[globaloutlookDH-l] When citing emails, do people silently correct typos?

igalina igalina at unam.mx
Mon Feb 3 12:25:31 MST 2014


Dear Dan,
You have posed a most interesting question. Although I agree that writing to the person informing them that you want to quote them would be polite I must say that I too assume that when I write on a discussion list, it is public (unless specifically closed). Especially if you are going to be citing lots of different people writing to each person and obtaining their permission is equivalent I think of life before Creative Commons when the solution was to write to the copyright owner for permission to use the material. It gets very complicated very quickly.
As for the typos and mistakes in the emails,  I don't think that using [sic] is the solution. I don't know if it is just me but it seems offensive, especially given the context we are writing in. I like this idea of a footnote.
Best,
Isabel


----------
Dra. Isabel Galina Russell
Instituto de Investigaciones Bibliográficas,
Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM)
igalina at unam.mx
@igalina


________________________________
De: globaloutlookdh-l <globaloutlookdh-l-bounces at uleth.ca> en nombre de Bordalejo, Barbara <bab995 at mail.usask.ca>
Enviado: lunes, 03 de febrero de 2014 11:02 a.m.
Para: A list for participants in the ADHO DH Global Outlook Community
Asunto: Re: [globaloutlookDH-l] When citing emails, do people silently correct typos?

Dear Ernesto,

Although I agree with you on the fundamental point that one should ask before quoting a listserve post or an e-mail, I am not sure that I agree with your reasons for that.

We are all aware (or we should be aware) that everything we post, anywhere on the internet, at any point, could be retrieved by others. I have suffered the consequences of using irony in a reply to Humanist, which was then quoted (by a senior scholar) as if I actually had meant my words literally. Lesson 1: if you are going to use irony make sure that others are aware of it but don’t be surprised if someone ends up misinterpreting you.

In the past, irritated by a rude message, I hit reply and send a very angry answer to a colleague which ended up distributed to a whole list. Lesson 2: Do not answer professional messages when angry. If the anger is consuming you, at least, check who the recipient is before sending.

Many years ago, when I started my MA, the university’s guidelines suggested not to create an account with a name like “partyanimal” or “sexything.” I followed the instructions, it was easy as I was neither of those. However, they forgot to mention that if I ever signed an online petition to get a desk for Dana Scully, eight years later my students would still find the long lost site. Lesson 3: make sure that you are not ashamed of your TV taste or that you don’t leave a trail of evidence about it.

The fact that Snowden only generated mild discomfort rather than anger and mass protests, shows that many people consider online information to be public. I wouldn’t go as far. Not everything should be public, but in practice many things are.

When I want to make reference to an e-mail, post or even a blog entry, I contact the author. I don’t do this because I think that the person should know, I do it because it is good manners and because I am aware of the composition process of these types of texts and want to make sure that the person meant what I think he or she meant.

So we agree, but we have different reasons to think as we do.

BB


On 3 Feb 2014, at 10:40, Ernesto Priego <efpriego at gmail.com<mailto:efpriego at gmail.com>> wrote:

Hey Dan,

I did not mean to say to that "the default for contributions to public scholarly listservs should be considered private", but that the way one writes in an email is not the way one would write on a public blog post, or a journal article.

Not all listservs are alike, and some offer public access to the archive, and others don't (the latter require a membership).

So I see my replies (that are conversational) between members in a given email lsit as precisely in a grey area, where I am not necessarily writing with the awareness that I will be cited publicly by others. If this happens on places like Twitter, where people often get surprised to discover the reach of their postings (because they more or less assume, with different degrees of self-conciousness, that their postings are public), it seems reasonable to me that when one feels one is chatting amongst friends then discovering one has been cited publicly (making typos for example) could be a reason to be surprised.

If one wants to be really strict about it yes, I believe that a listserv that will be completely public should contain a terms and conditions document stating that members are OK with their postings a) being completely public and b) being subject to citation, reuse, etc. without previous consent. I am a CC and OA advocate so I would be more than happy to subscribe to that; I am saying this because I am aware that perhaps this is something that not everyone is conscious of (otherwise there wouldn't be such panic sometimes when some people discover Facebook's or Tumblr's Terms and Conditions for example). Maybe this sounds boring and paranoid, but if email is going to be a form of publishing we need to start thinking about the ways users are expecting to license their postings.

When I write these words, for example, I am replying to you, Dan, knowing that everyone else in the list will be reading, and that the list is the ADHO DH Global Outlook Community. My words are addressed to you and the list, and even if in some region of my mind I am at the same time aware these words might be read by others outside this list, I am always writing for this list. Otherwise I would just post it elsewhere; my blog for example.

If email listserv postings are going to be subject to research by third-parties, then all members need to be aware of that their right to confidentiality is being waived. In the majority of research surveys, respondents should be fully informed about the aims of the survey, and the respondent’s consent to participate in the survey must be obtained and recorded.

I am also saying this because not all people are equally safe when being cited. This means that some scholars can be very critical publicly and face little risk, whilst other scholars in other settings might be more vulnerable. Often email listservs offer a level of confidentiality (even if it is just perceived as such) that the open web does not offer (one can feel one is chatting in cofindence, amongst friends, even if this is not the case and one is going on the record at all times).

So I'd say that when it comes to citing what someone said in an email (to a listserv or not) it's always better to be safe and ask if it's OK to share/cite than sorry... but that's just my personal opinion.

Best,




Dr Ernesto Priego
Lecturer in Library Science
Acting Course Director, MSc/MA Electronic Publishing, City University London

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On Mon, Feb 3, 2014 at 4:18 PM, Daniel O'Donnell <daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca<mailto:daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca>> wrote:
Hi Ernesto,

I'm really not sure about your privacy paragraph. It seems to me difficult to believe that anybody posting to a publicly archived list with an open membership could understand what they are saying as anything but meant for public consumption. Does that mean, for example, that Humanist is not a public record since it doesn't explicitly say it is? That seems hard to believe, since a lot of important things happen there. I'd have thought the same of this list.

Moreover, it isn't a question of the "list owner" having special privileges. Since the records are publicly available to anybody on the web, and were distributed to all members of the list, anybody in the world can cite anything sent to a public email list. There's no additional level of access that the owner has on a public list.

I can see a couple of places where there might be an expectation of privacy or where good manner might cede privacy to a public posting.

Listservs with a closed archive, for example, might be considered prima facie private, especially if the membership is restricted and known. It is dangerous for a writer to assume that something posted to such a list will remain private. But I can certainly see how one might be ethically obliged to confirm with the poster before citation. Even there, however, the lists I'm on that are really meant to be private indicate it: our department list, for example, has a header on every message that says the contents of the list are to be considered confidential and not to be redistributed without prior permission.

Even on an open list, it seems to me to be good manners not to cite clearly accidental postings--e.g. the kind of private messages that people sometimes send to a list in error. I don't think the sender can have any expectation that a publicly archived message-sent-in-error like that will not be cited by anybody; but it seems to me that the citer has a duty in that case to check.

But for most things on a public list, it seems to me that the whole point of the list is to build a kind of gray scholarly literature: a lot of our discussions on this list, for example, contain discussions that are clearly meant to be generalisable and influence debate (like this conversation here, for example); others, like announcements, cfps, job ads, etc., are clearly meant to be redistributed.

Because it exists in a border area between the formal and the informal (it is like formal publication in that it is available to the community--and probably more widely read--but unlike it in that there is no editorial process), I think we owe a duty of respect to the people we cite, meaning not to be too critical of word choice or minor inconsistencies. But I know I've never thought my participation on any public scholarly email list (e.g. tei-l, humanist, dm-l, digitalclassicist, globaloutlookdh-l) was private.

Do others feel that the default for contributions to public scholarly listservs is that they should be considered private? I confess that had never occurred to me before.

-dan





On 14-02-03 07:14 AM, Ernesto Priego wrote:
 It is an interesting question. I suppose some minor typos resulting form typing too fast could be correced "silently". I do these typing mistakes all the time; especially when replying form a mobile phone.

As for citing emails I would think a related question is equally important, that of privacy. Even for listservs, I assume we are saying some things "in confidence", i.e. we write and send certain things because we are writing them for and sending them to a particuar list which means particular receivers, even when we sometimes don't know who are all the members. It's not the same as when posting openly on Twitter for example, when one assumes it's all public and anyone can read and therefore cite.

So before citing anything anyone said via email I would check with the sender if it's OK to cite them, unless there are some terms and conditions somewhere that say the owner of the list is entitled to cite any messages sent to the list.

Best,

e



Dr Ernesto Priego
Lecturer in Library Science
Acting Course Director, MSc/MA Electronic Publishing, City University London

City University London offers a wide range of postgraduate courses delivered by world-leading academics. Register for our Open Evening<http://www.city.ac.uk/events/2014/feb/postgraduate-open-evening> on Wednesday 19th February to find out more.

MediaCommons' THE NEW EVERYDAY is happy to announce the publication of a cluster on
THE MULTIMODALITY OF COMICS IN EVERYDAY LIFE,
curated by Ernesto Priego of City University London and David N. Wright of Douglas College.
http://mediacommons.futureofthebook.org/tne/cluster/multimodality-comics-everyday-life

http://epriego.wordpress.com/  @ernestopriego<https://twitter.com/ernestopriego>
Editor-in-Chief, The Comics Grid: Journal of Comics Scholarship http://www.comicsgrid.com/
Subscribe to the Comics Grid Newsletter: http://eepurl.com/iOYAj




On Sat, Feb 1, 2014 at 10:20 PM, Daniel O'Donnell <daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca<mailto:daniel.odonnell at uleth.ca>> wrote:
It really is pretty cool, eh?



On 14-02-01 02:43 PM, Yasmín S. Portales Machado wrote:
¡Me encanta esta lista!


Yasmín S. Portales Machado
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Carlo Frabetti

De: globaloutlookdh-l [mailto:globaloutlookdh-l-bounces at uleth.ca] En nombre de Daniel O'Donnell
Enviado el: Saturday, February 1, 2014 1:47 PM
Para: globaloutlookdh-l at uleth.ca<mailto:globaloutlookdh-l at uleth.ca>
Asunto: Re: [globaloutlookDH-l] When citing emails, do people silently correct typos?

I like that idea for 3), though I think I'll leave the explanation in now, because it needs to go through a press and editors. I confess, I don't even like the idea of correcting them: that is what email is.

On 14-02-01 11:34 AM, Nishant Shah wrote:
Hey Dan,
This is a great question, and one that a lot of us working with online transcripts and with non-standard Englishes constantly face.
With a collection I was editing, working with writers from Asia, Africa and Latin America, where the writers were not native speakers and also not professionally used to writing, we faced a similar dilemma which eventually, we resolved in the following ways:
1. Except for when the syntax was so irregular that the citation was unintelligible, we contacted the sources and checked if they want to re-write it, or if our corrections were still representing what they meant.
2. Like in oral ethnography projects, we retained the irregularities of 'written speech', and we used that as a precedence for retaining these 'errors'.
3. With different registers in the language, we retained them without even high-lighting or italicising or pointing out those irregularities, because that is a judgment call we did not want to make, and we also thought that the onus of bias was on the reader.
Hope this helps resolve some of your queries,
Warm regards
Nishant
On 01-02-2014 19:21, Daniel O'Donnell wrote:
I have a question for advice from this group that might have political implications.

In an article I'm about to submit, I cite a number of discussions on this list and humanist about the use of language, especially English. The authors are both native English speakers and non-native speakers and, as is typical in emails, there are a number of small typos. solecisms, and the like.

Currently, I have a note at the first citation indicating that "as is normal in as conversational a medium as email correspondence, the quoted passages have small typographical errors and other solecisms. These have not been corrected or otherwise noted." My reason for this is that I don't want to put in a lot of sic or corrections in square brackets. Although I'm a terrible typo offender myself, the case can be more politicised it seems to me when dealing with non-native speakers. I'm uncomfortable acting either as judge or, worse, in my case, calling attention to "errors"--especially since I think they are really more issues of register than actual errors.

I could silently correct them, of course, as well, but I don't like that either, in case what I think is an obvious correction turns out to misrepresent something.

What do other people think? I've seen sic used before as a form of ad hominem attack and so I generally really hate using it if I can avoid it. But since it also seems nuts to pepper the correspondence with square brackets (and since that could have the same effect as a lot of sics), I don't want to do that either.

Is there a better solution than simply flagging the register difference, as I currently do?


--

---

Daniel Paul O'Donnell

Professor of English

University of Lethbridge

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--
---
Daniel Paul O'Donnell
Professor of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
Canada

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