The Dartmouth Observer

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Tuesday, January 21, 2003
Unethical people are everywhere

How ethical is it for Chien Wen Kung to post the opening paragraph on essay written by fellow Dartmouth student? (I am assuming he didn't have permission, judging by Chien Wen's title). He does keep the person anonymous. Under the circumstances he says he obtained it, I would say this borders on unethical posting. It really undermines trust to have a friend you ask to critique a paper turn it over to someone who posts it on the internet. And this isn't by any poster on The Dartmouth Observer, but by the site co-founder and administrator, no less. I don't think Chien Wen should have put it up for students who could know the writer to see it and possibly recognize it. It was a private communication not relating to anything that really was or should have been public, and from a student on Dartmouth's campus. (Furthermore, as someone in an academic community who often sees drafts that say don't cite or quote without permission, I take this seriously). It's tough to work out where to draw the line, but I think Chien Wen has made a step over it in this case. I question the news value of this, and doing this for the sole (and here unjustified) purpose of ridicule and saying 'Stupid people are everywhere!!!'

Incidently, the only sentence that didn't make sense was this one: "Defining legitimacy as truth, accepted (an integer ranging from zero to the entire population of the world), this essay will... " I assume Chien Wen is trying to show that traditional levels of scholarship have declined at Dartmouth with recent academic fads. Too bad it appears that traditional ethical privacy have as well.