Friday, October 11, 2013

Data Sheet The Second: Trope Repair Shop

This second piece of data I collected because it represents more of the bureaucracy at work on TVTropes. The “TRS” mentioned at the top means Trope Repair Shop, and this post was compiled to keep the wiki running smoothly, by a moderator. There are a lot of terms and hyperlinks in the data from figure 1 that represent some things I talked about in the first piece, but which I will touch on again briefly.

Figure 1:

From the top, there are a few notable pieces of this datasheet. The first is that underneath the logo is the name “Cutmaster-san” with some symbols. The symbols represent some of the possibilities for digital capital on TVTropes. Digital capital on TVTropes works by crediting users for interaction that is meaningful or letting them purchase badges as a way of celebrating the wiki and donating to its running costs. Cutmaster-san is wearing three badges: the first is called  “Aleph 0” and is an interest badge, the second is a Mod Badge, which is noted in the badge shop as “if someone s wearing this, you should probably listen.” Third, he has a games trope, the blue d20, which represents an interest in gaming tropes at a moderate level.

Moving to some of the data from the thread itself, it is notable that this thread, while very important to the running of the site, is capped at 100 conversations. The purpose is clear, to ensure that tropers are fixing issues, rather than just making complaints about them and leaving it at that. The implementation seems to work because the TRS is always rotating and the site is well kept. The other purpose of this post is to welcome repair shop newbies and orient them as what this particular conversation is for.

As the list shows, this is not the place to ask common questions about tropes; that is the job of the welcome forum or the sandbox. The TRS page is for tropers familiar with the affinity space already. TRS is the place to come if there are misguided edits or accidents within pages, and those need clarification and fixing.

As I discussed in the previous data memo, the blue highlighted text is a portal to the discussed info, page, trope, etc. Further, the language of the site is specific and difficult, which causes some difficulty in entering conversations without gaining foundational knowledge through observation. The central concept that sticks with me in thinking about this weeks data is from "Literacy in Virtual Worlds" by Black and Steinkuehler, where they discuss the "constellation of literacy practices" that refers to the need for more than one set of skills to be a gamer (277). This concept transfers easily to the TVTropes setting, because you need skills in the semiotic nature of the site as well as proficiency in writing, html code, and diplomacy (see the reminders in the data about language and courtesy) in order to be a troper. 


  1. Zeb!

    I think that your discussion on TVTropes is going swimmingly. I think that this week's data memo is particularly interesting because there is a lot of text to sort through, and so I thought I would begin my comments at this point.

    One of the first things I notice in this week's memo is that you discuss badges, which is something similar to what I have been noticing in my own blog as far as "thumbs ups" are concerned. What sort of status or capital (explicitly) do these badges give a particular person? What motivates these people to obtain badges in the first place? Another thing you might look into is how the tropes themselves lend digital capital to "Cutmaster-san" (whom I assume is a person in real life).

    Another thing that I notice is that while you have some key terms associated with the first data memo, I did not see the same applications in this one. Is that because the concepts are not the same? One thing you might look into is how the issues you were talking about in the first data memo might have implications in the second. I like how this particular memo delves into a broader conversation about your site, but I think it might be more effective to transition from the first set of issues you were talking about more explicitly. I think your second data memo might be more effective if it contains some of the first with it (especially because these are pieces that ostensibly fit together to form a paper). It seems that your discussion regarding the threads attempts to do this.

    My final comment is on the discussion of the data itself. I think that the headings are particularly helpful in dividing the discussion, but I wonder if it would be better to provide more headings (or rhetorical signposts) that divide your Discussion section up a little more. I was also wondering a little bit about your summary; it might be a good idea to consider purpose and audience(s) for this particular data sample.

    I look forward to seeing what else you pull out of this experience. I am not really familiar with this site (as I have probably said before), but it sounds like an interesting concept. Good luck!

  2. It seems like your data is focusing more on the control and the regulation of this site, and if that's the case, I think this data sheet is off to a good start. However, I'd like to see how community members react to this thread, to moderator statements, and the whole power structure in general that is established by this page.

    I think the ranking system is interesting, too. Do other users react to it? If a person expresses interest in one trope, but is commenting on another, do the users discredit their opinion? Conversely, do they hold more authority in their listed realms of interest? These are just some questions I have about status on this website and how it is interpreted.

    Other than that, I think this collection of data is somewhat limited. You have a forum with a set of rules and regulations, but no examples of people using it specifically. I would love to see how people negotiate the spaces and ranks set up on this site. Have you pinned down what specifically you want to examine?

  3. Great comments, Thatians! I definitely had a sense of 'what am I doing' when I began collecting and discussing these datasheets. I want to focus on how a new user (me) is directed and positioned within TVTropes, and the data I collected is meant to begin that discussion. It is decontextualized for sure, and I appreciate greatly the questions you both raise! And Brianna, your memo makes me feel like I should wait till you post and copy your awesome... :D

  4. Zeb--Like the other memo, I'd like to see a lot more evidence from the transcript to support your analysis. I think that this data sample shows really clearly just how much specialized language is used by this group. I recommend expanding that part of your analysis quite a bit!