…on participating in the study:
Q: Do I have to be 18-years-of-age or older?
A: For chat log submissions, no, because analysis of deidentified chat (no links to IRL identities) among avatars with pseudonyms poses “minimal risk” according to Internal Review Boards, which regulate academic research.
(For a survey that will be a future part of the study, you will need to be 18 or older.)
…on submitting chat logs:
Q: Should I submit only logs of in-game text chat? What about roleplay on forums or Tumblr?
A: Just in-game text chat logs, please. We would like to look at other examples of RP related to WoW (forum posts, Tumblr, etc.) in the future, but they are outside the scope of this initial study on in-game, text-based communication.
Q: Is it a problem if the chat logs contain noise (spam from Trade Chat, system messages such as channel departures, etc.) ?
A: No, it is not a problem. In fact, the more raw (the less edited) the logs are (except for information you remove due to privacy concerns), the better. The researchers will be able to sort through the raw data for significant findings.
Q: Does it matter how old the chat logs are?
A: No. Chat logs from any date can be submitted. You may submit logs from the early days of WoW, or record new logs to submit by typing /chatlog in-game or using an add-on such as Elephant.
Q: Do I need to get the consent of other players’ whose chat is caught in my chat logs?
A: No, other players’ consent is not necessary, as analysis of deidentified chat (no links to IRL identities) among avatars with pseudonyms poses “minimal risk” according to Internal Review Boards, which regulate academic research.
Beyond legal concerns, players’ creative work in their chat will also not be plagiarized or reproduced in any form. The chat logs will be analyzed as a whole using computer software in order to report on noteworthy trends in RPers’ language and communication styles – on the things that (we suspect) distinguish them as a unique group. Our concern is about the community as a whole, not any one player’s RP as captured in chat.
If you still do not feel comfortable sharing other players’ chat, however, you may remove it from your logs.
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