Friday, October 4, 2013

Data Sheet 1 Discussion

For an initial data analysis of, I chose to take a snapshot of the discourse surrounding one of the websites expressed concerns. In the example I will discuss here, the moderators of the site interact with the members or TVTropes and come to consensus (or at least seem to be on their way to consensus) on an issue of usage and spatiality. The use of space on TVTropes is important for a number of reasons. Frist, the site is used for improvement by writers as per the introductory statement, which says that the wiki is for learning “the tricks of the trade in writing fiction” and not for railing or “bashing things.” TVTropes takes itself seriously, and therefore readers and interested learners feel confident in exploring the site with confidence. 


Within the brief data set I collected, there are a number of interesting things going on. First, the affinity space at work here are quite clear; the site is for the celebration and dispersal of interesting tropes and idioms that span many works of art. The audience clearly takes this seriously, as “Catbert” shows in his unasked for policing of the site and the use another member has put it to: Catbert’s comment is that “opinion on creepiness is not what the discussion page is for” because the bylaws and spatial agreements on TVTropes provide separate spaces for different types of interaction, and the discussion page within works’ pages (in this case the work is “Vocaloid”) is strictly for, as “Kuruni” helpfully tells us, “[talk] about the article itself.” An interesting note here is that the moderator initially dismisses the original claim, because discussion pages are opinion-based areas, whereas pages themselves are strictly informational and should be fact-checked and impersonal (though wittiness is encouraged). 

Through the back and forth discussion, however, this data shows that the TVTropes moderators are simply members with experience, and each person interested has a say. The conversation takes on a level of debate after the moderator chimes in, and the decision on what use the discussion page is meant for seems to be decided in favor of the original poster (OP). 

Another interesting piece of this data sheet is the use of code mashing. In Fraiberg’s definition, code mashing is the multi-use of literacy practices in teaching and research. This definition fits well when looking at TVTropes forums (and the entire wiki), especially in the use of specialized language in different forms. HTML language, trope naming, and the specific language of the site are interesting to look at as keys to understanding the literacy practice of TVTropes. The HTML coding for hyperlinks to specific tropes, pages, or users is a necessary literacy practice for being deeply involved in the site. Further, trope naming and understanding what it means when someone refers to a trope like “uncanny valley” is helpful in tracking both conversations and summaries of either works or tropes within many works. And finally, knowing the language uses of the site (troll, specific meaning of discussion page, etc.) are needed basic literacy as well. So, a new member such as myself needs to create a “constellation of literacy activities” (Black 277) that will form the basis for literate practice within 

Terms of note:
Spatiality—the ways interactions can become orienting or can push readers in specific ways. 

Affinity Spaces—“spaces that cohere around a common affinity for a certain topic, passion, or endeavor rather than say, those features that more traditionally define a given community such as social class, gender, location, or age.” (from Rebecca Black, “Literacy in Virtual Worlds”)

Code Mashing—“the complex blending of multimodal and multilingual texts and literacy practices in our teaching and research.” (from Fraiberg, “Composition 2.0:Toward a Multilingual and Multimodal Framework”)

Disclaimer: I apologize for the probable lack of coherency in this post, but its very late and I am very sleep deprived! :D 
I will be happy to answer any clarity questions anyone might have.


  1. Hey, you have some interesting data here!

    What I want to know is what you are going to consider examining with this data. Clearly, you have a system at work here with a set of rules and guidelines that people are cohering to, and whenever someone steps out of that system, people make sure to discuss what to do concerning it. Your project might head in a good direction if you decide to track one person's comments about these replies. Are there people who behave as self-appointed police? Or is there an even spread of who does what on the discussion forums?

    I'm also interested in how you are going to limit your scope for this project. There are a lot of things to observe about TVTropes, but what specifically do you want to observe? Do you want to see the relation between moderators and other posters? Do you want to see how a novice is directed in the site? Do you want to observe how new trope entries are integrated?

    And perhaps you've already decided what specifically you want to look at, but I want to get a sense of your project. And while I know this is just the data collection, it never hurts to have an idea of what specifically you want to look at so you don't have a pile of data from too many different sections of the site with no clear idea of what to do with it.

  2. Zeb--This sounds like a good site for your project. I like how this excerpt shows the values of this particular affinity group and how they negotiate what is appropriate and what is not. It's especially interesting in relation to your other data memo, where they say to pay attention to mods, so I'm assuming that Catbert must feel really engaged in the community to feel like he can push back like this. Looking at who has authority and how they display it and/or try to assert it in the site might be an interesting avenue of inquiry. I'd like for you to develop your argument for this being a "constellation of literacy activities" that relies on "code mashing." What is your specific evidence for this?