[Air-L] Online role-playing community study

Vili Lehdonvirta vili.lehdonvirta at hiit.fi
Tue Dec 7 19:10:26 PST 2010

Dear Fabien,

Welcome to study online games. My suggestion would be to re-think your  
approach, as it seems to rest on a dichotomous "real world" vs.  
"virtual world" notion, which in my opinion is fundamentally flawed (http://gamestudies.org/1001/articles/lehdonvirta 

You state that your goal is "to see if there is a difference between  
the real world and the virtual environment". But what is the "real  
world" against which you are comparing? The parliamentary politics of  
France, the politics of the world of finance, or the politics of game  
research are all different, yet all part of the "real world". It is  
obvious from the start that you will find the politics of a given  
online game to differ from your chosen point of comparison in some  
respects, and resemble it in others. Unless this online game is an  
important research subject in itself (e.g. because it engages so many  
people), such findings may not be very useful.

My advice would be to look instead for a theoretical research question  
from the literature of your discipline, and then see if this  
theoretical question can be addressed with a study pertaining to the  
online game. Write your research question clearly. Good luck!

Vili Lehdonvirta
University of Tokyo / HIIT

p.s. please do not worry about your English.

> Date: Tue, 7 Dec 2010 21:52:27 +0100
> From: "Fabien Lorc'h" <fabien.lorch at gmail.com>
> To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
> Subject: [Air-L] Online role-playing community study
> Message-ID:
> 	<AANLkTinEb9QA+OzfZjfL4Us8g99ZQPh5b6vn6K+72XfK at mail.gmail.com>
> Content-Type: text/plain; charset=ISO-8859-1
> Ladies and Gentlemen,
> I am writing to you to present you my Master's dissertation subject .
> I am currently a student in the Master's program in Political  
> Science at the
> University of Rennes 1 in France.
> For this Masters, I have decided to study an online role-playing  
> community :
> The Renaissance Kingdoms: http://www.renaissancekingdoms.com/
> The purpose of this study is to make a political analysis of this  
> community,
> in a global meaning and thencommunity considered as a whole, through  
> an
> analysis of some data :
> - Register/Leave the game
> - Identity (virtual or real, sociological analysis of the players (I  
> am
> planing to get a questionnaire for this)
> - Internal regulation and discipline (almost all institutions between
> characters having been planned by players)
> - Independence of this community with national culture and history  
> (the game
> is in an alternate history of the 15th century in Europe)
> The goal of this study is to think in an Aristotelian sense of  
> Politics, and
> to see if there is a difference between the real world and the virtual
> environment.
> It is also to consider if the community has a clear particularity.
> I would love to receive your help on possible research lines that  
> maybe I
> have forgotten to study, or if you have ideas to concerning my  
> approach.
> If you have books or articles on this, please don't hesitate to  
> contact me
> with suggestions.
> Thank you so much for your time and attention.
> -- 
> Fabien Lorc'h
> PS: Sorry in advance for my English that I am sure is catastrophic.

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