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Net Neutrality By Dr. Hsing Kenneth Cheng

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“The Debate on Net Neutrality: A Policy Perspective” is a scholarly journal article published by the Institute for Operations Research and the Management Science and written by Dr. Hsing Kenneth Cheng, with the goal to vet and analyze the effects that policies could have on the internet and broadband market when considering the possibility of abandonment of the concept of net neutrality. Although a highly regarded author and a highly regarded publisher, this work should be further analyzed and vetted in order to determine its veracity, as well as to analyze its, and in essence its author’s, use of logos, pathos, and ethos.

Due to the nature of Dr. Hsing Kenneth Cheng’s journal article, it can be expected that this type of work would have a surplus of characteristics regarding logos; Cheng is clearly well-versed in the topic he is describing and analyzing, so it should come as no surprise that the article is dense with data points and tables to describe his findings on net neutrality. Complimented by this is his use of verified and accepted methods to analyze trends in markets, especially internet and consumer markets. Of course, all of these data points and matrices would be pointless if the author did not form veritable observations and discussions regarding said data, and Cheng accomplishes just that. Descriptions follow every complex equation and table in order to fully explain what is occurring, all while analyzing emerging trends and anomalies in data points in a moderately objective manner. In a complementing fashion, the work’s structure and organization help convey his message in a much clearer and understandable manner; aside from the typical organization patters found in scholarly articles and the aforementioned descriptions following complicated figures, Cheng’s method of denoting various segments of research, as well as signaling when a change in topic is about to occur, help to complement the description of his research, and ultimately, in conveying his message regarding net neutrality. Alternatively, it should still be considered that such facts and observations regarding trends in equation could come as a result on conformation bias, and thus must be further analyzed in an objective manner in order to truly appreciate the observations performed in this research.

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The veracity and credibility of Cheng’s observations and theories illustrated in this work require further analyzing to determine whether the claims made can be considered accurate to real-world scenarios, and thus, if they can be used as a reliable source for information. In order to analyze this, an overview must be provided for the author of this work; Dr. Hsing Kenneth Cheng is a professor of information technology strategy, electronic commerce and supply chain management, and object oriented analysis and design for the University of Florida Warrington College of Business Administration. Immediately from this information, it could be argued that the information and research provided by Dr. Cheng can be vetted and accepted as an accurate representation of real-world markets. This assessment can be considered increasingly plausible when analyzing the types pf research article Dr. Cheng has written previously; among the list for such works are “Net Neutrality, Broadband Market Coverage and Innovation at the Edge” are “Net Neutrality and Vertical Integration of Content and Broadband Services”, both of which are articles that pertain to the same topic being discussed here. However, this new revelation of previous work with the topic of net neutrality could bring about a new issue to consider, the possibility of conformation bias in his research. Although research articles are not impervious to bias, they are still to be avoided when possible in any research, due to the fact that such factors could create an inconsistency between data and discussion, and the potential for incorrect or misleading data to be presented to the masses. In Dr. Cheng’s case, it is clear that the author has a disposition towards net neutrality, (a favorable disposition to be exact) and as thus, information being researched from him must be taken with this consideration, and may require further analyzing to determine its veracity. That said, the author’s multitude of other works could reflect the fact that he is a trustworthy author, that displays and portrays his research and findings in a mostly objective manner. Therefore, the authors ethos can be considered veritable upon further vetting, however some slight consideration may still be necessary in order to digest all the information accordingly.

Although the author’s paper contains a compelling argument regarding the issue of net neutrality, he achieves this by using mainly a logical collection of facts and analyses (logos) and his own well-versed knowledge in the field, (ethos), meaning that his use of pathos is lacking at best. Granted, a scarcity of pathos does not render his argument null (and in fact, the article works quite well without this rhetorical device) but his argument could benefit greatly from the use of strong emotion-evoking language. This comes as no surprise, considering the nature of the work; scholarly journal articles are typically well-versed and highly logical, requiring extended use of data, objective analyses, and interpretation of numerical values or observable trends. As could be assumed, this type of writing leaves little opportunity to incorporate the typical components of pathos, due to the fact that such use of rhetoric could lead to bias, which is an unacceptable component of any scholarly article. That said, this does not mean this work is completely devoid of pathos. The author ensures that the first segments of the work are as unbiased as possible, however, it is in the closing sections of the article that some pathos can be seen in the form of language and word choice. Cheng’s use of language when describing which parties (ISPs or consumers) stand to lose or gain as a result of abandoning net neutrality could be interpreted to reflect his attitude towards the subject, examples of such language can be seen in his discussion of the results observed from his study, “We find that if the principle of net neutrality is abandoned, the ISP definitely stands to gain from the arrangement, as a result of extracting the preferential access fees from the content providers. The content providers are thus left worse off, mirroring the stances of the two sides in the debate.” (Cheng, 2011) In this excerpt, his determination of marking winners and losers and to mark ISPs as the absolute winners of abandoning net neutrality demonstrate a disposition he could possibly have, perhaps signaling about his position on the debate of net neutrality. Similarly, it is perhaps by his use of such words that the author hopes to incite the attention of the public and policy makers to take regard on the issue. This does not mean that Cheng is maliciously using such language to incite the masses, gut to bring attention to the issue, and perhaps what can be done to improve the situation. That said, this type of language does instill some worry as to the veracity of his research, since this type of word usage may imply a predisposition on the study, and could perhaps be the root for conformation bias in his research (of course, this could all be conjecture).

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