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Nov. 1st, 2006

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Pushing Back Project Dates

doctairej lives! I'm really sorry, guys. For various reasons October wasn't a good month for me, and I totally punked on the "analysis" report I'd said would be posted by the 20th. This report is still coming, but...by November 20th, instead. Feel free to completely lose faith in me! Just please wait one more month, first.

I am pushing all of the project deadlines back one month. So the report on the first project, that silly Flesch-Kincaid thing, will appear on November 20th, and the next project, personality-poll results from different fan communities, will begin on Decmber 1st. From there schedule should settle down, with a new project every month until March.

Sorry again? While it's a shame to waste the beautiful momentum this project had when it started in September, hopefully a month won't be too long, and we will be able to get back to humorously scrunizing fandom in December without having lost too much steam.

-Dr. J (sub_divided)
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Oct. 1st, 2006

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Project #1! Scientific Analysis of Smrtness

It's October 1st! Let's get this party started.

Project Description
I promised to explain whyfor the Flesch-Kincaid as a measure of intelligence. Flesch-Kincaid is a metric for determining the minimum grade-level reading skills needed to understand a given text. It works by some mysterious combination of the average number of syllables per word and the average number of words per sentence: the higher the numbers, the higher the grade level.

As those of you from fanthology might remember, about a year and a half ago Michela Ecks proposed the use of the F-K test as a completely objective, completely quantitative way to measure fanfiction quality. Fics that weren't "up to level" would be...removed? The authors given a stern warning? Something else? For the good of fanfiction as a whole. Though her original post has since been deleted, I did find this post by worldserpent mocking it:

http://worldserpent.livejournal.com/2005/03/08/

In short, the F-K only measures how wordy you are, not how well you write. As an objective measure of readibilty, it fails, and it certainly has nothing to do with intelligence.

Those graphs were a lot of fun though. So when I decided I need a fun, easy, icebreaker project for this course, naturally I thought of the Flesch-Kincaid.

Instructions
This is very easy. Go to this site:

http://mavra.perilith.com/~rfreebern/gradelevel/

Pick a fandom community, and run it through. Then, in a comment to this post, post your results. You can copy-paste the generated table, or you can just copy the relevant information.

community name:
community grade level:
avg. number of words per sentence:
avg. number of syllables per word:
total words in sample:

In addition, you should include some information about the community you are analyzing.

community fandom:
fandom type: (1)
community purpose: (2)

(1)anime, american television, telenova, sci fi, comics, etc.
(2)general, discussion, news, fanfiction, fanart, etc.

Additionally if you want to speculate why a certain community is scoring really high, really low, or really average, please feel free. "Average", for the purposes of this project, is an 8. (For instance, one of the biggest drawbacks to using this particular website is that it doesn't look back very far. A couple posts on the front page that are unusually wordy or unusually curt can really skew the results.)

Then, if you want to, run another community. In fact, run four or five! Half a dozen! The more the better. How far you want to bother with this is totally up to you. (It might be helpful, though, if you'd run a number of different community types in addition to/rather than number of different fandoms. Are fanfic communities more wordy than fanart communities? Logically you'd think they would be, but...)

Other
The last time I ran my journal through this thing, I was a 6. This time, I'm an 8. I'm moving up in the world!

A note to the two or three people who wrote in their introductions that they are not animanga fans. As you might have noticed, you are in the minority here -- this caused, most likely, by the fact that doctairej was advertised primarily through animanga channels since the fascilitator (that would be me) and most of her flist are animanga fans. But this just means that you guys are the real stars here! We'll be relying on you for all our meta-fandom comparison needs. *g*

(My sincere hope is that, after this course has run for a few weeks, it'll have suceeded in drawing a larger, more diverse crowd. Ideally the split between anime/media/lit/comics/etc would be more even...so the sample sizes won't be skewed. We'll see, we'll see.)

Finally
You have until October 14th to "take data" and post it here. Go, go!

Sep. 28th, 2006

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Introduction

Welcome to doctairej! First of all, I want to thank everyone who's signed up so far. This is really the kind of project that works better with more people. Fifteen is a little on the low side...but we'll manage. Somehow. *g* Officially, Serious Fandom Research(tm) will start this Sunday (on October 1st). A couple of people signed up without friending the community. This is completely fine! Just remember to check back here on the first day of every month.

Our first project should be pretty easy. I'll post more about this on Sunday, but really it's nothing more than running a few livejournal communities through this website. Easy, no? This shouldn't take more than five or ten minutes per person, so I hope most of you will do it even though you only need two projects to "receive credit" for this "course".

By the way, the reason doctairej is a course and not a "project" or "experiment" is that it's a part of fan_extension. Fan Extension is something like a long-distance continuing education program, but for fandom and not something useful like, I don't know, business. doctairej doesn't really have a good correspondance-course parallel, though. The way I think of it is as part lab, part statistical research, and part fun informal science project along the lines of sites like How Much is Inside.

Except, you know, with more big words and less real science. :)

Anyway, that's my introduction for the course...no wait, I have one more thing to say. As you might have gathered, what we're doing here isn't serious. Our preojects are for fun. They aren't real research. Our methods aren't rigorous. Any conclusions we might draw will be bogus. They won't constitute proof of anything. Etc. Part of the reason I am emphasizing this point is to avoid controversy, and part of it is so we won't have to bother with the boring parts of statistical research, like standards.

At the same time I do sort of want to have it both ways. That is, I think the information we gather here will be interesting because somehow...it will reflect reality. Underneath all the fluff. But it's safer not to admit this. So, rather than act seriously, as the course goes on I will be chanting "100% guarenteed scientific! fandom is serious business! 100% guarenteed scientific! fandom is serious business!" over and over again like some kind of demented mantra.

So! Now that my part's out of the way, how about you guys introduce yourselves? You don't have to, of course, but I for one would really like to know what kind of crazy people would sign up for something like this. How long have you been in fandom? What fandoms are you in? How did you hear about doctairej? Are there any projects (check the profile page) you're particularly interested in? I don't think we need a formal "project claim" thread, but it might help to get an idea of who's interested in what. Also, you probably noticed that project #5 is "to be announced". Do you have any ideas about what we could do for this?

Finally, if anyone knows some good fake!science websites, or even sites with good, solid social research on fandom, livejournal, or fandom on livejournal, please feel free to share :)

Sep. 25th, 2006

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Sign Ups

This course will begin on October 1st. To participate, leave a comment to this post asking to be signed up. doctairej will then add you as a friend. You may, or may not, choose to friend doctairej back.

NOTE: doctairej is now a shared journal. This is something halfway between a personal journal and a community. Friending doctairej will not allow me to read your friendslocked posts.

Sign ups are open until December 31st!

Missed what this is all about? Check the profile.

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FAQ

Welcome to doctairej! In order to convert this journal into a shared journal, I had to delete all of the old entries. This is the old FAQ, reposted. Sorry for the confusion!

***

Questions? First, read the profile.

To expand on the mechanics a bit: on the first day of every month, I'll post a more detailed description of what we'll be doing that month. This will mostly likely be a description of the kind of information volunteers for that month will need to gather. "Scientific data" should be submitted in a comment to the post. The deadline for data submission will be the 14th of the month, meaning participants will have two weeks to gather it.

Data-gathering shouldn't take longer than one hour per month per person, though some projects will require more time to complete than others. I'll probably also ask for opinions, for instance: "What do you think it means that this fandom has so many INFP-types? In your opinion, what are the factors that account for this?" Wild speculation is encouraged!

Sometime around the 20th of the month, I'll post the official "report" with an analysis, people's opinions, some pretty graphs, etc. Reports won't be serious but will be written in Highly Technical Language, as that's the best part of the whole enterprise :D. Participants can offer their opinions/suggestions until the end of the month (and afterward, although late suggestions won't be incorporated into the final report).

I'm not sure what we'll do with the reports after the course ends. Put them up on a website, maybe, for posterity? Everyone who contributes will be credited.

Comment here if you have any questions, or email me at onyabear[at]yahoo[dot]com.
horrible alien

November 2006

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