Thursday, October 24, 2013

Free Choice: Understanding My Project

For the free choice blog, I decided, like most of us probably did, to write a reflection of my project. My reflection is on the purpose of my look at the TVTropes wiki, because honestly I have not been entirely sure what I am doing up to this point. For those of you still reading this blog, I hope this discussion of where I'm at helps clarify my research intent. Understandably, there was some confusion and questions raised about the data sheets I posted and the discussions of them. In order to convey my newly found purpose, this entry is to show what I am looking at from here on out. Simply put, my project at this point is looking at the affinity space of the tropers, and what it takes for outsiders to gain access to the community of practice.
My two data sheets might have seemed like disjointed pieces of information about the site, but I really wanted to show the interaction practices of members of the site in the first one, and that discussion made me realize that I needed to get some information on how posts are made to the site in the first place. So, my second data sheet was purposefully chosen from a different section because it represented a moderator making a statement about uploading new information on the wiki. While there were a number of different forums I could have chosen for this style of data, I chose the “Trope Repair Shop” (TRS) because it is the section of the wiki directly involved with the first data sheet because both are about fixing the individual pages, though by different standards. That is, the first data I collected was an attempt by a user to “fix” something he saw on a page that was potentially abusing the wiki’s advertised purpose, while the second set was a set of rules for tropers to follow in making 'major' repairs.
The TVTropes wiki makes no claims to perfect, peer-reviewed additions to knowledge, but they do require a definite sense of understanding before a user just runs off and edits their favorite book or television show’s page--as evidenced in both pieces of data. In the TRS data sheet, I reflected on the need for multiple skills needed to be a part of the community of TVTropes. I will spend a lot of time in revising that data sheet in the first major overhaul, but right now, I just want to get my feet underneath me and focus my project in a way that will make sense for my readers.
I want here to set out my intentions in looking at the TVTropes site. My intent is to find out what literacy practices specifically are needed for an outside member (someone who simply uses the site as a fun time-killer like myself) to be able to participate in the community. I really went into this community blind, so my first few tasks have been to figure out where to ask questions (I started out wrong but got put on the right track!) and to understand the forms of digital literacy I need to make changes to a page on the wiki. As I began figuring that, out my second piece of my project (the actual participation through editing) became a feasible thing to do. I have no shame in admitting that it is taking a lot of time to learn how edits are made; I intend to get to the point in this project that I can make a substantial change to the Brave New World wiki by adding a set of tropes to that page.
With regard the tropes I will add, the main one is to add a “All The Other Reindeer” trope for two characters: Bernard is left out of society in the first half of the novel, John the Savage both as a child in the American Indian reservation and in London when he gets there. It took me a lot of thinking and a random thought while reading BNW to come up with an interactive portion of my project that did not seem contrived. This is an actual need on the wiki, so I hope it goes well. It may well take until the last week of school to learn just how to link between other examples of this trope on the site, but I will be sure to document my struggle for the benefit of all! :D

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