Guidelines for choosing a community to study

There’s been quite a lot of discussion on the discussion board about what type of community or field site it is appropriate or feasible to look at in the amount of time we have. Sian has made a posting about ethics which is reproduced in the post below. In addition to considering this, we would like you to follow these guidelines for choosing your community:

1. If you are part of a community that you really want to study and you feel that you can ask for and receive permission in a timely manner, then you can go ahead and seek this. In this case we recommend that you seek permission to look at archived (not ongoing) discussion/communication.

2. Otherwise we want you to choose a community which:
- is public and open to the whole internet (not password protected or members only) – ie: Flickr, Youtube or similar
- has a culture of using usernames/handles/pseudonyms rather than real names

This ensures that there is a low expectation of privacy and a low level of concern about anonymity which you need to contend with.

3. If you are still concerned about the material you are working with or creating, you can choose to post your snapshot up privately for just the course participants to see and comment on. If you don’t have somewhere private yourself to put things, you could email us your files and we could put them up in an EASE protected space.

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