Home > Research paper > Surveyfail: No One Expects the Fannish Inquisition

Surveyfail: No One Expects the Fannish Inquisition

Note: The actual title of the paper ended up being Surveyfail: A Fiasco of Ethical Proportions. — Tara Keezer, June 5, 2011

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As a working title, it isn’t bad, but I think the actual title will be closer to “Communication as Mediated by Technology.” But I’m not sure that really covers it either. Possible areas to concentrate on include:

How technology played a role in:

  • The growth of fandom (the subject population)
  • The facilitation of contact between the researchers and their subject population
  • The facilitation of contact between members of the subject population with regard to:
    • The initial contact from the researchers
    • Spreading the word about the survey (positive communication)
    • Spreading the word about the survey (negative communication)
  • The interrogation by the subject population of the researchers
  • The speed in which the research study was shut down

Other areas to examine may include:

In short, this series of unfortunate events really couldn’t have happened without the internet. The subject population certainly existed well before the internet did (the earliest modern fanfiction was written by fans of Sherlock Holmes while Conan Doyle was still producing new Holmes canon, and I’m pretty sure the first Kirk/Spock fanfiction was written prior to ARPANET going live in October 1969, though I’d have to check that to be sure), but it was limited to passing stories around via snail mail or at conventions. Once the internet started to be a factor, fans could sign up to a listserv to post their stories. However, I think it can be argued that LiveJournal really pulled it together for fandom in terms of connecting individual fans of various shows, books and movies.

Hm. Things to think about…

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