Sunday, February 12, 2012

Response - Blair and Cadle

Firstly, I have to comment on the name dropping in the article. I found it very strange that the writer mentions several scholars and other writers and describes them as if the reader knew them personally. In the article,  seemingly irrelevant information of people is given, for example describing how they first met or how they discussed issues over "hot cocoa and coffee" at a conference. This leaves me wondering if it is appropriate (or indeed relevant) to write these kind of facts in an academic article. Will the writer, in this particular "cocoa and coffee" -case, Lanette Cadle, provide the reader with information about her colleagues orange and well-behaving Persian cat in her next article?

We are constantly trying to develop new pedagogical models and move from the authority model to the interactive and collaborative model, and I personally like this development. It is important to create learning environments that are different from each other and inspire the teacher and the students. In the article, a similarly collaborative model in the field of publishing is under the radar and I am equally pleased with this idea as well. When several people work on something, the result must be better than something produced by a single person. More minds, more ideas, more viewpoints. It is also a perfect opportunity for the “beginners” to establish great connections as regards future projects and learn from the more experienced collaborators. The editor should not be the enemy and the authors should be actively present in the editing and publishing process in order to achieve something that satisfied both parties. 

But, as with all “group work”, the problem rises in execution. How can all the parties agree on an issue? In practice, is it just completely impossible to find a consensus? From my experiences, I would say yes. Group projects are always a good way to make enemies instead of making friends and build feuds as opposed to finding a balance and reaching success which is the goal.  Furthermore, when the collaborative work is published there is a problem with authorship. It is difficult to define whose thoughts and ideas were actually used, and whether everyone’s collaboration is equally good or valuable. Who gets his or her name on the front page? And when the work is done by multiple people, should all of these people be mentioned as authors of the piece? Therefore, it is complicated to measure the collaborators’ investments in the final product and determine the “hierarchy” or, on the other hand, create something that everyone would have invested the same amount of thought and time in. So as good as the idea sounds, it definitely has its disadvanges and like with any new gadget, idea or breakthrough, new problems arise.


  1. Regarding your comment about name dropping, you have to think about the article in context. It was written for an audience of rhetoric and composition scholars, all of whom know the names of the people mentioned. I can see how it wouldn't make sense for someone outside of the field, but all scholarly articles do some name-dropping; it is a way of gaining credibility and showing that you know the relevant people and theories in the field. If you read more articles in the field, you will see these names pop up everywhere.

    Also, when you are as famous as Kristine Blair, you can do whatever you want.

    1. I agree with you, the name-dropping in itself did not bother me, since in all academic articles, other writers are quoted and the article is supposed to be tied to the context. But the point i wanted to make was that the way in which the name-dropping was done was very odd in my opinion, the "conversationality" etc.

  2. I couldn't agree more on "group work". It is always difficult to balance every group members works and their contributions.

  3. people work together to done things efficiency but it is not easy to balance each person's work.