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Computer-Mediated Communication. The Nature of Community. Today. Community, Boundaries and Symbols Defining and Justifying Problems (part 1). The ‘Myths’ of Community. Simplicity and F2F

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Computer-Mediated Communication

The Nature of Community

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Community, Boundaries and Symbols

Defining and Justifying Problems (part 1)

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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The ‘Myths’ of Community

Simplicity and F2F

“…the anatomy of social life at the micro-level is more intricate, and no less revealing, than among … the macro-level”


“…community generates multitudinous means of making evaluative distinctions among its members, means of differentiating among them…”

Inevitable Conformity

“suggests that the outward spread of cultural influences from the centre will make communities … less like their former selves…[this assumes that] people are somehow passive in relation to culture: they receive it, transmit it, but do not create it.”

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Community Boundaries

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Symbols and Community

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Symbols versus Emblems, Signs

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Symbolic Meaning (and variation) within Communities

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Symbols are effective because they are imprecise. … They are, therefore, ideal media through which people can speak a ‘common’ language, behave in apparently similar ways, participate in the ‘same’ rituals, pray to the ‘same’ gods, wear similar clothes, and so forth, without subordinating themselves to a tyranny of orthodoxy. Individuality and commonality are thus reconcilable.

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Community Boundaries and Symbols

“Symbols do not so much express meaning as give us the capacity to make meaning.”

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Community Boundaries and Symbols

Public face

(symbolically simple)

Private face

(symbolically complex)

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Some questions to consider

Examples of communities in CMC and the use of symbols?

How does the community define its boundaries? If there have been times when those boundaries were violated, how did members respond?

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Defining and Justifying Problems (Part 1)

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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What makes a good research problem?

Research Questions for Theoretical Development

Research Questions for Practical Application

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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How Research is Supposed to Work

How Research Really Works…




Support or Reject


Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Defining Problems

  • What is an example research problem?

    “an interrogative sentence or statement that asks: What relation exists between two or more concepts?”

  • What is an example design problem?

    “an interrogative sentence or statement that asks: What elements of a given system affect (or might affect) the behavior(s) of users, and in what specific ways?”

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Characteristics of good problems

  • Should state the concepts to be related clearly and unambiguously

  • Should be testable (or constructible)– even if you don’t test it or build it!


Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore

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Specific Criteria for a Problem

  • What are we going to learn as the result of the proposed project that we do not know now?

  • Why is it worth knowing?

  • How will we know that the conclusions are valid?

Computer-Mediated Communication — Cheshire & Fiore