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More Than Peer Production: Fanfiction Communities as Sites of Distributed Mentoring Communities

Evans, S., Davis, K., Evans, A., Campbell, J., Randall, D.P., Yin, K., & Aragon, C.
Conference PaperProceedings of the 20th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing. ACM, 2017

Abstract

From Harry Potter to American Horror Story, fanfiction is extremely popular among young people. Sites such as Fanfiction.net host millions of stories, with thousands more posted each day. Enthusiasts are sharing their writing and reading stories written by others. Exactly how does a generation known more for videogame expertise than long-form writing become so engaged in reading and writing in these communities? Via a nine-month ethnographic investigation of fanfiction communities that included participant observation, interviews, a thematic analysis of 4,500 reader reviews and an in-depth case study of a discussion group, we found that members of fanfiction communities spontaneously mentor each other in open forums, and that this mentoring builds upon previous interactions in a way that is distinct from traditional forms of mentoring and made possible by the affordances of networked publics. This work extends and develops the theory of distributed mentoring. Our findings illustrate how distributed mentoring supports fanfiction authors as they work to develop their writing skills. We believe distributed mentoring holds potential for supporting learning in a variety of formal and informal learning environments.

Thousands of Positive Reviews: Distributed Mentoring in Online Fan Communities

Campbell, J., Aragon, C., Davis, K., Evans, S., Evans, A., Randall, D.P.
Conference PaperProceedings of the 19th ACM Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work & Social Computing. ACM, 2016

Abstract

Young people worldwide are participating in ever-increasing numbers in online fan communities. Far from mere shallow repositories of pop culture, these sites are accumulating ignificant evidence that sophisticated informal learning is taking place online in novel and unexpected ways. In order to understand and analyze in more detail how learning might be occurring, we conducted an in-depth nine-month ethnographic investigation of online fanfiction communities, including participant observation and fanfiction author interviews. Our observations led to the development of a theory we term distributed mentoring, which we present in detail in this paper. Distributed mentoring exemplifies one instance of how networked technology affords new extensions of behaviors that were previously bounded by time and space. Distributed mentoring holds potential for application beyond the spontaneous mentoring observed in this investigation and may help students receive diverse, thoughtful feedback in formal learning environments as well.

Creating Sustainable Cyberinfrastructures

Randall, D.P., Diamant, E.I., and Lee, C.P.
Conference PaperProceedings of the 33rd annual ACM conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems. ACM, 2015

Abstract

In this paper we report the results of a qualitative research study of the GENI cyberinfrastructure: a program of four federated cyberinfrastructures. Drawing on theories of stakeholder positioning, we examine how different GENI stakeholders attempt to enlist new participants in the cyberinfrastructures of GENI, and leverage existing relationships to create sustainable infrastructure. This study contributes to our understanding of how cyberinfrastructures emerge over time through processes of stakeholder alignment, enrollment, and through synergies among stakeholder groups. We explore these issues to better understand how cyberinfrastructures can be designed to sustain over time.

"I Was Bullied Too": Stories of Bullying and Coping in an Online Community

Davis, K, Randall, D.P., Ambrose, A., and Orand, M.
Journal PaperInformation, Communication & Society 18.08 (2015)

Abstract

As organisations become more globalised rising time and cost constraints force them to increasingly make use of virtual teams. As a result of the continuous expansion of such teams in the workplace research and theories into their performance become ever more important. This study investigates the validity of one such theory, Media Synchronicity Theory, in predicting the performance of virtual teams in completing complex tasks, specifcally teams whose members belong to an online community. There is currently little empirical evidence to support Media Synchronicity Theory, especially when related to virtual teams. This study provides such evidence and shows support for the theory in predicting behaviour that leads to efficient task performance amongst a virtual team. The results also find contradictory evidence towardsMedia Synchronicity Theory, suggesting that some aspects o the theory donot hold or teams more experienced with computer mediated communication – such as teams from online communities. The results suggest a need for more empirical evidence of Media Synchronicity Theory to help corroborate the results. Future research is also suggested into the impact online community membership can have on achieving better task performance

The Panoptic Librarian: The Role of Video Surveillance in the Modern Public Library

Randall, D.P., Newell, B.C.
Conference PaperProceedings of the 2014 iConference, pp. 508-21 (2014)

Abstract

Libraries have long maintained strong protections for patron privacy and intellectual freedom. However, the increasing prevalence of sophisticated surveillance systems in public libraries potentially threatens these core library commitments. This paper presents the findings of a qualitative case study examining why four libraries in the US and the UK installed video surveillance and how they manage these systems to balance safety and privacy. We examine the experience of these libraries, including one that later reversed course and completely removed all of its previously installed systems. We find that the libraries who install surveillance initially do so as either a response to specific incidents of crime or as part of the design of new buildings. Libraries maintain varying policies about whether video footage is protected as part of patron records, about dealing with law enforcement requests for footage, and whether patrons ought to maintain any expectation of privacy while inside libraries.

A Retreat from the Panoptic: One Public Library’s Experience with Video Surveillance

Newell, B.C., Randall, D.P.
Workshop PaperiConference 2013 Special Workshop on Information Privacy

Abstract

This paper presents the findings of a qualitative case study examining why one public library installed video surveillance systems and then later reversed course and completely removed the previously installed systems. We found that the library initially installed the system as a response to specific incidents of crime without central administrative oversight, and that the removal was prompted by deteriorating relationships with local police departments over the library’s position that the video footage was exempt from public disclosure under the state’s library records privacy law. The library system subsequently removed all of their cameras in 2011, claiming the cameras were not in sync with library commitments to intellectual freedom and patron privacy, despite the fact that library staff expressed strong interest in retaining the cameras and were concerned about staff safety and crime prevention. We also found evidence of surveillance creep.

Video Surveillance in Public Libraries: A Case of Unintended Consequences?

Newell, B.C., Randall, D.P.
Conference PaperProceedings of the 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, 1932-1941 (2013)

Abstract

This paper presents the findings of an exploratory qualitative research study in which the authors sought to examine why two public libraries have implemented video security systems and why one of these libraries has reversed course and recently removed a previously installed surveillance system. We found that one library initially installed the system in various branches as an ad hoc response to specific incidents of crime without central administrative oversight, while the other installed their system as an integral part of the design and construction of their central library location and collaborates with local police and professional consultants on security issues. The former library system subsequently removed all of their cameras in 2011 as a consequence of having negative interactions with local police departments.

Ten Red Balloons: Virtual Teams and Online Communities

Randall, D.P.
Journal PaperiSChannel Special Issue, December 2011

Abstract

As organisations become more globalised rising time and cost constraints force them to increasingly make use of virtual teams. As a result of the continuous expansion of such teams in the workplace research and theories into their performance become ever more important. This study investigates the validity of one such theory, Media Synchronicity Theory, in predicting the performance of virtual teams in completing complex tasks, specifcally teams whose members belong to an online community. There is currently little empirical evidence to support Media Synchronicity Theory, especially when related to virtual teams. This study provides such evidence and shows support for the theory in predicting behaviour that leads to efficient task performance amongst a virtual team. The results also find contradictory evidence towardsMedia Synchronicity Theory, suggesting that some aspects o the theory donot hold or teams more experienced with computer mediated communication – such as teams from online communities. The results suggest a need for more empirical evidence of Media Synchronicity Theory to help corroborate the results. Future research is also suggested into the impact online community membership can have on achieving better task performance