Using the forum for a personal research paper

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Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Jiwon » Fri Nov 25, 2016 5:39 pm

Dear everyone,

I have checked the sub-forums over and over, but I do not have an idea where this thread may go, so I chose the most non-language related section of the forum. If any moderators are willing to re-allocate this topic, please feel free to do so.

I know that this can be a very sensitive issue, but as the topic goes, I am very interested in using this forum as a case study for my sociology paper on online interactions.

The paper will not be published anywhere, and will only be submitted as a bachelor's degree requirement. It will be written entirely in Korean, except for an English translation of the abstract. Any quotes I take from forum members' posts will be translated into Korean. No members will be identified by their usernames, and instead will be referred to as A, B, C and so on.

Although I have been active in the old HTLAL forum from 2007 to 2011, I am a relatively new member to this particular forum. Many of you do not know me, and I understand if it may look inappropriate for a new member to write such a paper. Yet the reason why I would still like to write about this forum is because I think it beautifully illustrates how a community can be built with online means. The existence of this forum argues against many sociologists who believe that that online platforms can only strengthen existent offline connections and communities, and that no purely online "community" exists. The members of old HTLAL and now this new forum have created a social space with its own culture and history that matches any "real" offline communities. Your response to many forum crises, and the ultimate preservation of the community by migration to a new forum, clearly prove those sociologists wrong.

I will be happy to listen from anyone, if they find any issues with me writing this paper. I do have a very a unreliable backup plan if all else fails.

Thank you for reading this post.

Jiwon.
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Serpent » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:30 pm

Fascinating :D
Some issues I see are that the posts on the old forum can't be used without FX's permission (and it's hard to get hold of him :roll:), and that to keep things ethical it's crucial to let people decide if you can use their quotes.

Otherwise I'm sure I'm not the only one who'd have wanted to read the paper in English (I won't be surprised if it inspires someone to learn Korean ;)). And while I wouldn't opt out, I would personally definitely want to know whether you've quoted any posts of mine and which ones.

re: the more global issue of whether a community can exist purely online, I'm surprised this remains a common view :? and while I don't think this disproves your point, we do have the polyglot meetup, and many go to the polyglot conference too. And I've met about 10 members without going to either of these :) But in my opinion the various meetings mostly strengthen the individual ties rather than community ones.
Anyway, I think there will always be people who think offline communication is more real and valuable, but even now many already see that as unfair, especially given the constant accusations of being "antisocial" and "glued to their phones". (Basically I'm wondering if this view needs to be challenged explicitly or it will become less prominent in the next generation of sociologists anyway)
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Jiwon » Fri Nov 25, 2016 7:57 pm

Dear Serpent,

Yes, I have checked up on the topics on copyright issues for both forums, and I read that nobody can copy posts from the old one. I am not sure whether quoting one or two sentences from various posts from that web site is also going to cause a problem. In any case, I would probably refrain from directly quoting from the old forum as much as possible. I would mostly gather information about membership, posting histories and "crises" such as the week that has never been. I may not be able to quote, but I think I can state that a certain number of people signed up in a certain month, and that the forum was down for a certain period of time.

Reading the thread on copyright issues for this forum, I found out that no agreement was reached about overall policy for this forum as of yet. It seems that most of the social research on online communication only receives permission from the owner/administrator, or just skip the asking-for-permission step altogether. Personally, I felt it was not the right thing to write up in secret, since this community gave me so much from my teenage years. Therefore, I could not decide for myself if quoting some of the posts for academic purposes was allowed, even without asking each individual for permission, as some people may be dormant, non-responsive, etc. As you rightly pointed out, if I was writing a research paper for publication, the most ethical thing would be to ask each poster for permission. But since my paper is only for internal inspection, I thought it might work otherwise...

As for the language, I would share my paper on the forum if any members are interested. It will be of a very sub-standard quality, but I would be glad to even offer a translation, if I have the time.

Regarding the sociological debate, most of the researchers seem to view online interactions as networks of individualised users instead of a communal activity. The network may be of varying densities, but the sustenance of any online activity would depend heavily upon individual relationship between each member. But this is very different from what I have observed over here - and that even a successful spatial relocation was possible suggests suggests a real sense of community for me.
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Serpent » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:33 pm

BTW, our wikia already has the info about the outages and other problems.
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Jiwon » Fri Nov 25, 2016 8:41 pm

Serpent wrote:BTW, our wikia already has the info about the outages and other problems.


Thank you Serpent, I will definitely make use of the wikia content as well.

If I am given the permission to work on this paper, I will mostly focus on what people think about this forum in general. Posts that share people's ideas and memories of HTLAL, suggestions about the future of the community and worries related to outages are my priorities.

There are two problems I see with the ethically ideal solution of asking each poster for permission. Firstly, I have not decided which specific posts I would like to quote. Secondly, since this is a very minor practice research paper, I don't have much time for it. I am to submit a draft of it by next Wednesday, and some people may not respond to my PM by then.

Maybe I should drop the whole idea. :?
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby rdearman » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:19 pm

WARNING: I AM NOT A SOLICITOR AND THIS SHOULDN'T BE TAKEN AS GOSPEL.

Technically at least for the purposes of UK copyright law, I hold the copyright for this forum. As mentioned in the FAQ, this site operates under UK law. So you'd be able to used quotes based on the UK copyright of "fair usage" which I've quoted below.

Non-commercial research and private study

You are allowed to copy limited extracts of works when the use is non-commercial research or private study, but you must be genuinely studying (like you would if you were taking a college course). Such use is only permitted when it is ‘fair dealing’ and copying the whole work would not generally be considered fair dealing.

The purpose of this exception is to allow students and researchers to make limited copies of all types of copyright works for non-commercial research or private study. In assessing whether your use of the work is permitted or not you must assess if there is any financial impact on the copyright owner because of your use. Where the impact is not significant, the use may be acceptable.

If your use is for non-commercial research you must ensure that the work you reproduce is supported by a sufficient acknowledgment.


I'm not a copyright lawyer, and this is a very grey area, but forums are considered to be a "publisher" and so by posting on them you are agreeing for your content to be published and you're granting non-exclusive publishing rights to the forum. Just like any book, the copyright "fair usage" would apply to forums. In addition to the use for study you can also quote sections in your work based on this section dealing with fair usage.
Fair dealing

Certain exceptions only apply if the use of the work is a ‘fair dealing’. For example, the exceptions relating to research and private study, criticism or review, or news reporting.

‘Fair dealing’ is a legal term used to establish whether a use of copyright material is lawful or whether it infringes copyright. There is no statutory definition of fair dealing - it will always be a matter of fact, degree and impression in each case. The question to be asked is: how would a fair-minded and honest person have dealt with the work?

Factors that have been identified by the courts as relevant in determining whether a particular dealing with a work is fair include:
  • does using the work affect the market for the original work? If a use of a work acts as a substitute for it, causing the owner to lose revenue, then it is not likely to be fair
  • is the amount of the work taken reasonable and appropriate? Was it necessary to use the amount that was taken? Usually only part of a work may be used
The relative importance of any one factor will vary according to the case in hand and the type of dealing in question.


I think you'll be OK to use quotations, however if you're using more than a few sentences of someones work, then I think you should try to ask permission simply as gesture of good will.
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Serpent » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:28 pm

And obviously, be sure to respect it if someone explicitly asks you not to use their posts or in general is explicitly concerned about privacy and for example expressed a strong disagreement with the suggestion of applying a common creative license to all forum posts.
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Jiwon » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:33 pm

Dear rdearman,

thank you for clarifying that up for me. I can finally go back to reading up on HTLAL migration.

I will definitely try my best to get in touch with members whose posts I will quote multiple times. I know most people would be kind enough to raise no objection, but I understand it may feel awkward to know that someone you don't quite know is quoting your posts without your knowledge.
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Rhian » Fri Nov 25, 2016 9:50 pm

Do let us know how it goes Jiwon!
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Re: Using the forum for a personal research paper

Postby Jiwon » Fri Nov 25, 2016 10:14 pm

Rhian wrote:Do let us know how it goes Jiwon!


Thank you Rhian! I hope this means I can use your posts?

By the way, I was just going through old threads and PMs at HTLAL and reminiscing those days when we were new moderators.. :) old fond memories...
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