Thursday, October 3, 2013

Data Analysis Memo

For my first data analysis memo, I have selected one of the posts from the IMDB Once Upon A Time discussion board, along with the comments that ensued. In class I will feature the original post, and a single comment that I feel best builds onto the post. There were multiple other comments, but only two could fit onto a sheet of paper, and most of the extras were redundant; that is to say, the discussion board members were piling onto what they had already said, or new members were agreeing.

The post is entitled "Drink Up, Me Hearties! The Season 3 Drinking Game", and in it, ranguvar (the name of the person who posted it) encourages viewers who are going through the discussion board to take one shot or two shots or to finish the bottle when someone makes a discussion board post complaining about certain characters or aspects of the show. Having combed the discussion boards myself, ranguvar has hit a lot of the right notes in determining what people are complaining about. Seasons 1 & 2 of Once Upon A Time have been for the most part very well-received, but Season 3, which premiered on September 30th, has triggered a multitude of complaints, which have not much subsided since Sunday night (as a huge fan of the show, I confess myself a bit disappointed as well).

Ranguvar's post earned multiple comments; the one I included was posted by alismigyette. Ranguvar had, at the end of her post, encouraged people to add more ideas for why someone should take a shot in regards to the discussion board post. Alismigyette did exactly that, along with parts of the show itself that merit shot-taking too, although her comment focused more on the behavior of the other discussion board members that the behavior of the show's characters. To clarify: ranguvar says take a drink if someone makes a post asking if the character Captain Hook is gay, alismigyette says take a drink if someone is caught trolling. (I feel obligated to point out, after having studied the discussion boards, that if someone took a shot every time someone made a post about the things ranguvar and/or alismigyette has mentioned, they would be in an alcohol-induced coma within a matter of hours. Or dead. Don't try this at home.)

My goal for this project is to study the emotional behaviors displayed on the discussion board, to discover what gets people the most riled up or excited, and to find patterns. As I predicted earlier, I have an endless supply of material. Multiple posts are going up every hour, and emotions can start to run high. People who have expressed disappointment about the show are met with responses from people who are sick of reading negative posts. Those people who compliment the show get posed questions by members who are confused about the current plot. And of course there's the never-ending talks about which characters are the best/worst, and why. As the show progresses, ranguvar's post will get buried under the mass of other posts, though I don't expect it to stop becoming relevant. People will always find something to complain about. How much complaining there is depends on what direction the show takes. Right now, as ranguvar and alismigyette mention in their posts, viewers are mostly displeased with the behavior of the characters. We'll have to wait and see if the show picks up enough in future episodes for people to overlook that.

Finally, I need to mention the one emotion that had and still has the biggest presence in the discussion board, overshadowing even peoples' whines: lust. I will credit Once Upon A Time for having no shortage of good-looking actors, and the viewers' appreciation for that is endless. One character, in particular, has a thriving fan base. Rumplestilskin, the somewhat crazy antihero who is played by a middle-aged actor and in some scenes has scaly golden skin, has sparked more drooling fan girl posts than any other character in the show by far. Ranguvar and alismigyette both signed their posts with a tribute to him. Ranguvar: Harlot of the leather pants, Mrs. Rumplestilskin. Alismigyette: Officially Rumple's keeper of the dagger- success! They are two of many, many posters who have expressed their liking of the bad boy in leather pants. Rumplestilskin is not the only character with a heated fan base however. Captain Hook in particular, the young, cocky, charming pirate, has maintained a high popularity.  I have an experiment in mind, involving all the lust coursing through the discussion board. I'm going to make a post of my own, asking people if they prefer Rumple or Hook, and observe if that leads to interest, arguments, or general fan-girl slobbering. We'll see what happens.

1 comment:

  1. Katie--This is a really interesting site for your project. Rather than just looking at emotional behaviors in this community, I think you could refine your focus to look at how one or two specific emotions play key roles in fan participation in this community. I also think that Henry Jenkins's work on participatory culture could give you a good frame for thinking about emotion. It's interesting that this group is co-creating an activity (drinking game) based on both the show and the discussion board. For your analysis, I'd like to see you use evidence more explicitly to support your argument. Your last paragraph is a good example of this, when you talk directly about the authors' signatures, but you don't do a whole lot of analysis of the post and response.