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  #1  
Old 25 May 2008, 11:56 PM
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Shifty Eyes Watching Alice

Comment: I have recently read a children's book entitled _Watching Alice_.
The story is written in diary form and is about a young girl who has gone
missing. The book was printed by Penguin books, and says on the cover
that the diaries are real, and that Alice Brown is,in fact, missing. It
then asks that we go to the website www.watchingalice.com. However, at
the bottom of the site, it says "for entertainment only." My question:
IS Alice Brown real? and if she is, IS she really missing? If not, is it
legal to do that or just unethical?
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  #2  
Old 26 May 2008, 12:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by snopes View Post
If not, is it
legal to do that or just unethical?
Well, this site is going with "unethical" :

http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/sites/0608_alice.html

It's a put-on, but in extremely poor taste. Literature about teen runaways is nothing new, but this "true story" interactive take is pretty tacky.

Not directly related, but it struck me when I clicked around the site and saw the fake news clippings - one of my students just had her older brother run away to a park in New Canaan (although it was Waveny, and not Mead); he was found dead (suicide). The requisite media circus ensued, and the poor girl and her family are still dealing with the aftermath (and will be for a long time). I hope they never stumble upon this site.
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Old 26 May 2008, 01:06 AM
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Artemis Artemis is offline
 
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This is unrelated, sort of, but "Go Ask Alice" was another fake teen diary that left a bad taste in my mouth when I got old enough to realize it was all made up, just to make teenagers too afraid to do drugs (oh noes, the drugs!!). On the plus side, it made me distrust adults, and did have some mildly titillating scenes.
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Old 26 May 2008, 06:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Artemis View Post
This is unrelated, sort of, but "Go Ask Alice" was another fake teen diary that left a bad taste in my mouth when I got old enough to realize it was all made up, just to make teenagers too afraid to do drugs (oh noes, the drugs!!). On the plus side, it made me distrust adults, and did have some mildly titillating scenes.
I think that author wrote a bunch of supposedly real diary books. Or else there were other authors that followed her lead - I remember maybe a dozen similar books in my middle school library.
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  #5  
Old 27 May 2008, 02:02 PM
smirkdirk
 
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Regarding the ethicsscoreboard site posted above. In this article they posit that allowing children to use cheat codes in video games - cheat codes, mind you, that were put in there by the publishers/programmers - is teaching them to cheat in real life. Methinks they need to put some more thought into that.

http://www.ethicsscoreboard.com/site...heatcodes.html
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  #6  
Old 27 May 2008, 04:27 PM
Lady Luzhin
 
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Icon19

That ethics website frightens me...why put Stephen Colbert on there? Just because he's funny? Republicians...
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  #7  
Old 28 May 2008, 07:03 PM
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Wow - to be honest, I only linked the site because it came up in a Google search for the book title and seemed relevant. I didn't look at any of the other content, and now that I go back I can see that the site is a little strange in its own right.

In any case, I still think the Alice book series and companion site are tacky .
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  #8  
Old 12 June 2008, 06:16 AM
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Claiming your works of fiction are true is a very old literary device. Fictional "captivity narratives" (white settlers kidnapped by native tribes) were popular in early America.

Historical precedent aside, I still don't think it's particularly ethical. That's why fictional works often come with a disclaimer.
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  #9  
Old 13 June 2008, 05:20 PM
defaultcrush
 
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It looks like they're trying to do some viral marketing/an Alternate Reality Gaming tie-in. I guess I'm not horribly offended by it because I'm used to it, but it's becoming more and more popular nowadays.

Last edited by defaultcrush; 13 June 2008 at 05:21 PM. Reason: broken link
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  #10  
Old 13 June 2008, 07:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonfall View Post
Claiming your works of fiction are true is a very old literary device. Fictional "captivity narratives" (white settlers kidnapped by native tribes) were popular in early America.
It's one my mum hates, too - often there's an introduction "by the author" that's also part of the fiction but states that it's a true story. Generally speaking I have no problem with that, even if it sometimes annoys me, as it's obvious that the introduction is also fictional. But my mum tends to take the introduction at face value and then feel duped later on when she realises that the book itself must be fiction.

The back of the book in this case does seem to go beyond that, though - it's not just "this is a true story", but "this is a true story, please join in and help before somebody dies". There's a picture on Amazon here. The front cover is obviously packaged as fiction, though, especially as it seems to be part of an ongoing series.
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