In an attempt to wake my blogging up from the deep, deep hibernation it’s gone into, I’m going to start posting old papers.

This one, originally written for Kelty’s “History of Software and Networks” in the Fall of ’07 but much cleaned up since then in bursts, is an ethnography of the place I grew up: the GameFAQs message board Random Insanity. If you’re thinking “holy shit you are SUCH a dork,” you are totally and completely right. I just read Benjamin Nugent’s American Nerd: Story of My People (to be blogged about later?) and, tragic as his nerd past was, it’s got NOTHING on mine.

But, unlike Nugent, who turned tail at 14 to join the hipsters, I embrace this past fully (as evident by the amount of time I spend writing papers and organizing conferences about it). This paper was written to try to look critically at a community that was of utmost importance to me growing up, and I hope that personal ethnographies of this sort will become more popular because, yo, these communities already are.

(Caveat: this paper was written a year ago and does not necessarily reflect the further-developed-thoughts of my further-developed-self. That said, if you find anything really whack & disagreeable, let me know! I like to talk about my problems.)

Download: RI Ethnography