and now we get to decide what sort of prisoners we'll be. (caveat: Eben told us to be "students," not "prisoners")
3) Free Speech is a social not a legal function. A. Laughter is a kind of public force. B. People naturally confuse descriptive statements for prescriptive ones. C. People look stupid arguing with smarter people. (caveat: maybe because it's stupid)
-- AndrewGradman - 01 Feb 2008 (this confession was not extracted by torture.)
-- AndrewGradman - 24 Jan 2008

Your ideas of "free speech" and prior restraint are almost completely at odds with mine. Prohibiting "critiques that deter people from speaking freely," if you could do it, would be a prior restraint. The critiques are not restraint--they're speech. Prior restraint would be Eben's deactivating your account or running your posts through a moderation queue.

Eben's critiques probably /chill/ speech to some degree, but they aren't some distinct sort of "anti-speech"--even if our brains occasionally explode at the collision.

-- DanielHarris - 25 Jan 2008

Andrew and Daniel, In case you’re curious about what someone thinks about this “free speech” issue who has been, according to another observer, “blasted” by Eben, I agree for the most part with Daniel, but would tweak and expand the analysis a little further: I don’t think his critiques are meant as "anti-speech," but I assume he is aware that his critiques lead, as you say, to some of our brains occasionally exploding at the collision. And what is the nature of this collision? I think it is largely his refusal to meet our expectation that teachers respond to our remarks with a modicum of diplomacy, fewer and less intense episodes of histrionics, and more of an exhibition of what is currently termed "emotional intelligence." [Don’t get me wrong on the emotional intelligence part: I don’t think he’s devoid of it, I just think he refuses to show much of it.] In other words, it’s not so much what he says that tends to chill expression, but how he says it. I don't think he can't meet our behavioral expectations, it's just that he refuses to do so. Why? Perhaps to get us to think outside of our little self-imposed boxes, and he knows he can do this more effectively by lobbing his data, observations, and opinions into the classroom arena in this manner. My suggestion (for whatever this is worth): try not to take the theatrics too seriously (or personally), listen to what he says, but think for yourself.

-- BarbPitman - 26 Jan 2008

I'm freaked out that we need a Constitution, Bill of Rights, revolution, etc.

The way this community is using the wiki is really interesting and new to me. I've seen wiki's used in lots of companies (I even implemented MediaWiki? at my last job, woohoo me) and their general purpose is to centrally store facts relevant to the community (a funny example I've seen is a wiki category devoted to providing definitions of nonsensical words that a co-worker notorious for making up her own adjectives commonly used).

I guess there's no "wrong" type of content, but my point is that the general tone of conversation seems odd. I sort of expected more discussion specifically on ideas relevant to our readings, notices of other references to check out to expand understanding, etc. We so far have some of that, but we also have a lot of elaborate discussion on classroom management, predictions about what Eben is feeling or "wants" us to say/think, and general venting. I'm not trying to criticize, but let's think about this. Especially because, although participation in wiki discussions is probably limited by many factors (time, general interest, comfort with the technology, etc) I think the direction that the existing conversations take will influence how many people participate in this community at all.

-- MakalikaNaholowaa - 26 Jan 2008

  • I think this is an extremely important comment. One partial explanation that those who do work often with wikis will of course understand is that there are many people here to whom the experience is new, so they are doing a predictable thing: they are using a new tool in a familiar old way. In this case, they are blogging with it. We will start active refactoring later this week, which will melt most of the blog commentary away very quickly, because on editing we will find there's much repetitive rhetoric and unsupported speculation, which we don't need to retain. A few good points have been made along the way, and they will look all the more impressive when they're not enmeshed in the back-and-forth of commentary as they are now. But you can't learn anything about what we've read, or even about the less controversial and more theoretical portions of the ideas I have wound around the arguments we have read, by reading the wiki. Makalika is not only right that there's been much heartfelt blogging, but also that this has displaced doing the intellectual job one might have thought the wiki was here to help us do. I said the wiki was for active listening, and instead it's turned out to be for arguing with me and worrying about whether I am so retributive towards people who are arguing with me that people might stop arguing with me. We can and will change the direction, working together to use the wiki in a more conventional and collaborative fashion. But I think the best part of Makalika's comment isn't just that she has shown a problem. It's that she's asked us to think about why we have the problem--not only in the sense of determining what it costs us, but also what it helps us to do, and in what therefore its attractiveness consists. And that's a very important question. Because inexperience in using wikis is not by any means the only cause in giving this one--made in this community's image--the character it has.

AndrewGradman wrote on the 26th that he understood and accepted Makalika's conclusion, but that "at some early point [he] internalized the idea that the class is precisely About Questioning Authority," for which purpose it is clear the wiki is very adaptable. In addition, he argued, it is impossible in this class to "distinguish, for certain, the Form from the Content." These seem to me lucid and valuable statements.

Formatted and commented upon, with slight refactoring, by way of conclusion.

-- EbenMoglen - 28 Jan 2008.


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r17 - 11 Jan 2010 - 16:54:17 - IanSullivan
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