Monday, January 30, 2012

More Random Conference Reviews

The annoyance at this kind of thing apparently diminishes with time, as this only annoyed me for about ten minutes.

Reviewer C, are you insane? Actually Reviewer C seems like a quantitative person based on the comments, and half the paper is qualitative, which in the circles I travel in is a strength of analysis thing but if you're hard core one or the other you won't like it (and you'll be wrong).

MeasureRev ARev BRev CAv.
Quality of Theory Development/Literature Review 4423.3
Quality of Method and Analysis Employed 4323
Significance of the Findings 5323.3
Relevance to the SIG 5434
Quality of the Writing 5323.3

See also this entry on random reviews.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Makers vs. Takers

I was having a discussion about online communities--really they are communities with an online component (which may be 100%), but if you start thinking about them as online then you are putting the cart before the horse--and I realized there is a nice phrase that is also an important part of the issue: makers versus takers.

Communities are made and re-made through a few key actions:

  1. Communication (shares the same root as community)
  2. Making (can be making textual content, the same as communicating)
  3. Sharing (communication is part of this)
  4. Play (with others)
Communities make themselves. Yes that is analytically unhelpful, but I don't really care, because it is true. They are self-forming. Despite what I have seen on some marketing web forums, marketers and forum hosts do not make communities--they can provide the right environment, but the people (the community members) have to do the rest.

Often the result is an in-group versus out-group situation: the community (in-group to itself) versus those who think they made and think they own the community. If you are outside the community but seek to harness the community for your own gain, you are taking from it. Communities don't take kindly to this (if you're familiar with American history, think taxation without representation).

There are lots of examples from spaces such as Second Life, Spore, LittleBigPlanet, WoW, and others. These are spaces where there is a community (of some sort, and also communities) which occasionally disagrees with and argues with the controlling company. It is makers vs. takers.

Academic Reviews

Yes sometimes the process takes a long time.... (I have never had so many rounds of reviews in all my life.) Nine months, but obviously I had to write it before I submitted it, maybe a year. Not sure when the issue comes out (IJoC).


Sunday, January 22, 2012

This Is Not The Homage You Are Looking For

Finding a Star Trek reference in EQII was hard enough, but recently I came across a Star Wars reference too. If you know Star Wars, you know this quote, it's one of the more famous ones from the first movie (the actual first movie -- Han shot first, don't forget!). From the Coldain quest line (for the wolf mount), the quote is from the beginning of the film when Alec Guinness says, "These aren't the droids you're looking for." (It even spawned a funny demotivation poster.)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Finally, the Love Boat

I finally managed to get a picture of the quote from the Love Boat that is in EQII. It doesn't fit the gestalt of either the game or the majority of homage in the game, but it fits the character who says it, so if you don't realize it is from the Love Boat it isn't jarring, and if you do, it's just a little weird. "Love Boat" is a lot weirder, it sounds like a boat full of hookers. Most of the homage in EQII is part of what Kaveney* calls a “geek aesthetic,” part of the wider world of knowledge one might have as part of the geek community, and although “The Love Boat” does not fit into this aesthetic at all, it is still playful homage.

Google Search on "love exciting and new".

*Kaveney, R. (2005). From Alien to The Matrix. London: I. B. Tauris.

Monday, January 16, 2012

I Can Has Game

There is so much homage and cultural play in EQII I will have to stop at some point. Here is the I Can Has Cheezburger quest. (And yes that's one of my alts, in his guild cloak, but not on his flying mount, everyone has a flying mount now.) Notice it's a cat-person who gives you the quest, appropriately.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

SOPA, PIPA, Benkler

SOPA and PIPA have made a lot of headlines lately, deservedly so, Luckily the White House stepped up and said Obama wouldn't sign either of these horribly misguided bills. (Edit: Or, apparently only SOPA is shelved?)

I'd like to quote Benkler, from his Wealth of Networks (2006), p. 2:

The rise of greater scope for individual and cooperative nonmarket pro- duction of information and culture, however, threatens the incumbents of the industrial information economy. At the beginning of the twenty-first century, we find ourselves in the midst of a battle over the institutional ecology of the digital environment. A wide range of laws and institutions— from broad areas like telecommunications, copyright, or international trade regulation, to minutiae like the rules for registering domain names or whether digital television receivers will be required by law to recognize a particular code—are being tugged and warped in efforts to tilt the playing field toward one way of doing things or the other. How these battles turn out over the next decade or so will likely have a significant effect on how we come to know what is going on in the world we occupy, and to what extent and in what forms we will be able—as autonomous individuals, as citizens, and as participants in cultures and communities—to affect how we and others see the world as it is and as it might be.
Spot-on. There are two other angles to the story, one, companies following the old business models that have always worked in the past and doing so until the company is run into the ground, and two, those with wealth and power both ignoring the law and bending the law to their will, making laws that benefit them.

Edit: MIT Media Lab Director Joi Ito's take on the bills.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

The Academic Ronin

At conferences, you have a badge with your name and, often, affiliation. I am unaffiliated, an "independent scholar", or as I like to say a ronin, so my name badge just says "New York". On the elevator one day, another conference attendee looked at my name badge and asked where I was from.

"Brooklyn," I said.

"Brooklyn? Brooklyn.... Brooklyn?" Then the elevator opened and we walked off.

Eventually, Dr. S and I figured the guy had probably meant What university are you from?, although that wasn't exactly what he had said.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

HICSS 2012

Just finished a great HICSS (Hawaii, conference, system sciences). Lots of great people and all-day free coffee. Maui was great, I had never been there before (there is a National Park up at 10,000 feet on top of one of the volcanoes). I can't exactly explain what "systems sciences" are, it's not really communication studies, but I have a better idea than last year.