In my lit review for my dissertation, I'm going to have to spend more than three paragraphs dismissing the work of popular culture studies as inappropriate for my analysis.  The problem is that I'm going to get at least one assessor who is from communications and popular cultures, or at least familiar with that type of analysis.  (And if I really, really wanted to, I could bug my department or supervisor to get me one of the prestigious guys and see if they wanted to assess it.  The problem is that they might very well fail me for not following the particular line of that academy.)

My arguments against this type of analysis tend to be that it is inappropriate for my subject matter.  My research does not focus on the relationship between the fan and the text.  In this case, the athletes competing at the sporting event.  If I'm looking for a relationship between parties involved, it would probably be between fans of several types on the scale of fan type and the management of team.  This is the case for situations like Jason Akermanis, the Melbourne Storm, the courtship of Greg Inglis and St. Kilda.  It also likely is the case for situations where we look at the following patterns on sites like Twitter and Facebook.  (The research is quantitative.  You cannot determine the motive for following and most accounts provide extraneous information largely unrelated to the text unless text is widely defined.)  Another case probably looks at the selection process for information by interested parties: The relationship between fans and the texts they seek meaning about sport stories from.

Most of the research in sports is done from a sociological point of view that understands the fan perspective based on a fan's relationship with other fans and a fan's own sense of identity.  The body of work done in sport cultures is just unique from that of popular culture.  For example, football hooliganism material that I've read has largely ignored a team's performance as the integral aspect of understanding football hooligans.  It gets mentioned sometimes, but its importance if often low down on the list of priorities.  In some cases related to football hooliganism, a team's victories or losses seem to be an excuse for certain types of behaviour, not the contributing factor (of a fan's relationship to the text) for acting out violently.

Television, movie, music and theatre fandom do not appear to have the same cultural patterns surrounding them that sports has to deal with based on the notion of a team being the text.  Are those four communities largely defined in the media by their ability to perform relative to other texts of the same type, with plans placing weight on beating one team over another?  No.  The Melbourne Storm's loss of points and inability to compete for the premiership does not have a parallel in television, movie, music or theatre fandom.  If a film was stripped of its academy awards (how would that even happen?) or a television show stripped of its Emmys or  a musician of their Grammys or a theatre production of its Tonys, the impact would be much less damaging.  In fact, some of these popular culture products may be "complete" so the impact on advertising dollars or ticket sales would likely be minimal for the producers.  The direct competition aspect really changes the nature of the text.

Television, movie, music and theatre fandom are also largely uninherited allegiances: People do not become Harry Potter fans because their grandmother was a fan and their father was a fan and the Harry Potter fan would be unlikely to pass their allegiance to their child who have a lifelong allegiance and sense of identity around the team.  There would unlikely be the same sense of betrayal felt if a person switched their allegiance and identity from Harry Potter to Twilight: These changes from one fan group are much more accepted in television, movie, music and theatre fandom because so much of what happens is not mediated through core personal identity.  Thus, it is another example of the popular culture model not being appropriate for sport.

The last argument I can think of involves cultural studies focus on production.  Sport fandom, on the whole, involves fewer acts of production that are shared in the same way that television, movie, music and theatre fandom share.  Fan fiction is not an important component of sport fandom.  Costuming is not defined the same way.  (How does one costume as a sport fan?  That's generally viewed as buying a jersey, which ties in more to merchandising than it does into costuming.)  Some other aspects of sport fandom are culturally acceptable and not necessarily viewed as distinct acts defining sport fandom.  When the city of Chicago puts a Cubs hat or a White Sox hat on a Picasso statue, that is a large act of production but not necessarily a fandom one.  Rather, it is seen as being about community support, marketing for the city as a whole, community identity that almost transcends sport.  Sport fandom also has the issue that fanzines and other explicit production activities take a back seat to things like tail gating and watching the game.

This is all wrapped up in the other issue in that on social media sites, it is harder to differentiate the fan archetypes or to assume that all sport fans following a team are involved with production.  A case could more easily be made for this on sites like FanFiction.Net for media fandom.  Social media is a great equalizer to this degree and you cannot separate out the fan types based on viewing patterns or follow patterns.  Thus, it feels dangerous to assume that social media behaviours are typed up to production on sites that are not fundamentally about production. 

Now I have to find the sources to demonstrate some of the above and figure out how to integrate it into my dissertation.


[info]fandomnews needs your help. At the present, the newsletter is compiled and posted with the assistance of about five individuals. Because of family, school, personal and professional obligations, the amount of time that we can spend compiling and posting will become extremely limited starting around April 20. These pressures are unlikely to ease up until mid to late June.

During this time, we'd love to avoid going on hiatus. In order to do that, we need your help by helping us compile our daily link list. The easiest to contribute is add links directly in our staging area. To do that, follow these simple directions:


  1. To access that area, go to April calendar (or May), click on the date for tomorrow.

  2. Go to the edit tab in the upper left hand corner and click on it.

  3. Find the category that best describes the link you wish to add.

  4. Add the link using the following format: * [URL TITLE (OR DESCRIPTION)] by AUTHOR on DATE

  5. Repeat for all links.


Advice:
  • When adding links, only include links that were originally posted in the past three weeks.
  • When editing, please sort links by date.
  • If there is something going on in fandom where you are adding five or more links about a topic, please feel free to create a separate topic heading.

    If you are not comfortable or do not desire to edit links in our staging area, please submit links for inclusion using the same format (* [URL TITLE (OR DESCRIPTION)] by AUTHOR on DATE) by commenting in reply to the most recent post or by e-mailing the links to fandomnews@fanhistory.com .

    We are looking for daily help. It would be great if people could "claim" one or more of the following links and add relevant links to our staging area on a regular basis. (Please feel free to add links daily from sources beyond these. The more relevant links, the merrier.)
  • icerocket: fandom misogyny
  • icerocket: meta fandom
  • icerocket: meta fanfic
  • metafandom
  • racebending
  • spn_heavymeta
  • blogsearch: meta site:dreamwidth.org
  • When Fangirls Attack
  • Anime Vice
  • conventionfansblog
  • Women Talk Sports

    Thank you for your help in keeping [info]fandomnews going!

Recent Changes Camp 2010: Montréal will be held June 25-26-27, 2010 at the Comité Social Centre Sud (CSCS), located at 1710 Beaudry, in Montréal.

What is Recent Changes Camp, anyway?

Recent Changes Camp was born from the intersection of wiki and Open Space. Since 2006, participants from all over North America and the globe have gathered together for a common purpose: discussing the past, present, and future of the technology and collaborative method that is wiki. RCC is a chance for everyone in the wiki community, something we like to call Wiki Ohana, to meet and have a fun, productive conversation about our passion for wikis of all stripes.


Going far beyond technology, we're interested in wiki culture and other networks/groups/etc. that share many of the values implicit in it — from cultural creatives, to public participation and free culture advocates. If you use a wiki or you value open collaboration, Recent Changes Camp is created for you. RCC is about openness and inclusion, collaboration and community, creativity and flow. Further down this page you can check out a sampling of sessions we've enjoyed in the past, along with pictures and videos from previous events.


This unconference/BarCamp has been held at least once every year since 2006 (and twice in 2007). Unlike a conventional conference, where everything's pre-planned and structured, RecentChangesCamp is a gathering where we decide for ourselves what we're going to get out of it by offering sessions each morning on whatever we want (and of course ad hoc sessions can form at any time). There's no agenda until we make it up! Now, that might sound a bit chaotic if you're never been to this type of gathering, but be prepared to be surprised at how much people can learn and create when they collaborate spontaneously.


With an emergent agenda, it can be hard to describe specifically what you will get from participating in Recent Changes Camp. In large part, that is up to you to be responsible for. Participants often say greater sense of wiki community, broader sense of wiki way and wiki tools, or more excitement about our future together as well as inspiration and discovery.


At Recent Changes Camp, everybody is welcomed. You don't need to be an expert on anything, and you certainly don't need to consider yourself a geek. Collaboration thrives on diversity! All you need to bring is an open mind, and a willingness to participate, whether by teaching or by taking an active role in discussions. And, don't forget, an unconference is what we make it, so let's make it enlightening and fun.


http://rococo2010.org/
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=114318455249901
http://twitter.com/rccamp
http://identi.ca/rccamp
I've been busy with various things so writing up a response to our March 9 poll has taken more time than I had planned. Before I get into that though, I'd like to request some help with [community profile] fandomnews. If anyone is interested in either compiling links or posting, please let us know via e-mail at fandomnews@fanhistory.com or comment in reply to this post.  We would really appreciate the help!

That out of the way, one of the major reasons we posted the poll was to determine how we should deal with -isms and what sort of content people wanted to see.

73% (or 11 people) said they wanted less sports related content.  Some days, we have a fair amount of it to the point where it dominates fandom specific meta.  Some days, we have very little.   Today we had 4 out of a total out of about 42 total fandom specific posts linked to.  A lot of that content depends on what is going on in the world of sports as sports related meta sometimes feels like it operates on a different time frame than television meta.  Sporting events are often triggers for lots of discussion.  A lot of discussion involves what is currently happening and brings in the past issues in dealing with the present.  Rarely does it feel like a post will be about a situation several months or years ago.  This contrasts with say Buffy: The Vampire Slayer.  That fandom feels like it has a few individuals who are revisiting old episodes and discussions in order to help foster community amongst the existing fanbase.  Going back makes sense given the lack of new canonical material outside comics and video games.  Sports posts will come in waves and it shouldn't be dominating overall.  We're trying to strike a balance with that as we realize that fandomnews's primary audience is media fen.  We're also trying to make it easy to avoid if you aren't interested in it by clearly labeling the content as sports related.  The only exceptions are when we feel the issue has enough crossover that we think media fen might be interested.

That said, another reason why we're not likely to reduce our sports content is that sports content often deals with a lot of -isms.  There is racism (fans calling players racists names), sexism (mens and women's sports/athletes being treated differently.) xenocentrism (nationalistic issues in sports, religious and cultural issues), and classism (participation, fan base demographics).  There are probably a few more.  These issues in sports, one of the major products of popular culture, often mirror their counterparts television, movies, comics and video games. One that comes to mind immediately is the composition of athletic teams.  There is an excellent blogger who talks about the under representation of Muslim women in sports.  This feels like it mirrors conversations about representation of certain racial and ethnic groups on television.  There are also often conversation in sports about the role of women, what it means to be female and questions about why more people aren't interested in women's sports.  This feels like it mirrors some of the discussion around female characters on television, and why more people don't write about them in fan fiction.  The -isms for sports feel close to the -isms for television and fan fiction.  Thus, we want to cover them.

Added to that, two of the three founding members of fandomnews are big sports fans.  And we like to cover what we're interested in.

40% of people wanted less music content. (13% wanted more.)  We'd like more music content but we haven't found it.  Most of what we include at the moment comes from hypebot.  It covers a lot of music industry related news.  A lot of the industry news for music has implications for business practices for small press writers, for movies, for web series, for how the powers that be in other mediums engage with their fan audiences.  It often feels like a sneak peak into how fandom is changing.  And that's why we probably over-include posts by hypebot.  If people don't see the connection there, please comment to let us know and we'll reconsider.

53% of respondents wanted more television and movie content.  I'll admit to feeling perplexed.  Often our fandom meta section will have almost exclusively television and movie content.  My guess is that people want a wider representation of television and movie fandoms.  If that's the case, let us know where to check to find that content.  One of the areas we have difficultly involves what is meta and what is an episode or movie review.  Our default treatment is: On LiveJournal or its clones, it is meta.  If it is not, the post is a general review and does not make the cut.  We make exceptions for blogs like DisabledFeminist  and blogs by academics (and students) studying fandom. 

46% of people want more -isms.  Sometimes, for those compiling, it feels like a whole post is chock full of -isms.  They just aren't found in the general meta category.  Instead, they are found in the fandom specific section.  Examples of that from today include all the Glee related posts.  Most of them deal with disableism.  The Bachelor posts today deal with racism.  Harry Potter posts today deal with sexism.  There are several more -isms in today's posts that are less easy to label.  These posts are there; they just may not be easy to identify unless you are interested in a specific fandom.  I'm wondering if the 46% vote is thus an issue of perception because people aren't looking at fandom specific posts? Any clarity from those wanting moe -isms would be much appreciated.

One of our questions asked how many links people wanted in a post.  The last time, people indicated they wanted 20 to 30 links in a post and that they didn't mind overflow posts.  We thus modified our posting practices to bring the total links per post down to no more than 30.  There are exceptions.  After three days off, we had so many links that chunking off part of the fandom specific meta discussion seemed goofy.  Thus, it had about 40.  If the total looks close to 30 (like 35), we'll also consolidate down to one post.

We asked: Should meta discussion posts be separated by -isms under their own -ism related heading?  This is a question that has been bugging us a lot.  We're not set up to tag posts like metafandom or linkspam.  They use delicious related tagging.  We use mediawiki as our source to compile.  Setting up ways to pull out what is an -ism and what isn't is thus a bit more difficult.  We're also sensitive to the fact that how you label something can have an influence as to how people read a post.  43% of people responded to our question with "Maybe."

When Culture!Fail came up, we knew it was a major -ism.  Or we knew it at least had the potential to be a major -ism as it had some of the issues of Race Fail 2009 and at least one person wrote a post calling this Race Fail 2010.  Given the poll response, we decided that we would try to separate this particular -ism related kerfluffle out.  We'd love feedback on if this type of -ism kerfluffle related separation is a strategy that people find good when dealing with how to include -isms on fandomnews.

In response to, "Do fandom specific labels help you find content you want to read?" everyone answered Yes.  That makes us happy as it confirms that our labeling by fandom is useful in helping people find content they want and exposes them to other fandoms and their issues that they might not otherwise read. As the fandom specific labels feel so successful, on [community profile] fandomnews we've tried to use that sort of labeling for other news like conventions and fansites.  We think this makes identifying the content type easier so that readers can learn something from the headlines, even if they don't chose to read the actual post.

The long and short of this: Sports is here to stay.  We'll try to get more television and movies in but we need a better idea of what fandoms people want to see.  We're trying to pull out -isms on a selective basis in response to kerfluffles.  We've listened to suggested link list length and we're going to continue with the most popular option of 20 to 30 links a post.


Plug. Plug. Pluggity plug.

[community profile] fandomnews[community profile] fandomnews 

Join? :) It is like a fandom newspaper of sorts. Get links to meta, fandom news stories, a selection of cross fandom meta. (In the three or so weeks we've been doing this, 115 fandoms have been represented. The most popular fandoms? Avatar with 36, Comics with 22, Supernatural with 13, Doctor Who, Sherlock Holmes, Star Trek, Twilight with 7, Glee and Harry Potter with 6, Australian Football League and Merlin with 5. Really broad selection including meta from sports, music, anime and literature.
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