We all have to have rules. I like to think of them as guidelines, to be used with your good judgement. Please adhere to them and it will remain fun for all
1. Please, no godmodding – every character should have weaknesses, just as they have strengths. They should also be defeatable – there’s no fun, otherwise.
2. Don’t force other characters – you can aim the hit, but it is up to the other player if it lands or not. Work these sort of things out prior to the event via the OOC thread (exactly what it’s created for) or via PM. In some circumstances, players will allow someone else to control their character, if they happen to be away for a long period of time, so as not to hold up the play of the game. However, don’t assume you can control someone else’s character without getting their permission first.
3. Before entering an RPG, speak to the GM (Game Master) first, and make your intentions clear, through the OOC thread (again, that’s what they’re there for) or by PM.
5. Keep conversation about the game to the OOC threads. That’s another use for them! Only character posts should be put into the actual game thread. Everything else gets confined to the OOC thread.
6. If conflicts arise and can’t be resolved amiably, seek the help of the moderator (me ) or one of our admin staff. That is what we are there for
7. The Admin and Moderators’ word is final – so don’t argue.
As I think of rules, I’ll add them, but for now – happy gaming
This is a slideshow of the RPG that is the focus of my digital ethnography, with caption commentary from me. Please click the link to view the images individually or view as a slideshow if you prefer. Unfortunately I can’t slow the slideshow speed in the settings, so you will have to do it yourself as you view. The controls are straightforward.
|The Forest of the Moon|
Fab video of an animated ‘good morning’ as it is tweeted around the world. I love it, not sure why. Must be that global community thing I belong to. And how I would still like to teach the world to sing (ask Clara, she’ll explain).http://www.vimeo.com/6239027
Anyway, here is an explanation of how it was done, pretty cool too.
Sometimes it’s the simple things that make you feel lucky to be here and now. Must open my tweetdeck.
I feel like I am getting a little behind (this always seems to happen in the middle of a course) I get distracted by stuff. Stuff in this case being two rather different things.
Firstly (and this is the good news) my chosen focus for my digital ethnography – role-playing, which means of course I have got back into ROLEPLAYING and filling my lifestream with Dungeons and Dragons related links and quotes, and 20 sided dice references which just makes me want to blow the dust off my tired old Goddess of The Underworld and give her a new look.
Secondly the Fluff Friends Trick-or-Treat 2009 Halloween Hunt, which is addictive cos I have to Trick and Treat on lots of people’s fluff pages to get candy points (and actual virtual candy which I can feed my fluff) and then I can convert my candy points into candles, which also give me golden candle points. And If I get enough golden candle points… I get a scarecrow with which I can scare the crows off my pumpkin patch – and something about a lantern, and a haunted house and a candy bowl. Anyway I am addicted but not sufficiently addicted to make the grade so this is another Fluff contest I failed at. Just like the egg hunt – but at least I don’t have blisters on my clicking finger this time.
This was a week 6 update wasn’t it?
In a sense it is. Fluff friends may look like a bunch of adults, who should know better, petting cartoon animals, but it is a great community. Very warm and supportive, full off the spirit of sharing and gifting; which is rare in large communities like this. I have never seen a flaming or spamming post on a Fluff page – just lots of thanks and praise. It like Little House on the Prairie digitized.
Of course when it comes to digital ethnography we get nervous around words like ‘community‘ how do we define our terms. How do we prove that what we are observing (or participating in – another kettle of fish) a community if the members never meet?
“an online community is a community if participants imagine themselves as a community” (Baym, 1998 via Bell, 2001)
I think self-definition is important, but one thing I have learned this week is we are in a dodgy branch of a dodgy science. Ethnographists get sneered at when they are knee deep in their meatself muddy ethnographic experience and have the mosquito bites to proove it, and even they sneer at virtual ethnographers (in between recurring bouts of malaria probably). The question of community on the internet reminds me of the question of personal authenticity on the internet. I think we are only discussing these issues (and the discussion is important) because we are relative new to this medium of… communication? Communication seems such a small word for what happens when we get online these days, I would prefer to call it medium of being.
I like Hine’s (2000) take on authenticity:
A search for truly authentic knowledge about people or phenomena is doomed to be ultimately irresolvable. The point for the ethnographer is not to bring some exernal criterion for judging whether it is safe to believe what informants say, but rather to come to understand how it is that informants judge authenticity.
You get frauds, liars and false communities in face to face environments and yes the internet makes it easier for them to operate – but you are soon able to sense a genuine community as you can a genuine person, through sustained contact, whether that contact be meeting them over dinner, reading their posts, or petting their unicorn (yes we are back to Fluff Friends again). The question of whether or not an online community is invalid because of their lack of face to face contact will I am sure become invalid soon enough.
In the meantime I imagine Fluff friends is a community because:
- When I am busy my neighbours drop by to feed and pet my wallaby.
- If I give someone’s lecoon a cinnamon roll they leave a thank you note in my letterbox.
- There are rules and if I break them I will be cast out (temporarily or permanently depending on the severity of my crime).
- It has informal standards of acceptable behavior (more subtle than the rules) and if I don’t follow this I will be scorned by my neighbours.
- If I work hard, am generous and mindful of others I am rewarded with success and approval.
- But, most importantly… because a friend gave me a little blue werewolf despite the fact I couldn’t give her my golden candle points, because she knew I loved him and I couldn’t afford him.
Here he is (with my baby wallaby and my regular wolf):
They [arrival stories] play the crucial role of anchoring that description in the intense and authority-giving personal experience of fieldwork … Always they are responsible for setting up the initial positionings of the subjects of the ethnographic text: the ethnographer, the native, and the reader. (Pratt 1986, cited in Hine 2000 p45)
She arrived at night, unintentionally – but perhaps that was a good thing. The journey was long, and involved many transitions, connections and re-connections. Upon arriving, Hiro felt strange, this place was familiar – yet new. She didn’t know where to start, or if starting would be possible. The place was frankly deserted. But she needed help, answers – she couldn’t do this alone.
She checked into an anonymous inn, nothing flashy – palaces and throne halls were a world away, another lifetime. She was a scholarly creature of universities now – at least she hoped she was. She washed and changed out of her travel stained clothes before making her way to the common area. A few sad looking strangers stared into their tankards or picked miserably at the plain food before them. No one she recognized, but yet – would she even recognize them if she saw them? Who was she expecting to be here? The Keeper? Prophet? Innomi? She suspected they were long dead.
Shaking off panic and the urge to return to her room and get some rest before beginning, she ordered a glass of the local ale and bowl of indifferent looking broth that bubbled on the stove and sat in a corner, making notes in her note book as she ate, as she waited for someone to arrive.
I didn’t want to intrude on the role-play game that was to be the main focus of my ethnography, the Forest of the Moon as that was long established and it seemed impolite to jump in just for the sake of research. However as I was using Hine (2000) as the framework of my explorations I felt participation was important.
The definition of ethnography as participation given by Hammersley and Atkinson (1995: 2) highlights the interactive aspect of ethnographic research. The researcher does not just observe at close quarters, but interacts with the researched to ask questions and gain the insights into life that come from doing as well as seeing. (Hine 2000, p. 47)
So I asked the FoTM players to join me in a little experiment called “Hirondelle helps out” where I blew the dust off an old character of mine (Hirondelle the Goddess of the Underworld, who many pf the players knew well) and set her up as an ethnographic scholar in a random imaginary world – in this case an inn, a common enough scene for an RPG happening. This enabled me to (re)familiarise myself with the process – I had forgotten how hard it is, notice the big oops where I forgot to introduce myself and the FoTM GM gives me a gentle nudge in the right direction. It also meant that I felt a little more authentic and less of a ‘mere traveller’ in an exotic land. My arrival story was the first post, for a glimpse of the rest of this mini ethnographic RPG please visit us here.
Hine, C, (2000) “The virtual objects of ethnography” from Hine, C, Virtual Ethnography pp.41-66, London: Sage
Just a quick post to let you all know hubby and I are mounting the trusty Phantom (if only we had bought the Steed like he wanted that sentence would have been so much funnier) and heading for the hills and dales of Northern Thailand once more. I won’t be gone long – just 5 days, but I will miss the beginning of the enthographic brainstorming (I am taking the netbook but don’t hold out hopes of much net access). Hopefully I will be able to grab the ends of the discussion, by which time I will be as well read as a person who has had nothing to do all day but soak in hot springs and read pdfs. I have loved, and I mean LOVED this first block of our cultural journey together and can’t wait to see (in a multimodal sense) what the next segment brings.
See ya’ll on Thursday *hugs*
Ok I can’t resist I have to formally weigh in on Jen and Andy’s Cabinet of Curiosities discussion (and I have loved and been inspired by the interactions in this block – an idyllic learning environment indeed). To summarise, the metaphor of lifestreaming as curatorship poses several ethical questions regarding the collection of items of interest. Quoting from Tony’s blog:
Cabinets of curiosities or Wunderkammern are collections of ’strange’ and ‘primitive’ artefacts – some natural, some hand-made - acquired and displayed by mainly wealthy collectors. They belong to a culture of aristocrats, gentlemen or aspiring gentlemen and are also part and parcel of the phenomenon of the grand tour. To be one of the curiosi, is to reveal a fineness of sensibility, an appreciation of the sublime but also an understanding of what’s really art – and what’s just … well … ’strange’ ( a ‘curiosity’). So, I see them as being one of the ways in which a particular class of men distinguished themselves aesthetically, and through this, socially.
The ethical question posed here is the power inherent in being associated with a collecting elite. Whether the prestige garnered from owning a collection is social, economic or (in our case) intellectual we are involving ourselves in a power game – and potentially gathering influence by having the ‘right’ things in our collection. In the world of material artifacts whether items are gathered for private or public collections there is often an issue of legality in their appropriation. This too has a parallel in our digital collections. None of the images I gathered for my video were from creative commons sources, though I did relent and use Audioswap to remove my copyright non-compliant soundtrack, replacing it with something from You Tube’s library. However I think the illegal appropriation of copy-righted images (and sound) is an important topic as is the ethics of collecting. What about the future? Will the dynamic user-generated momentum of Cyberia carry us into a a virtual lifeworld everything is up for grabs? If we can all own everything will prestige come only our apparent discernment over what we have included (and chosen to exclude) and the consequent approbation from our cyberpeers registered in hits and comments?
If so will be be moving forwards or backwards?
After a quick hit and run mission on google to appropriate images for this post (see below) I notice that this topic has many miles yet. Ethnography is just as much a controversial and power riddled issue as the collection of visual artifacts. So don’t put your pith helmets and shrunken heads in storage just yet!
Ladies who collect, from l2r: Alexandrine Tinne, Mary Kingsley, Delia Akeley and of course Lara Croft (below)
Oh well. I tried very hard to stick to my intention to do all of my reading 100% digitally with no printing, but here in week four after 2 days of headaches centred around my eyes I gave up and printed off my texts. Sorry guys, I’m just not ready to embrace an entirely digital world. I miss the caress of paper and the smell of highlighter. And my eyes hurt.
Initially I am simply going to post my artifact, and later this week I will make a post explaining my concept. But as it is a VISUAL artifact I am interested to learn how it speaks for itself and posting it with a textual explanation would undermine what may emerge naturally from that quality. So, enjoy (and crank up your volume as there is music with it – and there is an interesting story there too, which I will also post later).
I have neglected my blog and lifestream a bit because I have been immersed in visual artifact creation.
[Interesting aside: the work of artifact didn't naturally flow into my lifestream because once 'in deep' I didn't think to digg or reference my sources and wanderings. One of two things need to happen for lifestreaming to be a real record of my learning journey - either I get better at placing my learning into a archive-able form (like tumblr or delicious) or lifestreams have the functionality of working with your browser history. The former is unappealing as it would seem artifical and break the flow, but the latter would be pretty cool as long as I could filter it of course.]
Anyway I thought I would make a quick post about Twitter before I forget what my main breakthroughs were. When I started this course I was a bit anti Twitter, but eager to give it a go as so many people had bought into it. My original reservations we that all the tweets I received were boring. Not individually, but as a stream. I like Facebook status updates as they are part of something bigger – like the chorus in a Greek tragedy. But Twitter is just… all chorus. As much as I tried, I couldn’t find a place for it in my online life – it didn’t add value.
Now I understand it a little better. I ‘get’ how hashtags work, and why we might retweet, reply to, and direct message. However my improved understanding has simply given me more confidence to eliminate it as a contender in the ‘must have’ social networking compendium that our lives are undoubtedly gravitating towards.
Twitter only really works if you don’t have anything to say. Once you have something meaningful to share 140 keystrokes just doesn’t cut it. Yes you can attempt to be succinct, but 140 keystrokes requires you to do this to the point of glibness. Valid and interesting points loose their clarity and relevence. They even loose their appeal, and for me appeal is an important point of sharing anything on the net, where messages must be appealing in order to get (and retain) an audience. Yes I can follow bloggers who will kindly tell me about their new post thanks to the shortened url and phrase combo, but by the time they have tweeted their update (and I have read their tweet) I already know they have posted because my Google Reader / Feedly combo has told me.
Also, in the context of our #ededc experiment I live on the other side of the world from my fellow tweeters. Therefore when I am chirping away they are sleeping and vice versa. At times I felt like a budgie talking to my mirror (and if I want to talk to myself I can do that at length in my blog). Twitter seems to straddle synchronous and asynchronous communication. Tweeting to me felt like getting up in the morning, reading a really interesting Skype convo that some friends had had last night and then trying to join in. Yes I got responses to my tweets but they often got buried so what could have turned into an interesting discussion on a forum, became a bit of a “look at what we could have talked about” anti-climax. I would also find a very interesting response to a previous tweet and rummage through the past several days looking for what it was responding to because we didn’t always use the ‘reply to’ function or our replies were complex and related to several tweets, or an emerging theme. If you could slide tweets into past, more pertinent, points in the convo it would be helpful. Google Wave will, I believe, offer this kind of structuring.
So although I enjoyed this part of our Digital Cultures course Twitter isn’t for me. But this is a valuable lesson. I get it now, and I still don’t want it.
This ability to eliminate is an important skill, and one we can all aim to teach our students. As citizens of this brave new new digital lifeworld we are being bombarded by more and more tools that offer new ways of connecting and communicating. Selecting the ‘right’ ones sometimes feels as scary as choosing the right stocks for your portfolio, yet we can’t use them all so the ability to test, evaluate and reject (without anxiety) is going to be valuable.
This little budgie is ready to hang up her mirror.