Tuesday, May 29, 2012

View #9, Apologies for the Interruption

View from the seminar room at the University of Houston, submitted by Cynthia Freeland. Thanks for submitting, Prof. Freeland.

Also, I'm sorry I've been tough to get ahold of for the last few weeks. I had a suckier-than-average spring-semester finale, and then Mrs. Zero took me on a little vacation so I could recharge my batteries a little. So I was away from our secret hideout for a while. But I'm back in residence here at Smoker HQ (Branch Zero), and so if you have been in touch with me about a post you'd like to see, or something like that, you'll probably hear back or see it this week.

Yours most sincerely,

Mr. Zero


Anonymous said...

We need a post to draw attention to the new Prophilosophy blog. People need to know that they can stop checking Leiter's blog (if they haven't already).


No terrible poetry on here so far!

Anonymous said...

Leiter wrote a cease and desist letter


what a d-bag

the prophilosophy blog is great!

Mr. Zero said...

I don't really see what's douchey about the C&D letter. As I understand it, the author of the Prophilosophy blog was taking information that appeared on Leiter's blog and reposting it without citation or attribution. If someone were doing that to me, I'd be pretty pissed off.

But maybe I don't have the facts right. If not, I hope you'll set me straight.

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero, isn't the douchey part that, instead of sending a friendly (or even unfriendly) email about the problem, the dude sent a cease and desist letter as an opening move?

It seems clear that prophilosophy was posting stories/links sent from other people, and that those other people weren't offering the proper attributions. Maybe prophilosophy was naive to just re-post that stuff, but it seems like an innocent, honest oversight on their part.

Mr. Zero said...

Hi anon 9:59,

Mr. Zero, isn't the douchey part that...

I don't know what the douchey part was supposed to be. That's why I asked.

It seems clear that prophilosophy was posting stories/links sent from other people, and that those other people weren't offering the proper attributions.

Again, I could be wrong, but I was under the impression that, from the beginning, ProPhilosophy's technique was to go to Leiter's blog, get "hot" news items, and then repost them without attribution on ProPhilosophy.

(I'm also not sure that the "other people sent this stuff" explanation holds water. For one thing, when the blog was brand new, there wouldn't have been any readers to send stuff. For another thing, why would anyone send in "hot news items" they read on Leiter's blog? Why wouldn't they just assume that the proprietor of a ProPhilosophy blog reads Leiter, like everyone else?)

Also, do we know it was an opening move?

In any case, unless I have the facts all wrong, it seems to me that ProPhilosophy was plagiarizing Leiter. And even if Leiter overreacted (which I don't think is out of character for him), I guess I think that, in general, the person whose douchiness is worth remarking upon is the plagiarist, not the person who sent the plagiarist a C&D letter. At the very least, any remark about the douchiness of sending a C&D letter to someone who is plagiarizing you should be accompanied by a strongly-worded caveat about the douchiness of plagiarism.

Anonymous said...

It seems like Leiter feels he owns the exclusive rights to report faculty moves, just because he's the only one who has done so for so long. He's doing almost no work at all - just checking his email and then copying and pasting.

Mr. Zero said...

Come on, anon 11:51. You're letting your distaste for Leiter interfere with your ability to think straight. For one thing, Leiter has done the work of building an audience over the course of almost 9 years. The fact that his is the most widely-read philosophy blog in, like, the world is the reason he's in a position to ask for and receive information concerning faculty moves at all. It's hard to build an audience like that, and it takes a long time.

For another thing, the fact that it's not a lot of work to maintain a list of faculty moves has no bearing on whether it's ok for someone else to take the information he's collected and then to repost it on his/her own blog as his/her own work without citation, attribution, or linking to the source.

For another thing, the fact that he's the only one who has bothered to provide this important service for so long ought to count for something.

For another thing, the arrangement he reached with whoever runs the ProPhilosophy blog doesn't support your theory. ProPhil can report faculty moves along with whatever else he/she finds on Leiter; just not right away and not without attribution. (Now, if it were me, I'd mostly care about the attribution. If it were me, I wouldn't care about the "right away" thing at all. So there's that.)

Anonymous said...

Hear, hear, Mr. Zero!

Anonymous said...

Mr. Zero (@ 12:25),

Facts/ information (like lists reporting TT hires) are not subject to copyright

This issue was discussed on Prophilosophy about page

I do agree with you that proper attribution is appropriate

Mr. Zero said...

Hi anon 1:43,

I'm not sure where I made a claim/argument that had some basis in copyright law.