Dissertation on soc.motss (PLEASE READ)

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Donald L Yarman

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Jan 7, 1993, 8:56:45 AM1/7/93
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SOC.MOTSS AS SUBJECT OF DISSERTATION RESEARCH

When I started reading soc.motss in October of 1991, I was
immediately struck by the folklore that I saw here: both the
folklore discussed by the group and the folklore generated by the
group. Now that the time has come for me to write my
dissertation, I would like to study soc.motss. This post will
briefly outline the questions and methods of my study, informing
you of my purpose and discussing my research policies.
The working title of the dissertation is taken from a post
by John Dorrance:

"Soc.motss isn't just a newsgroup; it's a group of people":
An Ethnography of Computer-Mediated Communication

More than any other newsgroup I've encountered, soc.motss has
solidified into a self-conscious community: motssfolk, motssers,
motssisti. In what ways, my study asks, is soc.motss _not_ "just
a newsgroup?" I am interested in the different models for the
community that are being used--for example, the "cabal" and the
"conceptual family." The notion of a cabal, for instance, raises
assumptions about inclusion and exclusion, about insider-ness.
My study will approach soc.motss with the questions of an
"ethnography of speaking," examining how the community is
constructed and the role communication plays in that community.
Obviously, in computer newsgroups, there is very little _except_
communication. I am interested in how that communication is
governed: what rules are in place, what standards for competence
are upheld, how violations of the rules or incompetent
performances are treated. For example, what is the role of irony
in soc.motss? What problems arise with the difficulties of
marking irony in computer-mediated communication? (Remember the
"special privileges for homosexuals" thread a couple months ago?)
Many of my areas of interest are being foregrounded as we
consider splitting and renaming the newsgroup. A few posters
have objected to changing the name, arguing that there is too
much "lore" associated with "motss" to just abandon it. My study
boils down to the question "What _is_ this lore?"

RESEARCH METHODS
I wish to study soc.motss as a participant observer, reading
the bulk of messages carried by soc.motss and contributing to
those threads that interest me. As the dissertation progresses,
I will post drafts of my work, asking for feedback; this feedback
will then be incorporated into my work according to the practices
of "reciprocal ethnography." What I say about you will be
presented to you for your evaluation, discussion, and revision.
Your responses (should you choose to give them) will be part of
the dissertation.
All names will be changed in the dissertation, but since
soc.motss is public communication, I cannot insure absolute
anonymity. For this reason, anyone who prefers to be removed
completely from the study will be; simply send me e-mail
requesting as much.
I have no set time table yet, but it looks like I won't be
actually writing anything for several months; I have many books
to read first. In the meantime, if you have any questions or
comments, please do not hesitate to mail me. If you are
interested in reading the entire prospectus, let me know; it's
too long to post, but I can mail you a copy.

Yours,
Don
--
Don Yarman ______/|/| dya...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu
(_) \|\| Yarm...@osu.edu
I am studying soc.motss for my dissertation.
For more information, please send me e-mail.

chlo...@ohstpy.mps.ohio-state.edu

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Jan 7, 1993, 1:33:01 PM1/7/93
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In article <1993Jan7.1...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>, dya...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Donald L Yarman) writes:
> SOC.MOTSS AS SUBJECT OF DISSERTATION RESEARCH
>
> When I started reading soc.motss in October of 1991, I was
> immediately struck by the folklore that I saw here: both the
> folklore discussed by the group and the folklore generated by the
> group. Now that the time has come for me to write my
> dissertation, I would like to study soc.motss.

Who says academia doesn't provide useful research.

Frank


--------------------------------------------------------------------------

Frank R. Chloupek
CHLO...@ohstpy.mps.ohio-state.edu
Department of Physics -- *The* Ohio State University
(Not just any Ohio State University)

"At Ohio State, we celebrate and learn from our diversity and we value
individual differences. Academic freedom is defended within an environment
of civility, tolerance and mutual respect."
--Ohio State Mission and Vision Statement

Anthony Berno

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Jan 7, 1993, 9:20:16 PM1/7/93
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In article <1993Jan7.1...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>
dya...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Donald L Yarman) writes:
> SOC.MOTSS AS SUBJECT OF DISSERTATION RESEARCH
>
> Now that the time has come for me to write my
> dissertation, I would like to study soc.motss. This post will
> briefly outline the questions and methods of my study, informing
> you of my purpose and discussing my research policies.

I don't suppose you have any colorful trinkets to offer us?

Paul Hastings

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Jan 8, 1993, 10:52:23 AM1/8/93
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> SOC.MOTSS AS SUBJECT OF DISSERTATION RESEARCH
>
>I am interested in the different models for the
>community that are being used--for example, the "cabal" and the
>"conceptual family."

* there * is * no * conceptual * family *

-paul
--
Blew Biyou S6 b++ g l y+ z+ n+ o+ x+ a-u v+ j+
"Our Father makes art in Heaven, Howard be thy name..."

Mike Reaser

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Jan 8, 1993, 2:44:29 PM1/8/93
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>In article <1993Jan7.1...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu> dya...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Donald L Yarman) writes:
>> SOC.MOTSS AS SUBJECT OF DISSERTATION RESEARCH
>>
>>I am interested in the different models for the
>>community that are being used--for example, the "cabal" and the
>>"conceptual family."

>* there * is * no * conceptual * family *

* Of * course * there * is *

The best discussions, disagreements, and just out-and-out fights I've
ever seen were between family members (where the definition of "family"
sometimes matched the Republikkkans and sometimes it matched ours).

Why waste the effort on insulting someone you don't care about?
Hurl your invective at those you love... :-)

--
=======================================================================
Mike Reaser, Hewlett-Packard N. Amer. Response Center - Atlanta
Internet: m...@hpuerca.atl.hp.com
NBCS: B5 f t w g+ k s I barely speak for myself, so
#include <standard.disclaimer> don't make me speak for HP
=======================================================================

Brian Jarvis

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Jan 8, 1993, 3:47:46 PM1/8/93
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In article <C0Jw6...@hpuerca.atl.hp.com> m...@hpuerca.atl.hp.com (Mike Reaser) writes:
>In <1993Jan8.1...@psych.toronto.edu> pa...@psych.toronto.edu (Paul Hastings) writes:
>
>>* there * is * no * conceptual * family *
>
>* Of * course * there * is *
>
>The best discussions, disagreements, and just out-and-out fights I've
>ever seen were between family members (where the definition of "family"
>sometimes matched the Republikkkans and sometimes it matched ours).

One big happy *dysfunctional* family! Why, it's just like home! B{) B{)

>Why waste the effort on insulting someone you don't care about?
>Hurl your invective at those you love... :-)

Oh Gawd, do you know how close you are to the truth in far too
many cases? The things some people do to their children...

Brian
--

Brian A. Jarvis, Rm. 4026, Sidney Smith Hall, Dept. of Psychology,
jar...@psych.toronto.edu University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada
System Administrator M5S 1A1 (416) 978-3948

adolphson

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Jan 10, 1993, 10:08:06 PM1/10/93
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> For example, what is the role of irony in soc.motss?

Irony in soc.motss? Shirley you jest.

> What problems arise with the difficulties of
> marking irony in computer-mediated communication?

Oh, I think a current thread makes clear the kinds of problems
that arise. I refuse to mark irony with smileyfaces. If
someone doesn't understand that virtually everything I write
here is meant ironically, then no amount of smileyheads will
make any difference.

Arne

Jess Anderson

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Jan 10, 1993, 10:27:16 PM1/10/93
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In article <1iqoam...@mizar.usc.edu>
adol...@mizar.usc.edu (adolphson) writes:

>> For example, what is the role of irony in soc.motss?

>Irony in soc.motss? Shirley you jest.

*So* hard to put that in a thesis, you meanie!

>> What problems arise with the difficulties of
>> marking irony in computer-mediated communication?

>Oh, I think a current thread makes clear the kinds of problems
>that arise. I refuse to mark irony with smileyfaces. If
>someone doesn't understand that virtually everything I write
>here is meant ironically, then no amount of smileyheads will
>make any difference.

Don will probably want to include something on recidivists
who refuse to get with the program, huh?

Besides, Shirley, you can't mean the current thread to which
you refer *is* a problem or that it arose, unless you mean
rising as in gorge.

--
[Jess Anderson <> Madison Academic Computing Center <> University of Wisconsin]
[Internet: ande...@macc.wisc.edu <-best, UUCP:{}!uwvax!macc.wisc.edu!anderson]
[Room 3130 <> 1210 West Dayton Street / Madison WI 53706 <> Phone 608/262-5888]
[---------> Discrimination, Bigotry, and Hate are not Family Values <---------]

adolphson

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Jan 10, 1993, 10:47:46 PM1/10/93
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In article <1993Jan11....@macc.wisc.edu>
ande...@macc.wisc.edu (Jess Anderson) writes:
> In article <1iqoam...@mizar.usc.edu>
> adol...@mizar.usc.edu (adolphson) writes:
> >In article <1993Jan7.1...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu>
> >dya...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Donald L Yarman) writes:
[ ... ]

> >> What problems arise with the difficulties of
> >> marking irony in computer-mediated communication?
>
> >Oh, I think a current thread makes clear the kinds of problems
> >that arise. I refuse to mark irony with smileyfaces. If
> >someone doesn't understand that virtually everything I write
> >here is meant ironically, then no amount of smileyheads will
> >make any difference.
>
> Don will probably want to include something on recidivists
> who refuse to get with the program, huh?

But of course.

> Besides, Shirley, you can't mean the current thread to which
> you refer *is* a problem or that it arose, unless you mean
> rising as in gorge.

I suppose you're right. In any case, it's not *my* problem,
since I don't recognize myself in it. It really does seem
to me that an Arne who posts to a soc.motss in an alternate
universe is under attack. Anyway, He Who Is Attacking is,
among other things, irony-impaired, and nothing short of my
Godzilla-sized smileyheads would register in his dim little
brain.

Arne (dozing during that thread; do wake me when it's over)

Paul Hastings

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Jan 11, 1993, 10:34:45 AM1/11/93
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In article <1993Jan8.2...@psych.toronto.edu> jar...@psych.toronto.edu (Brian Jarvis) writes:
>In article <C0Jw6...@hpuerca.atl.hp.com> m...@hpuerca.atl.hp.com (Mike Reaser) writes:
>>The best discussions, disagreements, and just out-and-out fights I've
>>ever seen were between family members (where the definition of "family"
>>sometimes matched the Republikkkans and sometimes it matched ours).
>
>One big happy *dysfunctional* family! Why, it's just like home! B{) B{)
>
>>Why waste the effort on insulting someone you don't care about?
>>Hurl your invective at those you love... :-)
>
>Oh Gawd, do you know how close you are to the truth in far too
>many cases? The things some people do to their children...

True 'nuff, but the parts of research I've enjoyed far more are the
things some children do to their parents. You'd think that, being
basically the powerless ones in the situation, those crafty little
devils would be subject to every parental whim that swings there
way. But no, they can be wondrously manipulative at times. Talk
about empowerment! Revolutionists could learn so much from kids...

G. Wolfe Woodbury

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Jan 11, 1993, 7:58:59 PM1/11/93
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Oh Dear!
I've just read the "prospectus" for the research, and
Grandmother Kruella is going to be simply furious!

It looks like someone sent the poor fellow a copy of
The Protocols of the Elders of MOTSS! And he takes them seriously!

There will be an emergency meeting on the 13th.
--
G. Wolfe Woodbury @ The Wolves Den, Durham NC [This site is NOT affiliated ]
wo...@wolves.durham.nc.us [with Duke University! Idiots!]
UUCP: ...!duke!wolves!wolfe <Standard Disclaimers apply>
Above All, we celebrate! --Celebrate the Circle, Statement of Purpose.

J. N. Shaumeyer

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Jan 11, 1993, 8:35:02 PM1/11/93
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Jess Anderson (ande...@macc.wisc.edu) wrote:


> adol...@mizar.usc.edu (adolphson) writes:
>
> >Oh, I think a current thread makes clear the kinds of problems
> >that arise.
>
> Besides, Shirley, you can't mean the current thread to which
> you refer *is* a problem or that it arose, unless you mean
> rising as in gorge.

Sure you didn't mean "rising as in george"?

--jns

ryerson.schwark

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Jan 12, 1993, 9:58:07 AM1/12/93
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In article <C0puq...@wolves.Durham.NC.US> wo...@wolves.Durham.NC.US (G. Wolfe Woodbury) writes:
>
>Oh Dear!
> I've just read the "prospectus" for the research, and
>Grandmother Kruella is going to be simply furious!

Don't worry, the *NASTY* boy will get his, my Wolfie dear. On the
13th, same place as the time before last, not counting that time.

KK.

FJ!!

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Jan 12, 1993, 10:21:23 AM1/12/93
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dya...@magnus.acs.ohio-state.edu (Donald L Yarman) writes:
> All names will be changed in the dissertation, but since
>soc.motss is public communication, I cannot insure absolute
>anonymity.

Are you kidding? I _demand_ my place in history, with my proper name!

It does feel wierd to feel so watched.
FJ!!

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