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Webmaster in training, I need help with a paper

need to interview an IT Pro or Webmaster

     

brianzig

9:11 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hi everyone! I'm a newbie here, but would really appreciate some help. I am working on my degree in Computer Science/Internet Management and have to write a paper on this discourse community. Part of the paper requires a short interview with a teacher or professional in the field about a journal or trade publication he/she reads regularly. Would anyone be willing to participate? This interview is the last part I need to finish the paper. I've listed the questions below if anyone would like to take a shot.
Thank you! I appreciate your help!
Brianzig

1. What is the shared body of information and ideas that writers in this journal/publication discuss?(basically, what is the basis of the publication?)

2. How do people ask questions or seek knowledge? What's the acceptable way to look at the subject matter?

3. What kinds of articles/pieces are published in the journal? (research reports, essays, reviews, data, Q.A., ECT)

4. What consitutes evidence or fact in this journal? (data, experience, previous writing, testing, ECT)

5. How would you describe the range of styles a reader might encounter? (formal, direct, casual, pro to pro, pro to novice, editorial, reviews, ECT)

6. What is the relationship between the writers and reader?
(is it close or distant, personal or impersonal?) How is this indicated in the prose? (technical jargon, basic, ECT)

7. (this one is for you teachers/trainers) How is the writing that your students do like and unlike the professionals in this journal?

9:32 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Brianzig,

Many people in here are pretty busy, so you may have more luck if you break those questions up and ask one at a time.
That being said, I'm good for one....


What is the shared body of information and ideas that writers in this journal/publication discuss?(basically, what is the basis of the publication?)

Webmaster Issues
- programming
- design
- search engine marketing
- business practices
- law
actually you could probably just run down the forum index.....

9:55 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I'll take a stab at one.

6. What is the relationship between the writers and reader?
(is it close or distant, personal or impersonal?) How is this indicated in the prose? (technical jargon, basic, ECT)

This is a community. As such, there a re a great many different types of relationships. Some folks know each other personally, either from working together in an outside community (i.e. a shared office). Some have personal friendships that have developed over years of reading and writing each other's messages posted here at WebmasterWorld. Still others are new and don't have any close relationships with anyone.

It's not always easy to tell from the writing styles who knows who, but sometimes you can tell from little messages between various writers. It's more a case of individual personalities coming through the writings than anything else. Although it's also true that, on occasion, some people will get very technical because they know exactly who they're writing to and therefore know that person's skill level.

Jargon is used simply because so many folks here have a common background. Everyone (or most folks anyway) understand the language of web programming, marketing, etc. As a result, the language used reflects this. Everyone is very friendly because of the common background, so you're less likely to get extremely distant attitudes from anyone.

Hope that helps.
Syren

9:57 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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Hmm... I am not sure if you are talking about answering questions about webmasterworld or about what things people on webmasterworld read other places. I am going to assume you mean webmasterworld, since it is one of my best places to keep up on this industry.

>>What is the shared body of information and ideas that writers in this journal/publication discuss?

How to run an effective website, I suppose would be the basic information we share here.

>>How do people ask questions or seek knowledge? What's the acceptable way to look at the subject matter?

How do people ask questions? Well, just like that, I suppose. You just ask. Although we do tend to get a little peeved at people who ask without at least searching previous threads for the answer to their questions.

>>What kinds of articles/pieces are published in the journal? (research reports, essays, reviews, data, Q.A., ECT)

Anything that anyone finds helpful to them on how to better run their websites. Lots of links to other industry mags that cover the gambit from techie to business. You also find links to odd n' ends that people stumble across.

>>What consitutes evidence or fact in this journal? (data, experience, previous writing, testing, ECT)

I think predominately, experience reigns here. I think people mostly come here to find out how other real people deal with their web issues, not just how the "experts" think they should be dealt with.

>>How would you describe the range of styles a reader might encounter? (formal, direct, casual, pro to pro, pro to novice, editorial, reviews, ECT)

Casual, pro - pro and pro - novice.

>>What is the relationship between the writers and reader?
(is it close or distant, personal or impersonal?) How is this indicated in the prose?

I think it is pretty personal here because you get the response to what you write. People are a little more apt to take comments personally. People will say flat out how they feel about this or that opinion. The "prose" shows this because we use slang, abv. and anything else that makes it easiest to express ourselves.

That being said...

>>Many people in here are pretty busy

PLEEZE... this is foo! We have multi page discussions about the best way to grill, who's going to win the Super Bowl and how not to turn your mouse into toast. If we can take time to talk about those things, we can take the time to answer a few questions about the other things we do here. It's for education. :)

10:00 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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how not to turn your mouse into toast

Don't put it in the toaster. Burnt mouse hair stinks to high heavens.

10:03 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>>Many people in here are pretty busy

PLEEZE... this is foo! We have multi page discussions about the best way to grill, who's going to win the Super Bowl and how not to turn your mouse into toast. If we can take time to talk about those things, we can take the time to answer a few questions about the other things we do here. It's for education.


I should be corrected for that comment. :)

Didn't mean to speak for the board. Personally, for a person with the patience of a hummingbird drinking espresso, I'm far more likely to answer many short questions.... ;)

10:46 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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2. How do people ask questions or seek knowledge?

Five ways:

1. Initially reading the most recent questions of others that may be of simialr nature to their own questions - and the answers provided by the more knowledgeable or skilled.

This is normally considered "lurking", where the reader does not participate in the discussion.

2. Site search - the typing of specific terms or phrases into an archive of previous questions and answers and reading the historical record on specific topics.

3. Posting a specific question in an exist thread of discussion (started by someone elses question) where, although the question is answered the answer tends to reflect to overall thread topic and may not be a direct anwer to the specific question (if asked separately).

4. Posting a question as a new thread of discussion where all respondence are in direct dialogue of the person specific question.

5. Observation Dialogue - open discussions between existing members at various level of comprehension. One the the most useful ways to appreciate change. This tends to be a combination of all the above but the dialogue is much more "cause & effect" observing than questions and answers.


What's the acceptable way to look at the subject matter?

A single topic of discussion focus on a very specific question or issue produces the best results for the participants. A little background dialogue goes a long way.

Bad - What is spam?

Good - I added titles to my pages that repeat the same keywords over and over again. Would this be spam?

11:12 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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7. (this one is for you teachers/trainers) How is the writing that your students do like and unlike the professionals in this journal?

hmmm... this is a dificult one, and bias to the personal opinions of the author (in this case me).

Students vs. Professionals

Do Like - everything is about technology - the focus is always about upgrading, improving, advancing... not by self improvement at a current level - but always about jumping forward to the next "new" thing to be the advanced expert on the edge.

Technology moves fast - markets lag

Unlike - Not remembering to ask to the basics questions: who, what, where, when, and why?

Student's tend to believe their "cool" abilities in designing is market understanding.

They (students) obviously have a firm grasp of the cutting edge... but most readers/recipients are not rocket scientists.

They have a firm belief "If you build it... they will come".

11:32 pm on Jan 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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7. (this one is for you teachers/trainers) How is the writing that your students do like and unlike the professionals in this journal?

[For the record, I teach mostly online at the university level, so 99.5% of the interaction is written. I try to avoid any other type of communication.]

1. The writing on WebmasterWorld tends to be more casual whereas my students' writing (in the classroom) is more formal. The casual format of the WebmasterWorld members allows me to get a richer image of each participant's personality.

2. One must also take into consideration the different motivation of WebmasterWorld members versus my students. Some of my students are dying to learn. Some of my students are required to take courses they have no interest in, in order to meet degree requirements. Some of my students (more than I care to mention) have the attitude of, "I paid for this course, now gimme my 'A'". WebmasterWorld members arrive on their own free will, and appear eager to learn.

3. There is a different tone in the communications of WebmasterWorld members and my students. The culture of WebmasterWorld is such that politeness, respect, and dignity is encouraged and enforced. Some of my students choose to communicate to me in a manner than is impolite and disrespectful. I can only assume that they believe it doesn't count, as long as "I can't see them". Kind of like when someone makes a rude gesture to a complete stranger, "You don't know me, so none of my friends will think I'm a bad person". For whatever reasons, it doesn't occur to them that this reflects badly on them as a person.

4. It is very rare that I have a student who possesses the skill level of some of the folks here on WebmasterWorld.

....if I think up any more, I'll post them....

brianzig

7:02 am on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I just wanted to say THANK YOU to everyone who contributed to my interview questions! I was able to successfully transcribe it into my paper. Thank you all again!
I've been lurking around and while alot of the subject matter is above my current knowledge level I will be sticking around. I'll just keep my mouth shut(or fingers off the keyboard) and learn as much as I can. You are all an incredible resource for a novice! I look forward to future posts!

Thanks again!
Brianzig

12:14 pm on Jan 31, 2003 (gmt 0)

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No need to lurk quietly. If you've got questions, ask 'em. This is a great place to learn and if you've been reading, then you already know the only dumb question here is the one you never ask! ;)