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The Hunger Games fanfiction as a community of practice : forming identities in online communities Henderson, Susan 2015

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The	  Hunger	  Games	  Fanfiction	  as	  a	  Community	  of	  Practice:	  Forming	  Identities	  in	  Online	  Communities	  	  by	  Susan	  Henderson	  B.Mus.	  (Hons.)	  Wilfrid	  Laurier	  University	  1992	  B.	  Ed.	  The	  University	  of	  British	  Columbia	  1997	  	  A	  THESIS	  SUBMITTED	  IN	  PARTIAL	  FULFILLMENT	  OF	  THE	  REQUIREMENTS	  FOR	  THE	  DEGREE	  OF	  	  MASTER	  OF	  ARTS	  in	  THE	  FACULTY	  OF	  GRADUATE	  AND	  POSTDOCTORAL	  STUDIES	  (Children’s	  Literature)	  	  THE	  UNIVERSITY	  OF	  BRITISH	  COLUMBIA	  (Vancouver)	  	  	  August	  2015	  	  ©	  Susan	  Henderson,	  2015	  ii  Abstract	  	  This	  research	  investigates	  expressions	  of	  identity	  and	  formation	  of	  identity	  found	  in	  an	  online	  fanfiction	  forum	  based	  on	  the	  young	  adult	  novel,	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  by	  Suzanne	  Collins.	  Using	  Wenger’s	  neo-­‐Vygotskian	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theorem	  from	  his	  book,	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  I	  observed,	  then	  coded	  posts	  by	  authors	  and	  respondents	  using	  a	  rubric	  I	  operationalized	  from	  Wenger’s	  five	  characteristics	  of	  identity	  in	  practice.	  I	  employed	  a	  deductive	  coding	  scheme	  and	  used	  Wenger’s	  community	  of	  practice	  as	  a	  framework.	  During	  the	  coding	  process,	  I	  found	  many	  examples	  of	  what	  seem	  to	  be	  expressions	  of	  identity	  in	  practice	  and	  what	  appear	  to	  be	  examples	  of	  identity	  in	  formation.	  I	  discuss	  how	  this	  online	  fanfiction	  forum	  operates	  as	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  and	  consider	  how	  this	  fanfiction	  space	  informs	  other	  educational	  applications.	  There	  are	  different	  instructional	  strategies	  that	  could	  be	  gleaned	  from	  the	  coding	  and	  analysis	  process	  that	  practicing	  teachers	  and	  librarians	  could	  implement	  into	  their	  current	  online	  or	  offline	  practices.	  This	  fanfiction	  forum	  is	  an	  example	  of	  a	  self-­‐selected	  online	  activity	  with	  a	  high	  level	  of	  reading	  and	  writing	  engagement.	  There	  are	  many	  exciting	  signs	  of	  educational	  and	  developmental	  activities	  occurring	  in	  this	  fanfiction	  forum,	  which	  suggests	  further	  investigation	  is	  needed.	  	  iii  Preface	   The	  research	  and	  writing	  contained	  within	  this	  document	  represents	  the	  original	  work	  of	  Susan	  Henderson	  and	  has	  not	  been	  previously	  published	  in	  any	  other	  form.	  This	  research	  has	  been	  undertaken	  with	  the	  assistance	  of	  thesis	  advisor	  and	  MACL	  co-­‐chair,	  Dr.	  Eric	  Meyers	  and	  committee	  member	  Dr.	  Marlene	  Asselin.	  	  iv  Table	  of	  Contents	  	  Abstract ......................................................................................................................................... ii	  Preface .......................................................................................................................................... iii	  Table	  of	  Contents ....................................................................................................................... iv	  List	  of	  Tables ............................................................................................................................... ix	  List	  of	  Abbreviations ................................................................................................................... x	  Glossary ........................................................................................................................................ xi	  Acknowledgements .................................................................................................................. xii	  Chapter	  1:	  Introduction ..............................................................................................................1	  1.1	   Origins	  of	  Interest	  ..............................................................................................................	  1	  1.2	   Research	  Question	  and	  Sub-­‐Questions	  .............................................................................	  4	  1.3	   Statement	  of	  Research	  Question:	  .....................................................................................	  4	  1.4	   Uniqueness	  and	  Relevance	  ...............................................................................................	  5	  1.5	   Relevant	  Concepts	  .............................................................................................................	  7	  1.5.1	   Identity	  Defined	  ..........................................................................................................	  7	  1.5.2	   What	  is	  Fanfiction?	  .....................................................................................................	  8	  1.5.3	   Hunger	  Games	  Fanfiction-­‐A	  Liminal	  Space	  ...............................................................	  12	  1.6	   Identity	  and	  Participation	  ................................................................................................	  12	  1.7	   Special	  Notes	  ...................................................................................................................	  14	  1.8	   Summary	  of	  Chapter	  1	  ....................................................................................................	  14	  Chapter	  2:	  Literature	  Review ..................................................................................................16	  v  2.1	   Introduction	  ....................................................................................................................	  16	  2.2	   Fanfiction,	  Affinity	  Spaces	  and	  Online	  Communities	  ......................................................	  16	  2.3	   Socio-­‐Cultural	  Learning	  Theory:	  Vygotsky’s	  Foundations	  ...............................................	  20	  2.4	   Community	  of	  Practice	  ....................................................................................................	  21	  2.5	   Wenger’s	  General	  Principles	  for	  a	  Conceptual	  Framework:	  ...........................................	  24	  2.6	   Wenger’s	  Categories	  of	  Identity	  in	  Practice	  ....................................................................	  25	  2.7	   Comparing	  Fanfiction	  Research	  .......................................................................................	  25	  2.8	   Socio-­‐Cultural	  Learning	  Theory	  and	  Community	  of	  Practice	  ...........................................	  29	  2.9	   Summary	  of	  Literature	  Review	  ........................................................................................	  32	  Chapter	  3:	  Methodology ............................................................................................................33	  3.1	   Introduction	  ....................................................................................................................	  33	  3.2	   Choosing	  the	  Text	  ............................................................................................................	  33	  3.3	   Choosing	  a	  Fanfiction	  Site	  ...............................................................................................	  34	  3.4	   Gathering	  Data	  ................................................................................................................	  35	  3.5	   The	  Coding	  Rubric	  ...........................................................................................................	  35	  3.6	   Choosing	  the	  Writers	  to	  Follow	  .......................................................................................	  37	  3.6.1	   Writers’	  Profiles	  ........................................................................................................	  38	  3.7	   Choosing	  the	  Stories	  ........................................................................................................	  39	  3.8	   The	  Coding	  Process	  .........................................................................................................	  40	  3.8.1	   Unit	  of	  Analysis	  .........................................................................................................	  40	  3.8.2	   Reliability	  –	  Trustworthiness	  ....................................................................................	  41	  3.9	   Methodology	  Final	  Thoughts	  ..........................................................................................	  42	  vi  Chapter	  4:	  Research	  Observations .........................................................................................43	  4.1	   Introduction	  ....................................................................................................................	  43	  4.2	   General	  Observations	  ......................................................................................................	  43	  4.3	   By	  the	  Numbers	  ...............................................................................................................	  44	  4.4	   Negotiated	  Experience	  ....................................................................................................	  45	  4.4.1	   Celebrations-­‐Rituals	  of	  Decorum	  or	  Praise	  ..............................................................	  46	  4.4.2	   Reputation-­‐How	  one	  is	  Known	  .................................................................................	  48	  4.4.3	   Performance	  Milestones	  ..........................................................................................	  49	  4.4.4	   Attaining	  Levels	  ........................................................................................................	  50	  4.4.5	   Markers	  of	  Transition	  ...............................................................................................	  51	  4.5	   Community	  Membership	  ................................................................................................	  51	  4.5.1	   Mutuality	  of	  Engagement	  .........................................................................................	  54	  4.5.2	   Subtleties	  of	  Practice	  ................................................................................................	  55	  4.5.3	   Belonging	  Through	  Competence	  ..............................................................................	  57	  4.5.4	   Engaging	  in	  Action	  and	  Give	  and	  Take	  .....................................................................	  58	  4.5.5	   Actions	  and	  Languages	  .............................................................................................	  61	  4.5.6	   Sustained	  Repertoire-­‐History	  of	  Practice	  .................................................................	  62	  4.6	   Learning	  Trajectory	  .........................................................................................................	  63	  4.6.1	   Peripheral	  Participation	  ............................................................................................	  64	  4.6.2	   Inbound-­‐Newcomers	  Invested	  in	  Future	  Participation	  ............................................	  65	  4.6.3	   Participation	  and	  Reification-­‐Becoming	  ...................................................................	  66	  4.6.4	   Boundaries	  and	  Outbound	  .......................................................................................	  67	  vii  4.6.5	   Work	  in	  Progress	  ......................................................................................................	  67	  4.6.6	   Insider-­‐New	  Events,	  Demands	  and	  Inventions	  .........................................................	  68	  4.7	   Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Membership	  ...........................................................................................	  71	  4.7.1	   Different	  Rules	  and	  Norms	  (of	  Different	  Memberships)	  ..........................................	  72	  4.7.2	   Various	  Memberships	  ..............................................................................................	  74	  4.7.3	   Lived	  and	  Shaped	  Identities-­‐Constructs	  of	  Ourselves	  ..............................................	  75	  4.7.4	   Social	  Bridges	  to	  Private	  Selves	  ................................................................................	  76	  4.8	   Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  the	  Global	  ...................................................................................	  78	  4.8.1	   Lived	  and	  Shaped	  Identities	  of	  Various	  Groups	  ........................................................	  79	  4.8.2	   Final	  thoughts	  on	  the	  Coded	  Data	  ............................................................................	  80	  Chapter	  5:	  Conclusion ...............................................................................................................82	  5.1	   Introduction	  ....................................................................................................................	  82	  5.2	   Overall	  Analysis,	  Integration	  and	  Conclusions	  ................................................................	  82	  5.2.1	   Identity	  Expressions	  and	  Identity	  Formations-­‐Yes!	  ..................................................	  84	  5.2.2	   Analysis	  and	  Implications	  .........................................................................................	  85	  5.3	   Fanfiction	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  are	  Identity	  Influential	  ............................................	  89	  5.4	   Informing	  Educational	  Applications	  ................................................................................	  91	  5.5	   Comments	  on	  the	  Strengths	  and	  Limitations	  of	  the	  Research	  ......................................	  100	  5.6	   Future	  Research	  Possibilities	  .........................................................................................	  102	  5.7	   Final	  Thoughts	  ...............................................................................................................	  104	  Works	  Cited ...............................................................................................................................106	  Appendices ................................................................................................................................114	  viii  Appendix	  A	  .............................................................................................................................	  114	  Appendix	  B	  .............................................................................................................................	  115	  Appendix	  C	  .............................................................................................................................	  116	  Appendix	  D	  .............................................................................................................................	  117	  	  ix  List	  of	  Tables	  	  Table	  1	  Identity	  Themes	  Frequencies ........................................................................................... 45	  Table	  2	  Negotiated	  Experience	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies ............................................................ 46	  Table	  3	  Community	  Membership	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies ........................................................ 53	  Table	  4	  Learning	  Trajectory	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies ................................................................. 64	  Table	  5	  Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Memberships	  Sub	  Theme	  Frequencies ................................................... 72	  Table	  6	  Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  Global	  Sub	  Themes ..................................................................... 78	  	  x  List	  of	  Abbreviations	  	  BTW	   By	  the	  way	  CMC	   Computer	  Mediated	  Communication	  CMDA	  	  	  Computer	  Mediated	  Discourse	  Analysis	  CoP	   Community	  of	  Practice	  ICT	   Information	  Communication	  Technologies	  IDK	   I	  don’t	  know	  LOL	   Laugh	  Out	  Loud	  LMAO	   Laugh	  My	  Ass	  off	  OOC	   Out	  of	  Character	  PM	   personal	  message	  PTC	   Premier’s	  Technology	  Committee	  	  	  xi  Glossary	   Beta	  reader:	  Beta	  reader	  acts	  in	  support	  of	  the	  writer,	  proofreading	  and	  editing.	   	   	  Canon:	  The	  material	  used	  as	  the	  basis	  for	  fanfiction.	  It	  also	  refers	  to	  material	  accepted	  as	  part	  	  	   	   	   of	  that	  world	  of	  stories.	  	  	  Fandom:	  The	  fans	  of	  a	  popular	  cultural	  artifact,	  like	  a	  novel	  or	  person,	  who	  come	  together	  as	  a	  group	  or	  community.	  	  Fanfiction	  (fanfic):	  Fiction	  written	  by	  a	  fan	  of	  a	  particular	  popular	  cultural	  artifact.	  For	  instance	  	   	   	   Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  are	  stories	  written	  about	  the	  novel	  The	  Hunger	  	  Games.	  	  	  	  Fangirl:	  Fangirl	  usually	  refers	  to	  a	  somewhat	  obsessive	  female	  fan.	  It	  can	  be	  used	  as	  a	  derogatory	  term	  or	  a	  compliment	  to	  the	  depth	  of	  a	  fan’s	  devotion.	  	  Fanzines:	  A	  magazine	  that	  is	  produced	  by	  fans	  (usually	  amateurs)	  from	  a	  particular	  fandom.	  Can	  be	  found	  in	  print	  or	  online.	  	  On	  Alert:	  A	  preference	  setting	  that	  can	  be	  used	  within	  to	  have	  an	  email	  message	  to	  “alert”	  the	  reader	  of	  new	  postings	  from	  favoured	  writers.	  	  Suckfic:	  A	  shortened	  form	  of	  ‘sucky	  fiction’	  it	  refers	  to	  poorly	  written	  fanfiction.	  Suckfic	  also	  refers	  to	  intentional	  mocking	  of	  other	  writers’	  work	  within	  a	  fandom	  by	  rewriting	  someone	  else’s	  work.	  	  xii  Acknowledgements	  	  No	  undertaking	  like	  this	  is	  accomplished	  alone.	  I	  would	  like	  to	  thank	  my	  thesis	  advisor	  Dr.	  Eric	  Meyers	  for	  his	  assistance	  through	  this	  whole	  process	  and	  Dr.	  Marlene	  Asselin	  my	  committee	  member	  for	  being	  a	  keen	  eye.	  A	  special	  thank	  you	  to	  Judith	  Saltman	  for	  being	  an	  inspiration	  to	  those	  of	  us	  who	  take	  children’s	  literature	  and	  librarianship	  seriously.	  	  Thank	  you	  to	  the	  writers	  and	  respondents	  who	  are	  the	  subject	  of	  this	  thesis.	  Your	  passion	  for	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  and	  dedication	  to	  your	  community	  was	  a	  powerful	  experience	  for	  me.	  Thank	  you	  to	  Suzanne	  Collins	  whose	  book	  inspired	  thousands	  of	  young	  readers	  and	  writers	  to	  delve	  into	  the	  story	  and	  explore	  beyond	  the	  pages.	  	  Thank-­‐you	  to	  my	  dear	  friends,	  Avril	  Chalmers	  and	  Brenda	  McNeill,	  who	  acted	  as	  my	  Beta	  readers.	  Thanks	  to	  Wanda	  Perry-­‐Desautels,	  Valerie	  Kingsley	  and	  Jill	  Mitchell	  for	  their	  encouragement,	  and	  to	  Anne	  Malo	  and	  Margaret-­‐Mary	  Deck	  for	  encouraging	  me	  to	  pursue	  this	  master’s	  degree.	  To	  my	  Coquitlam	  teacher-­‐librarian	  friends	  and	  my	  Blakeburn	  Family,	  you	  all	  played	  a	  part	  in	  helping	  me	  accomplish	  this	  goal.	  Thank	  you.	  A	  special	  thank-­‐you	  to	  the	  first	  two	  passionate	  readers	  in	  my	  life,	  my	  parents,	  and	  to	  the	  first	  teacher	  who	  helped	  me	  understand	  mastering	  words	  could	  open	  up	  a	  whole	  new	  world,	  Mrs.	  Janke.	  A	  final	  thank	  you	  to	  my	  Mom	  for	  being	  the	  voice	  of	  reason	  in	  my	  head	  and	  the	  source	  of	  kindness	  in	  my	  heart.	  1  Chapter	  1: Introduction	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  by	  Suzanne	  Collins	  has	  become	  a	  worldwide	  cultural	  phenomenon	  both	  for	  the	  astronomical	  sales	  of	  the	  2008	  Young	  Adult	  novel,	  but	  also	  for	  the	  equally	  enthusiastic	  response	  to	  the	  blockbuster	  movies	  of	  the	  trilogy.	  	  After	  reading,	  many	  teens	  bounced	  into	  their	  library	  eager	  to	  discuss	  the	  characters	  they	  care	  about:	  the	  protagonist-­‐Katniss,	  Peeta-­‐Katniss’	  forced	  partner	  in	  a	  fight	  to	  the	  death	  or	  even	  Gale,	  the	  boy	  back	  in	  District	  12	  who	  cares	  for	  Katniss	  in	  ways	  neither	  have	  yet	  been	  able	  to	  explore.	  The	  perceived	  brutality	  of	  the	  people	  of	  Capitol	  City	  and	  the	  different	  ‘Districts’	  where	  the	  characters	  originate	  form	  the	  foundations	  of	  their	  interest.	  Both	  the	  story	  and	  the	  characters	  have	  become	  important	  to	  readers	  and	  the	  source	  for	  young	  readers	  (and	  now	  movie	  goers),	  to	  explore	  beyond	  the	  pages	  in	  a	  myriad	  of	  media	  instantiations.	  Fanfiction	  sites	  based	  on	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  (Collins)	  give	  young	  people	  opportunities	  to	  interact	  further	  with	  this	  engaging	  novel	  long	  after	  the	  pages	  or	  the	  movies	  end.	  	  1.1 Origins	  of	  Interest	  As	  a	  secondary	  school	  teacher	  of	  English	  Literature	  and	  Teacher-­‐Librarian	  of	  18	  years,	  I	  have	  experienced	  first	  hand	  the	  power	  of	  stories	  to	  shape	  adolescent	  identity	  and	  culture.	  	  Within	  the	  communities	  formed	  in	  school,	  like	  those	  within	  the	  library	  and	  the	  English	  classroom,	  discussions,	  writing	  and	  arguments	  move	  adolescents	  through	  different	  perspectives	  during	  the	  shared	  experience	  of	  reading	  narratives.	  Seeing	  how	  narratives	  have	  the	  power	  to	  influence	  young	  peoples’	  identities	  and	  spur	  their	  imaginations	  brought	  me	  to	  the	  study	  of	  2  children’s	  literature.	  During	  a	  class	  about	  digital	  environments	  with	  UBC’s	  Dr.	  Eric	  Meyers,	  I	  became	  interested	  in	  the	  idea	  of	  extending	  young	  adult	  literature	  beyond	  the	  pages	  of	  the	  book	  through	  fan	  related	  websites	  and	  consequently,	  extending	  their	  reader-­‐experiences.	  In	  particular,	  fanfiction	  sites,	  where	  students	  wrote	  their	  own	  extensions	  and	  different	  endings	  to	  the	  story	  demonstrated	  the	  powerful	  opportunities	  the	  technology	  offered	  to	  these	  young	  readers	  and	  writers.	  The	  combination	  of	  the	  high	  interest	  novel,	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  and	  the	  power	  of	  personal	  ownership	  over	  their	  writing	  in	  relation	  to	  these	  narratives	  led	  to	  the	  investigation	  of	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  sites.	  The	  young	  adult	  novel,	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  is	  a	  powerful	  pop	  culture	  artifact.	  The	  tremendous	  economic	  success	  of	  the	  book	  and	  film	  series	  speaks	  to	  readers’	  high	  interest	  and	  deep	  engagement	  in	  this	  story.	  	  This	  dystopic	  story,	  with	  the	  brutality	  and	  corresponding	  hypocrisy	  of	  the	  ruling	  people	  of	  Capitol	  City	  and	  even	  some	  of	  the	  eerily	  familiar	  “game	  versus	  reality”	  aspects	  of	  the	  story	  are	  just	  a	  few	  of	  the	  reasons	  that	  teens	  and	  adults	  alike	  have	  taken	  to	  this	  story.	  	  When	  I	  turned	  to	  the	  Internet	  to	  investigate,	  I	  found	  many	  fan	  websites	  of	  The	  Hunger	  Games.	  	  I	  was	  further	  drawn	  into	  various	  fan-­‐lead	  and	  organized	  writing	  communities	  or	  ‘fanfiction	  sites’,	  where	  ideas	  from	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  were	  used	  as	  a	  launch	  pad	  for	  further	  writing.	  	  	  On	  these	  sites,	  members	  post	  their	  own	  stories,	  explore	  themes	  or	  create	  new	  stories	  of	  previously	  unexplored	  ‘Districts’	  with	  characters	  that	  Collins	  fully	  developed	  or	  some	  of	  her	  less	  developed	  characters.	  They	  post	  and	  then	  wait	  for	  responses.	  Readers,	  mostly	  fellow	  posters,	  comment	  on	  what	  they	  read.	  Some	  responses	  are	  reviews	  and	  criticism	  of	  the	  story.	  Other	  3  posts	  are	  simple	  offers	  of	  encouragement.	  Because	  the	  members	  of	  the	  group	  participate	  as	  writers,	  readers,	  fans,	  critics	  and	  advisors	  to	  other	  writers,	  it	  appears	  they	  have	  formed	  a	  cultural,	  literary	  and	  social	  group.	  	  Fanfiction	  sites	  are	  more	  than	  a	  collection	  of	  people	  sharing	  opinions	  as	  “fan	  site”	  might	  suggest.	  These	  sites	  are	  also	  communities.	  Learning,	  teaching,	  coaching,	  mentoring,	  reading,	  writing	  fiction,	  writing	  literary	  criticisms	  and	  even	  general	  fandom	  are	  all	  intricately	  woven	  into	  participation	  within	  this	  community.	  	  These	  ever	  changing	  online	  participatory	  communities	  could	  be	  considered	  “communities	  of	  practice”	  as	  described	  by	  Etienne	  Wenger	  in	  his	  book	  on	  an	  extension	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory,	  Communities	  of	  Practice;	  Learning,	  Meaning	  and	  Identity.	  These	  fanfiction	  sites	  offer	  many	  opportunities	  for	  the	  participants	  to	  express	  themselves	  in	  differing	  and	  fluid	  ways.	  Socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  suggests	  that	  learning	  is	  a	  social	  process	  and	  that	  various	  interactions	  play	  a	  fundamental	  role	  in	  our	  development.	  	  Vygotsky	  explains:	  Properly	  organized	  learning	  results	  in	  mental	  development	  and	  sets	  in	  motion	  a	  variety	  of	  developmental	  processes	  that	  would	  be	  impossible	  apart	  from	  learning.	  Thus,	  learning	  is	  a	  necessary	  and	  universal	  aspect	  of	  the	  process	  of	  developing	  culturally	  organized,	  specifically	  human,	  psychological	  functions	  (90).	  	  With	  Vygotsky’s	  assertion	  that	  learning,	  identity	  and	  social	  interactions	  are	  linked,	  online	  spaces	  with	  multiple	  textual	  modalities	  and	  many	  participants	  that	  can	  be	  observed,	  provide	  a	  foundation	  for	  understanding	  expressions	  of	  participants’	  identities	  in	  formation.	  	  	  4  1.2 Research	  Question	  and	  Sub-­‐Questions	  Fanfiction	  Communities	  as	  Identity	  Formative?	  	  At	  the	  time	  that	  I	  discovered	  the	  kinds	  of	  interactions	  typical	  of	  fanfiction	  sites,	  I	  posited	  there	  was	  a	  reciprocal	  nature	  to	  these	  communities;	  participants	  form	  the	  community	  and	  form	  an	  identity	  for	  themselves	  within	  the	  context	  of	  the	  community	  but	  in	  doing	  so,	  the	  community	  exerts	  a	  reciprocal	  force	  influencing	  the	  members’	  current	  and	  developing	  identities.	  	  This	  idea	  was	  so	  interesting	  to	  me	  that	  I	  went	  a	  step	  further	  and	  asked,	  if	  using	  social-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  (Vygotsky)	  applied	  to	  this	  “affinity	  space”	  (Gee),	  what	  elements	  of	  identity	  development	  are	  observable	  within	  this	  community?	  	  Does	  gathering	  a	  group	  of	  people	  together	  in	  an	  online	  environment	  based	  on	  a	  narrative	  theme,	  create	  the	  equivalent	  of	  a	  social	  learning	  group?	  	  In	  order	  to	  look	  at	  the	  aspects	  of	  identity	  formation	  in	  practice,	  I	  also	  asked:	  Could	  a	  fanfiction	  site	  be	  considered	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  like	  other	  defined	  communities	  of	  practice?	  	  For	  instance,	  Wenger	  uses	  the	  example	  of	  a	  claims	  adjustment	  department	  as	  an	  example	  of	  a	  community	  of	  practice.	  Fan	  sites	  serve	  as	  active	  examples	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory,	  (learning	  through	  participation).	  Could	  I	  look	  at	  those	  conversations	  between	  members	  and	  see	  their	  identities	  as	  writers,	  readers,	  critics	  and	  fans	  of	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  as	  people	  who	  are	  forming	  identities	  within	  this	  group	  and	  are	  therefore,	  forming	  identities	  in	  practice?	  	  1.3 Statement	  of	  Research	  Question:	  My	  exploration	  of	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  forums	  is	  guided	  by	  the	  following	  research	  questions:	  5  1.	  How	  do	  young	  people	  express	  their	  identities	  as	  readers	  and	  writers	  in	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  forums?	  2.	  In	  what	  ways	  do	  we	  see	  these	  identities	  formed	  as	  part	  of	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  within	  the	  fiction	  forum?	  Using	  the	  foundation	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  (Vygotsky),	  as	  expanded	  and	  explained	  in	  Wenger’s	  Communities	  of	  Practice,	  I	  observed,	  coded	  and	  reflected	  on	  the	  interactions	  between	  readers	  and	  writers	  of	  a	  young	  adult	  novel	  fanfiction	  site,	  and	  analyzed	  these	  exchanges	  to	  better	  understand	  how	  they	  contribute	  to	  participants’	  identity	  formation.	  	  1.4 Uniqueness	  and	  Relevance	  	   At	  the	  time	  of	  writing,	  a	  search	  of	  UBC’s	  library	  journals	  using	  the	  keywords,	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  I	  found	  one	  thousand	  and	  thirty-­‐eight	  journal	  articles.	  	  When	  further	  refined	  to	  include	  ‘The	  Hunger	  Games	  and	  fan	  fiction’	  I	  found	  sixty-­‐three	  journal	  articles,	  one	  hundred	  and	  thirty-­‐four	  magazine	  articles	  and	  one	  hundred	  and	  one	  (e)books	  related	  to	  the	  topic.	  	  The	  book	  and	  its	  related	  fanfiction	  sites	  have	  generated	  a	  great	  deal	  of	  interest	  amongst	  teachers,	  scholars	  and	  fans	  alike.	  	  Educators	  have	  leveraged	  the	  readers’	  interest	  in	  the	  novel	  and	  suggest	  multiple	  topics	  for	  class	  investigation:	  social	  justice	  and	  violence	  (Simmons),	  mathematical	  probabilities,	  (Bush	  and	  Karp)	  and	  disciplinary	  literacy	  (Saunders).	  Kristin	  Cook’s	  educational	  discussion	  of	  bioethics	  of	  engineered	  creatures	  within	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  	  (Cook,	  et	  al.)	  is	  example	  of	  a	  link	  for	  science	  curriculum.	  Further,	  literature	  based	  researchers,	  in	  a	  collection	  of	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  essays	  in	  the	  book,	  Of	  Bread,	  Blood	  and	  the	  Hunger	  Games	  “Probe	  the	  trilogy's	  meaning	  using	  theories	  grounded	  in	  historicism,	  feminism,	  humanism,	  queer	  theory,	  as	  well	  as	  cultural,	  6  political,	  and	  media	  studies”	  (Pharr	  and	  Clark).	  My	  research	  uses	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  as	  a	  cultural	  artifact	  and	  the	  original	  source	  behind	  each	  young	  person’s	  impetus	  to	  become	  part	  of	  a	  particular	  online	  fanfiction	  community.	  	  Why	  young	  adults	  chose	  this	  book	  in	  particular	  is	  not	  the	  aim	  of	  this	  study.	  	  There	  are	  other	  researchers	  who	  have	  already	  blazed	  trails	  into	  online	  communities,	  social	  learning,	  fanfiction,	  computer	  mediated	  environments	  and	  online	  writing.	  	  I	  used	  Wenger’s	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  	  “identities	  in	  practice	  characterizations”	  (149),	  as	  the	  structure	  for	  investigating	  identity	  expressions	  within	  a	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  forum.	  	   Looking	  at	  the	  online	  practices	  of	  young	  people	  is	  an	  area	  of	  growing	  research	  as	  researchers	  attempt	  to	  understand	  what,	  how	  and	  why	  young	  people	  are	  learning	  within	  these	  relatively	  newly	  created	  communities.	  	  There	  are	  many	  predictions	  of	  extensive	  use	  of	  online	  learning	  groups	  as	  an	  alternative	  to	  current	  physical	  learning	  spaces	  (schools/libraries).	  British	  Columbia’s	  Ministry	  of	  Education	  on	  their	  21st	  Century	  Learning	  webpages	  describes	  the	  new	  model	  they	  are	  working	  toward:	  “In	  its	  10th	  report	  in	  2007,	  the	  Premier’s	  Technology	  Committee	  (PTC)	  identified	  technology	  and	  e-­‐learning	  as	  central	  to	  addressing	  future	  skill	  shortages	  in	  the	  work	  force,	  particularly	  in	  rural	  areas	  of	  the	  province.	  The	  PTC	  described,	  “’blended	  learning’	  –	  technology-­‐enhanced	  learning	  that	  is	  both	  online	  and	  in	  the	  classroom–	  as	  an	  effective	  approach	  to	  enhance	  education”	  (The	  Government	  of	  British	  Columbia).	  If	  educators	  and	  librarians	  alike	  are	  going	  to	  use	  these	  online	  communities	  not	  only	  as	  self-­‐selected	  learning	  environments	  but	  as	  prescriptive	  learning	  environments,	  it	  is	  important	  that	  they	  try	  to	  learn	  as	  much	  as	  possible	  about	  the	  interactions	  of	  the	  young	  people	  who	  engage	  in	  this	  kind	  of	  online	  social	  learning.	  	  The	  participants	  in	  these	  fanfiction	  forums	  are	  already	  7  involved	  in	  online	  learning	  communities	  of	  choice.	  As	  a	  researcher,	  this	  provides	  me	  opportunities	  to	  look	  at	  these	  online	  groups	  in	  their	  most	  ideal	  form,	  where	  the	  participation	  is	  completely	  optional.	  This	  may	  give	  me	  some	  ideas	  of	  what	  the	  same	  but	  prescribed	  environment	  might	  look	  like.	  Insights	  here	  could	  help	  librarians	  and	  teachers	  create,	  monitor	  and	  mentor	  communities	  of	  interested	  members.	  	  Online	  practices	  for	  young	  people	  are	  still	  a	  developing	  area	  of	  research	  and	  the	  public	  nature	  of	  these	  conversations	  between	  writers,	  reviewers,	  critics	  can	  provide	  insight	  into	  the	  learning	  in	  practice.	  	  1.5 Relevant	  Concepts	  1.5.1 Identity	  Defined	  This	  study	  employs	  Wenger’s	  definition	  of	  “identity”	  from	  his	  1998	  text,	  Communities	  of	  Practice.	  	  “Building	  an	  identity	  consists	  of	  negotiating	  the	  meanings	  of	  our	  experience	  of	  membership	  in	  social	  communities.	  The	  concept	  of	  identity	  serves	  as	  a	  pivot	  between	  the	  social	  and	  the	  individual,	  so	  that	  each	  can	  be	  talked	  about	  in	  terms	  of	  the	  other.	  It	  avoids	  a	  simplistic	  individual-­‐social	  dichotomy	  without	  doing	  away	  with	  the	  distinction.	  The	  resulting	  perspective	  is	  neither	  individualistic	  nor	  abstractly	  institutional	  or	  societal”	  (145).	  The	  word	  that	  is	  most	  important	  for	  the	  purposes	  of	  this	  discussion	  is	  “pivot”.	  Rather	  than	  seeing	  identity	  as	  static,	  the	  term	  pivot	  asks	  us	  to	  think	  of	  identity	  as	  fluid	  within	  varying	  social	  contexts	  (145).	  	  	  	  	  8  1.5.2 What	  is	  Fanfiction?	  	  According	  to	  Bronwen	  Thomas:	  	  The	  term	  fanfiction	  (sometimes	  abbreviated	  as	  fanfic)	  refers	  to	  stories	  produced	  by	  fans	  based	  on	  plot	  lines	  and	  characters	  from	  either	  a	  single	  source	  text	  or	  else	  a	  ‘canon’	  of	  works;	  these	  fan-­‐created	  narratives	  often	  take	  the	  pre-­‐existing	  storyworld	  in	  a	  new,	  sometimes	  bizarre,	  direction.	  While	  the	  activities	  of	  fans	  may	  take	  many	  forms,	  writing	  stories	  deriving	  from	  one	  or	  more	  source	  texts	  has	  long	  been	  the	  most	  popular	  way	  of	  concretizing	  and	  disseminating	  their	  passion	  for	  a	  particular	  fictional	  universe	  (B.	  Thomas	  1).	  	  Fanfiction	  sites	  or	  forums	  are	  webpages	  of	  posted	  shared	  and	  reviewed	  stories	  on	  websites	  devoted	  to	  a	  particular	  subject	  such	  as	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  where	  fans	  or	  interested	  individuals	  take	  already	  created	  stories,	  structures	  or	  characters	  and	  revise	  or	  rewrite	  them	  for	  their	  own	  purposes.	  These	  groups	  of	  writers,	  readers,	  fans,	  collect	  around	  a	  particular	  movie	  franchise,	  television	  show,	  comic	  book	  or	  novel	  to	  create	  a	  space	  devoted	  to	  that	  particular	  narrative.	  	  At	  the	  core	  of	  all	  fanfiction	  is	  the	  idea	  of	  “textual	  poaching”.	  According	  to	  The	  Oxford	  Dictionary	  of	  Media	  and	  Communication,	  textual	  poaching	  is	  “The	  subversive	  appropriation	  of	  mass	  media	  texts	  (or	  of	  characters	  within	  them)	  by	  fans	  for	  their	  own	  pleasure.	  The	  concept	  has	  been	  popularized	  by	  Jenkins,	  but	  the	  term	  was	  originated	  by	  de	  Certeau”	  (Chandler).	  Textual	  poaching	  has	  a	  dual	  meaning	  and	  use	  within	  fanfiction.	  	  The	  original	  poaching	  occurs	  when	  the	  writers	  in	  the	  fandom	  take	  material	  from	  the	  primary	  subject,	  in	  this	  case,	  Collin’s	  The	  Hunger	  Games.	  	  The	  very	  fact	  that	  all	  the	  writers	  are	  ‘poaching’	  from	  the	  same	  source	  is	  part	  of	  the	  9  communion	  of	  this	  group.	  According	  to	  Jenkins,	  “Poaching,	  to	  me,	  captured	  that	  process	  of	  negotiating	  over	  the	  meaning	  of	  the	  text,	  and	  the	  terms	  of	  their	  relations	  with	  producers”	  (Jenkins	  xxi).	  The	  other	  kind	  of	  textual	  poaching	  refers	  to	  how	  fans	  relate	  to	  how	  other	  fans	  and	  owners	  interact	  with	  their	  “poached”	  materials.	  Jenkins	  explains	  in	  his	  book,	  Fans,	  Bloggers	  and	  Gamers:	  Exploring	  Participatory	  Culture,	  “Similarly	  the	  fans	  often	  cast	  themselves	  not	  as	  poachers	  but	  as	  loyalists,	  rescuing	  essential	  elements	  of	  the	  primary	  text	  “misused”	  by	  those	  who	  maintain	  copyright	  control	  over	  the	  program	  materials.	  Respecting	  literary	  property	  even	  as	  they	  seek	  to	  appropriate	  it	  for	  their	  own	  uses,	  these	  fans	  become	  reluctant	  poachers,	  hesitant	  about	  their	  relationship	  to	  the	  program	  text,	  uneasy	  about	  the	  degree	  of	  manipulation	  they	  can	  “legitimately”	  perform	  on	  its	  materials,	  policing	  each	  other	  for	  “abuses”	  of	  their	  interpretive	  license”	  (Jenkins	  41).	  In	  a	  sense,	  participants	  in	  fandoms	  ‘poach’	  the	  other	  poachers,	  namely	  the	  other	  fanfiction	  producers	  and	  copyright	  holders	  of	  the	  original	  work.	  In	  Jenkin’s	  earlier	  1992	  book,	  Textual	  Poachers:	  Television	  Fans	  and	  Participatory	  Culture,	  he	  explains	  that	  there	  are	  social	  norms	  that	  are	  expectations	  of	  what	  is	  acceptable	  poaching.	  He	  suggests,	  “They	  [fans]	  are	  nevertheless	  responsive	  to	  the	  somewhat	  more	  subtle	  demands	  placed	  upon	  them	  as	  members	  of	  fandom-­‐expectations	  about	  what	  narratives	  are	  “appropriate”	  for	  fannish	  interest,	  what	  interpretations	  are	  “legitimate”,	  and	  so	  forth”	  (88).	  Failure	  for	  contributors	  to	  conform	  to	  those	  group	  norms	  may	  even	  result	  in	  negative	  responses	  such	  as	  a	  practice	  known	  as	  ‘hacking’	  or	  ‘suckfic’.	  According	  to	  Fiona	  Carruthers,	  “Instead	  of	  poaching	  the	  television	  show,	  appropriating	  and	  extracting	  various	  meanings,	  whether	  implicit	  10  or	  explicit,	  from	  its	  structure,	  hackers	  essentially	  poach	  the	  poachers,	  stalking	  members	  of	  the	  fan	  fiction	  community	  across	  cyberspace	  and	  penetrating	  their	  works	  by	  literally	  imposing	  their	  voices	  upon	  the	  text.	  Hackers	  seek	  out	  ‘bad’	  fan	  fiction,	  fan	  writings	  which,	  for	  the	  hacker,	  do	  not	  meet	  a	  satisfactory	  standard	  of	  writing	  and	  ‘hack’	  the	  stories,	  inserting	  their	  own	  mocking	  comments	  into	  the	  body	  of	  the	  original	  text”	  (Carruthers).	  This	  mocking	  and	  critical	  writing	  is	  called	  ‘suckfic’.	  Because	  it	  comes	  from	  within	  the	  fandom	  world,	  it	  can	  establish	  normalizing	  behaviors	  within	  the	  community	  but	  can	  also	  be	  a	  fractious	  and	  negative	  act	  within	  the	  group.	  These	  pressures	  from	  the	  group,	  whether	  direct	  such	  as	  ‘suckfic’	  or	  in	  subtler	  pressure	  through	  group	  norms	  or	  habits,	  influence	  the	  participants’	  behaviors	  and	  norms,	  and	  therefore	  their	  identities.	  	  The	  writing	  in	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  sites	  can	  take	  many	  forms:	  	  art,	  illustrations,	  comics,	  poetry,	  short	  stories,	  plays,	  scripts	  and	  even	  chapters	  of	  developing	  novels.	  	  Writers	  use	  aspects	  of	  the	  story	  and	  change	  them	  such	  as:	  	  pairing	  up	  different	  characters	  who	  were	  not	  involved	  in	  the	  novel	  (called	  ‘shippers’);	  writing	  detailed	  stories	  about	  minor	  characters;	  creating	  new	  beginnings	  or	  endings;	  and	  even	  writing	  erotic	  stories	  involving	  characters	  from	  the	  story.	  	  Each	  writing	  community	  has	  its	  own	  set	  of	  guidelines	  and	  expectations	  for	  posting	  and	  responding.	  	  These	  sites	  are	  their	  own	  entities	  and	  exist	  only	  as	  long	  as	  there	  are	  people	  to	  contribute	  and	  maintain	  the	  spaces.	  As	  was	  the	  case	  of,	  a	  very	  popular	  fanfiction	  site	  that	  no	  longer	  exists,	  submissions	  could	  be	  anything	  related	  to	  The	  Hunger	  11  Games,	  “As	  long	  as	  it	  is	  quality	  writing”	  (	  	  Members	  of	  also	  no	  longer	  operating,	  did	  not	  have	  the	  same	  community	  expectations	  of	  high	  quality	  writing,	  just	  an	  expectation	  to	  read,	  respond	  and	  write.	  	  According	  to	  their	  website	  section	  labeled,	  ‘The	  Rules’,	  “I	  guess	  you	  could	  say	  we	  are	  just	  trying	  to	  reform	  the	  place	  to	  a	  more	  structured	  (but	  still	  fun!)	  forums”	  (	  2.	  	  There	  are	  social	  norms	  as	  well	  as	  jargon	  related	  to	  fanfiction	  sites.	  	  For	  instance,	  if	  readers	  choose	  only	  to	  read	  and	  enjoy	  other	  people’s	  writing	  without	  responding	  they	  are	  called	  a	  lurker	  and	  the	  practice	  is	  somewhat	  frowned	  upon	  by	  members	  hoping	  for	  participation.	  	  On	  some	  fan	  sites,	  like	  the	  subreddit	  fanfiction	  pages	  of	  there	  are	  guidelines	  for	  participants:	  “Reddiquette	  is	  an	  informal	  expression	  of	  the	  values	  of	  many	  redditors,	  as	  written	  by	  redditors	  themselves.	  Please	  abide	  by	  it	  as	  best	  you	  can”	  (pinwale).	  Other	  fanfiction	  sites	  such	  as	  have	  detailed	  terms	  of	  service	  agreements	  that	  participants	  must	  accept	  to	  post	  on	  the	  site.	  Specifically,	  their	  terms	  of	  service	  include	  statements	  on	  diversity,	  privacy,	  harassment	  and	  age	  of	  users	  (Organization	  of	  Transformative	  Works).	  These	  guidelines	  and	  expectations	  help	  to	  form	  the	  community	  of	  writers	  and	  the	  individuals	  who	  gather	  together	  based	  on	  their	  shared	  interest	  in	  the	  original	  material.	  These	  community	  expectations,	  whether	  they	  are	  explicit,	  or	  implicit,	  whether	  they	  are	  blatantly	  coercive	  or	  gentle,	  guide	  and	  normalize	  the	  behavior	  of	  the	  members	  and	  guests	  alike.	  The	                                                  1	  is	  a	  website	  taken	  over	  by	  a	  domain	  name	  company.	  Going	  to	  the	  page	  results	  in	  an	  automatic	  redirect.	  2	  results	  in	  the	  message,	  404	  URL	  not	  found. 12  guidelines	  and	  expectations	  are	  formative	  in	  nature.	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  sites	  provide	  a	  window	  into	  the	  participants’	  identities	  in	  these	  online	  communities.	  	  	  1.5.3 Hunger	  Games	  Fanfiction-­‐A	  Liminal	  Space	  	   Fanfiction	  sites	  are	  liminal	  by	  their	  very	  nature.	  The	  transitional	  nature	  of	  fanfiction	  refers	  to	  the	  practical	  realities	  of	  the	  ever-­‐changing	  face	  of	  the	  Internet.	  As	  in	  the	  case	  of	  previously	  visited	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  sites	  for	  research,	  and	  both	  no	  longer	  exist	  in	  cyberspace.	  Liminal	  also	  refers	  to	  the	  changing	  internal	  conditions	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  participants.	  When	  young	  people	  search	  out	  an	  online	  group	  to	  connect	  with	  others	  who	  have	  also	  read	  the	  same	  book,	  the	  possibilities	  of	  what	  they	  will	  encounter	  are	  only	  limited	  by	  the	  parameters	  of	  the	  sites	  they	  visit.	  Fanfiction	  sites	  are	  by	  their	  nature	  constantly	  changing.	  The	  participants	  themselves	  become	  part	  of	  this	  fluid	  state	  of	  being	  while	  they	  communicate,	  contribute	  and	  participate.	  	  	  	  1.6 Identity	  and	  Participation	  	  	   Many	  scholars	  point	  specifically	  at	  group	  online	  practices	  as	  opportunities	  for	  identity	  development.	  According	  to	  David	  Shaffer	  online	  games	  [and	  online	  communities],	  can	  support	  a	  wide	  range	  of	  learning	  outcomes,	  social	  and	  cognitive	  development	  and	  are	  “powerful	  tools	  to	  develop	  the	  skills,	  knowledge,	  identities,	  values,	  and	  epistemology	  of	  that	  community”	  (164).	  	  He	  also	  suggests	  participation	  (in	  online	  games),	  gives	  the	  participant	  agency.	  Developing	  agency	  and	  a	  sense	  of	  self	  is	  identity	  development.	  	  Ito,	  uses	  Lave	  and	  Wenger’s	  argument	  from	  13  their	  book	  Situated	  Learning	  (1991),	  that	  learning	  is	  an	  act	  of	  participation	  within	  communities	  of	  practice	  rather	  than	  on	  individual	  cognitive	  practices	  (Ito	  13).	  	  Alvermann	  suggests	  that	  producing	  online	  content	  is	  an	  opportunity	  for	  rewriting	  social	  identities.	  	  “Self	  portrayals”	  such	  as	  “avatars	  and	  profiles”	  as	  well	  as	  “Online	  social	  networking	  communities	  such	  as	  MySpace	  provide	  opportunities	  for	  young	  people	  to	  write	  read,	  and	  speak	  their	  worlds	  into	  existence.	  They	  also	  afford	  windows	  into	  the	  processes	  young	  people	  use	  to	  reinvent	  themselves”	  (Alvermann	  12-­‐13).	  	  Guzzetti	  suggests	  young	  people	  form	  their	  social	  identities	  through	  their	  online	  interactions	  (Alvermann	  13).	  	   Laura	  Beals	  and	  Marina	  Bers	  look	  at	  online	  practices	  through	  a	  developmental	  lens.	  From	  an	  Eriksonian	  perspective,	  “’	  identity	  versus	  role	  confusion’	  of	  adolescence,	  the	  question,	  ‘Who	  am	  I?’	  becomes	  important”	  (Beals	  and	  Bers	  53).	  Beals	  and	  Bers,	  suggest	  that	  for	  teens,	  communication	  is	  more	  than	  the	  Vygotsky-­‐esque	  idea	  of	  language	  acquisition	  within	  social	  settings	  as	  part	  of	  development,	  but	  “aid	  in	  the	  establishment	  of	  interpersonal	  connections	  and	  identity	  construction…Adolescents	  use	  online	  communication	  tools	  such	  as	  instant	  messaging	  and	  social	  networks	  to	  reinforce	  existing	  relationships,	  both	  friendships	  and	  romantic	  relationships,	  and	  to	  check	  out	  the	  potential	  of	  new	  entrants	  into	  their	  offline	  world	  (Subrahmayam	  and	  Greenfield	  2008)”	  (Beals	  and	  Bers	  57).	  Social	  needs,	  including	  developing	  a	  sense	  of	  identity,	  are	  met	  through	  participation	  in	  online	  communities.	  	  Because	  of	  the	  actions	  participants	  take	  within	  the	  Hunger	  Games	  fandom,	  they	  are	  forming	  identity.	  Their	  identities	  are	  altered	  because	  they	  are	  presented	  with	  different	  points	  of	  view.	  Further,	  their	  identities	  are	  changed	  because	  they	  give	  and	  receive	  direct	  feedback.	  14  Identity	  itself	  is	  liminal.	  It	  is	  this	  intersection	  of	  place,	  space,	  time	  and	  people	  who	  exist	  within	  an	  ever	  changing	  and	  ever-­‐changeable	  state	  where	  this	  study	  observes	  expressions	  of	  identity	  and	  identity	  formation.	  From	  an	  educational	  and	  perhaps	  almost	  anthropological	  point	  of	  view,	  it	  is	  interesting	  to	  see	  a	  snapshot	  of	  the	  words	  these	  participants	  use	  when	  they	  communicate	  with	  one	  and	  another	  in	  these	  ever–changing,	  fluid	  places	  and	  spaces.	  	  At	  the	  very	  least,	  this	  study	  provides	  researchers	  the	  opportunity	  to	  simply	  note	  how	  things	  are	  in	  this	  time	  and	  place	  in	  the	  cyber	  world’s	  development.	  	  1.7 Special	  Notes	  Fanfiction	  writers	  will	  be	  referred	  to	  with	  the	  pronoun	  “she”	  as	  the	  gender	  of	  the	  writers	  is	  largely	  unknown.	  For	  easier	  reading,	  citation	  webpage	  numbers	  have	  been	  truncated	  by	  removing	  the	  first	  part	  of	  the	  address.	  For	  instance,	  Dust	  Writer	  http//­‐Journey-­‐North),	  appears	  as:	  (DustWriter	  /s/9903005/1/A-­‐Journey-­‐North).	  Fanfiction	  quotes	  have	  been	  left	  in	  their	  raw	  format	  for	  clear	  representation	  of	  how	  and	  what	  was	  said.	  	  	  1.8 Summary	  of	  Chapter	  1	  In	  this	  chapter,	  I	  introduced	  the	  study,	  key	  terms	  and	  research	  questions.	  My	  background	  as	  a	  teacher	  and	  a	  librarian	  propelled	  me	  to	  learn	  more	  about	  existing	  online	  practices	  of	  members	  of	  a	  fanfiction	  forum	  based	  on	  a	  young	  adult	  novel.	  I	  explained	  key	  concepts	  relevant	  to	  this	  study.	  Readers	  should	  have	  a	  basic	  understanding	  of	  fanfiction,	  liminal	  15  spaces	  and	  Wenger’s	  definition	  of	  identity	  that	  I	  used	  to	  inform	  my	  study.	  Finally,	  I	  briefly	  explained	  the	  link	  other	  researchers	  have	  made	  between	  online	  participation	  and	  identity	  development.	  16  Chapter	  2: Literature	  Review	  2.1 Introduction	  In	  the	  literature	  review	  chapter,	  I	  outline	  the	  central	  elements	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  (Vygotsky)	  and	  the	  model	  based	  upon	  this	  theory,	  community	  of	  practice	  (Wenger)	  that	  inform	  both	  the	  methodology	  and	  analysis	  of	  the	  following	  research.	  	  In	  particular,	  I	  have	  included	  information	  related	  to	  identity	  in	  online	  practices.	  I	  compare	  several	  related	  models	  for	  online	  learning	  and	  social	  places	  including	  Ito’s	  ‘connected	  learning’	  and	  Gee’s	  ‘affinity	  spaces’	  in	  contrast	  with	  Wenger’s	  ‘community	  of	  practice’.	  Also,	  I	  review	  essential	  academic	  discourse	  on	  computer	  mediated	  communications	  and	  online	  practices	  that	  are	  relevant	  to	  online	  fanfiction	  forums.	  I	  also	  include	  key	  concepts	  related	  to	  fanfiction.	  	   2.2 Fanfiction,	  Affinity	  Spaces	  and	  Online	  Communities	  The	  goal	  of	  this	  research	  is	  to	  observe	  and	  identify	  the	  expressions	  of	  identity	  that	  occur	  during	  member	  exchanges	  at	  personal	  learning	  and	  developmental	  levels,	  within	  a	  particular	  fanfiction	  website	  in	  order	  to	  better	  understand	  online	  learning	  communities.	  By	  developmental,	  I	  refer	  to	  development	  in	  identity	  within	  the	  particular	  context	  of	  the	  online	  community.	  An	  understanding	  of	  fanfiction	  itself	  as	  both	  a	  cultural	  entity	  and	  also	  as	  a	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  space	  will	  aid	  in	  understanding	  some	  of	  the	  more	  nuanced	  aspects	  of	  the	  application	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theories	  as	  applied	  within	  a	  computer	  mediated	  environment	  and	  then	  ideally,	  to	  understand	  identity	  formation.	  The	  pioneering	  research	  of	  the	  online	  world	  by	  researchers	  Jenkins,	  Gee,	  Black	  and	  Bacon-­‐Smith	  explain	  online	  practices	  from	  different	  perspectives.	  Jenkins	  uses	  the	  term	  ‘Fan	  17  Fiction’,	  Black	  refers	  to	  fanfiction	  forums	  as	  ‘Information	  Communication	  Technologies’	  whereas	  Gee	  calls	  them	  ‘affinity	  spaces’.	  Though	  there	  are	  varying	  definitions	  of	  fanfiction,	  all	  of	  these	  researchers	  agree	  they	  contain	  elements	  of	  community,	  culture	  and	  also	  are	  participatory	  in	  nature.	  In	  James	  Paul	  Gee’s	  work,	  What	  Video	  Games	  Have	  To	  Teach	  Us	  about	  Language,	  Learning,	  and	  Literacy,	  he	  defines	  ‘affinity	  spaces’	  as	  people	  associated	  with	  a	  “given	  semiotic	  domain”	  (47)	  of	  “people	  who	  have	  an	  affinity	  for	  the	  content	  and	  share	  endeavors	  in	  regard	  to	  that	  content”	  (197).	  Rebecca	  Black	  describes	  fanfiction	  sites	  as	  spaces	  in	  which	  “cultural,	  historical,	  ideological	  and	  semiotic	  elements	  of	  available	  media	  often	  simultaneously	  converge,	  are	  redesigned,	  and	  then	  redistributed	  through	  various	  information	  and	  communications	  technologies	  (ICT’s)”	  (Black	  19).	  Black’s	  definition	  of	  ICT’s	  connects	  on	  several	  levels	  with	  Wenger’s	  social	  learning	  theory	  of	  “Communities	  of	  Practice”	  applied	  to	  fanfiction.	  	  They	  both	  see	  the	  learning	  and	  developing	  as	  part	  of	  the	  emergent	  nature	  of	  these	  social	  groups.	  	  Black’s	  discussion	  of	  the	  semiotics	  of	  these	  technologies	  mirrors	  Wenger’s	  elements	  of	  learning	  communities	  “whose	  practice	  it	  is	  to	  keep	  alive	  the	  tension	  between	  competence	  and	  experience”	  (148).	  Both	  Black	  and	  Wenger	  recognize	  fanfiction	  sites/communities	  respectively,	  as	  collections	  of	  people	  and	  ideas	  as	  well	  as	  places	  of	  active	  learning.	  Jenkins	  refers	  to	  the	  democratization	  of	  the	  writing	  world,	  as	  fanfiction	  tends	  to	  be	  dominated	  by	  women	  (as	  far	  as	  we	  know	  given	  the	  anonymity	  of	  fanfiction).	  He	  also	  notes	  writers	  within	  these	  communities	  are	  “reclaiming	  marginalized	  characters”	  (92)	  by	  rewriting	  them	  to	  serve	  the	  writers’	  own	  sensibilities.	  	  It	  stands	  to	  reason,	  if	  participants	  in	  these	  fanfiction	  websites	  are	  as	  he	  says,	  ‘reclaiming	  marginalized	  characters’,	  the	  writers	  are	  also	  18  reclaiming	  the	  onus/agency	  over	  the	  use	  and	  identification	  with	  (or	  as)	  these	  characters.	  	  A	  change	  in	  onus	  or	  agency	  also	  seems	  to	  suggest	  changes	  to	  identity	  through	  participation.	  Jenkins’	  extensive	  research	  speaks	  to	  the	  identity	  of	  the	  participants	  as	  mostly	  female	  writer	  participants	  and	  investigates	  their	  identity	  within	  the	  group	  context	  and	  within	  a	  global	  group	  context.	  There	  is	  no	  way	  to	  tell	  the	  ages	  of	  the	  participants	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  sites	  I	  investigated.	  I	  do	  hope	  that	  some	  of	  the	  participants	  are	  young	  people	  because	  of	  the	  connection	  to	  a	  young	  adult	  novel.	  However,	  it’s	  the	  learning	  and	  community	  engagement	  that	  matters	  particularly	  to	  this	  research.	  	  	  In	  her	  book,	  Science	  Fiction	  Culture,	  Camille	  Bacon-­‐Smith	  suggests	  that	  science	  fiction	  ‘fandoms’,	  (which	  refers	  to	  an	  original	  text	  or	  franchise	  on	  which	  a	  fanfiction	  story	  is	  based)	  (Coleman	  97)	  are	  “preponderantly	  women	  [who]	  can	  come	  together	  in	  a	  lived	  community	  structure	  according	  to	  women’s	  ideas	  of	  what	  that	  means”	  (Bacon-­‐Smith	  115).	  	  Bacon-­‐Smith	  suggests	  that	  the	  move	  to	  science	  fiction	  online	  or	  pre-­‐blog	  sites,	  ‘fanzines’,	  collections	  of	  women’s	  fanfiction	  published	  and	  posted,	  was	  as	  a	  response	  to	  a	  backlash	  against	  women	  writers	  in	  science	  fiction	  in	  the	  1980’s	  (109-­‐134).	  She	  points	  to	  the	  absence	  of	  recognition	  of	  women	  writers	  in	  “popular	  cultural	  media	  ventures	  [fanzines]”,	  a	  genre	  that	  was	  already	  “a	  subfield	  of	  a	  larger	  field,	  science	  fiction,	  which	  [had]	  itself	  become	  snubbed	  by	  academe”	  (113).	  She	  also	  quotes	  a	  fan,	  Jailbate,	  who	  suggests	  that	  it	  may	  be	  a	  “sense	  of	  alienation	  which	  brought	  people	  into	  fandom	  in	  the	  first	  place”	  (156).	  This	  sense	  of	  separation	  or	  “alienation”	  as	  she	  suggests	  helps	  us	  understand	  fanfiction	  sites	  as	  cultural	  groups	  unto	  themselves.	  The	  people	  who	  have	  moved	  towards	  these	  groups	  and	  these	  spaces	  are	  choosing	  to	  move	  away	  19  from	  the	  perceived	  mainstream	  doctrine	  and	  are	  moving	  toward	  a	  collective.	  They	  actively	  participate	  in	  the	  creation	  of	  fanfiction	  sites.	  	  Bacon-­‐Smith’s	  important	  research	  of	  both	  the	  alienation	  felt	  and	  the	  belonging	  sought	  and	  found	  within	  fanfiction	  sites	  leaves	  room	  to	  explore	  both	  the	  dynamics	  of	  the	  participants’	  reciprocal,	  possibly	  formative,	  relationships	  online	  and	  although	  she	  speaks	  to	  motivation	  and	  self-­‐identification,	  she	  does	  not	  specifically	  delve	  into	  the	  cause	  and	  effect	  of	  those	  relationships	  of	  the	  members	  of	  the	  community.	  	  	  Her	  references	  to	  behaviors	  and	  cultural	  norms	  within	  the	  context	  of	  the	  group	  help	  define	  fanfiction	  sites	  as	  ‘communities	  of	  practice’.	  	  Scholars	  such	  as	  Jean	  Lave	  and	  Etienne	  Wenger	  as	  well	  as	  Heather	  Urbanski	  discuss	  the	  importance	  of	  the	  different	  kind	  of	  learning	  and	  developing	  environment	  that	  online	  communities	  provide	  youth.	  	  Urbanski	  references	  the	  “blurred	  lines	  between	  traditional	  roles	  of	  creator	  and	  audience	  in	  Participatory	  media”	  (3).	  	  Teens	  now	  have	  the	  opportunity	  to	  engage	  in	  a	  medium	  (writing,	  publishing	  and	  reviewing)	  that	  was	  previously	  limited	  to	  professionals.	  	  Students	  can	  publish	  and	  critique	  writing.	  Lave	  and	  Wenger	  make	  a	  compelling	  case	  for	  apprentice-­‐style	  learning	  that	  they	  call,	  “situated	  learning”.	  Rather	  than	  focusing	  on	  instruction,	  students	  engage	  in	  active	  learning	  through	  participation.	  	  Watching	  and	  learning	  while	  writing	  and	  receiving	  coaching	  and	  guidance	  where	  appropriate,	  completes	  the	  learning	  cycle.	  	  	  Aside	  from	  understanding	  the	  basic	  function	  and	  use	  of	  fanfiction	  sites	  and	  the	  sense	  of	  alienation	  that	  brought	  many	  “fans”	  together	  in	  the	  first	  place,	  it	  is	  important	  to	  look	  at	  these	  fluid	  cyber	  spaces	  as	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  places.	  The	  theories	  that	  have	  been	  used	  to	  investigate	  other	  online	  groups	  previously	  and	  the	  theories	  to	  be	  used	  specifically	  in	  this	  study	  20  need	  to	  be	  addressed.	  Wenger’s	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  is	  the	  foundational	  text	  and	  theory	  that	  I	  use	  to	  help	  define	  the	  aspects	  of	  identity	  that	  are	  observably	  changed,	  influenced	  or	  highlighted	  within	  these	  particular	  communities	  from	  a	  socio-­‐cultural	  perspective.	  	  2.3 Socio-­‐Cultural	  Learning	  Theory:	  Vygotsky’s	  Foundations	  	   Wenger	  is	  considered	  a	  neo-­‐Vygotskian	  so	  an	  understanding	  of	  Vygotsky’s	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  will	  aid	  in	  explaining	  Wenger’s	  use	  and	  application	  of	  his	  community	  of	  practice	  theory.	  Vygotsky’s	  social	  development	  theory	  (socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  in	  broader	  terms),	  argues,	  social	  interaction	  precedes	  development,	  consciousness	  and	  cognition	  are	  the	  end	  product	  of	  socialization	  and	  social	  behavior:	  “All	  the	  higher	  [cognitive]	  functions	  originate	  as	  actual	  relationships	  between	  individuals"	  (57).	  In	  his	  book,	  Mind	  in	  Society,	  Vygotsky	  delves	  into	  psychological	  aspects	  of	  social	  development	  of	  the	  individual	  and	  of	  society.	  “Learning	  is	  a	  necessary	  and	  universal	  aspect	  of	  the	  process	  of	  developing	  culturally	  organized,	  specifically	  human	  psychological	  function"	  (90).	  	  There	  are	  three	  major	  components	  to	  his	  theory.	  First,	  authentic	  social	  interaction	  plays	  a	  fundamental	  role	  in	  the	  process	  of	  understanding	  of	  child	  development.	  Second,	  learning	  involves,	  ‘The	  More	  Knowledgeable	  Other’,	  who	  is	  anyone	  who	  has	  a	  higher	  level	  of	  knowledge	  or	  expertise	  than	  the	  learner.	  Often	  these	  people	  are	  teachers,	  coaches,	  adults	  but	  they	  can	  also	  be	  other	  children	  with	  a	  higher	  proficiency	  level	  on	  the	  given	  task.	  Third,	  ‘Zone	  of	  Proximal	  Development’	  which	  Vygotsky	  wrote,	  is	  “the	  distance	  between	  the	  [child’s]	  actual	  developmental	  level	  of	  potential	  development	  as	  determined	  through	  problem	  solving	  under	  adult	  guidance	  or	  in	  collaboration	  with	  more	  capable	  peers”	  (86).	  The	  central	  feature	  of	  Vygotsky’s	  theory	  that	  shifts	  into	  Wenger’s	  research	  is	  the	  idea	  that	  21  cognition,	  development;	  learning	  and	  social	  interactions	  are	  intertwined	  and	  dependent	  on	  each	  other.	  	  The	  implications	  move	  past	  a	  single	  child’s	  development	  of	  language	  acquisition	  and	  problem	  solving	  skills	  and	  goes	  further	  to	  explain	  how	  people	  learn,	  master	  new	  skills,	  ans	  influence	  other	  generations.	  	  	  2.4 Community	  of	  Practice	  	  	   Wenger’s	  states	  his	  community	  of	  practice	  theory,	  is	  a	  “kind	  of	  social	  theory	  of	  learning	  [he]	  proposes	  is	  not	  a	  replacement	  for	  other	  theories	  of	  learning	  that	  address	  other	  aspects	  of	  the	  problem”	  (3).	  	  The	  primary	  focus	  of	  his	  theory	  is	  on	  learning	  as	  social	  participation.	  	  Wenger	  uses	  Vygotsky’s	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  as	  the	  basis	  for	  his	  theory	  on	  group	  learning	  ‘communities	  of	  practice’	  and	  extrapolates	  this	  practice	  about	  an	  employee	  group	  in	  a	  workplace.	  	  Vygotsky’s	  theory	  centers	  on	  the	  idea	  that	  social	  interaction	  plays	  a	  fundamental	  part	  in	  learning.	  In	  particular,	  Wenger	  uses	  Vygotsky’s	  ‘zone	  of	  proximal	  development’	  in	  his	  own	  theory	  around	  social	  learning	  in	  groups	  and	  further,	  into	  work	  places	  that	  become	  Communities	  in	  Practice.	  Learning	  occurs	  within	  the	  framework	  of	  what	  the	  child/person	  is	  able	  to	  understand	  and	  the	  social	  conditions	  that	  support	  that	  development.	  In	  a	  group	  context,	  coaching,	  mentoring	  and	  developing	  complex	  skills	  all	  support	  the	  learning	  and	  development	  of	  the	  child	  (employee)	  through	  her	  own	  active	  participation	  (Vygotsky).	  Wenger	  explores	  the	  elements	  of	  social	  participation	  and	  labels	  these	  groups	  as	  “communities	  of	  practice”.	  Wenger	  explains	  his	  understanding	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory:	  What	  if	  we	  adopted	  a	  different	  perspective,	  one	  that	  placed	  learning	  in	  the	  context	  of	  our	  lived	  experience	  of	  participation	  in	  the	  world?	  What	  if	  we	  22  assumed	  that	  learning	  is	  as	  much	  a	  part	  of	  our	  human	  nature	  as	  eating	  or	  sleeping,	  that	  is	  both	  life-­‐sustaining	  and	  inevitable,	  and	  that-­‐given	  a	  chance-­‐we	  are	  quite	  good	  at	  it?	  And	  what	  if,	  in	  addition,	  we	  assumed	  that	  learning	  is,	  in	  its	  essence,	  a	  fundamentally	  social	  phenomenon,	  reflecting	  out	  own	  deeply	  social	  nature	  as	  human	  beings	  capable	  of	  knowing?	  (3)	  In	  Wenger’s	  book,	  Communities	  of	  Practice,	  he	  uses	  his	  community	  of	  practice	  model	  on	  a	  medical	  claims	  processing	  center	  in	  the	  US.	  In	  an	  ethnographic	  study,	  Wenger	  follows	  the	  staff	  as	  they	  process	  health	  insurance	  claims	  to	  a	  private	  insurance	  company.	  He	  connects	  the	  social	  learning	  theory	  to	  the	  construction	  of	  a	  “local	  practice”	  that	  makes	  the	  demands	  of	  a	  particularly	  technical	  work	  possible	  and	  takes	  into	  account	  realities	  of	  the	  work	  in	  practice:	  1. Provides	  resolutions	  to	  conflicts	  such	  as	  contradictions	  between	  measure	  and	  work-­‐for	  instance,	  processing	  claims	  versus	  time	  on	  the	  phone.	  2. Supports	  a	  communal	  memory	  that	  allows	  individuals	  to	  do	  their	  work	  without	  knowing	  everything	  3. Helps	  newcomers	  join	  the	  community	  by	  participating	  in	  the	  practice	  4. Generates	  specific	  perspectives	  and	  terms	  to	  accomplish	  what	  needs	  to	  be	  done	  5. Makes	  the	  job	  habitable	  by	  creating	  an	  atmosphere	  in	  which	  the	  monotonous	  and	  meaningless	  aspects	  of	  the	  job	  are	  woven	  into	  the	  ritual	  customs,	  stories,	  events,	  dramas	  and	  rhythms	  of	  community	  life.	  (Wenger	  46)	  	   Wenger	  explains,	  “The	  concept	  of	  practice	  connotes	  doing,	  but	  not	  just	  doing	  in	  and	  of	  itself.	  It	  is	  doing	  in	  a	  historical	  and	  social	  context	  that	  gives	  structure	  and	  meaning	  to	  what	  we	  23  do.	  In	  this	  sense,	  practice	  is	  always	  social	  practice”	  (47).	  	  He	  uses	  many	  descriptive	  words	  to	  help	  explain	  that	  these	  communities	  have	  a	  culture	  that	  is	  both	  visible	  and	  invisible	  to	  the	  outsider’s	  eyes.	  	  He	  refers	  to,	  “explicit	  and	  tacit,	  what	  is	  said	  and	  unsaid,	  what	  is	  represented	  and	  what	  is	  assumed,	  language,	  tools,	  documents,	  images,	  symbols,	  untold	  rules	  of	  thumb,	  subtle	  cues,	  tacit	  conventions,	  well-­‐tuned	  sensitivities,	  embodied	  understandings,	  underlying	  assumptions”	  (47)	  and	  many	  more	  to	  allude	  to	  the	  complexity	  and	  layers	  to	  membership	  in	  a	  community	  of	  practice.	  He	  refers	  to	  the	  group	  practice	  through	  which	  we	  exercise	  “common	  sense	  through	  mutual	  engagement”	  (47).	  Wenger’s	  work	  here	  in	  trying	  to	  define	  what	  happens	  within	  a	  social	  context	  both	  to	  the	  participant	  and	  to	  the	  collective	  group	  makes	  this	  theory	  valuable	  in	  its	  application	  to	  online	  communities.	  If	  we	  are	  able	  to	  assume	  that	  many	  kinds	  of	  learning	  occurs	  within	  a	  social	  context	  as	  Wenger	  would	  suggest	  and	  further,	  that	  identities	  are	  both	  formed	  and	  forming	  as	  a	  result	  of	  participation	  within	  that	  group-­‐learning	  context,	  then	  we	  are	  able	  to	  investigate	  identity	  formation	  within	  the	  context	  of	  group	  learning.	  In	  my	  study,	  the	  group	  learning	  occurs	  within	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  online	  fanfiction	  writing	  and	  reading	  community.	  The	  conversations	  between	  fans	  (readers	  and	  writers),	  are	  the	  window	  into	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  participation	  in	  this	  group	  have	  influence	  or	  some	  sort	  of	  symbiotic	  relationship	  to	  the	  development	  of	  a	  young	  person’s	  identity.	  Why	  then	  use	  Wenger’s	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  as	  the	  extension	  model	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  for	  this	  investigation?	  	  	  	   In	  Wenger’s	  introduction	  to	  his	  book,	  Communities	  of	  Practice,	  he	  explains	  the	  merits	  of	  the	  community	  of	  practice	  or	  (CoP)	  model.	  	  He	  suggests	  that	  CoP	  is	  “not	  a	  replacement	  for	  24  other	  theories”	  but	  it	  does	  have	  “it’s	  own	  set	  of	  assumptions	  and	  its	  own	  focus”	  (3).	  He	  further	  explains	  that	  his	  model	  offers,	  “a	  coherent	  level	  of	  analysis	  [that]	  yields	  a	  conceptual	  framework	  from	  which	  we	  derive	  a	  consistent	  set	  of	  general	  principles”.	  These	  general	  principles	  and	  framework	  allows	  for	  “recommendations	  for	  understanding	  and	  enabling	  learning.”	  (3)	  	  2.5 Wenger’s	  General	  Principles	  for	  a	  Conceptual	  Framework:	  1. We	  are	  social	  beings	  2. Knowledge	  is	  a	  matter	  of	  competence	  with	  respect	  to	  valued	  enterprise	  3. Knowing	  is	  a	  matter	  of	  participating	  in	  the	  pursuit	  of	  such	  enterprises-­‐active	  	  	  engagement	  of	  the	  world	  4. Meaning-­‐our	  ability	  to	  experience	  the	  world	  and	  our	  engagement	  with	  it	  as	  meaningful-­‐is	  what	  learning	  is	  to	  produce	  (4).	  In	  their	  book,	  Situated	  Learning:	  Legitimate	  Peripheral	  Learning,	  Lave	  &	  Wenger	  use	  the	  concept	  of	  legitimate	  peripheral	  participation	  –to	  broaden	  the	  traditional	  connotation	  of	  apprenticeship	  (learning	  on	  the	  job)—to	  one	  of	  changing	  participation	  and	  identity	  transformation	  in	  CoP.	  	  Wenger	  notes	  that	  although	  the	  concepts	  of	  identity	  are	  recognized,	  they	  are	  largely	  left	  unanalyzed.	  This	  provides	  other	  researchers	  opportunities	  to	  explore	  the	  expression	  of	  identity	  as	  an	  important	  part	  of	  a	  “community	  of	  practice”	  (11).	  “The	  primary	  focus	  of	  this	  theory	  is	  learning	  as	  social	  participation,	  this	  shapes	  what	  we	  do	  but	  also	  who	  we	  are	  and	  how	  we	  interpret	  what	  we	  do”	  (4).	  	  25  2.6 Wenger’s	  Categories	  of	  Identity	  in	  Practice	  	   Within	  Wenger’s	  book,	  Communities	  of	  Practice,	  he	  defines	  five	  aspects	  (or	  characterizations)	  of	  ‘identity	  in	  practice’.	  These	  categories	  form	  the	  source	  for	  identifying	  how	  identities	  are	  formed	  within	  these	  online	  communities.	  The	  following	  are	  Wenger’s	  characterizations	  of	  identity	  in	  practice:	  	  	  Identity	  as	  a	  Negotiated	  Experience:	  We	  define	  ourselves	  by	  the	  ways	  we	  	  experience	  our	  selves	  through	  participation	  as	  well	  as	  by	  the	  ways	  we	  and	  others	  reify	  our	  selves.	  Identity	  as	  a	  Community	  Membership:	  We	  define	  who	  we	  are	  by	  the	  familiar	  and	  unfamiliar.	  	  Identity	  as	  a	  Learning	  Trajectory:	  We	  define	  who	  we	  are	  by	  where	  we	  have	  been	  and	  where	  we	  are	  going.	  Identity	  as	  a	  Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐membership:	  We	  define	  who	  we	  are	  by	  the	  ways	  we	  reconcile	  our	  various	  forms	  of	  membership	  into	  one	  identity.	  Identity	  as	  a	  Relation	  Between	  the	  Local	  and	  the	  Global:	  We	  define	  who	  we	  are	  by	  negotiating	  local	  ways	  of	  belonging	  to	  broader	  constellations	  and	  of	  manifesting	  broader	  styles	  and	  discourses	  (149).	  	  2.7 Comparing	  Fanfiction	  Research	   	  There	  are	  many	  different	  models	  and	  theories	  for	  researching	  online	  learning	  behaviors.	  Jen	  Scott	  Curwood	  uses	  James	  Paul	  Gee’s	  foundational	  research	  of	  an	  online	  ‘affinity	  space’	  to	  discuss	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  adolescents	  are	  able	  to	  further	  their	  literacy	  practices.	  	  Rather	  than	  26  discussing	  the	  ways	  that	  students	  form	  their	  identities	  as	  participants	  within	  ‘affinity	  spaces’,	  she	  discusses	  the	  opportunities	  for	  literary	  engagement	  by	  using	  Gee’s	  basic	  principles:	  self	  directed	  engagement,	  collaboration	  and	  multiple	  paths	  toward	  participation.	  (Curwood	  422)	  Although	  Gee’s	  ‘affinity	  space’	  is	  a	  more	  contemporary	  model	  of	  online	  practices,	  I	  made	  the	  choice	  to	  use	  Wenger’s	  community	  of	  practice	  for	  my	  study.	  During	  an	  interview	  for	  the	  journal,	  Language	  and	  Intercultural	  Communication,	  (LAIC),	  James	  Paul	  Gee	  speaks	  to	  why	  he	  prefers	  to	  think	  of	  ‘affinity	  spaces’	  and	  the	  individual	  participation	  within	  a	  context	  rather	  than	  looking	  at	  fanfiction	  sites	  as	  a	  community	  of	  practice.	  During	  the	  interview	  with	  St.	  Clair,	  Gee	  voices	  a	  particular	  concern	  with	  the	  “baggage”	  the	  word	  “community”	  carries	  as	  his	  reason	  for	  not	  using	  the	  specific	  structure	  of	  the	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  associated	  with	  Wenger’s	  community	  of	  practice	  (qtd.	  in	  St	  Clair	  94).	  Gee	  goes	  on	  further	  to	  explain,	  “The	  play	  with	  real	  and	  virtual	  identities,	  the	  many	  different	  routes	  to	  participation	  and	  status,	  the	  recruitment	  of	  diverse	  skill	  sets,	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  ‘ordinary’	  people	  can	  be	  producers	  and	  not	  just	  consumers,	  and	  the	  porousness	  and	  flexibility	  of	  ‘membership’	  that	  these	  new	  digital	  (and	  often	  partly	  virtual,	  partly	  real)	  spaces	  allow	  holds	  out,	  for	  me,	  real	  promise	  of	  new	  practices	  for	  equity	  and	  a	  sense	  of	  belonging	  and	  agency	  for	  people“	  (qtd.	  in	  St	  Clair	  94).	  Gee’s	  sense	  of	  the	  fluidity	  or	  “porousness”	  of	  the	  membership	  does	  not	  dismiss	  or	  negate	  Wenger’s	  similar	  assertion	  that	  membership	  is	  always	  changing	  due	  to	  the	  “pivotal”	  nature	  of	  identity	  formation	  within	  a	  social	  context	  and	  liminal	  aspects	  of	  both	  identity	  and	  the	  online	  groups.	  	   For	  this	  study,	  the	  distinction	  between	  the	  merits	  of	  using	  the	  lens	  of	  Wenger’s	  ‘community	  of	  practice’	  theorem	  over	  Gee’s	  ‘affinity	  space’	  model	  is	  in	  the	  focus.	  	  Using	  the	  27  structure	  of	  the	  identity	  from	  “stages	  of	  identity	  in	  practice”	  (149),	  allows	  me	  to	  more	  specifically	  focus	  on	  identity	  formed	  as	  a	  direct	  result	  of	  participation	  as	  delineated	  by	  Wenger.	  This	  focus	  on	  identity	  is	  as	  one	  of	  a	  particular	  group	  or	  community	  rather	  than	  the	  broader	  discourse	  of	  the	  individual’s	  selective	  participation	  within	  a	  group	  and	  their	  differentiated	  roles	  within	  that	  space.	  	  The	  study	  is	  not	  as	  much	  about	  their	  differing	  personal	  journeys	  in	  multiple	  contexts,	  I	  am	  asking	  what	  kids	  are	  doing	  and	  how	  their	  identities	  are	  developing	  in	  this	  particular	  social	  learning	  participation	  context.	  I	  see	  the	  word	  ‘community’	  and	  the	  resultant	  community	  participation	  as	  an	  important	  part	  of	  any	  learning,	  growing,	  doing,	  experience.	  	  In	  any	  social	  practice	  there	  is	  an	  exchange	  that	  occurs	  with	  or	  without	  intention	  with	  the	  other	  people	  who	  participate	  in	  the	  same	  experience.	  	  In	  Wenger’s	  own	  words,	  “the	  primary	  focus	  of	  this	  theory	  is	  learning	  as	  social	  participation…Such	  participation	  shapes	  not	  only	  what	  we	  do,	  but	  also	  who	  we	  are	  and	  how	  we	  interpret	  what	  we	  do”	  (4).	  For	  the	  purposes	  of	  this	  study,	  looking	  specifically	  at	  markers	  for	  influence	  or	  development	  of	  identity	  within	  these	  online	  communities,	  Wenger’s	  communities	  of	  practice	  model	  seems	  to	  offer	  the	  most	  coherent	  structure.	  	   In	  comparison,	  researchers,	  Curwood,	  Lammers	  and	  Magnifico	  in	  their	  article,	  Writing	  in	  the	  Wild:	  Writers'	  Motivation	  in	  Fan-­‐Based	  Affinity	  Spaces,	  suggest	  that	  a	  broadened	  use	  of	  Gee’s	  origins	  of	  ‘affinity	  spaces’	  offers	  an	  appropriate	  methodology	  in	  an	  ethnographic	  study	  of	  online	  literacy	  practices.	  “We	  argue	  that	  affinity	  spaces	  function	  in	  ways	  that	  knowledge	  is	  effectively	  distributed	  across	  learners,	  objects,	  tools,	  symbols,	  technologies	  and	  the	  environment	  (Curwood,	  Lammers	  and	  Magnifico	  44).	  Whereas,	  	  “At	  the	  same	  time,	  Situated	  28  Cognition	  and	  Discourse	  theorists	  (Gee	  2008;	  Lave	  &	  Wenger,	  1991;	  Wenger,	  1998)	  might	  argue	  that	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  technology	  seeps	  into	  literacy	  practices	  would	  depend	  heavily	  on	  the	  specific	  communities	  and	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  the	  new	  tools	  are	  or	  are	  not	  taken	  up”	  (Curwood,	  Lammers	  and	  Magnifico	  48).	  Although	  both	  Gee’s	  research	  from	  2004	  and	  Curwood/Lammers/Magnifico’s	  research	  from	  2012	  are	  both	  more	  contemporary	  than	  that	  of	  Wenger’s	  research	  in	  1998,	  Wenger’s	  community	  dependent	  model	  is	  more	  helpful	  when	  looking	  at	  a	  specific	  young	  adult	  novel	  driven	  community	  of	  learners	  and	  the	  effect	  that	  community	  has	  on	  the	  identity	  of	  the	  participants.	  Wenger’s	  model,	  which	  depends	  on	  the	  community,	  mirrors	  the	  focus	  my	  research	  questions	  pose.	  I	  investigate	  identity	  in	  relation	  to	  the	  members’	  participation	  in	  this	  one	  particular	  online	  group	  and	  I	  wonder	  what	  effect	  participating	  within	  this	  particular	  context/community,	  which	  makes	  this	  approach	  most	  applicable.	  	   Another	  study,	  by	  Angela	  Thomas	  published	  in	  2005,	  follows	  60	  children	  involved	  in	  an	  online	  community	  based	  on	  J.R.	  Tolkien’s	  Lord	  of	  the	  Rings.	  She	  focuses	  on	  these	  children’s	  group	  learning	  practices	  from	  a	  Wenger	  communities	  of	  practice	  perspective.	  She	  makes	  a	  similar	  argument,	  that	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  provides	  a	  clear	  model	  for	  investigating	  children’s	  learning	  as	  part	  of	  a	  group,	  essentially	  a	  Vygotskian-­‐approach	  to	  social	  learning	  without	  the	  specific	  intervention	  of	  a	  teacher	  or	  coach.	  	  However,	  her	  research	  differs	  from	  this	  project	  by	  method,	  using	  direct	  discussions	  with	  the	  students	  whereas	  I	  observed	  online	  discussions	  between	  writers	  on	  a	  forum.	  Further,	  her	  aim	  differs	  as	  she	  investigated	  the	  interactive	  process	  of	  group	  achievement	  and	  problem	  solving	  whereas	  I	  investigated	  the	  29  individual	  experience	  of	  identity	  formation	  as	  a	  consequence	  of	  group	  learning	  based	  on	  a	  shared	  interest	  (A.	  Thomas).	  I	  am	  heartened	  to	  see	  other	  researchers	  investigating	  the	  many	  ways	  in	  which	  learning	  occurs	  in	  these	  self-­‐selected	  social	  networks.	  	  	   Another	  learning	  model	  that	  explores	  online	  learning	  is	  called	  ‘connected	  learning’.	  Although	  Mizuko	  Ito’s	  “	  ’connected	  learning’	  addresses	  the	  gap	  between	  in-­‐school	  and	  out-­‐of-­‐school	  learning,	  intergenerational	  disconnects,	  and	  new	  equity	  gaps	  arising	  from	  the	  privatization	  of	  learning”	  (Ito,	  Gutierrez	  and	  Livingstone	  3),	  its	  general	  focus	  is	  more	  toward	  the	  success	  of	  the	  learning	  and	  the	  resultant	  positive	  behaviors.	  The	  authors	  conclude,	  “connected	  learning	  is	  realized	  when	  a	  young	  person	  is	  able	  to	  pursue	  a	  personal	  interest	  or	  passion	  with	  the	  support	  of	  friends	  and	  caring	  adults,	  and	  is	  in	  turn	  able	  to	  link	  this	  learning	  and	  interest	  to	  academic	  achievement,	  career	  success	  or	  civic	  engagement.	  This	  model	  is	  based	  on	  evidence	  that	  the	  most	  resilient,	  adaptive,	  and	  effective	  learning	  involves	  individual	  interest	  as	  well	  as	  social	  support	  to	  overcome	  adversity	  and	  provide	  recognition”	  (Ito,	  Gutierrez	  and	  Livingstone	  4).	  	  In	  terms	  of	  research	  that	  hopes	  to	  observe	  identity	  development	  and	  influence	  rather	  than	  the	  successful	  learning	  of	  the	  participants,	  Wenger’s,	  communities	  of	  practice	  offers	  and	  “yields	  a	  conceptual	  framework	  from	  which	  we	  derive	  a	  consistent	  set	  of	  general	  principles.”	  (2)	  	  2.8 Socio-­‐Cultural	  Learning	  Theory	  and	  Community	  of	  Practice	  	  The	  Group	  Helps	  to	  Form	  Identities	  In	  Vygotskian	  terms,	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  is	  the	  tool	  or	  mediated	  environment	  through	  which	  individuals	  come	  to	  understand	  their	  role	  in	  the	  world.	  Although	  the	  online	  communities	  under	  investigation	  are	  related	  to	  a	  specific	  original	  narrative,	  it	  is	  important	  to	  note	  the	  30  individuals	  who	  make	  up	  these	  communities	  have	  an	  important	  role	  in	  the	  identities	  created	  within	  that	  community.	  	  Research	  from	  the	  field	  of	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  and	  the	  application	  of	  the	  same	  principles	  as	  related	  to	  media	  is	  extensive.	  	  Vygotsky’s	  original	  works	  from	  the	  early	  1930’s	  stresses	  the	  importance	  of	  our	  mediated	  relationship	  between	  ourselves	  and	  our	  world,	  or,	  “the	  symbolic,	  functional,	  or	  socially	  constructed	  artifacts	  that	  ‘mediate’	  between	  humans	  and	  their	  world”	  (52-­‐57).	  	  He	  further	  suggests	  that	  cultural	  development	  occurs,	  “as	  an	  interpersonal	  process	  [and	  then	  is]	  transformed	  into	  an	  intrapersonal	  one”	  (57).	  Looking	  at	  the	  group	  helps	  to	  understand	  the	  individual.	  	  Within	  online	  fanfiction	  culture,	  I	  observe	  the	  role	  of	  mediation	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  plays	  and	  the	  affect	  the	  group	  itself	  has	  on	  the	  formation	  of	  identities	  within	  that	  particular	  cultural	  framework.	  	  Galda	  and	  Beach	  combine	  socio-­‐cultural	  learning	  theory	  with	  literary	  theory	  to	  posit	  that	  reading	  and	  participation	  in	  literary	  practices	  is	  individual,	  social	  and	  cultural.	  	  When	  teens	  participate	  in	  these	  narrative	  communities,	  they	  are	  influenced	  and	  formed	  by	  their	  performance	  of	  identity	  in	  the	  group	  and	  form	  the	  social	  and	  cultural	  construct	  that	  forms	  the	  environment	  in	  which	  they	  develop	  their	  own	  identities	  (Galda).	  The	  group	  participation	  becomes	  a	  reciprocal	  event,	  they	  form	  the	  group	  and	  group	  helps	  to	  form	  them.	  New	  media	  theorists	  such	  as	  Bacon-­‐Smith,	  Henry	  Jenkins	  and	  Rebecca	  Black	  all	  discuss	  in	  some	  form	  the	  different	  aspects	  of	  unique	  online	  writing	  communities	  (fanfiction)	  that	  are	  identity	  forming.	  	  Jenkins	  points	  to	  the	  cooperative	  nature	  in	  these	  online	  writing	  groups	  as	  a	  particularly	  strong	  force	  of	  community	  bonding.	  	  “That	  creates	  a	  channel	  in	  which	  the	  reader	  can	  become	  a	  writer,	  the	  writer	  is	  always	  a	  reader,	  the	  roles	  are	  not	  as	  rigidly	  bound	  up	  apart	  31  from	  each	  other,	  and	  that	  sense	  of	  possessiveness	  and	  profiteering	  is	  absent,	  in	  favour	  of	  a	  sense	  of	  community,	  of	  sharing,	  of	  giving	  back”	  (Jenkins	  92).	  Brian	  Street	  discusses	  literacy	  as	  a	  social	  practice	  and	  can	  be	  seen	  within	  the	  fanfiction	  sites.	  	  “Literacy	  practices,	  then,	  refer	  to	  the	  broader	  cultural	  conception	  of	  particular	  ways	  of	  thinking	  about	  and	  doing	  reading	  and	  writing	  in	  cultural	  contexts.	  A	  key	  issue,	  at	  both	  a	  methodological	  and	  an	  empirical	  level,	  then,	  is	  how	  to	  characterize	  the	  shift	  from	  observing	  literacy	  events	  to	  conceptualizing	  literacy	  practices”	  (Street	  79).	  The	  simple	  construct	  of	  becoming	  what	  we	  do	  happens	  during	  the	  practice	  of	  literacy.	  	  The	  participants	  develop	  their	  identities	  as	  individual	  writers,	  consumers	  and	  critics	  of	  written	  words.	  	  They	  also	  develop	  their	  identities	  as	  contributors	  in	  popular	  cultural	  and	  in	  a	  larger	  context,	  cultural	  literacy	  practices:	  	  “Gee	  distinguishes	  between	  the	  well	  known	  notion	  of	  “Communities	  of	  Practice”	  in	  which	  novices	  learn	  through	  apprenticeship	  and	  scaffolding	  in	  their	  interactions	  with	  experts	  (Lave	  and	  Wenger,	  1991)	  and	  an	  alternative	  construct	  for	  looking	  at	  learning;	  that	  of	  affinity	  spaces”	  (Black	  117).	  	  The	  grouping	  itself,	  of	  like-­‐minded	  individuals	  shapes	  both	  the	  individuals	  and	  the	  group-­‐a	  reciprocal,	  social	  development	  model.	  	  Kate	  Allen	  agrees	  and	  suggests	  that	  adolescents	  who	  are	  reading	  Manga	  allow	  the	  readers	  to	  become	  part	  of	  that	  [fanfiction]	  community.	  “In	  these	  [literacy]	  events,	  personal	  experience	  is	  being	  shared,	  ideas	  are	  being	  negotiated,	  the	  self	  is	  being	  exposed,	  and	  the	  result	  is	  not	  an	  authoritative	  "right"	  or	  "wrong"	  verdict,	  but	  a	  conversation	  or	  debate	  about	  matters	  of	  shared	  value	  (Myers	  et	  al,	  2000:	  87)”	  (Allen	  270).	  It	  is	  that	  give	  and	  take,	  learn	  and	  teach,	  read	  and	  write,	  be	  an	  individual	  and	  part	  of	  the	  collective	  consciousness	  that	  makes	  these	  ‘affinity	  spaces’	  so	  powerful	  to	  individual	  and	  community	  development	  of	  the	  adolescent.	  	  Williams	  posits	  that	  32  students’	  participation	  in	  online	  communities	  helps	  them	  develop	  important	  literate	  practices	  such	  as	  how	  to	  refer	  to	  themselves,	  how	  to	  make	  appropriate	  comments	  within	  a	  context	  and	  how	  to	  establish	  an	  appropriate	  ethos	  (Williams	  682-­‐686).	  They	  also	  learn	  to	  write	  for	  a	  particular	  audience	  and	  how	  to	  interpret	  feedback.	  Literacy	  skills	  are	  built	  within	  these	  particular	  communities	  and	  Williams	  helps	  to	  identify	  some	  of	  the	  less	  obvious	  ways	  this	  is	  true.	  	   Wenger	  refers	  to	  the	  practice	  of	  negotiation	  of	  “being	  a	  person”	  in	  a	  particular	  context	  as	  identity	  formation	  within	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  (149).	  	  He	  refers	  to	  identity	  in	  practice	  as	  having	  five	  parallel	  themes	  between	  practice	  and	  identity.	  This	  study	  uses	  his	  characterizations	  of	  the	  these	  identities	  in	  practice	  for	  the	  purposes	  of	  coding	  participants’	  commentaries	  to	  one	  and	  another	  after	  they	  post	  to	  the	  fanfiction	  site:	  identity	  as	  negotiated	  experience,	  identity	  as	  community	  membership,	  identity	  as	  learning	  trajectory,	  identity	  as	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership	  and	  identity	  as	  a	  relation	  between	  the	  local	  and	  the	  global	  (149).	  	  I	  focused	  on	  the	  comments/reviews	  between	  readers	  and	  writers	  and	  used	  the	  confines	  of	  these	  categories	  to	  observe	  expressions	  of	  identity.	  	  	  2.9 Summary	  of	  Literature	  Review	  Throughout	  the	  research	  on	  social	  learning	  theory,	  online	  communities,	  identity	  formation	  and	  online	  communications	  as	  well	  as	  discourse	  analysis,	  there	  is	  a	  common	  theme	  from	  researchers-­‐they	  see	  a	  connection	  between	  the	  groups	  of	  people	  and	  the	  text	  which	  links	  them.	  New	  media	  theorists	  like	  Gee,	  Black,	  Jenkins,	  Bacon-­‐Smith	  and	  Street	  offer	  important	  ideas	  and	  information	  regarding	  online	  practices	  however,	  it	  is	  the	  works	  of	  Vygotsky,	  Lave	  and	  Wenger	  that	  provide	  the	  essential	  research	  models	  that	  informed	  my	  own	  research.	  33  Chapter	  3: Methodology	  3.1 Introduction	  My	  research	  has	  several	  components.	  I	  had	  many	  choices	  to	  make	  in	  order	  to	  find	  representational	  communication	  within	  a	  fanfiction	  sites	  based	  on	  a	  young	  adult	  novel	  for	  this	  study.	  In	  the	  methodology	  chapter,	  I	  describe	  the	  criteria	  I	  used	  for	  the	  choices	  made	  regarding	  the	  research	  subject	  materials	  including	  the	  source	  novel,	  the	  related	  fanfiction	  site,	  the	  writers	  to	  sample	  and	  which	  stories	  of	  those	  writers	  to	  follow.	  I	  explain	  how	  I	  approached	  gathering	  data	  in	  the	  community	  and	  how	  I	  operationalized	  Wenger’s	  identities	  in	  practice	  to	  create	  a	  coding	  rubric.	  Further,	  I	  explain	  the	  coding	  process	  and	  how	  I	  reviewed	  the	  final	  data.	  By	  the	  end	  of	  this	  chapter,	  the	  reader	  should	  have	  an	  understanding	  both	  of	  what	  I	  did	  during	  the	  research	  process	  and	  why	  I	  made	  the	  choices	  that	  I	  did.	  	  3.2 Choosing	  the	  Text	  Choosing	  the	  text	  for	  my	  study	  was	  originally	  based	  upon	  my	  students’	  recommendations.	  With	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  there	  was	  a	  high	  level	  of	  reading	  interest	  and	  in	  turn,	  a	  high	  level	  of	  interest	  on	  the	  Internet.	  	  My	  own	  enthusiasm	  for	  the	  trilogy	  cemented	  the	  choice.	  	  Since	  making	  the	  original	  choice	  based	  upon	  my	  students’	  interest	  and	  my	  own	  personal	  preference,	  I	  have	  followed	  up	  by	  checking	  the	  statistics	  on	  sales	  of	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  trilogy.	  	  According	  to	  Publisher’s	  Weekly	  in	  March	  2013,	  the	  trilogy	  had	  sold	  27.7	  million	  copies,	  with	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  alone	  selling	  11.7	  million	  copies	  (Robak).	  Also,	  according	  to	  Book	  List	  Online,	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  is	  listed	  as	  a	  book	  for	  youth	  grades	  9-­‐12	  (Goldsmith).	  The	  34  movie	  of	  the	  book	  has	  grossed	  over	  $400,000,000	  at	  the	  box	  office,	  which	  speaks	  to	  the	  widespread	  interest	  in	  this	  particular	  narrative.	  	  3.3 Choosing	  a	  Fanfiction	  Site	  Choosing	  a	  fanfiction	  site	  based	  upon	  a	  young	  adult	  novel	  has	  several	  requirements	  for	  the	  purposes	  of	  this	  study.	  	  Due	  to	  the	  anonymous	  nature	  of	  the	  Internet,	  simple	  observation	  would	  not	  provide	  many	  clues	  as	  to	  the	  age	  of	  the	  participants.	  Although	  my	  original	  hope	  was	  to	  focus	  on	  young	  adults,	  it	  is	  possible	  that	  the	  writer	  may	  not	  be	  honest	  about	  her/his	  age.	  I	  decided	  to	  use	  the	  site	  that	  had	  a	  wide	  variety	  of	  stories	  and	  reviewers	  and	  recent	  contributions	  from	  readers	  and	  writers.	  Within	  I	  went	  to	  the	  section	  based	  upon	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  and	  then	  more	  particularly,	  the	  section	  named	  “communities”.	  	  Having	  rich	  discussions	  and	  multiple	  examples	  of	  feedback	  provides	  the	  most	  diverse	  samples	  for	  gathering	  the	  comments	  together	  to	  see	  if	  and	  how	  their	  comments	  to	  one	  and	  another	  are	  identity	  formative	  as	  described	  by	  Wenger’s	  five	  categories	  of	  identity.	  ‘Fanfiction/Hunger	  Games/Communities’	  seemed	  the	  most	  aptly	  named	  section	  from	  which	  to	  draw	  from	  the	  writers’	  conversations	  for	  study:­‐Games/	  This	  particular	  community	  requires	  a	  rating	  for	  posting	  stories	  and	  the	  labels	  are:	  K-­‐appropriate	  for	  all	  ages,	  K+-­‐might	  not	  be	  appropriate	  for	  very	  young	  children	  5+	  years	  old	  but	  otherwise	  fine	  for	  children,	  T-­‐suggests	  teens	  13	  years	  old	  and	  up,	  M-­‐	  for	  older	  teens	  and	  adults,	  MA-­‐mature	  and	  definitely	  adult	  content.	  I	  did	  not	  choose	  any	  stories	  that	  had	  the	  MA	  rating	  with	  the	  thinking,	  (although	  not	  necessarily	  true),	  that	  children	  wouldn’t	  typically	  write	  stories	  35  with	  adult	  only	  content.	  	  Using	  this	  site,	  I	  followed	  the	  posted	  comments	  of	  particular	  writers’	  stories	  and	  any	  back	  and	  forth	  conversations	  between	  writers	  and	  responders	  that	  were	  publicly	  visible.	  	  3.4 Gathering	  Data	  	  The	  first	  step	  for	  gathering	  data	  was	  to	  familiarize	  myself	  with	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  I	  had	  chosen.	  I	  visited	  the	  selected	  Hunger	  Games	  community	  to	  get	  a	  feel	  for	  the	  activities	  and	  interactions	  that	  occurred	  there.	  I	  read	  their	  stories	  and	  profiles	  and	  observed	  their	  posted	  comments	  and	  reviews.	  I	  looked	  at	  what	  kinds	  of	  conversations	  I	  could	  see	  and	  how	  the	  community	  fit	  a	  Wengerian	  interpretation	  of	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  “as	  learning	  as	  social	  participation”	  (4).	  Wenger	  writes,	  “participation	  refers	  not	  just	  to	  local	  events	  of	  engagement	  in	  certain	  activities	  with	  certain	  people,	  but	  to	  a	  more	  encompassing	  process	  of	  being	  active	  participants	  in	  the	  practices	  of	  social	  communities	  and	  constructing	  identities	  in	  relation	  to	  these	  communities”	  (4).	  I	  spent	  time	  getting	  to	  know	  the	  culture	  and	  this	  fanfiction	  forum’s	  canon.	  I	  interpreted	  the	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  site	  as	  an	  example	  of	  “active	  participation”	  and	  a	  “community	  of	  practice”.	  From	  what	  I	  observed	  at	  this	  preliminary	  stage	  of	  the	  investigation,	  there	  seemed	  to	  be	  a	  rich	  variety	  of	  comments	  and	  a	  large	  number	  of	  participants	  from	  which	  I	  could	  observe	  and	  collect	  data.	  	  3.5 The	  Coding	  Rubric	  After	  determining	  that	  I	  had	  a	  representative	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  site	  and	  that	  there	  was	  sufficient	  community	  engagement	  from	  which	  I	  could	  draw	  data,	  I	  then	  returned	  to	  36  Wenger’s	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  for	  the	  structure	  of	  the	  coding	  rubric.	  I	  used	  Wenger’s	  five	  characteristics	  of	  identity	  in	  practice	  and	  operationalized	  his	  words	  as	  the	  foundation	  for	  a	  coding	  rubric.	  The	  five	  characteristics	  of	  identity	  became	  the	  five	  categories	  or	  main	  themes	  for	  the	  coding	  chart:	  negotiated	  practice,	  community	  membership,	  learning	  trajectory,	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership	  and	  nexus	  of	  the	  local	  and	  global.	  Wenger’s	  detailed	  explanations	  of	  each	  of	  the	  characteristics	  then	  became	  the	  sub	  themes	  for	  each	  main	  theme.	  The	  theme	  of	  negotiated	  experience	  then	  added	  the	  following	  sub	  themes:	  celebrations	  or	  rituals	  of	  decorum-­‐praise,	  attaining	  levels,	  performance	  milestones,	  markers	  of	  transition,	  and	  reputation-­‐how	  one	  is	  known.	  The	  characteristic	  of	  community	  membership	  included	  these	  sub	  themes:	  belonging	  through	  competence,	  belonging	  familiar	  territory,	  mutuality	  of	  engagement,	  engaging	  with	  other	  people,	  play	  our	  part	  of	  engagement	  (give	  &	  take),	  negotiability	  of	  repertoire-­‐sustained	  engagement/history	  of	  practice,	  actions	  and	  language,	  and	  subtleties	  of	  practice.	  The	  characteristic	  of	  learning	  trajectory	  included	  these	  sub	  themes	  for	  coding:	  work	  in	  progress,	  participation	  and	  reification-­‐becoming,	  social	  contexts-­‐temporality	  of	  identity,	  peripheral	  participation,	  inbound-­‐newcomers	  invested	  in	  future	  participation,	  insider-­‐new	  events,	  outbound-­‐lead	  out	  or	  moving	  on,	  and	  boundaries-­‐spanning	  or	  linking	  communities.	  Nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership	  included	  the	  following	  sub	  themes:	  various	  forms	  of	  membership	  into	  one,	  various	  identities/constructs	  of	  ourselves,	  influence-­‐social	  bridges	  to	  private	  selves	  and	  different	  rules	  and	  norms	  (of	  different	  relationships).	  Nexus	  of	  the	  local	  and	  global	  had	  only	  two	  sub	  themes:	  lived	  and	  shaped	  identities	  and	  broader	  perspective-­‐a	  global	  context.	  These	  themes	  and	  sub	  themes	  then	  formed	  the	  foundation	  for	  the	  coding	  rubric.	  	  37  Once	  I	  had	  the	  assembled	  Wenger’s	  themes	  and	  sub	  themes	  into	  the	  coding	  rubric,	  I	  used	  my	  experience	  and	  knowledge	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  to	  assign	  Wenger’s	  identities	  in	  practice	  a	  fanfiction	  context.	  I	  matched	  his	  characteristics’	  markers	  with	  what	  seemed	  to	  be	  parallel	  examples	  the	  writing	  community.	  For	  instance,	  celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  or	  praise	  from	  Wenger’s	  claims	  adjustment	  community	  of	  practice	  is	  seen	  in	  the	  celebration	  of	  Sara’s	  birthday	  by	  singing	  and	  having	  cake	  (26)	  or	  Nancy	  “reassuring”	  Ariel	  with	  a	  smile	  (30).	  In	  a	  fanfiction	  forum,	  celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  most	  often	  occur	  as	  praise.	  An	  example	  of	  this	  sub	  theme	  occurs	  when	  a	  reader	  praises	  a	  writer’s	  story:	  “I	  could	  not	  stop	  reading	  this	  story,	  it	  was	  so	  good”	  (MockingjaysAndDandelions	  /r/8153095/0/3/).	  These	  two	  examples,	  one	  from	  Wenger’s	  community	  of	  practice	  and	  one	  from	  a	  fanfiction	  forum	  are	  both	  versions	  of	  a	  pat	  on	  the	  back.	  With	  a	  clear	  example	  of	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  identity	  marker	  in	  a	  fanfiction	  context,	  I	  then	  used	  the	  explanation	  and	  example	  to	  guide	  my	  filtering	  and	  coding	  process.	  Please	  see	  Appendices	  A-­‐D	  for	  the	  complete	  coding	  chart.	  In	  this	  particular	  study,	  observing	  the	  interactions	  of	  participants	  within	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  without	  having	  direct	  access	  or	  feedback	  of/from	  the	  participants,	  using	  a	  rubric	  with	  community	  of	  practice	  exemplars	  allowed	  me	  to	  keep	  the	  context	  of	  the	  interactions	  as	  clearly	  defined	  as	  is	  observable,	  but	  still	  provided	  for	  a	  more	  emergent	  look	  at	  the	  collected	  data.	  	  	  	  3.6 Choosing	  the	  Writers	  to	  Follow	  I	  selected	  three	  writers	  found	  within	  the	  previously	  mentioned	  Hunger	  Games	  forum­‐Games/0/4/1/	  under	  the	  group	  “Bread&Fire”:­‐Fire/95109/.	  Using	  information	  38  provided	  within	  the	  writers’	  profiles,	  I	  selected	  writers	  who	  could	  possibly	  be	  an	  adolescent	  or	  young	  adult	  (although	  not	  necessarily).	  Some	  hints	  like	  comments	  about	  parents,	  homework	  or	  school	  obligations	  indicated	  they	  are	  young	  people.	  In	  some	  cases,	  there	  were	  more	  subtle	  suggestions	  of	  youth	  like	  word	  choices	  or	  younger	  writing	  content.	  	  It	  is	  not	  definitive	  that	  the	  writer	  is	  actually	  a	  teenager	  or	  a	  young	  adult;	  however,	  even	  with	  subtle	  suggestions,	  this	  was	  a	  clear	  way	  for	  me	  to	  choose	  from	  the	  millions	  of	  fanfiction	  writers	  online.	  I	  also	  looked	  for	  writers	  who	  had	  multiple	  Hunger	  Games	  stories	  from	  which	  I	  could	  choose.	  The	  final	  criteria	  were	  that	  the	  writer	  had	  to	  have	  many	  reviews	  to	  be	  able	  to	  sample	  the	  ongoing	  conversations	  among	  the	  various	  respondents.	  	  	  3.6.1 Writers’	  Profiles	  Rose.A.Love	  identifies	  herself	  as	  an	  American	  female	  and	  remarks	  on	  her	  artistic	  nature.	  Although	  she	  does	  not	  say	  her	  age,	  there	  are	  a	  few	  possible	  indicators	  that	  she	  may	  be	  an	  adolescent.	  For	  instance	  her	  word	  choices	  like	  “huge	  nerd”	  and	  the	  way	  she	  describes	  some	  of	  her	  interests	  as	  “different	  stuff,”	  seem	  somewhat	  childish.	  Later	  she	  tells	  us	  she’s	  “planning	  on	  becoming	  an	  author	  when	  [she]	  ‘grows	  up’”	  and	  how	  she’s	  “working	  on	  [her]	  first	  novel.”	  (A.Rose.Love).	  	  Generally,	  her	  favourite	  quotes	  and	  a	  long	  rant	  on	  stereotypes	  indicated	  she	  might	  be	  a	  young	  adult	  or	  adolescent.	  She	  also	  met	  the	  selection	  criteria	  as	  she	  had	  made	  recent	  posts,	  written	  multiple	  stories	  and	  had	  hundreds	  of	  reviews.	  Dust	  Writer	  also	  identifies	  herself/himself	  as	  an	  American.	  Dust	  Writer	  does	  not	  identify	  age	  or	  gender.	  He/she	  has	  recently	  updated	  his/her	  profile.	  Dust	  Writer	  has	  seventeen	  posted	  39  stories	  and	  thousands	  of	  reviews.	  Unlike	  Rose.A.Love,	  Dust	  Writer’s	  word	  choices	  seem	  quite	  sophisticated	  but	  still	  sound	  like	  those	  of	  a	  young	  adult.	  	  She/he	  identifies	  herself	  as	  a	  “Writer/actor/editor/shiftless	  layabout	  from	  Brooklyn.”	  (DustWriter)	  She/he	  jokes	  about	  the	  probable	  success	  of	  her/his	  new	  screenplay	  that	  “wins	  Oscars	  and	  lets	  [her]	  get	  cut	  off	  by	  the	  Jaws	  theme	  as	  [she]	  babbles	  on	  [her]	  acceptance	  speech.”	  (DustWriter)	  	  	  The	  final	  writer	  is	  Iam97.	  She/he	  identifies	  herself/himself	  as	  German.	  Iam97	  also	  does	  not	  identify	  an	  age	  or	  gender.	  Some	  possible	  indicators	  of	  Iam97’s	  age	  are	  in	  the	  interests	  and	  obsessions	  that	  seem	  particularly	  juvenile.	  Iam97	  has	  Donald	  Duck	  as	  her/his	  icon	  and	  says,	  “that’s	  one	  of	  my	  obsessions.	  I’ve	  loved	  Donald	  since	  I	  started	  reading.	  He’s	  AMAZING!”	  (Iam97)	  Iam97	  also	  lists	  her/his	  3	  favourite	  movie	  as	  a	  toss	  up	  between	  “Some	  Like	  it	  Hot	  and	  Lion	  King.”	  None	  of	  these	  preferences	  alone	  prove	  Iam97	  is	  a	  young	  person,	  but	  together	  they	  do	  hint	  at	  the	  possibility.	  Iam97	  also	  has	  updated	  recently,	  has	  seven	  stories	  and	  hundreds	  of	  reviews.	  	  3.7 Choosing	  the	  Stories	  Choosing	  which	  stories	  to	  code	  was	  the	  simplest	  decision.	  I	  chose	  the	  most	  recent	  Hunger	  Games	  stories	  by	  the	  preselected	  authors	  that	  had	  many	  reviews	  posted.	  	  Most	  of	  the	  stories	  I	  chose	  were	  multi-­‐chapter	  stories	  and	  had	  hundreds	  of	  reviews.	  The	  longer	  stories	  allowed	  for	  more	  back	  and	  forth	  contributions	  from	  writers	  and	  responders.	  The	  shorter	  stories	  had	  the	  same	  kinds	  of	  contributions,	  just	  not	  as	  many	  as	  the	  longer	  stories.	  	                                                  3	  For	  ease	  of	  discussion	  from	  now	  on,	  the	  writers	  and	  respondents	  will	  be	  referred	  to	  as	  ‘she’	  as	  a	  representational	  pronoun	  as	  the	  gender	  of	  the	  anonymous	  writers	  is	  largely	  unknown.	  40  3.8 The	  Coding	  Process	  Beginning	  with	  the	  author’s	  own	  profile	  page	  and	  their	  comments	  at	  the	  top	  of	  each	  chapter	  posted,	  I	  copied	  the	  comments	  into	  the	  first	  column	  of	  the	  coding	  rubric.	  I	  included	  the	  author,	  responder	  and	  their	  respective	  links.	  Using	  the	  coding	  rubric	  (see	  Appendices	  A-­‐D),	  I	  set	  about	  sorting	  the	  types	  of	  exchanges	  writers	  and	  responders	  were	  having	  with	  one	  and	  another.	  Once	  the	  raw	  data	  was	  collected,	  (over	  one	  thousand	  comments),	  I	  reviewed	  all	  the	  coded	  selections	  to	  make	  sure	  in	  retrospect	  that	  I	  had	  put	  them	  into	  the	  appropriate	  theme	  or	  subtheme.	  Finally,	  with	  the	  coding	  completed,	  I	  then	  began	  the	  process	  of	  looking	  at	  the	  data	  from	  the	  wider	  perspective	  of	  general	  observations	  and	  visible	  patterns	  to	  the	  more	  specific	  examples	  of	  exchanges	  that	  suggested	  possible	  interpretations.	  I	  created	  six	  Excel	  graphs	  to	  help	  understand	  the	  frequency	  of	  use	  of	  the	  various	  themes	  and	  sub	  themes.	  This	  was	  also	  a	  “messy	  process”	  (Kinsella	  19)	  as	  within	  each	  sub	  theme	  area,	  multiple	  sub	  themes	  could	  be	  found	  creating	  different	  strands.	  However,	  in	  terms	  of	  providing	  a	  visual	  overview	  of	  the	  collected	  data,	  I	  found	  it	  to	  be	  quite	  helpful.	  	  3.8.1 Unit	  of	  Analysis	  Once	  I	  collected	  over	  one	  thousand	  comments	  taken	  from	  the	  three	  authors	  of	  six	  different	  stories	  given	  by	  three	  hundred	  and	  twenty-­‐three	  different	  participants,	  I	  then	  used	  the	  identities	  in	  practice	  rubric	  to	  help	  determine	  how	  best	  to	  code	  by	  theme	  and	  sub	  theme.	  I	  quickly	  discovered	  that	  many	  of	  the	  comments	  could	  be	  categorized	  under	  several	  themes.	  I	  then	  determined	  that	  I	  was	  coding	  not	  at	  the	  word	  level	  but	  at	  the	  idea	  level.	  For	  instance,	  “I	  mean,	  I’m	  up	  to	  a	  100	  reviews,	  which	  is	  completely	  amazing,	  I	  never	  thought	  this	  story	  would	  41  make	  it	  so	  far	  so	  thank	  you,	  thank	  you,	  thank	  you”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/13/Tick-­‐Tock),	  falls	  under	  several	  sub	  themes	  because	  of	  the	  multiple	  ideas	  contained	  within.	  Although	  a	  fair	  amount	  of	  A.Rose.Love’s	  comment	  is	  coded	  under	  the	  sub	  theme	  celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  or	  praise	  by	  her	  statements	  of	  thanks	  and	  her	  praise	  for	  all	  the	  reviews,	  this	  comment	  is	  also	  coded	  under	  the	  sub	  theme	  attaining	  levels,	  as	  she	  is	  indicating	  a	  fanfiction	  equivalent	  of	  a	  “marker	  of	  progress	  or	  completion	  in	  her	  writing”.	  	  The	  result	  of	  one	  statement	  having	  multiple	  ideas	  means	  the	  comment	  could	  be	  coded	  multiple	  times.	  By	  treating	  each	  comment	  as	  possibly	  more	  than	  one	  idea,	  it	  meant	  that	  many	  comments	  were	  multi-­‐coded.	  Because	  of	  the	  multi-­‐coding	  of	  the	  comments,	  there	  were	  in	  fact,	  one	  thousand	  six	  hundred	  and	  ninety	  six	  separate	  ‘ideas’	  coded	  from	  the	  one	  thousand	  and	  ten	  comments	  of	  raw	  data.	  	  	  	  3.8.2 Reliability	  –	  Trustworthiness	  With	  this	  kind	  of	  deductive	  qualitative	  analysis,	  it	  is	  important	  to	  note	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  I	  provided	  internal	  consistency.	  I	  have	  been	  observing	  this	  particular	  community	  for	  over	  two	  years	  and	  the	  comments	  used	  for	  the	  raw	  data	  span	  a	  period	  of	  three	  years.	  My	  immersion	  in	  this	  community	  allowed	  me	  to	  be	  a	  reliable	  judge	  of	  the	  different	  kinds	  of	  exchanges	  that	  occurred.	  	  When	  I	  began	  the	  coding	  process,	  I	  started	  with	  a	  test	  set	  of	  one	  hundred	  and	  fifty	  comments	  and	  coded	  using	  the	  Wengerian	  characteristics	  of	  identity	  in	  practice	  rubric,	  then	  stopped	  and	  reviewed.	  I	  reviewed	  the	  data	  to	  that	  point	  and	  further	  refined	  my	  rubric	  chart	  with	  additional	  description	  words	  and	  examples.	  I	  made	  distinctions	  between	  members	  and	  guests	  by	  citing	  the	  source	  page	  of	  the	  comments	  and	  also	  noted	  the	  links	  to	  the	  participants’	  42  profile	  pages.	  By	  making	  these	  kinds	  of	  distinctions	  I	  was	  able	  to	  clarify	  the	  roles	  of	  insider,	  in-­‐bound	  or	  outbound	  members.	  I	  made	  other	  similar	  refinements.	  Once	  I	  reviewed	  the	  test	  group	  and	  updated	  the	  coding	  rubric,	  I	  went	  on	  to	  code	  another	  eight	  hundred	  and	  fifty	  comments.	  As	  Kinsella	  suggests,	  “This	  can	  be	  a	  messy	  process,	  but	  one	  that	  recognizes	  the	  complexity	  of	  understanding	  language”	  (Kinsella	  19).	  When	  I	  had	  completed	  the	  coding	  process,	  I	  reviewed	  the	  entire	  data	  set	  again	  looking	  for	  patterns	  and	  making	  sure	  I	  was	  as	  consistent	  as	  I	  could	  be	  within	  the	  conversational	  context	  of	  a	  fanfiction	  forum.	  	  	  3.9 Methodology	  Final	  Thoughts	  There	  were	  many	  different	  decisions	  and	  choices	  that	  I	  made	  that	  contributed	  to	  the	  resultant	  raw	  data	  that	  is	  used	  in	  this	  study.	  The	  deductive	  coding	  schema	  I	  used	  was	  based	  on	  Wenger’s	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  framework.	  I	  explained	  my	  rationale	  for	  the	  decisions	  I	  made	  for	  choosing	  the	  source	  novel,	  the	  fanfiction	  forum,	  which	  writers	  and	  what	  stories	  I	  observed.	  I	  detailed	  the	  process	  I	  used	  to	  create	  a	  holistic	  rubric	  from	  Wenger’s	  five	  characteristics	  of	  identity	  in	  practice.	  I	  explained	  in	  detail	  the	  coding	  process	  and	  the	  ways	  in	  which	  I	  kept	  an	  internal	  consistency	  during	  the	  coding	  process.	  	  43  Chapter	  4: Research	  Observations	  4.1 Introduction	  In	  this	  chapter,	  I	  will	  discuss	  in	  detail	  the	  data	  set	  I	  collected	  from	  one	  fanfiction	  forum	  based	  on	  The	  Hunger	  Games.	  I	  will	  give	  some	  general	  observations	  and	  a	  detailed	  analysis	  of	  the	  five	  identity	  themes	  and	  the	  sub	  themes.	  My	  aim	  is	  to	  explain	  examples	  in	  context	  to	  demonstrate	  where	  I	  believe	  I	  see	  evidence	  of	  identity	  expression	  and	  identity	  formation.	   4.2 General	  Observations	  From	  the	  data	  I	  collected,	  the	  most	  surprising	  and	  somewhat	  reassuring	  overall	  observation	  is	  that	  the	  general	  tone	  of	  the	  exchanges	  in	  this	  fanfiction	  forum	  was	  positive	  and	  genial.	  Given	  that	  my	  purpose	  for	  this	  research	  was	  from	  a	  teacher-­‐librarian’s	  perspective	  to	  observe	  how	  young	  people	  express	  their	  identities	  when	  they	  meet	  and	  speak	  to	  each	  other	  online	  and	  how	  this	  affects	  their	  identity,	  I	  was	  quite	  relieved	  by	  what	  I	  observed.	  My	  previous	  experience	  with	  online	  communities	  had	  prepared	  me	  for	  a	  less	  positive	  perception.	  	  Further,	  through	  the	  coding	  process,	  I	  can	  say	  that	  from	  Wenger’s,	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  perspective	  these	  participants	  seem	  to	  be	  engaged	  in	  identity	  expressive	  and	  identity	  formative	  behaviors.	  	  Overall,	  the	  majority	  of	  the	  comments	  that	  I	  observed	  were	  encouraging	  and	  positive.	  Many	  of	  the	  comments	  were	  pats	  on	  the	  back	  for	  the	  writers	  and	  their	  stories.	  This	  also	  represented	  the	  most	  represented	  theme	  of	  comment,	  celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  and	  praise.	  However,	  I	  noticed	  the	  comments	  were	  less	  instructive	  about	  the	  writing	  process	  and	  more	  detailed	  discussions	  about	  the	  canon	  than	  I	  would	  have	  thought.	  I	  suspect	  far	  more	  of	  the	  specific	  commentary	  on	  the	  craft	  of	  writing	  happened	  at	  the	  ‘Beta’	  writer	  level	  which	  was	  not	  44  observable	  by	  the	  public.	  Moreover,	  I	  found	  the	  tone	  of	  the	  exchanges	  to	  be	  supportive	  and	  contain	  varying	  levels	  of	  exuberance.	  Particularly	  during	  the	  longer	  stories	  where	  readers	  appeared	  to	  be	  invested	  in	  the	  author’s	  vision	  of	  their	  beloved	  Hunger	  Games,	  it	  was	  clear	  that	  the	  first	  solid	  connection	  these	  participants	  shared	  was	  a	  love	  for	  the	  canon	  and	  then	  the	  new	  story	  that	  evolved	  out	  of	  that	  first	  love.	  	  	  4.3 By	  the	  Numbers	  This	  research	  is	  focused	  on	  the	  fanfiction	  works	  of	  three	  authors	  of	  six	  different	  stories,	  containing	  a	  combined	  sixty-­‐eight	  chapters	  and	  224	  039	  words.	  It	  also	  included	  one	  thousand	  lines	  of	  comments	  from	  twelve	  hundred	  twenty-­‐three	  reviews	  from	  three	  hundred	  and	  twenty-­‐three	  different	  participants.	  Many	  comments	  fell	  under	  several	  sub	  themes	  with	  a	  total	  of	  one	  thousand	  six	  hundred	  ninety-­‐six	  entries.	  The	  most	  common	  theme	  was	  negotiated	  experience	  and	  the	  most	  common	  sub	  theme	  was	  ‘celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  or	  praise’.	  Even	  though	  there	  were	  areas	  that	  were	  not	  well	  represented,	  I	  still	  see	  this	  website	  as	  a	  community	  of	  practice.	  Although	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership	  and	  nexus	  of	  local	  and	  global	  did	  not	  have	  many	  responses,	  it	  is	  possible	  that	  there	  were	  many	  of	  these	  kinds	  of	  expressions.	  They	  just	  were	  not	  visible	  in	  the	  post	  and	  respond	  section	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  forum.	  The	  following	  graph	  shows	  the	  frequency	  of	  the	  main	  identity	  themes.	  	  45  	  Table	  1	  Identity	  Themes	  Frequencies	  	  4.4 Negotiated	  Experience	  Many	  of	  the	  observed	  posts	  used	  for	  this	  study	  contained	  some	  element	  of	  a	  ‘negotiated	  experience’.	  Through	  these	  posts	  the	  participants	  experienced	  identity	  in	  practice.	  	  Wenger	  states,	  “The	  experience	  of	  identity	  in	  practice	  is	  a	  way	  of	  being	  in	  the	  world.	  It	  is	  not	  the	  equivalent	  to	  a	  self-­‐image…Who	  we	  are	  lies	  in	  the	  way	  we	  live	  day	  to	  day,	  not	  just	  in	  what	  we	  think	  or	  say	  about	  ourselves,	  though	  that	  is	  of	  course	  part	  (but	  only	  part)	  of	  the	  way	  we	  live”	  (151).	  The	  social	  context	  of	  the	  lived	  experience	  within	  this	  community	  creates	  that	  important	  (and	  elusive)	  pivot	  point	  between	  oneself	  as	  an	  individual	  in	  constantly	  shifting	  development	  and	  that	  same	  self,	  growing	  and	  adapting	  within	  the	  group	  context.	  The	  posts	  I	  observed	  provided	  many	  opportunities	  to	  see	  expressions	  of	  identity	  and	  to	  also	  see	  these	  identities	  as	  they	  are	  molded	  and	  influenced	  through	  the	  community	  participation.	  867	  662	  99	   53	   15	  0	  100	  200	  300	  400	  500	  600	  700	  800	  900	  1000	  Iden?ty	  Themes	  Frequencies	  46  The	  following	  chart	  shows	  the	  range	  and	  frequency	  of	  the	  sub	  themes	  found	  within	  the	  Negotiated	  Experience	  identity	  theme:	  	   	  	   	  Negotiated	  Experience	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	   	  Celebrations	  or	  rituals	  of	  decorum-­‐praise	   795	  Celebrations	  or	  rituals	  of	  decorum-­‐praise	  /	  Reputation-­‐how	  one	  is	  known	   48	  Celebrations	  or	  rituals	  of	  decorum-­‐praise	  /	  Attaining	  Levels	   5	  Celebrations	  or	  rituals	  of	  decorum-­‐praise	  /	  Performance	  Milestones	   4	  Attaining	  Levels	   3	  Performance	  milestones	   3	  Markers	  of	  Transition	   2	  Performance	  milestones/	  celebrations	  or	  rituals	  of	  decorum/	  &multi-­‐	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  theme	  entries	   6	  Reputation-­‐how	  one	  is	  known	   1	  Grand	  Total	   867	  	  Table	  2	  Negotiated	  Experience	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	  	  4.4.1 Celebrations-­‐Rituals	  of	  Decorum	  or	  Praise	  The	  most	  common	  sub	  theme	  within	  Negotiated	  Experience,	  “celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  or	  praise”	  is	  the	  core	  of	  this	  participatory	  culture	  and	  a	  reflection	  of	  this	  particular	  forum’s	  general	  practices.	  	  Most	  commonly,	  participants	  issued	  encouragement	  and	  praise.	  These	  comments	  range	  from	  simple	  praise	  and	  encouragement	  like,	  “Love	  this	  you	  must	  update!”	  (abk1973	  /r/9903005/0/3/),	  to	  heartfelt	  comments	  like,	  “Wow.	  This	  is	  just	  beautiful!	  Captivating	  and	  engaging,	  with	  a	  lovely	  writing	  style.	  You	  really	  have	  something	  to	  be	  proud	  of!”	  (Intrepidity-­‐and-­‐Dandelions	  /r/8139367/),	  to	  the	  written	  equivalent	  of	  gushing	  or	  even	  squealing:	  47  OMG!	  THIS	  IS	  SO	  EPIC!	  IT	  IS	  AWESOME!	  I	  LOVE	  IT!	  OMG!	  THANKKK	  YOUUUUUU!1!	  ITS	  JUST	  TOO	  GOOD	  4	  WORDS!	  THIS	  IS	  DEFINITELY	  YOUR	  BEST	  ONE	  YET!	  OMG!	  THANK	  YOU!	  I	  LOOVEEE	  IT!	  IT	  MAKES	  ME	  FEEL	  SO	  HAPPY!	  I	  JUST	  LOVE	  STUFF	  LIKE	  THIS!	  IT	  WAS	  AWESOME	  TO	  FIND	  THIS	  AFTER	  A	  DAY'S	  WORTH	  OF	  HOMEWORK,	  AND	  JUST	  FALL	  INTO	  BLISS!	  THANK	  YOU!	  YOU	  ARE	  THE	  BEST	  EVERRRRRRRRRR!	  OMG!	  THANKS	  YOU!	  (Amanda332czx	  /r/7572849/0/25/).	  	  This	  praise	  and	  encouragement	  is	  an	  important	  part	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  forum	  member	  participation	  and	  was	  overwhelmingly	  the	  most	  frequent	  occurrence	  of	  written	  participation.	  Wenger	  defines	  identity	  as	  a	  ‘negotiated	  experience’	  as,	  “We	  define	  who	  we	  are	  by	  the	  ways	  we	  experience	  our	  selves	  through	  participation	  as	  well	  as	  by	  the	  ways	  we	  and	  others	  reify	  our	  selves”	  (149).	  In	  these	  examples,	  the	  respondents’	  compliments	  are	  personally	  directed,	  using	  words	  like	  “You	  really	  have	  something	  to	  be	  proud	  of”	  (Intrepidity-­‐and-­‐Dandelions)	  and	  “YOU	  ARE	  THE	  BEST	  EVERRRRRRR!”	  (Amanda332czx).	  The	  compliments	  are	  also	  directed	  to	  the	  writing,	  “Captivating	  and	  engaging,	  with	  a	  lovely	  writing	  style”	  (Intrepidity-­‐and-­‐Dandelions)	  and	  “you	  must	  update	  soon”	  (abk1973).	  	  The	  writer	  then	  reading	  these	  reviews	  have	  these	  words	  to	  use	  as	  they	  define,	  become	  and	  reify	  who	  they	  are.	  The	  compliments	  in	  these	  cases,	  being	  both	  personal	  as	  well	  as	  about	  their	  writing,	  provide	  strong	  fuel	  for	  both	  identification	  of	  the	  person	  and	  the	  process.	  	  It	  is	  interesting	  to	  see	  that	  in	  terms	  of	  feeding	  a	  desire	  to	  write	  and	  create,	  at	  the	  identity	  formative	  level,	  this	  community	  of	  practice	  seems	  to	  be	  a	  powerful	  resource.	  However	  I	  wondered,	  how	  do	  these	  writers	  find	  themselves	  as	  part	  of	  this	  group	  in	  the	  first	  place?	  They	  48  would	  need	  to,	  even	  in	  some	  small	  way,	  already	  see	  themselves	  or	  imagine	  themselves	  as	  part	  of	  this	  group.	  There	  are	  soft	  entry	  points	  where	  people	  can	  read	  and	  post	  without	  committing	  to	  the	  process	  but	  again,	  how	  do	  they	  find	  themselves	  there	  in	  the	  first	  place?	  	  4.4.2 Reputation-­‐How	  one	  is	  Known	  Another	  interesting	  expression	  of	  identity	  to	  note	  is	  that	  ‘one’s	  reputation-­‐how	  one	  is	  known’	  was	  a	  more	  frequent	  sub	  theme	  term	  used	  than	  both	  ‘performance	  milestones’	  or	  ‘attaining	  levels’.	  Within	  the	  fanfiction	  community,	  it	  would	  seem	  it	  is	  more	  important	  to	  be	  “known”	  as	  a	  good	  writer	  and	  have	  many	  members	  look	  at	  your	  new	  postings	  than	  it	  was	  to	  note	  awards	  or	  particular	  levels.	  	  Respondents	  would	  let	  authors	  know	  they	  liked	  their	  previous	  works	  or	  that	  they	  had	  their	  works	  “on	  alert”	  (to	  be	  emailed	  when	  there	  was	  a	  new	  post	  by	  that	  particular	  author).	  	  A.Rose.Love	  let	  readers	  know	  how	  much	  it	  pleased	  her	  to	  be	  thought	  of	  in	  this	  way:	  “Yay!	  :D	  I’m	  so,	  so,	  so	  very	  happy/	  grateful/	  honored	  by	  the	  reviews,	  alerts,	  and	  favorites”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/3/Tick-­‐Tock);	  And,	  “The	  alerts	  and	  favorites	  make	  me	  smile,	  the	  reviews	  make	  my	  day”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/6/Tick-­‐Tock).	  Another	  respondent	  shares	  her	  thoughts	  on	  being	  put	  on	  alert:	  “When	  you	  added	  my	  story	  to	  your	  alerts,	  your	  username	  immediately	  drew	  my	  attention	  and	  I	  took	  a	  look	  at	  your	  profile	  (hope	  you	  don't	  mind	  btw)	  to	  confirm	  it	  was	  you:)”	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/33/).	  These	  participants	  express	  their	  appreciation	  and	  continued	  desire	  to	  be	  “thought	  of”	  by	  their	  fellow	  community	  members.	  How	  we	  think	  of	  ourselves	  within	  the	  context	  of	  the	  group,	  of	  which	  we	  are	  participants,	  is	  an	  important	  aspect	  of	  forming	  and	  reifying	  our	  identity.	  	  	  49  Through	  the	  many	  differing	  expressions	  of	  ‘negotiated	  experience’,	  we	  are	  able	  to	  see	  the	  participants	  revealing	  their	  identities	  as	  readers	  and	  writers.	  Through	  the	  words	  they	  choose	  in	  their	  posts,	  they	  note	  their	  current	  state	  of	  identity-­‐both	  by	  articulating	  what	  pleases	  them	  and	  by	  sharing	  their	  personal	  and	  writers’	  values	  through	  the	  words	  they	  choose	  to	  express	  with	  the	  other	  members.	  	  	  	  4.4.3 Performance	  Milestones	  Although	  there	  are	  other	  awards	  and	  ways	  to	  recognize	  achievement	  within	  a	  fanfiction	  forum,	  the	  most	  noteworthy	  ‘performance	  milestone’	  was	  in	  reaching	  particular	  numbers	  of	  reviews.	  In	  the	  case	  of	  Iam97,	  she	  takes	  a	  few	  moments	  to	  acknowledge	  and	  thank	  her	  “100th”	  reviewer.	  In	  doing	  so,	  she	  is	  actually	  congratulating	  herself	  for	  achieving	  this	  amount	  of	  recognition	  within	  the	  community.	  “AND	  NOW	  A	  SUPER	  BIG	  THANK	  YOU	  TO	  MY	  100th	  REVIEWER	  Pandora1984	  !”	  (Iam97	  s/7572849/10/New-­‐experience).	  Iam97	  expresses	  her	  gratitude	  to	  respondent	  Pandora1984,	  but	  in	  pointing	  out	  that	  it	  is	  her	  “100th”	  review,	  she	  allows	  herself	  and	  the	  community	  to	  celebrate	  how	  much	  attention	  her	  story	  has	  garnered	  from	  the	  group.	  As	  an	  expression	  of	  identity,	  she	  highlights	  herself	  compared	  to	  others.	  Another	  writer	  congratulates	  Iam97	  on	  “achieving”	  the	  performance	  milestone	  of	  one	  hundred	  reviews	  and	  says	  she	  is	  content	  with	  her	  twenty	  reviews.	  However,	  as	  she	  congratulates	  Iam97	  she	  uses	  the	  praising	  commentary	  as	  an	  opportunity	  to	  ask	  people	  to	  review	  her	  work.	  “When	  I	  read	  the	  part	  about	  your	  100	  reviews	  I	  was	  like	  "WOW!	  I	  wish	  I	  had	  100	  reviews!'	  Hahahhahahha	  I'm	  pretty	  content	  with	  my	  twenty	  though,	  AND	  I	  JUST	  UPDATED!	  50  Check	  it	  out	  (CharmChaser	  /r/7572849/0/27/).	  This	  example	  clarifies	  the	  importance	  of	  how	  others	  see	  each	  participant	  within	  the	  community.	  It	  isn’t	  enough	  to	  post	  stories	  and	  comment;	  it	  is	  important	  to	  be	  noticed	  and	  recognized	  by	  the	  rest	  of	  the	  community.	  In	  receiving	  praise	  (and	  recognition	  in	  terms	  of	  the	  performance	  milestone	  of	  the	  many	  reviews),	  the	  participants	  see	  themselves	  in	  a	  bigger	  context.	  How	  many	  more	  students	  might	  have	  continued	  to	  pursue	  a	  solitary	  talent	  if	  they	  had	  been	  able	  to	  see	  and	  hear	  the	  evidence	  from	  many	  people	  that	  they	  were	  good	  at	  what	  they	  were	  doing	  and	  that	  others	  wanted	  to	  see	  more?	  In	  this	  context,	  online	  identities	  are	  formed.	  	  4.4.4 Attaining	  Levels	  ‘Attaining	  levels’	  as	  an	  expression	  of	  identity	  has	  a	  simple	  role	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  community.	  This	  sub	  theme	  became	  visible	  when	  the	  writer	  acknowledged	  his	  or	  her	  own	  accomplishment	  in	  terms	  of	  work	  completion	  or	  a	  new	  idea	  that	  was	  attempted	  and	  was	  successful.	  A	  more	  complex	  example	  occurs	  when	  A.Rose.Love	  notes	  the	  encouragement	  that	  has	  pushed	  her	  to	  continue	  developing	  her	  story:	  “I	  never	  thought	  this	  story	  would	  go	  anywhere,	  so	  thank-­‐you	  all.	  It	  makes	  me	  smile	  and	  makes	  my	  day.”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/5/Tick-­‐Tock).	  A	  simpler	  example	  occurs	  when	  the	  same	  author	  lets	  the	  community	  know	  there	  is	  a	  new	  chapter	  to	  review:	  “Chapter	  nine	  is	  now	  officially	  up”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/9/Tick-­‐Tock).	  A.Rose.Love	  recognizes	  her	  own	  accomplishment,	  even	  if	  it	  is	  only	  to	  note	  work	  completion.	  According	  to	  Wenger,	  “an	  identity,	  then,	  is	  a	  layering	  of	  events	  and	  participation	  and	  reification	  by	  which	  we	  our	  experience	  and	  its	  social	  interpretation	  inform	  51  each	  other”	  (151).	  	  In	  Rose.A.Love’s	  case,	  her	  identity	  formed	  as	  she	  layered	  what	  she	  did	  with	  how	  she	  reified	  her	  experiences	  with	  the	  group	  context.	  	  	  4.4.5 Markers	  of	  Transition	  ‘Markers	  of	  transition’	  are	  identity	  expressions	  that	  signify	  where	  there	  have	  been	  changes	  in	  level	  within	  the	  writing	  or	  relationship.	  It	  is	  quite	  subtle	  and	  could	  be	  confused	  with	  aspects	  of	  ‘learning	  trajectory’.	  	  In	  this	  case,	  DustWriter	  informed	  the	  community	  that	  there	  was	  a	  shift	  in	  her	  writing.	  “Hello	  again,	  long	  lost	  land	  of	  fanfiction!	  Apologies	  for	  my	  long	  absence;	  I've	  been	  working	  on	  a	  screenplay	  and/or	  novel	  based	  on	  this	  fanfiction	  but	  I	  have	  terrible	  motivational	  block.	  I'm	  hoping	  that	  sharing	  my	  work	  in	  progress	  here	  will	  spurn	  me	  to	  work	  faster	  and	  get	  my	  research	  done.	  	  love	  the	  subject	  matter	  and	  frankly,	  am	  tired	  of	  me	  holding	  myself	  back”	  (DustWriter	  /s/9903005/1/A-­‐Journey-­‐North).	  Dustwriter	  explains	  there	  was	  a	  shift	  in	  her	  writing	  and	  lets	  the	  community	  know	  she	  was	  moving	  on	  to	  a	  new	  level.	  Her	  claim	  of	  being	  “tired	  of	  holding	  herself	  back”	  demonstrated	  a	  developmental	  shift.	  She	  reflected	  on	  her	  own	  past	  practice	  and	  decided	  to	  make	  a	  conscious	  change.	  Reifying	  identities	  is	  an	  ongoing	  process	  of	  internalizing	  and	  acting	  on	  various	  messages.	  In	  this	  case,	  the	  message	  was	  from	  herself	  but	  the	  source	  was	  the	  feeling	  she	  got	  as	  a	  result	  of	  participating	  in	  this	  community-­‐a	  powerful	  instrument	  of	  personal	  change.	  	  4.5 Community	  Membership	  Being	  part	  of	  a	  community	  provides	  a	  level	  of	  the	  familiar	  and	  a	  place	  to	  belong.	  Wenger	  states,	  “our	  membership	  constitutes	  our	  identity,	  not	  just	  through	  reified	  markers	  of	  52  membership	  but	  more	  fundamentally	  through	  the	  competence	  it	  entails”	  (152).	  	  Participation	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  community	  provides	  opportunities	  to	  engage	  with	  others	  who	  share	  a	  love	  for	  the	  common	  canon	  (The	  Hunger	  Games).	  Members	  of	  the	  community	  belong	  as	  writers	  and	  as	  fans.	  They	  participate	  in	  establishing	  group	  norms	  and	  practices	  that	  help	  to	  create	  a	  sense	  of	  the	  familiar.	  Throughout	  the	  ‘community	  membership’	  identity	  markers,	  it	  appeared	  that	  young	  people	  were	  connecting	  with	  others	  in	  meaningful	  ways.	  Whether	  it	  is	  a	  version	  of	  parallel	  play,	  or	  whether	  they	  are	  actively	  engaging	  in	  each	  other’s	  stories	  or	  requests,	  the	  mutuality	  of	  engagement	  makes	  it	  appear	  they	  are	  growing	  as	  individuals	  and	  as	  a	  group.	  According	  to	  Vygotsky,	  “there	  are	  highly	  complex	  dynamic	  relationships	  between	  developmental	  and	  learning	  processes…”	  (91).	  These	  complex	  and	  dynamic	  relationships	  that	  Vygotsky	  refers	  to	  also	  help	  explain	  why	  in	  this	  particular	  identity	  category	  there	  are	  many	  mixed	  forms	  of	  identity	  markers.	  A	  participant	  can	  be	  engaged	  in	  the	  material	  at	  hand	  and	  also	  be	  delving	  in	  the	  more	  subtle	  details	  of	  the	  practice,	  but	  not	  using	  short	  form/community	  specific	  language.	  The	  relationships	  and	  the	  practice	  is	  both	  dynamic	  and	  complex.	  The	  following	  chart	  shows	  the	  frequency	  of	  the	  various	  configurations	  of	  Community	  Membership.	  There	  were	  many	  different	  configurations	  within	  the	  possible	  categories	  as	  the	  rubric	  allowed.	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	   	  53  	   Total	  Community	  Membership	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	   662	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	   514	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  subtleties	  of	  practice	   68	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  engaging	  in	  action	  with	  others	   23	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  engaging	  in	  action	  with	  others	  /	  subtleties	  of	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  practice	   11	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  Actions	  and	  Language	   9	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  engaging	  in	  action	  with	  others	  /	  play	  our	  part	  	  	  	  	  	  	  in	  relations	  give	  and	  take	   7	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  play	  our	  part	  in	  relations	  give	  and	  take	   6	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  subtleties	  of	  practice	  /	  Actions	  and	  Languages	   4	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  belonging	   3	  Belonging	  through	  competence	   3	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	  /	  subtleties	  of	  practice	  /	  engaging	  in	  action	  with	  	  	  	  	  	  	  others	  /	  play	  our	  part	  in	  relations	  given	  and	  take	  and	  /	  other	  multi-­‐	  	  	  	  	  	  	  	  theme	  entries	   13	  Belonging	  Familiar	  Territory	   1	  Belonging	  /	  through	  competence	  /	  familiar	  territory	   1	  Actions	  and	  Language	   1	  Our	  part	  in	  relations	  of	  engagement	  give	  &	  take	   1	  Grand	  Total	   663	   Table	  3	  Community	  Membership	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	  	   The	  most	  interesting	  observation	  from	  this	  category	  is	  in	  the	  shaping	  of	  identity.	  Within	  these	  kinds	  of	  comments	  I	  saw	  more	  of	  the	  back	  and	  forth	  among	  participants	  and	  the	  changes	  the	  writers	  make	  because	  of	  or	  in	  spite	  of	  the	  group.	  Or	  in	  contrast,	  writers	  simply	  make	  independent	  choices	  without	  a	  visible	  reason.	  In	  this	  way,	  identity	  is	  a	  lived	  behavior.	  Rather	  than	  as	  Shaffer	  says,	  “playing	  computer	  games	  to	  develop	  the	  skills	  and	  knowledge,	  identities,	  values	  and	  epistemology	  of	  the	  gaming	  community”	  (164),	  these	  members	  are	  “playing”	  at	  being	  writers.	  	  54  4.5.1 Mutuality	  of	  Engagement	  The	  first	  clear	  link	  between	  members	  was	  in	  their	  shared	  love	  of	  the	  source	  material.	  If	  not	  a	  shared	  ‘love’	  for	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  there	  is	  at	  least	  an	  interest	  or	  passion	  for	  the	  narrative	  and	  the	  characters	  that	  brings	  these	  participants	  together.	  An	  extraordinary	  number	  of	  the	  comments	  were	  directly	  related	  to	  sharing	  an	  opinion	  about	  the	  fanfiction	  story	  and	  its	  proper	  or	  hoped	  for	  use	  of	  the	  source	  material.	  Sometimes	  the	  authors	  explained	  or	  defended	  the	  choices	  they	  made	  in	  regards	  to	  the	  characters	  or	  plot:	  “Oh,	  I	  had	  much	  fun	  writing	  this	  one;)	  I	  don't	  know	  if	  you	  get	  why	  though.	  But	  let's	  just	  say:	  How	  could	  I	  forget	  poor	  Gale?	  *grin*	  And	  there's	  nothing	  funnier	  to	  write	  about	  than	  a	  jealous	  boy…I	  know	  I'm	  evil”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/7/New-­‐experience).	  Other	  times	  members	  made	  their	  opinions	  clear	  if	  they	  thought	  the	  writer	  handled	  the	  material	  correctly:	  Hahahahaha,	  I'm	  SOOOOOOOOOOO	  glad	  Katniss	  admitted	  that	  she	  luhrvs	  Peeta(':	  “	  (CharmChaser	  /r/7572849/0/31/)	  and	  similarly,	  “You	  nailed	  Prim,	  and	  this	  is	  coming	  from	  someone	  who	  IS	  thirteen,	  so	  I	  really	  saw	  the	  connection	  with	  her	  and	  what	  I'm	  growing	  up	  with	  now”	  (CharmChaser	  /r/7572849/0/32/).	  	  Participants	  also	  engaged	  in	  discussions	  about	  what	  characters	  would	  or	  wouldn’t	  have	  done:	  I	  don't	  believe	  you	  got	  anyone	  out	  of	  character.	  Prim's's	  something	  she	  would	  do.	  Peeta's	  way	  of	  thinking(mainly	  how	  he's	  easily	  impressed	  by	  beautiful	  things/it	  says	  so	  in	  Catching	  Fire)'s	  something	  he	  would	  do(think	  this	  way	  I	  mean).	  And	  of	  course	  Katniss's	  is	  HER.	  I	  think	  it's	  good	  you	  still	  keep	  it	  in	  moderation,	  though.	  The	  first	  fanfic	  I've	  read	  with	  a	  similar	  plot	  was	  55  "my	  first	  date	  with	  Katniss	  Everdeen".	  Although	  it	  was	  perfectly	  written,	  Katniss's	  hostility	  and,	  more	  generally,	  character	  was	  a	  bit	  exaggerated.	  Even	  though	  she's	  cautious,	  she's	  still	  a	  human,	  not	  an	  humans	  do	  have	  feelings	  and	  weaknesses.	  That's	  why	  I	  loved	  how	  you	  handled	  the	  have-­‐to-­‐thank-­‐him	  issue.	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/33/)	  	   In	  all	  three	  of	  these	  examples,	  the	  respondents	  related	  to	  what	  choices	  each	  of	  them	  would	  have	  made	  or	  did	  make.	  They	  demonstrate	  their	  sense	  of	  selves	  as	  related	  to	  the	  source	  material.	  CharmChaser	  shows	  her	  appreciation	  for	  the	  romantic	  connections	  between	  Katniss	  and	  Peeta.	  Is	  that	  because	  she	  herself	  is	  a	  romantic?	  Then,	  CharmChaser	  lets	  us	  know	  that	  as	  a	  13	  year	  old,	  the	  writing	  rang	  true	  to	  her	  own	  experiences.	  Later,	  DandelionOnFire	  uses	  a	  criticism	  of	  another	  story	  to	  praise	  this	  writer	  but	  in	  doing	  so,	  establishes	  her	  own	  level	  of	  understanding	  about	  how	  people	  would	  act	  with	  their	  “feelings	  and	  weaknesses”	  (DandelionOnFire).	  	  None	  of	  these	  identity	  conversations	  would	  have	  occurred	  without	  the	  original	  source	  material	  as	  a	  foundational	  link.	  Likes	  and	  dislikes,	  how	  people	  would	  handle	  difficult	  situations	  and	  how	  people	  of	  a	  certain	  age	  would	  react	  are	  all	  discussed	  within	  the	  confines	  of	  their	  mutual	  engagement	  around	  The	  Hunger	  Games.	  	  4.5.2 Subtleties	  of	  Practice	  I	  was	  quite	  surprised	  by	  what	  seemed	  to	  me	  to	  be	  a	  lack	  of	  detailed	  discussion	  on	  writing	  practice.	  There	  are	  a	  few	  examples	  where	  people	  spoke	  about	  character	  development,	  grammar	  or	  plot	  choices	  like	  Diana’s	  review:	  “I'm	  enjoying	  this	  story.	  The	  writing	  is	  good,	  and	  56  the	  characters	  ring	  true.	  The	  only	  criticism	  I	  have	  is	  that	  there	  are	  quite	  a	  few	  little	  grammar	  errors	  throughout	  which	  sometimes	  distracted	  me	  from	  this	  otherwise	  lovely	  chapter”	  (Diana	  /r/7572849/0/31/).	  However,	  more	  often	  subtleties	  of	  practice	  were	  detailed	  conversations	  about	  the	  use	  of	  the	  canon:	  	  Sorry.	  :/	  anyslut,	  I	  vote	  AGAINST	  the	  rebellion	  in	  this	  story.	  I	  think	  it	  would	  be	  too	  much	  of	  a	  sudden	  change,	  especially	  since	  u	  have	  9,	  I	  guess	  long	  chapters.	  And	  a	  lot	  of	  stories	  that	  don't	  have	  Katniss	  and	  Peeta	  in	  the	  games	  usually	  end	  up	  bringing	  in	  the	  games	  with	  them,	  or	  with	  prim,	  or	  gale,	  or	  there's	  a	  rebellion,	  or	  something	  involving	  Snow	  doing	  something	  happens,	  and	  it	  would	  be	  too	  overdone	  if	  u	  did	  it	  anyways”	  (iWouldKillForaCheeseBun	  /r/7572849/0/28/).	  	  	  Within	  this	  community,	  the	  comments	  where	  people	  feel	  comfortable	  showing	  particular	  expertise,	  strong	  opinions	  and	  judgments	  tend	  to	  be	  about	  remaining	  true	  to	  the	  original	  cultural	  artifact.	  These	  strong	  alignments	  with	  their	  own	  expectations	  of	  the	  original	  story	  and	  characters	  are	  a	  reflection	  of	  the	  participants’	  sense	  of	  self.	  	  When	  these	  participants	  are	  able	  to	  comfortably	  delve	  into	  the	  more	  intricate	  and	  subtle	  aspects	  of	  the	  purpose	  for	  their	  community	  engagement,	  they	  are	  expressing	  and	  forming	  identity	  and	  this	  “membership	  constitutes…identity”	  (Wenger	  152).	  	  Wenger	  writes	  about	  this	  confident	  sense	  of	  self	  as	  a	  part	  of	  community	  membership:	  “We	  are	  in	  familiar	  territory.	  We	  can	  handle	  ourselves	  competently…We	  know	  how	  to	  engage	  with	  others.	  We	  understand	  why	  they	  do	  what	  they	  do	  because	  we	  understand	  the	  enterprise	  to	  which	  participants	  are	  accountable“	  (152).	  	  57  4.5.3 Belonging	  Through	  Competence	  For	  the	  purposes	  of	  this	  research,	  belonging	  through	  competence	  and	  belonging	  through	  familiar	  territory	  were	  used	  as	  sub	  themes	  of	  community	  membership.	  Neither	  category	  had	  enough	  comments	  of	  significance	  to	  report	  but	  that	  may	  have	  been	  a	  result	  of	  a	  wording	  choice	  when	  I	  created	  the	  sub	  themes.	  Belonging	  through	  competence	  is	  at	  the	  heart	  of	  what	  these	  community	  members	  strive	  toward	  with	  every	  story,	  post,	  review,	  alert	  and	  favorite.	  They	  are	  all	  trying	  to	  be	  better	  writers	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  they	  are	  invested	  in.	  The	  community	  praises	  and	  encourages	  those	  who	  write	  stories	  that	  meet	  the	  community’s	  expectations	  and	  show	  their	  competency.	  	  Jenkins	  refers	  to	  this	  appropriate	  use	  as	  “legitimate”	  fan	  use	  (88)	  and	  is	  an	  important	  part	  of	  fandom	  competency.	  “We	  become	  who	  we	  are	  by	  being	  able	  to	  play	  a	  part	  in	  the	  relations	  of	  engagement	  that	  constitute	  our	  community”	  (Wenger	  152).	  Belonging	  through	  competence	  within	  the	  fanfiction	  community	  then	  is	  a	  central	  part	  of	  the	  community	  of	  practice	  and	  it	  seems	  as	  though	  there	  should	  have	  been	  a	  stronger	  showing	  of	  examples.	  A	  few	  notable	  responses	  such	  as,	  “I	  never,	  ever	  thought	  anything	  I	  wrote	  would	  bring	  on	  such	  a	  response,	  so	  thank	  you.	  J”	  (A.Rose.Love	  s/8153095/13/Tick-­‐Tock)	  and	  “you	  are	  really	  the	  reason	  I’m	  writing	  this,	  and	  you	  guys	  make	  it	  worth	  it.	  So	  thank	  you,	  seriously,	  from	  the	  bottom	  of	  my	  heart.”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/10/Tick-­‐Tock),	  demonstrate	  the	  importance	  of	  this	  aspect	  of	  identity	  within	  the	  community.	  	  58  4.5.4 Engaging	  in	  Action	  and	  Give	  and	  Take	  These	  two	  sub	  themes	  are	  grouped	  together	  as	  they	  are	  both	  clear	  examples	  of	  the	  participants’	  individuality	  and	  agency	  becoming	  part	  of	  the	  group	  and	  the	  reverse,	  the	  group	  becoming	  part	  of	  the	  individual.	  Part	  of	  membership	  is	  to	  interact	  with	  each	  other’s	  writing.	  Each	  participant	  who	  posts	  a	  story	  is	  engaged	  with	  the	  material	  and	  the	  group	  in	  some	  way	  but	  in	  terms	  of	  revealing	  identity,	  it	  is	  when	  the	  participant	  moves	  past	  herself	  and	  becomes	  involved	  with	  another	  member	  that	  these	  expressions	  of	  identity	  are	  revealed.	  For	  instance,	  A.Rose.Love	  offers,	  “If	  you	  have	  any	  questions,	  message	  me,	  I'm	  willing	  to	  beta	  for	  anyone	  who	  requests	  it”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/1/Tick-­‐Tock	  ).	  A.Rose.Love	  volunteers	  to	  help	  another	  member.	  The	  offer	  to	  beta	  read	  for	  another	  is	  to	  offer	  help	  and	  mentorship	  as	  has	  been	  given	  to	  her.	  	  In	  another	  instance,	  several	  members	  gave	  translation	  assistance	  (that	  the	  public	  can’t	  see)	  to	  DustWriter:	  “Updated:	  thank,	  Mini13	  and	  darkenedruby	  for	  your	  translation	  help!”	  (DustWriter	  /s/9903005/7/A-­‐Journey-­‐North)	  and,	  “Thank	  you,	  ElsterBird,	  mini13,	  thesoulwithinme,	  and	  darkenedruby	  for	  help	  with	  my	  German!	  (and	  please	  keep	  letting	  me	  know	  what	  to	  correct)”	  (DustWriter	  /s/9903005/8/A-­‐Journey-­‐North).	  In	  another	  example,	  the	  writer	  asks	  for	  help	  with	  details	  of	  her	  story.	  “I	  screwed	  up	  the	  timeline	  of	  the	  Battle	  of	  Berlin.	  Sorry.	  I	  fixed	  some	  date	  references	  but	  if	  you	  see	  anything	  glaringly	  obvious,	  PM	  me!”	  (DustWriter	  s/9903005/14/A-­‐Journey-­‐North)	  Wenger	  writes	  about	  this	  kind	  of	  identity	  developing	  behavior	  as	  the	  “inverse”	  of	  competence	  that	  comes	  from	  the	  familiar	  as	  people	  “venture	  into	  unfamiliar	  territory”	  (153).	  This	  melding	  of	  what	  is	  “familiar	  and	  foreign”	  helps	  59  develop	  identities.	  In	  the	  case	  of	  DustWriter	  attempting	  German	  and	  the	  membership	  assisting,	  she	  forges	  a	  new	  skill,	  makes	  mistakes	  and	  the	  community	  helps	  her	  continue.	  Because	  DustWriter	  does	  not	  feel	  confident	  about	  writing	  about	  WWII,	  she	  asks	  for	  help	  and	  members	  actively	  assist	  her.	  Both	  the	  writer	  and	  the	  respondent	  in	  these	  cases	  show	  identity	  in	  action	  and	  demonstrate	  agency	  over	  all	  the	  individual	  choices	  they	  make	  as	  part	  of	  a	  community	  of	  practice.	  	  The	  give	  and	  take	  of	  these	  identity	  revealing	  and	  identity	  forming	  behaviors	  seems	  to	  be	  most	  apparent	  when	  the	  writers	  and	  respondents	  refer	  to	  each	  other	  by	  name.	  This	  does	  not	  make	  the	  behavior	  more	  or	  less	  common,	  just	  easier	  for	  this	  researcher	  to	  see	  when	  it	  occurs.	  For	  instance,	  Iam97	  tells	  the	  membership	  who	  has	  influenced	  her	  own	  writing.	  Not	  only	  is	  she	  being	  careful	  to	  give	  credit	  if	  there	  should	  be	  any	  similarities	  in	  stories	  but	  she	  is	  also	  giving	  back	  to	  the	  community	  by	  showing	  support	  for	  other	  readers:	  So	  I	  promised	  this	  would	  be	  different	  and	  I'm	  not	  going	  to	  brake	  my	  promise.	  But	  I	  wanted	  you	  to	  know	  the	  sotries	  I	  read	  were	  "unfolding"	  by	  hgfan1111,	  "Love	  at	  First	  Song"	  byt	  TacoBelle	  (and	  sequel)	  and	  "Even	  without	  the	  Games"	  by	  booksandblades	  (am	  I	  the	  only	  one	  that	  waits	  for	  her	  to	  update?).	  If	  there	  are	  other	  stories	  I	  do	  not	  know	  them,	  so	  any	  similaritities	  are	  NOT	  on	  purpose	  and	  I	  can't	  stop	  them	  from	  happening,	  because	  well,	  I	  do	  not	  know	  this	  stories	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/2/New-­‐experience).	  	  In	  this	  example,	  Iam97	  demonstrates	  the	  give	  and	  take	  of	  the	  community	  membership	  when	  she	  posts	  her	  side	  of	  the	  conversations	  with	  several	  respondents:	  	  60  A/N:	  Thank	  you	  for	  reviewing,	  elisemellark	  (thanks	  for	  wishing	  me	  luck	  too),	  RandomRandoms14,	  CharmChaser	  )oh,	  she	  didn't	  say	  that…well,	  not	  exactly;)),	  HungerGamesLover1020	  (Ha,ha	  I	  guess	  you	  have	  to	  wait	  a	  bit),	  I	  wouldKillForaCheeseBun,	  lovetheboywiththebread1,	  Kari	  (If	  I	  didn't	  misunderstood	  you,	  you'll	  like	  this	  one),	  Ishearthandsould	  (OMG	  thank	  you	  so	  much!	  That's	  a	  big	  compliment	  for	  me),	  Amanda223czx	  (don't	  worry,	  that's	  what	  I	  plan	  on	  doing...only	  a	  bit	  different...yeah,	  you'll	  see...),	  DandelionOnFire	  (yeah,	  that's	  what	  I	  thought	  too	  (about	  the	  accepting	  thing).	  That	  was	  my	  main	  reason	  for	  the	  time	  jump)	  and	  BBree23	  (LOL,	  I	  just	  wanted	  to	  update	  when	  I	  saw	  you	  review,	  so	  here	  is	  the	  thanks)	  (Iam97	  s/7572849/7/New-­‐experience).	   	  Of	  particular	  interest	  is	  Iam97’s	  response	  to	  BBree23.	  She	  makes	  it	  clear	  she	  was	  motivated	  to	  change	  or	  changed	  her	  post-­‐timeline	  because	  of	  what	  BBree23	  said	  in	  her	  review.	  This	  seems	  to	  that	  BBree23	  had	  a	  great	  deal	  of	  influence	  on	  the	  writer.	  Some	  comments	  people	  wrote	  to	  Iam97	  in	  this	  post	  flattered	  her,	  complimented	  her,	  challenged	  her	  and	  then	  motivated	  her.	  All	  these	  comments	  seem	  to	  be	  powerful	  elements	  of	  influence.	  The	  writer	  shows	  agency	  and	  disagrees	  with	  some	  comments	  and	  agrees	  with	  others	  and	  then	  tells	  the	  community	  she	  will	  continue	  to	  post	  because	  of	  the	  encouragement	  she	  receives.	  Throughout	  these	  exchanges	  we	  are	  seeing	  various	  aspects	  of	  Iam97’s	  identity	  emerge.	  	  	  61  4.5.5 Actions	  and	  Languages	  The	  identity	  marker	  ‘actions	  and	  languages’	  refers	  to	  the	  use	  of	  specialized	  vocabulary	  or	  activities	  that	  are	  specific	  to	  a	  particular	  community	  of	  practice.	  From	  my	  observations,	  the	  most	  common	  example	  of	  this	  identity	  marker	  had	  to	  do	  with	  short	  forms	  people	  within	  this	  site	  use	  and	  assume	  others	  know	  what	  it	  means	  in	  their	  context.	  Some	  short	  forms	  like	  ‘HG’	  for	  Hunger	  Games	  and	  ‘MJ’	  for	  the	  Mockingjay	  are	  simply	  shorthand	  for	  communication.	  Other	  short	  forms	  are	  now	  found	  quite	  commonly	  on	  the	  Internet	  but	  are	  still	  used	  within	  this	  group	  to	  expedite	  conversations	  in	  the	  limited	  text	  space	  given-­‐like	  ‘LOL’-­‐laugh	  out	  loud,	  ‘LMAO’-­‐laughed	  my	  ass	  off,	  ‘BTW’-­‐by	  the	  way	  and	  ‘IDK’-­‐I	  don’t	  know.	  	  There	  were	  however,	  some	  examples	  of	  short	  hand	  words	  that	  are	  in	  reference	  to	  writing	  and	  used	  quite	  frequently	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  forum.	  POV,	  or	  point	  of	  view	  is	  used	  to	  have	  discussions	  about	  whose	  perspective	  the	  writer	  is	  attempting	  to	  write	  from.	  	  Iam97	  tells	  us,	  “I	  was	  thinking	  about	  doing	  this	  chapter	  in	  Peeta's	  POV,	  because	  this	  way	  I	  could	  have	  done	  better	  with	  his	  way	  with	  words	  and	  his	  immense	  charisma.	  But	  I	  decided	  to	  stuck	  to	  Katniss	  POV,	  because	  I	  have	  a	  problem	  with	  writing	  in	  a	  boy's	  POV.	  Might	  be	  the	  fact	  that	  I	  don't	  understand	  guys”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/8/New-­‐experience).	  This	  word	  is	  a	  common	  term	  found	  in	  any	  writers’	  group	  or	  an	  English	  classroom.	  Another	  short	  form	  found	  on	  this	  site	  is	  OOC-­‐out	  of	  character.	  Not	  only	  is	  this	  short	  hand	  for	  ease	  of	  writing	  in	  the	  small	  text	  boxes,	  but	  also	  it	  is	  a	  quick	  way	  to	  ask	  fellow	  writers	  if	  the	  writer	  is	  meeting	  group	  expectations.	  It	  is	  short	  form	  for,	  “Have	  I	  remained	  true	  to	  the	  original	  story?”	  This	  is	  not	  simply	  a	  writing	  question	  but	  a	  cultural	  question	  as	  well	  and	  62  respondents	  weigh	  in	  with	  their	  opinions.	  Iam97	  asks,	  “Anyway,	  what	  do	  you	  think?	  I	  hope	  Gale	  wasn't	  OOC,	  but	  I	  don't	  thinks	  so.	  By	  the	  way,	  tell	  me	  if	  you	  think	  anyone	  is	  OOC,	  because	  I	  don't	  want	  them	  to.	  I	  want	  this	  to	  be	  realistic”	  (Iam97	  s/7572849/3/New-­‐experience).	  Many	  members	  respond	  with	  what	  sound	  like	  reassurances	  that	  she	  is	  doing	  the	  right	  thing.	  “Really	  Good!	  I	  cant	  wait	  to	  read	  more	  and	  I	  thought	  the	  characters	  were	  good,	  not	  too	  OOC.	  Update	  SOON!”	  	  (elisemellark	  /r/7572849/0/33/)	  Earlier	  in	  Iam97’s	  profile,	  she	  explains	  to	  her	  readers	  how	  important	  it	  is	  to	  her	  to	  not	  write	  OOC:	  	  	  If	  there's	  one	  thing	  I	  absolutely	  hate,	  it's	  stories	  that	  make	  the	  characters	  completely	  OOC.	  Not	  like	  a	  slight	  change,	  we	  can't	  prevent	  that	  from	  happening.	  I	  mean	  like	  a	  real	  major	  character	  change.	  I	  mean,	  what's	  the	  point	  of	  it?	  You	  take	  the	  name	  but	  practically,	  you	  use	  a	  completely	  different	  character.	  So	  that's	  what	  I	  try	  to	  avoid.	  When	  I	  write,	  I	  always	  try	  to	  make	  sure	  the	  charcters	  are	  true	  to	  themselves	  (Iam97).	  Wenger	  reminds	  us	  “Membership	  in	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  translates	  into	  identity	  as	  a	  form	  of	  competence”	  (153).	  Through	  the	  use	  of	  the	  community	  language	  or	  “shared	  repertoire”	  (82),	  community	  members	  express	  and	  develop	  their	  identities.	   4.5.6 Sustained	  Repertoire-­‐History	  of	  Practice	  Although	  sustained	  repertoire	  was	  an	  identity	  marker	  that	  appeared	  only	  once,	  sustained	  repertoire	  is	  a	  community	  practice	  characterization	  that	  occurs	  all	  the	  time	  but	  without	  particular	  discussion	  about	  it.	  In	  Iam97’s	  profile	  page,	  she	  outlines	  the	  previous	  stories	  and	  collaborations	  she	  has	  been	  a	  part	  of	  (Iam97).	  Many	  members	  have	  similar	  lists	  of	  63  repertoire	  but	  it	  is	  not	  common	  practice	  to	  write	  descriptions	  of	  previous	  projects	  in	  their	  personal	  introduction	  when	  each	  story	  that	  a	  member	  posts	  is	  listed	  and	  linked	  below	  the	  writer’s	  profile.	  Each	  story	  is	  listed	  automatically	  with	  a	  short	  abstract	  about	  the	  contents,	  ratings	  and	  reviews.	  Under	  most	  writers’	  profiles,	  the	  stories	  they	  have	  written	  on	  are	  simply	  listed	  and	  linked	  for	  readers’	  access.	  The	  lesson	  from	  Iam97’s	  descriptions	  of	  her	  stories	  is	  to	  recognize	  that	  no	  one	  excels	  at	  anything	  without	  practice.	  	  This	  includes	  writers	  writing	  or	  young	  people	  developing	  their	  identities.	  “We	  are	  what	  we	  repeatedly	  do.	  Excellence,	  then,	  is	  not	  an	  act,	  but	  a	  habit”	  (Aristotle).	   4.6 Learning	  Trajectory	  Wenger	  uses	  the	  term	  ‘trajectory’	  as	  a	  way	  of	  trying	  to	  explain	  and	  link	  the	  “temporal	  and	  ongoing”	  process	  of	  identity	  development	  within	  any	  community	  of	  practice.	  He	  refers	  to	  trajectory	  not	  as	  a	  “fixed	  destination”	  but	  a	  way	  of	  “continuous	  motion”	  (154).	  As	  a	  way	  of	  explaining	  the	  temporal	  nature	  of	  a	  learning	  trajectory,	  he	  says	  that	  identity	  doesn’t	  happen	  on	  some	  sort	  of	  developmental	  schedule	  like	  “growing	  a	  permanent	  set	  of	  teeth”	  (154).	  With	  that	  in	  mind,	  the	  examples	  of	  comments	  that	  were	  coded	  into	  the	  learning	  trajectory	  show	  a	  process	  either	  individually	  or	  within	  the	  group	  context.	  	  	  The	  following	  chart	  shows	  the	  frequency	  of	  the	  coded	  comments	  for	  this	  category.	  There	  were	  more	  comments	  	  (or	  it	  was	  easier	  to	  see	  the	  comments)	  for	  inbound	  behaviors	  rather	  than	  outbound	  behaviors:	  	  	  64  	   	  	   	  Learning	  Trajectory	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	   	  Peripheral	  participation	  /	  Inbound	  members	  of	  the	  future	   34	  Insider:	  new	  events,	  demands,	  inventions	   27	  Work	  in	  Progress	   21	  Inbound:	  newcomers-­‐invested	  in	  future	  participation	   5	  Participation	  &	  reification-­‐becoming	   5	  Work	  in	  Progress	  /	  Shifting,	  temporal	  identity	   2	  Insider:	  New	  events,	  demands,	  inventions	  /	  Work	  in	  Progress/	  other	  multi	  	  	  	  	  	  	  theme	  entries	   4	  Participation	  &	  Reification	  /	  Insider:	  New	  events,	  demands,	  inventions	   1	  Grand	  Total	   99	  	  Table	  4	  Learning	  Trajectory	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	   4.6.1 Peripheral	  Participation	  The	  most	  frequent	  comments	  in	  this	  category	  were	  related	  to	  newcomer	  or	  inbound	  members.	  Again,	  the	  reoccurrence	  of	  this	  sub	  theme	  may	  be	  as	  a	  direct	  result	  of	  my	  ability	  to	  see	  these	  expressions	  of	  identity	  through	  more	  obvious	  markers.	  For	  example,	  the	  sub	  theme	  of	  peripheral	  participation	  was	  easily	  identifiable.	  Peripheral	  participation	  refers	  to	  a	  new	  member’s	  ability	  to	  participate	  without	  whole-­‐heartedly	  committing	  to	  the	  process.	  A	  simple	  example	  of	  this	  entry	  point	  identity	  behavior	  is	  the	  non-­‐member’s	  ability	  to	  read	  the	  community’s	  fanfiction	  and	  even	  post	  a	  review	  simply	  using	  the	  “guest”	  login.	  This	  soft	  entry	  point	  allows	  new	  visitors	  to	  feel	  like	  they	  already	  belong	  but	  without	  making	  them	  create	  an	  account	  for	  themselves	  and	  sign-­‐in.	  Someone	  considering	  becoming	  involved	  can	  read	  the	  stories	  and	  then	  post	  anonymously	  without	  being	  obligated	  to	  post	  original	  stories	  themselves.	  This	  ‘just	  watching’	  behavior	  is	  sometimes	  disparaged,	  and	  is	  referred	  to	  as	  lurking.	  It	  actually	  65  allows	  possible	  new	  members	  to	  “dip	  their	  toe”	  in	  the	  proverbial	  waters	  before	  becoming	  full-­‐fledged	  members	  themselves.	  	  	  4.6.2 Inbound-­‐Newcomers	  Invested	  in	  Future	  Participation	  More	  prevalent	  expressions	  of	  identity	  were	  from	  inbound	  members.	  Their	  enthusiasm	  for	  their	  new	  pursuit	  made	  them	  exuberant	  sharers.	  	  New	  members	  such	  as	  Rainbow	  Zebras	  show	  how	  the	  learning	  process	  and	  the	  connections	  with	  other	  writers	  help	  them	  invest	  in	  the	  future	  of	  the	  membership:	  Hi!	  Sooooo	  I	  started	  reading	  your	  story	  today	  and	  I	  had	  to	  drag	  my	  computer	  around	  cause	  I'm	  reeeally	  obsessed	  with	  it!	  And	  just	  a	  BTW:	  I'm	  from	  another	  country	  and	  I've	  got	  NO	  IDEA	  what	  OC	  or	  OOC	  is	  so	  could	  you	  please	  do	  me	  a	  favor	  and	  PM	  me?	  And	  another	  BTW:	  You're	  an	  awsome	  writer!	  :)	  bye!-­‐-­‐Laniebanie	  (you	  can	  author	  search	  me	  if	  you	  want	  to	  help	  me	  with	  the	  OC	  OOC	  thing,	  I'm	  new	  in	  FanFiction	  and	  I've	  story	  hehe	  anyway	  bye-­‐bye!	  :)	  (Zebras	  /r/7572849/0/25/)	  Later,	  Rainbow	  Zebras	  becomes	  a	  regular	  member	  in	  this	  community	  but	  her	  starting	  point	  was	  to	  ask	  a	  question	  about	  the	  language	  of	  the	  community.	  She	  notices	  a	  post	  by	  ‘Laniebanie’	  and	  asks	  to	  connect	  with	  her	  to	  learn	  about	  this	  aspect	  of	  the	  writing	  and	  reviewing	  process.	  Again,	  even	  as	  a	  newcomer,	  the	  respondent	  expresses	  identity	  in	  process.	  	  Aloha-­‐Pinkly	  lets	  the	  group	  know	  she	  is	  new	  and	  shares	  that	  she	  is	  in	  the	  process	  of	  doing	  something	  right	  at	  that	  moment,	  reviewing.	  As	  a	  newcomer,	  she	  quickly	  adopts	  the	  66  norms	  of	  the	  membership	  by	  using	  the	  appropriate	  form	  of	  offering	  praise	  and	  reflecting	  on	  the	  details	  of	  the	  writing.	  “I	  have	  not	  reviewed	  before	  but	  I	  think	  that	  the	  story	  is	  awesome.	  The	  book	  idea	  was	  very	  clever	  and	  I	  have	  never	  seen	  anyone	  use	  that	  before.	  I	  also	  love	  how	  you	  made	  it	  a	  cliff	  hanger	  there.	  Love	  It!”	  (Aloha-­‐Pinkly	  /r/7572849/0/17/)	  Wenger	  refers	  to	  this	  kind	  of	  identity	  behavior	  or	  ‘trajectory”	  for	  this	  newcomer	  being	  “shaped	  by	  efforts-­‐both	  individual	  and	  collective-­‐to	  create	  a	  coherence	  through	  time	  that	  threads	  together	  successive	  forms	  of	  participation	  in	  the	  definition	  of	  a	  person”	  (158).	   4.6.3 Participation	  and	  Reification-­‐Becoming	  Another	  sub	  theme	  that	  was	  harder	  to	  see	  was	  ‘participation	  and	  reification-­‐becoming’.	  As	  Wenger	  suggests,	  the	  temporal	  nature	  of	  identity	  expressions	  and	  development	  made	  it	  hard	  to	  find	  ‘snapshot’	  comments	  that	  demonstrated	  clearly	  that	  the	  writer	  was,	  in	  that	  very	  moment,	  becoming	  something	  new.	  A.Rose.Love	  tells	  us	  she	  “plan[s]	  on	  becoming	  an	  author	  when	  [she]	  'grow[s]	  up'.	  Right	  now	  [she’s]	  working	  on	  [her]	  very	  first	  novel”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/1/Tick-­‐Tock	  ).	  Although	  “growing	  up”	  and	  “writing	  a	  first	  novel”	  may	  well	  be	  identity	  activities	  many	  members	  are	  actively	  involved	  in	  at	  this	  very	  moment,	  it’s	  not	  often	  that	  a	  member	  tells	  us	  that	  is	  what	  they	  are	  doing.	  We	  can	  also	  see	  as	  A.Rose.Love	  is	  actively	  engaged	  in	  doing	  something	  new	  and	  reports	  her	  new	  project	  to	  the	  membership	  while	  she	  is	  in	  the	  process	  of	  learning	  and	  doing	  something	  new.	  “I've	  decided	  to	  try	  my	  hand	  at	  The	  Hunger	  games	  fanfiction.	  I	  plan	  on	  eventually	  writing	  PeetaxKatniss	  stuff,	  but	  this	  decided	  to	  come	  first”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8123261/1/Twisted-­‐Tea-­‐Party).	  67  4.6.4 Boundaries	  and	  Outbound	  Although	  both	  of	  these	  sub	  themes	  would	  seem	  to	  be	  very	  clear	  markers	  in	  helping	  to	  see	  expressions	  of	  identity,	  surprisingly,	  neither	  ‘boundaries	  spanning	  and	  linking	  communities	  ‘nor	  the	  actions	  of	  an	  outbound	  member	  were	  identified.	   4.6.5 Work	  in	  Progress	  The	  comments	  posted	  about	  a	  work	  in	  progress	  as	  an	  expression	  of	  identity	  are	  largely	  from	  the	  authors	  posting	  to	  their	  readers.	  Aside	  from	  sharing	  the	  process	  of	  writing	  with	  their	  readers,	  these	  comments	  allow	  us	  the	  writers	  to	  express	  what	  their	  joys	  and	  frustrations	  they	  went	  through	  to	  get	  it	  to	  the	  work	  to	  a	  particular	  point.	  We	  see	  hints	  of	  both	  the	  fun	  and	  the	  personal	  struggle	  of	  the	  writer.	  A.Rose.Love	  gives	  us	  a	  few	  updates	  along	  the	  way	  and	  consequently	  shares	  her	  perception	  of	  the	  process:	  “But,	  here	  is	  chapter	  10.	  It	  gave	  me	  a	  little	  bit	  of	  a	  fight	  when	  I	  tried	  to	  write	  it,	  so	  I	  hope	  it	  came	  out	  okay”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/10/Tick-­‐Tock);	  and,	  “Chapter	  15	  has	  been	  giving	  me	  some	  trouble	  but	  I	  do	  believe	  I’ve	  cracked	  it”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/14/Tick-­‐Tock	  ):	  “This	  last	  chapter	  was	  one	  of	  the	  hardest	  to	  write	  and	  I	  believe	  it	  took	  the	  longest.	  However	  it’s	  the	  longest	  in	  return”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/15/Tick-­‐Tock).	  These	  series	  of	  posts	  by	  A.Rose.Love	  shows	  her	  opinion	  of	  her	  own	  work	  as	  she	  progresses.	  She	  shares	  her	  frustrations,	  as	  it	  gives	  her	  a	  “bit	  of	  a	  fight”	  but	  she	  also	  shows	  some	  pride	  and	  sense	  of	  accomplishment	  when	  she	  tells	  us	  she	  thinks	  she	  “cracked	  it”.	  In	  identity	  terms,	  she	  is	  shaped	  by	  her	  own	  efforts	  and	  in	  doing	  so	  creates	  her	  own	  identity	  trajectory.	  68  	   A	  powerful	  example	  of	  the	  influence	  on	  the	  writing	  process	  and	  identity	  occurs	  when	  A.Rose.Love	  posts	  another	  short	  story	  that	  came	  out	  of	  private	  conversations	  with	  another	  member,	  salanderjade:	  “So,	  this	  is	  what	  came	  out	  of	  our	  discussion,	  and	  I	  hope	  you	  enjoy	  it	  Please	  check	  out	  salanderjade's	  page	  and	  also	  her	  stories.	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8123261/1/Twisted-­‐Tea-­‐Party	  )	  The	  progress	  (and	  perhaps	  outcome)	  of	  this	  story	  she	  tells	  us,	  has	  been	  altered	  by	  the	  conversations	  she	  had	  with	  another	  member.	  She	  negotiates	  the	  writing	  process	  in	  a	  collaborative	  process.	  According	  to	  Wenger	  this	  negotiation	  “threads	  together	  successive	  forms	  of	  participation	  in	  the	  definition	  of	  a	  person”	  (158).	  	  	  	  4.6.6 Insider-­‐New	  Events,	  Demands	  and	  Inventions	  Once	  a	  participant	  becomes	  a	  member	  of	  the	  community	  (has	  an	  account	  and	  participates	  in	  some	  way),	  there	  is	  a	  process	  by	  which	  she	  becomes	  more	  capable	  and	  more	  adept	  at	  participating	  at	  a	  more	  meaningful	  level.	  The	  member	  moves	  away	  from	  asking	  questions	  to	  making	  her	  own	  demands	  and	  start	  her	  own	  exchanges	  as	  an	  insider.	  One	  insider	  exchange	  of	  note	  occurred	  when	  a	  writer	  told	  her	  reviewers	  that	  she	  would	  give	  them	  a	  cookie	  if	  they	  could	  answer	  her	  question.	  Even	  in	  cyber	  space,	  sweets	  are	  motivating!	  Exchanges	  like	  these	  only	  come	  when	  the	  member	  has	  a	  level	  of	  comfort	  for	  asking	  others	  to	  play	  along.	  “Cookies	  go	  to	  anyone	  who	  can	  properly	  guess	  who	  the	  Larkspur	  is.	  :3”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/11/Tick-­‐Tock).	  And	  then	  a	  member	  jumps	  in	  with	  a	  response:	  “It’s	  Beetee!	  It	  has	  to	  be.	  The	  glasses,	  the	  Woress,	  and	  the	  golden	  wire.	  Yep.	  It’s	  him.	  Now	  about	  that	  cookie…;)”	  (lonesomelullaby).	  	  69  Another	  amusing	  ‘insider’	  exchange	  happened	  when	  Iam97	  asked	  the	  community	  if	  she	  should	  include	  a	  rebellion:	  	  READ	  THIS!	  IT'S	  IMPORTANT!	  	  	  I	  wanted	  to	  ask	  you	  something	  (since	  HungerGamesLover1020	  asked	  me).	  What	  I	  do	  is	  trying	  to	  show	  the	  discontent	  in	  the	  districts	  a	  bit	  in	  Katniss'	  and	  Peeta's	  mind.	  Well,	  the	  growing	  discontent,	  actually.	  Because	  this	  is	  needed	  for	  a	  rebellion.	  So	  my	  question	  is	  if	  I	  should	  write	  a	  rebellion,	  or	  only	  do	  an	  epilogue.	  Don't	  worry,	  the	  end	  of	  this	  story	  isn't	  too	  close,	  but	  if	  I	  decide	  to	  write	  the	  actualy	  rebellion,	  I	  have	  to	  start	  doing	  it	  soon.	  And	  I	  might	  have	  to	  change	  some	  things,	  like	  the	  genre	  and	  I'll	  have	  to	  take	  the	  it's	  rated	  T	  but	  you	  can	  read	  it	  if	  you're	  younger	  than	  it	  too'	  back,	  because	  a	  war	  is	  definitely	  NOTHING	  for	  someone	  who	  is	  nine	  or	  ten.	  At	  least	  not	  the	  way	  I'd	  write	  it.	  I'm	  a	  realist	  and	  in	  my	  opinion,	  there	  is	  no	  way	  to	  moderate	  a	  war.	  So	  you	  see,	  it's	  really	  important	  for	  me	  to	  know.	  You	  can	  review	  or	  PM	  me	  and	  there	  is	  a	  Poll	  on	  my	  profile,	  use	  the	  way	  you	  like,	  I	  will	  count	  everything	  together.	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/9/New-­‐experience)	  As	  an	  insider,	  she	  gives	  the	  community	  lots	  of	  options	  for	  responding	  including	  PM	  (personal	  messaging),	  a	  poll	  on	  her	  profile	  and	  through	  the	  review	  process.	  And	  the	  community	  does	  respond:	  	   “Sorry.	  :/	  anyslut,	  I	  vote	  AGAINST	  the	  rebellion	  in	  this	  story.	  I	  think	  it	  would	  be	  too	  much	  of	  a	  sudden	  change,	  especially	  since	  u	  have	  9,	  I	  guess	  long	  chapters”	  (iWouldKillForaCheeseBun	  /r/7572849/0/28/).	  70  	   “I	  don't	  know	  about	  the	  Rebellion...of	  course	  I'd	  like	  to	  read	  something	  like	  that	  but	  you	  should	  always	  have	  in	  mind	  it's	  not	  so	  easy.	  Trust	  me,personal	  experience...	  If	  you	  decide	  to	  do	  it	  eventually,	  though,	  just	  keep	  Katniss	  and	  Peeta	  together.	  I'm	  sure	  everyone	  will	  just	  love	  it”	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/28/).	  “I	  like	  the	  idea	  of	  the	  rebellion	  but	  there	  has	  to	  be	  a	  peeta	  and	  katniss	  thing	  going	  on!”	  (elisemellark	  /r/7572849/0/28/).	  “I	  don't	  really	  have	  an	  opinion	  on	  whether	  you	  should	  put	  a	  rebellion	  in	  it	  (although	  it	  would	  be	  cool)	  you	  should	  write	  with	  what	  is	  in	  your	  heart”	  (VriskaLee	  /r/7572849/0/27/).	  With	  so	  many	  responses,	  she	  decides…not	  to	  decide	  until	  the	  new	  year.	  “Well,	  anyway,	  since	  I	  got	  so	  many	  different	  answers,	  I'm	  just	  going	  to	  leave	  the	  rebellion	  question	  unanswered	  till	  2012.	  This	  way	  I	  have	  more	  time	  to	  think	  about	  it.	  Because	  I	  am	  the	  one	  who'd	  have	  to	  write	  it	  and	  it	  isn't	  easy	  to	  do.	  I	  hope	  you're	  not	  mad	  at	  me	  :)	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/10/New-­‐experience).	  	  And	  the	  final	  word	  on	  what	  became	  a	  community	  event	  is	  the	  strongest	  evidence	  that	  being	  an	  individual	  and	  community	  member	  is	  a	  constantly	  changing	  and	  fluid	  state	  of	  being	  when	  Iam97	  informs	  the	  membership	  on	  her	  decision:	  First	  I	  want	  to	  say	  that	  I	  spent	  several	  hours	  thinking	  about	  this	  question	  and	  I	  talked	  to	  some	  people	  about	  it.	  And	  here	  a	  special	  thank	  you	  to	  InLoveWithPeeta	  who	  helped	  me	  with	  her	  ideas.	  It	  really	  wasn't	  that	  easy,	  especially	  because	  I	  had	  good	  reasons	  for	  both	  options.	  But...oh	  god	  I'm	  talking	  too	  much	  again.	  So,	  I	  decided	  to	  write	  the	  rebellion.	  But	  not	  in	  this	  document.	  I'm	  going	  to	  let	  this	  end	  so	  everyone	  who	  wants	  to	  can	  quit	  reading.	  I'm	  going	  to	  write	  a	  sequel.	  This	  is	  71  the	  decision	  I	  like	  the	  best.	  So	  don't	  worry,	  this	  story	  is	  going	  to	  have	  an	  ending	  which	  can	  be	  your	  ending,	  everyone	  who	  wants	  more	  can	  read	  the	  sequel.	  Because	  the	  story	  won't	  be	  fully	  told	  if	  I	  didn't	  write	  that.	  Is	  everyone	  okay	  with	  this?	  I	  think	  you	  understnad	  me:D	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/12/New-­‐experience).	  She	  decided	  to	  both	  write	  the	  rebellion	  and	  not	  write	  the	  rebellion	  thereby	  agreeing	  with	  the	  whole	  community.	  The	  fact	  that	  she	  asks	  if	  “everyone	  is	  ok	  with	  this?”	  demonstrates	  how	  Iam97	  negotiates	  both	  her	  own	  learning	  trajectory	  and	  the	  will	  and	  desire	  of	  the	  community.	  Wenger	  refers	  fleetingly	  to	  the	  idea	  of	  learning	  trajectories	  as	  part	  of	  negotiating	  “paradigmatic	  trajectories”	  (158).	  Where	  individuals	  and	  the	  group	  all	  have	  various	  ideas	  of	  the	  “right	  approach”	  for	  her	  story,	  Iam97	  shifts	  her	  own	  paradigm	  with	  the	  assistance	  of	  the	  group	  and	  goes	  in	  a	  totally	  new	  direction.	  Paradigm	  shifts	  and	  new	  trajectories	  are	  essentially	  the	  epitome	  of	  identity	  development.	  	  4.7 Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Membership	  We	  are	  all	  members	  of	  many	  different	  communities	  and	  they	  all	  have	  varying	  degrees	  of	  influence	  over	  our	  identity.	  “Whatever	  (these	  memberships/communities)	  nature,	  all	  these	  various	  forms	  of	  participation	  contribute	  in	  some	  way	  to	  the	  production	  of	  our	  identities”	  (Wenger	  158).	  Like	  some	  of	  the	  other	  themes,	  the	  idea	  that	  we	  are	  the	  sum	  of	  all	  the	  different	  groups	  we	  are	  part	  of	  seems	  obvious	  and	  should	  be	  prevalent	  but	  surprisingly,	  these	  other	  associations,	  memberships,	  participations	  are	  not	  often	  brought	  in	  to	  conversations	  in	  the	  post	  and	  review	  part	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  forum.	  	  Here	  is	  a	  chart	  of	  the	  observed	  frequency	  of	  the	  sub	  themes	  of	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership:	  72  	   	  	   	  Nexus	  Multi-­‐Membership	  Sub	  Themes	  Frequencies	   	  Membership	  different	  rules	  &	  norms	   20	  Various	  forms	  of	  membership	  into	  one	   12	  Social	  bridges	  to	  private	  selves	  	   7	  Various	  identities	  /	  Constructs	  of	  ourselves	   5	  Various	  memberships	  into	  one	   2	  Lived	  and	  Shaped	  identities	   1	  Membership	  influence	  of	  different	  rules	  &	  norms	   1	  Various	  forms	  of	  membership	  into	  one	  /	  Various	  Constructs	  of	  ourselves	   1	  Reconciling	  Various	  Memberships	  	   1	  Various	  identities	  contructs	  of	  ourselves	  /	  Social	  bridges	  to	  private	  selves	   1	  Influence-­‐social	  bridges	  to	  private	  self	   2	  Various	  forms	  of	  identity	  into	  one	  /	  	  Social	  bridges	  to	  private	  selves	   1	  Grand	  Total	   54	  	  Table	  5	  Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Memberships	  Sub	  Theme	  Frequencies	   4.7.1 Different	  Rules	  and	  Norms	  (of	  Different	  Memberships)	  Memberships	  in	  multiple	  communities	  of	  practice	  all	  have	  varying	  effects	  on	  identities.	  	  “We	  behave	  rather	  differently	  in	  each	  of	  them	  [communities	  of	  practice],	  construct	  different	  aspects	  of	  ourselves	  and	  gain	  different	  perspectives”	  (Wenger	  159).	  The	  most	  common	  observable	  sub	  theme	  of	  Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Membership	  seems	  more	  like	  a	  decorum	  ritual	  but	  is	  actually	  related	  to	  the	  rules	  and	  norms	  of	  behavior	  in	  most	  fanfiction	  sites	  and	  part	  of	  multi-­‐membership.	  Each	  participant	  must	  ensure	  copyright	  is	  recognized	  and	  articulated	  explicitly.	  This	  normalized	  behavior	  is	  an	  important	  link	  between	  the	  real	  world	  (of	  published	  for-­‐profit	  works)	  and	  the	  fictional	  world	  this	  community	  of	  practice	  creates.	  But	  how	  each	  member	  fulfills	  this	  group	  requirement	  is	  as	  different	  and	  as	  individual	  as	  each	  writer.	  	  73  In	  fact,	  observing	  how	  some	  writers	  fulfilled	  this	  requirement	  revealed	  some	  very	  amusing	  expressions	  of	  identity.	  For	  instance,	  Iam97	  meets	  her	  group’s	  copyright	  expectations	  with	  varying	  degrees	  of	  humour	  and	  sarcasm	  as	  she	  posts	  her	  way	  through	  her	  multi-­‐chapter	  story:	  “Disclaimer:	  I	  do	  NOT	  own	  the	  Hunger	  Games,	  and	  obviously,	  I	  don't	  own	  the	  story	  with	  the	  bread	  either”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/1/New-­‐experience);	  “Disclaimer:	  I	  do	  NOT	  own	  the	  Hunger	  games,	  because	  if	  I	  did,	  Finnick	  would	  still	  be	  alive	  and	  Peeta	  would	  have	  recovered	  faster	  from	  his	  hijacking	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/2/New-­‐experience);	  “I	  don't	  own	  the	  Hunger	  Games!”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/4/New-­‐experience);	  “Disclaimer:	  Still	  don't	  own	  them.	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/5/New-­‐experience);	  “Disclaimer:	  I	  don't	  own	  the	  Hunger	  Games.	  Happy	  now?”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/6/New-­‐experience);	  “Discalimer:	  I'm	  not	  Suzanne	  Collins,	  so	  I	  do	  not	  own	  the	  Hunger	  Games.	  Damn.	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/7/New-­‐experience)	  “Disclaimer:	  All	  right,	  I	  think	  everyone	  knows	  I	  am	  not	  Suzanne	  Collins.	  So	  I	  obviously	  don't	  own	  the	  Hunger	  Games.”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/8/New-­‐experience);	  “Disclaimer:	  There	  are	  many	  things	  I	  wish	  I'd	  own.	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  for	  example.	  But	  unfortunately,	  I	  don't”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/9/New-­‐experience).	  Iam97	  fulfills	  the	  expectation	  to	  give	  credit	  for	  the	  original	  source	  material	  but	  in	  doing	  so	  reveals	  far	  more	  about	  her	  identity	  than	  the	  simple	  act	  of	  demonstrating	  she	  belongs	  to	  two	  different	  worlds.	  Iam97	  shows	  her	  plucky	  sassy	  self	  as	  she	  conforms	  to	  the	  expectations	  of	  both	  these	  worlds	  but	  with	  her	  own	  flare.	  Wenger	  refers	  to	  this	  reconciliation	  of	  multiple	  memberships	  as	  the	  “work	  necessary	  to	  maintain	  one	  identity	  across	  boundaries”	  (158).	  	  74  4.7.2 Various	  Memberships	  Because	  identities	  are	  not	  something	  we	  are	  able	  “to	  turn	  off	  and	  on”	  (Wenger	  159),	  our	  various	  memberships	  sometimes	  spill	  over	  into	  other	  communities	  of	  practice.	  However,	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  forum,	  participants	  do	  not	  often	  reveal	  a	  lot	  of	  personal	  information	  about	  their	  world	  outside	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  community.	  When	  they	  do	  share	  information,	  they	  are	  often	  fairly	  direct.	  For	  instance,	  TwilightCakes	  reveals	  she	  is	  participating	  from	  work.	  “So	  sorry	  these	  reviews	  are	  so	  short	  and	  choppy-­‐	  im	  at	  work	  reading	  on	  my	  iphone	  LOL”	  (TwilightCakes	  /r/9903005/0/9/).	  Similarly,	  fnur	  reveals	  she	  is	  navigating	  two	  different	  memberships	  as	  she	  is	  at	  her	  desk.	  “I'm	  sitting	  at	  my	  desk	  at	  work,	  literally	  bouncing	  up	  and	  down	  about	  this	  chapter.	  There	  may	  have	  even	  been	  an	  incident	  where	  I	  raised	  a	  fist	  into	  the	  air...”	  (fnur	  /r/8588974/0/6/).	  	  These	  two	  “workers”	  negotiate	  different	  memberships	  in	  order	  to	  participate	  in	  the	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  forum.	  Their	  “various	  participations	  are	  not	  merely	  sequences	  in	  time”	  (Wenger	  159).	  Other	  expressions	  of	  identity	  through	  multi-­‐memberships	  occur	  when	  the	  participants	  mention	  their	  affiliation	  with	  other	  media.	  CharmChaser	  references	  Harry	  Potter	  (Rowling)	  when	  she	  posts	  her	  review.	  “Huff.	  I	  hate	  Gale	  with	  all	  my	  Hufflepuff	  heart.	  WE	  NEED	  MORE	  PEETA/KATNISS	  FLUFF!”	  (CharmChaser	  /r/7572849/0/27/)	  Iam97	  tells	  us	  in	  her	  profile	  she	  has	  an	  affiliation	  with	  Harry	  Potter.	  “Nope,	  my	  favorite	  author	  is	  J.K.Rowling.	  That	  is	  because	  I	  don't	  think	  anyone	  else	  has	  managed	  to	  come	  up	  with	  a	  world	  and	  a	  plot	  as	  amazing	  and	  unique	  as	  hers	  for	  Harry	  Potter”	  (Iam97).	  Both	  of	  these	  posts	  reveal	  a	  connection	  to	  another	  media	  source,	  perhaps	  even	  another	  fandom	  and	  what	  could	  be	  yet	  another	  community	  of	  practice	  of	  75  which	  they	  are	  participants.	  “An	  identity	  is	  thus	  more	  than	  just	  a	  single	  trajectory;	  instead	  it	  should	  be	  viewed	  as	  a	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership”	  (Wenger	  159).	  	  4.7.3 Lived	  and	  Shaped	  Identities-­‐Constructs	  of	  Ourselves	  “If	  a	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership	  is	  more	  than	  just	  a	  fragmented	  identity,	  being	  one	  person	  requires	  some	  work	  to	  reconcile	  our	  different	  forms	  of	  membership”	  (Wenger	  159).	  Lived	  and	  shaped	  expressions	  of	  identity	  were	  very	  revealing	  as	  a	  sub	  theme.	  The	  participants	  expressed	  how	  they	  have	  changed	  or	  how	  they	  reconciled	  different	  memberships	  into	  the	  construct	  of	  who	  they	  are	  at	  that	  moment.	  A.Rose.Love	  identifies	  several	  different	  aspects	  of	  herself	  and	  merges	  them	  together	  into	  her	  writing	  identity:	  “I'm	  an	  artist	  in	  a	  few	  different	  respects,	  I	  draw	  and	  paint,	  I	  play	  with	  odd	  hair	  colors	  and	  I	  love	  to	  write.	  I'm	  also	  a	  photographer	  and	  I've	  won	  a	  few	  local	  awards	  with	  it”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/1/Tick-­‐Tock	  ).	  Her,	  “I’m	  a”	  statements	  reveal	  she	  sees	  herself	  as	  those	  different	  constructs	  of	  herself	  and	  they	  are	  not	  fragments;	  they	  are	  mutually	  existing	  identities.	  	  Another	  revealing	  post	  comes	  from	  a	  student	  whose	  comment	  indicates	  how	  her	  participation	  in	  the	  community	  of	  practice	  as	  a	  fanfiction	  reader/writer	  affected	  another	  of	  her	  identities,	  her	  identity	  as	  a	  student:	  3)I	  read	  your	  chapter	  yesterday	  night,	  so	  when	  I	  went	  to	  school	  the	  next	  day	  and	  was	  asked	  if	  I'd	  betray	  my	  country	  instead	  of	  starving	  to	  death	  I	  knew	  exactly	  what	  to	  answer.	  I	  referred	  to	  the	  instinct	  every	  human	  being	  has	  that	  tends	  to	  make	  them	  do	  whatever	  it	  takes	  to	  survive.	  Okay,	  not	  just	  that,	  but	  I	  based	  on	  76  that!	  I	  actually	  remembered	  what	  Peeta	  said	  in	  your	  story!	  I	  got	  a	  bit	  more	  excited	  that	  normal	  afterwards,	  though...	  and	  I	  managed	  to	  earn	  a	  weird	  stare	  from	  my	  best	  friend	  lol...”	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/29/).	  DandelionOnFire	  notes	  what	  may	  actually	  happen	  all	  the	  time	  but	  isn’t	  necessarily	  articulated.	  She	  notices	  how	  her	  membership	  in	  this	  one	  community	  changes	  or	  influences	  her	  membership	  in	  another.	  Wenger	  writes	  about	  how	  our	  different	  identities	  merge	  through	  our	  communities	  of	  practice	  but	  that	  such	  multi-­‐membership	  doesn’t	  “decompose	  our	  identity	  into	  distinct	  trajectories	  in	  each	  community”	  (159).	  What	  DandelionOnFire	  learned	  as	  part	  of	  her	  membership	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  developed	  her	  identity,	  which	  she	  in	  turn	  brought	  to	  her	  student	  community.	  	  But	  that	  identity	  change	  did	  not	  take	  away	  from	  her	  identity	  in	  either	  sphere.	  	  	  4.7.4 Social	  Bridges	  to	  Private	  Selves	  “Multi-­‐Membership	  is	  the	  living	  experience	  of	  boundaries.	  This	  creates	  a	  dual	  relation	  between	  identities	  and	  the	  landscape	  of	  practice:	  they	  reflect	  each	  other	  and	  shape	  each	  other”	  (Wenger	  161).	  For	  examples	  of	  this	  form	  of	  identity	  expression,	  I	  searched	  for	  moments	  when	  a	  participant’s	  private	  life	  created	  a	  bridge	  into	  the	  community	  of	  practice.	  As	  is	  the	  case	  for	  some	  other	  sub	  themes	  of	  identity	  expression,	  I	  suspect	  this	  occurs	  more	  often	  than	  is	  represented	  in	  these	  posts.	  Wenger	  suggests,	  “the	  work	  of	  reconciliation	  can	  easily	  remain	  invisible	  because	  it	  may	  not	  be	  perceived	  as	  part	  of	  the	  enterprise	  of	  the	  community	  of	  practice”	  (161)	  There	  were	  some	  fairly	  simple	  visible	  expressions.	  For	  example,	  	  “I'm	  sick,	  so	  I	  77  have	  plenty	  of	  time	  to	  write”,	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/3/New-­‐experience);	  and,	  “I	  won't	  be	  able	  to	  write	  much	  in	  the	  next	  days,	  because	  I	  have	  to	  study.	  Latin.	  If	  you	  learn	  Latin,	  you'll	  understand	  when	  I	  say	  I	  have	  to	  study	  a	  lot.	  Argh,	  I	  hate	  grammar!”	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/5/New-­‐experience).	  Both	  examples	  demonstrate	  how	  the	  personal	  identity	  influences	  the	  writer’s	  identity.	  Iam97	  goes	  further	  to	  explain	  how	  life	  conflicted	  with	  her	  posting	  responsibilities:	  	  I'm	  sorry	  it	  took	  me	  so	  long	  to	  update	  but	  with	  Christmas	  and	  New	  Year	  and	  a	  family	  with	  too	  many	  counsins	  to	  count...well,	  I	  didn't	  have	  my	  laptop	  and	  even	  if	  I	  had	  had	  it,	  I	  wouldn't	  have	  had	  that	  much	  time	  to	  write,	  but	  I	  guess	  I	  said	  that	  before.	  This	  is	  even	  earlier	  than	  I	  thought.	  My	  grandpa	  lent	  me	  his	  laptop	  after	  on	  week.	  I'm	  sorry	  though.	  I	  hope	  you	  forgive:)	  Well...enough	  about	  that.	  On	  with	  the	  story...	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/12/New-­‐experience)	  In	  these	  examples,	  the	  act	  of	  reconciling	  different	  roles	  and	  responsibilities	  from	  different	  communities	  of	  practice	  create	  a	  very	  “personal	  and	  unique	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐membership”	  (Wenger	  161).	  	  	   There	  are	  a	  few	  examples	  where	  the	  link	  between	  the	  private	  self	  and	  the	  community	  of	  practice	  was	  more	  nuanced.	  In	  the	  case	  of	  Iam97,	  she	  describes	  how	  her	  identity	  as	  a	  sister	  influenced	  how	  she	  proceeded	  with	  creating	  a	  character	  in	  her	  story	  and	  ultimately	  with	  the	  membership	  when	  she	  communicates	  her	  thinking	  to	  Amanda332czx:	  	  Amanda332czx	  (Sorry,	  it	  wasn't	  supposed	  to	  sound	  like	  that.	  She	  didn't	  find	  it	  scary	  that	  it	  was	  like	  a	  sibling	  hug,	  she	  found	  it	  scary	  that	  she	  felt	  two	  different	  things.	  And	  you're	  right	  about	  feeling	  protected	  in	  both	  that	  you	  78  pointed	  it	  out.	  But	  it's	  just	  that...I	  don't	  know,	  While	  writing	  it	  I	  thought	  of	  hugging	  my	  brother...and	  I	  don't	  feel	  protected	  when	  I	  do	  that.	  I	  feel	  like	  I'm	  the	  one	  protection.)	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/11/New-­‐experience)	  Iam97	  draws	  on	  her	  own	  experience	  as	  a	  sister,	  weaves	  that	  into	  her	  story	  and	  expresses	  her	  resulting	  shaped	  identity	  to	  Amanda332czx.	  	  	  4.8 Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  the	  Global	  The	  Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  the	  Global	  was	  by	  far,	  the	  most	  difficult	  sub	  theme	  for	  which	  to	  find	  examples	  of	  identity	  expression.	  As	  in	  the	  case	  of	  some	  of	  the	  other	  sub	  themes,	  it	  isn’t	  that	  there	  isn’t	  interplay	  between	  the	  local	  community	  and	  a	  global	  perspective;	  it’s	  simply	  that	  it	  isn’t	  necessarily	  discussed	  at	  length	  in	  the	  post	  and	  review	  section	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  forum.	  	  Wenger	  states	  that	  an	  important	  aspect	  of	  the	  work	  of	  any	  community	  of	  practice	  is	  to	  create	  a	  picture	  of	  the	  broader	  context	  in	  which	  its	  practice	  is	  located.	  In	  the	  case	  of	  this	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  forum,	  that	  would	  encompass	  other	  fanfiction	  sites	  including	  other	  fandoms,	  writers	  groups,	  and	  perhaps	  media	  and	  publishing.	  But	  in	  this	  particular	  community	  of	  practice,	  they	  are	  not	  actively	  engaged	  in	  particular	  outreach.	  The	  following	  is	  a	  chart	  of	  the	  frequency	  of	  the	  sub	  themes	  of	  the	  Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  Global:	  	   	  	   	  Nexus	  of	  the	  local	  and	  global	  Sub	  Theme	  Frequencies	   	  Lived	  &	  shaped	  identities	  of	  various	  groups	   15	  Grand	  Total	   15	  Table	  6	  Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  Global	  Sub	  Themes	  79  Because	  the	  context	  of	  the	  posts	  needed	  to	  reflect	  a	  global	  perspective,	  outside	  of	  the	  realm	  this	  particular	  community	  of	  practice	  and	  be	  related	  to	  other	  groups,	  there	  were	  very	  few	  examples.	  	  	  4.8.1 Lived	  and	  Shaped	  Identities	  of	  Various	  Groups	  The	  only	  clear	  examples	  where	  the	  global	  met	  the	  local	  occurred	  when	  the	  language	  of	  the	  member	  was	  discussed.	  When	  a	  member’s	  language	  or	  nationality	  was	  discussed,	  it	  could	  be	  interpreted	  as	  a	  link	  to	  a	  much	  bigger	  community	  of	  practice-­‐one’s	  nationality	  and	  first	  language.	  “Lovely	  chapter,	  but	  can	  I	  point	  something	  out?	  I	  know	  you're	  from	  Germany,	  so	  is	  English	  not	  you're	  first	  language?...	  Other	  than	  that	  your	  English	  is	  pretty	  amazing.	  Kudos	  to	  you	  for	  writing	  this	  in	  English	  -­‐	  I	  could	  never	  have	  the	  courage	  to	  do	  it	  in	  another	  language	  :)”	  (TheGirlWithTheSilverTongue	  /r/7572849/0/28/).	  The	  writer’s	  first	  language	  and	  country	  of	  origin	  become	  part	  of	  the	  conversation,	  and	  in	  this	  case	  criticism,	  of	  the	  local	  community.	  In	  this	  example,	  Iam97	  is	  asked	  to	  represent	  Europe	  by	  being	  able	  to	  answer	  a	  question	  a	  German	  person	  should	  know.	  “When's	  the	  Eurovision	  contest?	  I	  don't	  remember!	  I	  never	  was	  able	  to	  remember!	  That	  came	  to	  my	  mind	  cuz	  I	  was	  listening	  to	  the	  song	  that	  won	  in	  2009	  I	  think(Fairytale/Norway)and...since	  you're	  from	  Germany...could	  you	  answer	  me	  with	  a	  PM?	  It;s	  not	  important	  but	  it	  won't	  hurt	  to	  know	  for	  the-­‐what?	  Umpteenth	  time?”	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/22/).	  DandelionOnFire	  assumes	  some	  global	  knowledge	  in	  an	  unrelated	  community	  because	  Iam97	  had	  previously	  indicated	  she	  was	  German,	  living	  in	  Germany.	  These	  examples	  represent	  this	  expression	  of	  identity.	  Neither	  is	  the	  kind	  of	  local	  global	  connection	  80  Wenger	  referred	  to	  when	  he	  wrote	  about	  someone	  from	  the	  small	  claims	  department	  speaking	  against	  the	  company	  during	  a	  radio	  show	  thereby	  bringing	  the	  outside	  world	  (the	  global)	  into	  the	  business	  of	  the	  company	  (the	  local)	  (162).	  These	  local	  and	  global	  expressions	  of	  identity	  rarely	  seem	  to	  happen	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  site.	  	  	  4.8.2 Final	  thoughts	  on	  the	  Coded	  Data	  “Our	  identities	  are	  rich	  and	  complex	  because	  they	  are	  produced	  within	  the	  rich	  and	  complex	  set	  of	  relations	  of	  practice”	  (Wenger	  162).	  If	  there	  was	  any	  doubt	  that	  the	  participants	  of	  this	  fanfiction	  site	  are	  engaged	  in	  identity	  expression	  and	  identity	  formation,	  by	  the	  end	  of	  this	  coding	  process	  and	  analysis,	  I	  was	  convinced	  there	  are	  so	  many	  layers	  of	  learning	  and	  personal	  development	  that	  it	  warrants	  further	  investigation.	  In	  the	  process	  of	  reading	  thousands	  of	  communications	  between	  members,	  I	  enjoyed	  watching	  what	  seemed	  to	  be	  participants	  developing	  their	  identities.	  	  Overall,	  there	  were	  many	  instances	  of	  visible	  expressions	  of	  identities.	  There	  were	  also	  many	  examples	  where	  it	  seemed	  that	  identity	  formation	  occurred	  within	  this	  online	  community.	  Although	  all	  five	  of	  Wenger’s	  identities	  in	  practice	  characteristics	  were	  represented,	  the	  categories	  were	  not	  evenly	  dispersed	  with	  ‘negotiated	  experience’	  and	  then	  ‘community	  membership’	  holding	  the	  lion’s	  share	  of	  coded	  responses.	  	  In	  the	  course	  of	  this	  chapter,	  I	  explained	  the	  data	  that	  was	  collected	  and	  also	  explained	  and	  outlined	  both	  the	  themes	  and	  sub	  themes	  found	  during	  the	  coding	  process.	  I	  gave	  examples	  of	  how	  each	  theme	  and	  sub	  theme	  could	  be	  interpreted	  as	  identity	  expressive	  or	  81  identity	  formative	  and	  discussed	  the	  choices	  that	  I	  made	  during	  the	  coding	  process.	  And,	  I	  linked	  all	  the	  data	  together	  to	  show	  the	  basic	  patterns	  found	  during	  the	  coding	  process.	  By	  the	  end	  of	  this	  chapter,	  the	  reader	  should	  understand	  how	  this	  fanfiction	  forum	  is	  a	  community	  of	  practice	  and	  recognize	  the	  various	  expressions	  of	  identity	  that	  were	  coded.	  82  Chapter	  5: Conclusion	  5.1 Introduction	  In	  this	  final	  chapter,	  I	  will	  discuss	  the	  data	  I	  collected	  in	  broader	  terms	  and	  highlight	  some	  of	  the	  main	  themes	  discovered	  during	  the	  research	  and	  coding	  process.	  I	  will	  also	  put	  the	  research	  in	  the	  context	  of	  other	  current	  research	  in	  the	  field.	  I	  will	  also	  discuss	  the	  significance	  of	  this	  research	  and	  its	  possible	  contribution	  to	  educational	  and	  online	  practices.	  	  I	  will	  also	  discuss	  possible	  application	  of	  this	  research	  and	  commentary.	  Included	  in	  this	  chapter	  is	  a	  commentary	  on	  the	  strengths	  and	  weaknesses	  of	  this	  research	  and	  finally,	  I	  offer	  suggestions	  for	  possible	  related	  future	  research	  projects.	  	  5.2 Overall	  Analysis,	  Integration	  and	  Conclusions	  When	  I	  started	  this	  project,	  it	  was	  with	  the	  perspective	  and	  curiosity	  of	  a	  teacher	  and	  librarian.	  Reading,	  writing,	  technology	  and	  most	  importantly,	  the	  relationships	  I	  have	  with	  my	  students	  as	  they	  grow	  and	  develop	  are	  at	  the	  core	  of	  my	  professional	  responsibilities.	  The	  connections	  that	  I	  am	  able	  to	  make	  with	  students	  as	  we	  talk	  about	  favourite	  novels	  are	  central	  in	  building	  connections	  with	  them	  and	  therefore,	  my	  ability	  to	  teach.	  By	  extension,	  understanding	  students’	  engagement	  with	  these	  popular	  novels	  in	  an	  online	  setting	  (fanfiction	  sites),	  is	  another	  way	  to	  strengthen	  my	  supportive	  role	  for	  students.	  Being	  able	  to	  see	  for	  myself	  what	  is	  happening	  for	  them	  developmentally	  when	  they	  are	  engaged	  online	  increases	  my	  professional	  expertise	  when	  deciding	  what	  online	  resources	  and	  activities	  to	  recommend	  to	  young	  adults.	  	  Happily,	  this	  curiosity	  brought	  me	  to	  the	  world	  of	  online	  fanfiction	  forums	  and	  83  now,	  after	  completing	  my	  research,	  I	  have	  a	  much	  better	  understanding	  of	  what	  occurs	  within	  this	  particular	  fanfiction	  site.	  I	  hope	  it	  is	  representative	  of	  other	  similar	  youth	  oriented	  fanfiction	  sites	  so	  that	  I	  could	  recommend	  a	  young	  adult	  novel	  fanfiction	  site	  for	  my	  patrons	  and	  students	  who	  like	  to	  write.	  However,	  I	  would	  add	  the	  proviso	  that	  the	  students	  must	  first	  watch	  and	  read	  the	  postings	  to	  find	  out	  if	  the	  culture	  of	  the	  particular	  site	  they	  are	  interested	  in	  matches	  their	  comfort	  level.	  For	  this	  research,	  I	  used	  one	  fanfiction	  forum	  based	  on	  The	  Hunger	  Games,	  chose	  three	  writers,	  picked	  six	  of	  their	  stories	  and	  pulled	  over	  one	  thousand	  comments	  posted	  within	  this	  particular	  forum.	  This	  may	  sound	  like	  a	  lot	  but	  it	  is	  actually	  a	  small	  sample	  of	  the	  millions	  of	  postings	  on	  an	  enormous	  number	  of	  online	  fanfiction	  sites.	  However,	  I	  believe	  the	  data	  collected	  gives	  a	  fair	  representation	  of	  the	  kinds	  of	  communications	  found	  on	  this	  particular	  forum.	  Overall,	  the	  data	  was	  not	  evenly	  distributed	  across	  the	  five	  identity	  themes.	  It’s	  possible	  that	  I	  couldn’t	  see	  more	  examples	  of	  Learning	  trajectories,	  Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Membership	  and	  Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  Global	  simply	  because	  these	  kinds	  of	  conversations	  did	  not	  happen	  in	  the	  post	  and	  respond	  section	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  and	  may	  have	  happened	  elsewhere.	  It	  could	  also	  mean	  that	  there	  are	  areas	  where	  the	  communications	  shared	  among	  participants	  are	  more	  sharply	  skewed	  towards	  certain	  kinds	  of	  exchanges.	  With	  some	  categories	  more	  dominant	  than	  others,	  it	  is	  possible	  this	  fanfiction	  site	  is	  not	  a	  high	  functioning	  community	  of	  practice	  in	  terms	  of	  Wenger’s	  model,	  as	  it	  may	  have	  first	  seemed.	  In	  order	  to	  know	  if	  this	  particular	  data	  configuration	  is	  representative	  of	  other	  fanfiction	  sites,	  this	  same	  study	  would	  need	  to	  be	  replicated	  in	  other	  fanfiction	  sites	  for	  comparison.	  84  5.2.1 Identity	  Expressions	  and	  Identity	  Formations-­‐Yes!	  The	  most	  exciting	  part	  of	  this	  research	  is	  in	  being	  able	  to	  say	  from	  my	  observations,	  that	  the	  members	  of	  this	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  site	  express	  and	  form	  their	  identities	  while	  participating	  in	  this	  community	  of	  practice.	  When	  I	  review	  my	  experiences	  with	  this	  specific	  online	  community,	  I	  intentionally	  hold	  back	  more	  effusive	  praise.	  It	  was	  a	  surprisingly	  positive	  experience	  to	  read	  how	  the	  members	  speak	  to	  each	  other.	  I	  was	  impressed	  by	  the	  quality	  of	  the	  writing	  and	  the	  care	  they	  seemed	  to	  put	  into	  many	  of	  the	  comments	  posted.	  I	  was	  excited	  to	  see	  what	  seems	  to	  be	  evidence	  of	  the	  shifting	  identities	  of	  writers	  and	  readers	  emerging	  throughout	  the	  post	  and	  respond	  process.	  This	  general	  finding	  of	  online	  communities	  as	  places	  of	  learning	  and	  development	  is	  in	  support	  of	  current	  research	  like	  that	  of	  Alvermann,	  Beals	  and	  Bers,	  Gee	  and	  Wenger.	  Although	  fanfiction	  and	  identity	  have	  not	  been	  previously	  specifically	  linked	  together	  by	  other	  researchers.	  I	  believe	  in	  this	  particular	  fanfiction	  forum,	  these	  self-­‐selected	  participants	  shape	  their	  identities	  and	  that	  the	  general	  experience	  for	  members	  seems	  to	  be	  a	  positive	  one.	  My	  underlying	  interest	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  as	  a	  possible	  model	  for	  online	  educational	  communities	  of	  practice	  leads	  me	  to	  believe	  there	  are	  lessons	  to	  be	  learned	  for	  teachers	  of	  writers	  in	  process.	  Fanfiction	  sites	  can	  also	  help	  inform	  educators	  about	  what	  works	  in	  online	  learning	  communities.	  But	  when	  observing	  the	  lack	  of	  comments	  seen	  in	  the	  least	  represented	  three	  categories,	  (learning	  trajectory,	  nexus	  of	  multi-­‐memberships	  and	  nexus	  of	  the	  local	  and	  global),	  it’s	  possible	  formal	  educational	  practice	  could	  offer	  suggestions	  to	  help	  inform	  the	  fanfiction	  forum’s	  practice.	  There	  are	  some	  promising	  educational	  and	  developmental	  85  experiences	  happening	  in	  this	  online	  community.	  I	  will	  discuss	  the	  implications	  and	  some	  possible	  hurdles	  in	  the	  section	  on	  potential	  applications.	  	  	  5.2.2 Analysis	  and	  Implications	  My	  research	  questions	  asked,	  a)	  how	  do	  participants	  express	  their	  identities	  as	  readers	  and	  writers	  and	  b)	  how	  are	  these	  identities	  formed	  in	  an	  online	  fanfiction	  community	  of	  practice?	  There	  are	  myriad	  ways	  that	  participants	  expressed	  their	  identities	  that	  I	  analyze	  in	  detail	  in	  Chapter	  4;	  however,	  there	  are	  a	  few	  essential	  ways	  they	  express	  and	  form	  identities	  that	  should	  be	  highlighted	  because	  of	  their	  implications.	  One	  powerful	  and	  the	  most	  common	  way	  participants	  express	  their	  identities	  is	  through	  their	  use	  of	  praise	  and	  encouragement	  in	  the	  sub	  theme,	  “celebrations-­‐rituals	  of	  decorum	  and	  praise”.	  Through	  both	  giving	  and	  receiving	  praise,	  both	  as	  individuals	  and	  as	  writers,	  participants	  express	  identity.	  They	  communicate	  to	  one	  and	  another	  about	  the	  process	  of	  writing	  and	  creative	  self-­‐expression.	  Writing	  and	  reading	  can	  be	  such	  solitary	  pursuits	  and	  often	  lack	  the	  encouragement	  and	  feedback	  that	  might	  be	  possible	  in	  classroom	  settings	  or	  workshops.	  Within	  this	  fanfiction	  community,	  the	  members	  consistently	  expressed	  their	  appreciation	  of	  the	  author	  and	  the	  writing,	  highlighted	  successes	  and	  offered	  gentle	  assistance	  for	  improvement.	  A	  writer	  with	  abilities	  who	  then	  works	  on	  her	  skill	  set	  is	  bound	  to	  gain	  in	  competency	  and	  receive	  more	  praise	  and	  in	  doing	  so,	  form	  her	  identity	  as	  a	  reader	  and	  writer.	  The	  most	  common	  kind	  of	  “praising”	  comment	  was	  to	  tell	  the	  author	  she	  was	  doing	  a	  good	  job	  and	  to	  highlight	  the	  parts	  of	  the	  story	  she	  was	  doing	  well.	  The	  sub	  theme,	  “rituals	  of	  86  decorum	  and	  praise”	  suggests	  that	  praise	  isn’t	  occasionally	  offered,	  it	  is	  part	  of	  the	  culture	  and	  expectations	  of	  participation	  and	  is	  “ritualized”	  praise.	  If	  praise	  is	  connected	  to	  healthy	  self-­‐esteem	  and	  a	  positive	  sense	  of	  self,	  then	  being	  part	  of	  this	  community	  where	  the	  participants	  are	  routinely	  praised,	  celebrated	  and	  appreciated,	  can	  be	  seen	  as	  a	  positive	  identity	  experience.	  	  The	  praise	  and	  encouragement	  in	  this	  realm	  is	  particularly	  powerful	  because	  the	  praise	  is	  peer	  to	  peer.	  The	  mentor	  /	  mentee	  relationship	  is	  far	  more	  fluid	  than	  in	  any	  classroom	  situation.	  Even	  within	  a	  physical-­‐world	  book	  club	  setting	  where	  members	  choose	  to	  get	  together	  and	  talk	  about	  their	  connections	  to	  a	  novel,	  there	  are	  still	  some	  members	  whose	  voices	  are	  more	  strident,	  more	  persistent	  or	  louder	  than	  others.	  Particularly,	  there	  may	  be	  members	  who	  feel	  they	  should	  lead	  the	  responses.	  They	  may	  assume	  leadership	  because	  of	  age	  or	  experience	  or	  simply	  because	  they	  are	  able	  to	  get	  the	  group	  to	  follow	  them.	  The	  online	  forum	  with	  the	  post	  and	  respond	  method	  allows	  everyone	  an	  equal	  say	  in	  responding	  to	  the	  original	  source	  material	  and	  to	  the	  newly	  created	  work.	  Assumptions	  as	  to	  peoples’	  differing	  abilities	  to	  help	  a	  respondent	  are	  not	  relevant	  in	  this	  context.	  No	  one	  member	  holds	  more	  power	  to	  post	  than	  any	  other	  member.	  The	  writer	  then	  chooses	  on	  her	  own,	  whose	  advice	  best	  fits	  her	  purpose.	  Jenkins	  refers	  to	  online	  fanfiction	  as	  “the	  democratization	  of	  the	  writing	  world”	  (92)	  in	  the	  context	  of	  giving	  women	  a	  stronger	  voice	  in	  male	  dominated	  writing	  but	  in	  this	  case,	  the	  fanfiction	  forum	  has	  democratized	  critics	  and	  fans	  alike.	  Another	  example	  of	  identity	  expression	  highlights	  the	  participants’	  connection	  to	  the	  original	  text.	  The	  members	  are	  invested	  in	  the	  stories	  participants	  create	  from	  the	  original	  source	  material,	  The	  Hunger	  Games.	  The	  members	  participate	  in	  this	  particular	  forum	  by	  87  choice.	  They	  read	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  and	  cared	  about	  it	  enough	  to	  want	  to	  discuss	  it	  online	  and	  maybe	  even	  write	  stories	  about	  it	  too.	  Then	  further,	  they	  chose	  to	  look	  for	  a	  community	  and	  to	  begin	  the	  process	  of	  entry,	  participation,	  membership	  and	  competency.	  They	  grow	  as	  they	  share,	  write,	  respond	  and	  critique	  their	  stories	  and	  meanwhile	  they	  are	  all	  connected	  through	  their	  association	  to	  The	  Hunger	  Games.	  It	  is	  an	  ideal	  working	  community	  of	  practice.	  	  As	  writers	  share	  their	  newest	  ‘updates’	  of	  their	  works	  in	  progress,	  members	  express	  their	  opinions	  about	  the	  story’s	  use	  of	  the	  original	  material.	  As	  an	  English	  teacher,	  if	  I	  could	  get	  my	  students	  to	  willingly	  have	  the	  kinds	  of	  in-­‐depth	  conversations	  about	  what	  a	  character	  would	  or	  would	  not	  do	  in	  any	  situation	  or	  argue	  about	  whether	  a	  particular	  ending	  was	  true	  to	  the	  psychology	  of	  the	  characters,	  it	  would	  be	  a	  dream	  come	  true.	  These	  participants	  take	  ownership	  of	  the	  source	  material	  and	  have	  strong	  feelings	  as	  to	  its	  “legitimate	  use”	  (Jenkins	  88).	  	  Members	  engage	  in	  detailed	  conversations	  referred	  to	  as	  ‘subtleties	  of	  practice’,	  a	  sub	  theme	  of	  “community	  membership”.	  This	  deep	  engagement	  in	  the	  mutually	  agreed	  upon	  use	  of	  the	  source	  material	  demonstrates	  both	  expression	  of	  identity,	  as	  preferences	  and	  opinions	  are	  quite	  revealing,	  and	  forming	  identity,	  where	  we	  see	  them	  make	  decisions	  to	  conform	  or	  disagree	  with	  the	  group’s	  opinion	  of	  the	  source	  material’s	  use.	  	  Within	  the	  community,	  the	  collaborative	  process	  was	  fluid	  and	  offered	  the	  authors	  many	  different	  viewpoints	  to	  choose	  from.	  One	  of	  my	  favorite	  exchanges	  that	  highlighted	  this	  group	  participation	  was	  when	  a	  writer	  asked	  the	  group	  if	  she	  should	  include	  a	  rebellion	  in	  her	  story	  and	  the	  group	  members	  all	  offered	  different	  suggestions,	  ideas	  and	  perspectives.	  These	  willing	  readers	  and	  writers	  open	  to	  feedback,	  all	  worked	  collaboratively	  to	  support	  each	  other.	  88  Again,	  if	  only	  a	  teacher	  could	  get	  her	  students	  engaged	  in	  the	  same	  way,	  her	  classroom	  could	  also	  be	  positive	  and	  fluid.	  Her	  class	  could	  be	  a	  model	  of	  an	  ideal	  learning	  situation.	  These	  members	  help	  each	  other	  grow,	  both	  because	  of	  the	  feedback	  they	  may	  receive	  but	  also,	  the	  feedback	  giver	  actually	  grows	  by	  helping	  and	  mentoring	  someone	  else	  along	  their	  learning	  journey.	  Another	  theme	  of	  identity	  expression	  and	  formation	  to	  highlight	  was	  in	  the	  mutual	  connections	  within	  the	  community.	  Many	  members	  had	  what	  seemed	  to	  be	  established	  relationships	  with	  other	  members.	  References	  to	  personal	  messages	  (PM’s)	  and	  direct	  references	  to	  comments	  that	  were	  received	  and	  appreciated	  demonstrate	  that	  these	  members	  were	  friends	  and	  colleagues.	  They	  used	  their	  common	  interest	  to	  bridge	  working	  relationships	  in	  a	  social	  situation.	  Many	  times	  writers	  let	  respondents	  know	  they	  worked	  harder	  and	  faster	  to	  update	  their	  stories	  because	  of	  the	  encouragement	  they	  received.	  The	  importance	  in	  noting	  the	  relational	  aspect	  of	  identity	  is	  twofold.	  The	  first	  relational	  aspect	  has	  to	  do	  with	  the	  creation	  of	  a	  safe	  environment/community.	  If	  anyone	  has	  ever	  worked	  in	  a	  fear	  and	  criticism	  filled	  environment,	  not	  much	  risk	  taking	  occurs.	  Without	  feeling	  safe	  and	  supported,	  it	  is	  more	  challenging	  to	  try	  something	  new.	  And	  during	  the	  creative	  process	  and	  identity	  formation,	  taking	  risks	  is	  central	  to	  success.	  The	  many	  members	  who	  have	  joined	  and	  stayed	  and	  the	  extraordinary	  number	  of	  stories	  posted	  speaks	  to	  the	  inference	  that	  members	  feel	  supported.	  	  	  The	  second	  relational	  aspect	  of	  the	  community	  connection	  has	  to	  do	  with	  belonging:	  belonging	  because	  of	  a	  shared	  interests,	  shared	  pursuits	  and	  because	  they	  support	  and	  care	  for	  each	  other	  through	  their	  writing.	  In	  terms	  of	  identity	  formation,	  belonging	  is	  central	  to	  89  perceptions	  of	  self	  and	  the	  various	  contructs	  of	  our	  identity.	  Belonging	  occurs	  in	  several	  theme	  and	  sub	  theme	  areas	  and	  on	  multiple	  levels	  within	  the	  community	  of	  practice.	  Belonging	  occurs	  because	  of	  learning	  and	  competency;	  successes	  and	  competencies	  within	  the	  particular	  community	  reaffirm	  a	  person’s	  place	  within	  that	  group.	  Belonging	  also	  occurs	  because	  of	  shared	  interests	  within	  that	  group.	  Finding	  others	  who	  share	  interests	  and	  passions	  helps	  to	  make	  a	  participant	  feel	  connected	  and	  therefore	  that	  she	  belongs.	  Belonging	  also	  occurs	  at	  the	  personal	  reification	  level.	  If	  a	  participant	  was	  not	  able	  to	  internalize	  some	  of	  these	  group	  messages	  of	  the	  shared	  interest,	  practice	  and	  connectedness,	  no	  matter	  how	  welcoming	  and	  affirming	  the	  group	  was	  to	  a	  member,	  she	  would	  never	  feel	  like	  she	  belonged.	  At	  some	  point,	  an	  individual	  has	  to	  construct	  the	  identity	  that	  informs	  her	  sense	  of	  herself	  as	  ‘one	  of	  the	  group’.	  This	  reification	  of	  belongingness	  in	  different	  ways	  is	  identity	  formation.	  	  5.3 Fanfiction	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  are	  Identity	  Influential	  I	  am	  not	  the	  first	  to	  suggest	  that	  online	  practices	  can	  be	  influential.	  Subrahmanyan	  and	  Greenfield	  state:	  “For	  today’s	  youth,	  media	  technologies	  are	  an	  important	  variable	  and	  physical	  and	  virtual	  worlds	  are	  psychologically	  connected;	  consequently,	  the	  virtual	  world	  serves	  as	  a	  playing	  ground	  for	  developmental	  issues	  from	  the	  physical	  world,	  such	  as	  identity	  (Beals	  and	  Bers	  53).	  	  Beals	  suggests	  that	  playing	  [and	  writing]	  online	  offers	  cognitive,	  social	  emotional	  development	  and	  consequently	  “self	  worth,	  competence	  and	  acceptance”.	  (Beals	  and	  Bers	  59)	  The	  research	  found	  in	  this	  paper	  can	  be	  considered	  part	  of	  the	  growing	  body	  of	  text	  that	  recognizes	  there	  is	  far	  more	  going	  on	  in	  online	  communities	  like	  this	  fanfiction	  forum	  than	  members	  simply	  chatting	  about	  their	  favourite	  novel	  characters.	  	  90  The	  evidence	  of	  identity	  expression	  and	  formation	  within	  this	  online	  fanfiction	  forum	  from	  this	  research	  will	  add	  to	  the	  body	  of	  research	  that	  recognizes	  the	  power	  and	  influence	  many	  online	  communities	  of	  practice	  have.	  Educators	  and	  parents	  alike	  should	  be	  keenly	  aware	  of	  what	  young	  people	  are	  doing	  in	  their	  online	  practices	  and	  be	  prepared	  to	  help	  young	  people	  navigate	  these	  complex,	  developmental	  relationships.	  Parents	  and	  educators	  need	  to	  become	  better	  informed.	  There	  has	  been	  a	  great	  deal	  of	  discussion	  about	  gaming	  and	  possible	  ‘side	  effects’	  with	  its	  inherent	  negative	  connotation	  but	  it	  is	  the	  risk	  versus	  reward	  that	  needs	  to	  be	  part	  of	  the	  discussion	  and	  investigation	  when	  looking	  at	  online	  practices	  of	  all	  kinds.	  	  During	  my	  time	  as	  an	  English	  teacher,	  I	  taught	  two	  different	  specialty	  classes,	  an	  honors	  English	  class	  which	  students	  had	  to	  compete	  for	  entrance	  and	  an	  advanced	  senior	  International	  Baccalaureate	  class	  that	  students	  could	  only	  select	  if	  they	  had	  a	  high	  enough	  achievement	  level	  from	  the	  previous	  regular	  IB	  class.	  In	  both	  of	  these	  classes,	  the	  students	  were	  engaged	  and	  passionate	  and	  there	  was	  a	  higher	  achievement	  baseline	  than	  in	  my	  regular	  classes.	  As	  I	  read	  hundreds	  of	  pages	  of	  stories	  and	  thousands	  of	  comments	  within	  my	  research	  fanfiction	  community,	  I	  was	  reminded	  of	  these	  two	  specialty	  classes.	  Even	  though	  there	  was	  no	  way	  to	  know	  what	  the	  academic	  level	  of	  the	  participants	  in	  the	  forum	  might	  have	  been,	  they	  were	  just	  as	  capable	  and	  passionate	  as	  my	  highly	  motivated	  and	  high	  achieving	  classes.	  On	  the	  fanfiction	  website,	  there	  were	  some	  writers	  who	  were	  obviously	  very	  talented,	  but	  even	  new	  members	  with	  somewhat	  stumbling	  contributions	  were	  attempting	  some	  sophisticated	  elements	  of	  writing.	  One	  of	  the	  writers	  from	  this	  study,	  Iam97,	  was	  writing	  in	  her	  second	  language	  (English)	  and	  doing	  so	  successfully.	  The	  link	  between	  these	  specialty	  classes	  91  and	  this	  fanfiction	  site	  is	  in	  recognizing	  that	  the	  participants	  are	  already	  special	  in	  the	  first	  place.	  These	  online	  participants	  are	  reading	  by	  choice	  and	  selecting	  to	  write	  about	  their	  reading	  in	  their	  free	  time.	  Even	  though	  there	  is	  a	  spectrum	  of	  writing	  levels	  and	  creative	  abilities,	  they	  are	  all	  highly	  engaged,	  just	  like	  my	  students	  in	  my	  Honors	  English	  class.	  The	  implication	  for	  educators	  and	  parents	  is	  to	  encourage	  our	  young	  people	  who	  like	  to	  read	  and	  who	  might	  enjoy	  writing,	  to	  select	  a	  fanfiction	  site	  as	  a	  destination	  for	  them	  to	  see	  if	  that	  part	  of	  themselves	  could	  be	  further	  developed,	  supported	  or	  constructed	  online.	  	  As	  informed	  adults,	  we	  can	  guide	  students	  towards	  these	  communities	  of	  practice	  as	  a	  place	  that	  could	  be	  an	  invaluable	  resource	  for	  encouraging	  our	  young	  people.	  	  5.4 Informing	  Educational	  Applications	  With	  so	  many	  different	  communications	  and	  learning	  and	  developmental	  exchanges	  happening	  in	  the	  fanfiction	  forum,	  it	  makes	  sense	  to	  consider	  what	  lessons	  can	  be	  taken	  from	  these	  forums	  to	  apply	  in	  other	  learning	  communities.	  Elements	  that	  occur	  in	  this	  particular	  fanfiction	  site	  could	  be	  employed	  in	  educational	  communities,	  and	  conversely,	  practices	  from	  the	  formal	  education	  setting	  could	  help	  inform	  the	  online	  practice.	  For	  instance,	  I	  highlighted	  ‘celebrations	  ritual	  decorum	  and	  praise’	  as	  an	  important	  aspect	  of	  the	  positivity	  of	  this	  community	  of	  practice.	  In	  translating	  this	  to	  other	  educational	  settings,	  such	  as	  classrooms,	  it	  is	  essential	  to	  note	  what	  an	  integral	  part	  of	  the	  expression	  of	  identity	  this	  practice	  is	  for	  many	  members.	  Teachers	  could	  model	  this	  ‘ritual	  praise	  and	  decorum’	  by	  building	  into	  their	  class	  structure,	  time	  for	  positive	  feedback	  and	  opportunities	  to	  express	  and	  receive	  praise.	  This	  seems	  to	  be	  an	  important	  part	  of	  the	  community	  and	  possibly	  part	  of	  why	  I	  perceive	  this	  forum	  92  to	  be	  positive	  for	  its	  members.	  If	  I	  could	  speculate	  as	  to	  why	  members	  posted	  and	  responded	  for	  years	  in	  this	  community,	  I	  would	  say	  the	  praise	  and	  encouragement	  members	  received	  was	  an	  integral	  reason.	  However	  from	  a	  constructive	  point	  of	  view,	  where	  writers	  were	  hoping	  to	  grow	  and	  develop,	  so	  many	  of	  the	  comments	  were	  the	  online	  equivalent	  of	  a	  ‘pat	  on	  the	  back’	  or	  excessive	  ‘cheerleading’.	  These	  comments	  lacked	  the	  substance	  of	  constructive	  feedback	  that	  is	  found	  more	  frequently	  in	  the	  teacher	  student	  relationships	  of	  a	  formal	  educational	  setting.	  The	  spread	  of	  this	  data	  set	  had	  far	  more	  comments	  found	  in	  the	  negotiated	  experience	  characteristic	  and	  far	  many	  less	  in	  learning	  trajectories,	  multi-­‐memberships	  or	  the	  connection	  of	  local	  and	  global	  which	  could	  suggest,	  this	  is	  an	  area	  where	  the	  online	  community	  could	  learn	  from	  formal	  educational	  practices.	  	  It	  is	  possible	  that	  there	  are	  far	  more	  constructive	  and	  instructive	  conversations	  happening	  that	  occur	  off	  page;	  however,	  a	  simple	  addition	  to	  the	  praising	  feedback	  would	  be	  to	  suggest	  members	  try	  the	  cookie	  sandwich	  form	  of	  feedback:	  Something	  specific	  the	  reviewer	  liked,	  a	  suggestion	  for	  a	  way	  to	  improve	  the	  piece	  and	  another	  element	  the	  reviewer	  enjoyed	  or	  appreciated.	  The	  ‘cookie	  sandwich’	  refers	  to	  putting	  the	  constructive	  criticism	  between	  two	  outside	  layers	  of	  positive	  feedback	  but	  it	  should	  still	  be	  palatable	  to	  the	  recipient	  of	  the	  feedback.	  It	  is	  still	  meant	  to	  be	  a	  metaphorical	  cookie.	  Another	  area	  I	  highlighted	  in	  ‘analysis	  and	  implications’	  related	  to	  the	  use	  of	  praise,	  was	  in	  the	  power	  of	  the	  peer-­‐to-­‐peer	  dynamics.	  This	  is	  another	  area	  that	  could	  inform	  other	  educational	  settings.	  Peers	  giving	  each	  other	  feedback	  are	  important	  for	  two	  reasons.	  The	  first	  is	  the	  equality	  of	  power	  status	  of	  those	  particular	  relationships	  compared	  to	  school	  settings.	  On	  93  the	  fanfiction	  site	  members	  write	  for	  and	  receive	  praise	  from	  like-­‐minded	  equals.	  No	  person	  has	  a	  more	  influential	  voice	  than	  another	  though	  the	  community	  itself	  demands	  particular	  norms	  are	  maintained.	  This	  is	  unlike	  the	  relationship	  students	  have	  with	  their	  writing	  teachers	  in	  the	  formal	  educational	  setting	  where	  the	  power	  is	  unbalanced.	  The	  teacher	  holds	  sway	  over	  the	  student	  in	  many	  ways,	  not	  the	  least	  of	  which	  is	  determining	  the	  student’s	  grade	  for	  the	  writing.	  Grades	  can	  hold	  tremendous	  power	  over	  the	  writers	  particularly	  at	  the	  senior	  levels	  where	  those	  marks	  determine	  entry	  to	  university	  and	  possible	  scholarship	  money.	  Finding	  a	  way	  to	  incorporate	  more	  peer-­‐to-­‐peer	  feedback	  opportunities	  and	  therefore	  more	  equal	  power	  levels	  between	  people	  giving	  feedback	  is	  one	  way	  formal	  education	  settings	  like	  a	  classroom	  could	  adopt	  aspects	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  community.	  	  The	  second	  reason	  the	  nature	  of	  the	  relationships	  of	  peer-­‐to-­‐peer	  is	  so	  important	  to	  inform	  practice	  is	  in	  the	  realm	  of	  audience.	  When	  the	  fanfiction	  members	  write,	  they	  write	  for	  an	  audience	  of	  their	  peers.	  These	  peers	  are	  people	  who	  they	  believe	  are	  like-­‐minded	  and	  at	  the	  very	  least	  a	  receptive	  audience	  for	  their	  stories.	  In	  contrast,	  when	  students	  write	  in	  a	  formal	  educational	  setting,	  the	  aim	  is	  often	  to	  write	  for	  the	  teacher.	  The	  style	  and	  form	  have	  to	  conform	  to	  the	  boundaries	  that	  the	  adult	  establishes	  and	  the	  adult’s	  regard	  for	  what	  is	  written.	  Educators	  might	  keep	  in	  mind	  the	  importance	  of	  audience	  students	  are	  interested	  in	  when	  creating	  assignments.	  It	  is	  important	  for	  educators	  to	  acknowledge	  that	  relevance	  has	  to	  go	  beyond	  simply	  choosing	  topics	  that	  apply	  to	  our	  young	  adults.	  Relevance	  needs	  to	  be	  in	  whom	  these	  young	  people	  are	  writing	  for	  and	  why	  they	  are	  writing	  in	  the	  first	  place.	  	  94  I	  also	  highlighted	  the	  members’	  connections	  to	  the	  original	  source	  material.	  The	  lesson	  for	  educators	  is	  in	  student	  investment.	  From	  my	  observations,	  it	  seems	  the	  members	  of	  this	  forum	  are	  devoted	  to	  the	  original	  source	  material.	  They	  each	  chose	  to	  read	  and	  then	  write	  about	  this	  particular	  text.	  Educators	  know	  that	  engagement	  ultimately	  speaks	  to	  a	  student’s	  motivation.	  If	  the	  starting	  place	  for	  the	  reading,	  writing	  and	  developmental	  activities	  all	  happen	  because	  of	  a	  book	  of	  choice,	  it	  stands	  to	  reason	  that	  in	  the	  formal	  education	  setting,	  students	  need	  to	  have	  more	  say	  or	  even	  outright,	  the	  choice	  of	  what	  they	  would	  like	  to	  read	  as	  the	  basis	  for	  reading	  and	  writing	  activities.	  The	  fanfiction	  forum	  offers	  a	  model	  for	  a	  fully	  engaging	  learning	  environment,	  in	  part	  because	  the	  members	  choose	  the	  source	  material	  for	  learning.	  	  Choosing	  the	  text	  may	  be	  one	  of	  many	  choices	  and	  perhaps	  one	  of	  the	  reasons	  why	  this	  fanfiction	  site	  works	  so	  well	  and	  seems	  to	  be	  a	  positive	  nurturing	  place	  for	  developing	  writers.	  For	  example,	  the	  participants	  have	  agency	  and	  make	  all	  the	  decisions.	  The	  members	  of	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  site	  make	  every	  decision	  up	  to	  and	  including	  participation	  in	  this	  particular	  site.	  The	  participants	  choose	  to	  read	  the	  book	  in	  the	  first	  place,	  they	  choose	  to	  go	  online,	  and	  they	  choose	  to	  participate	  in	  a	  fanfiction	  site	  and	  specifically,	  Members	  pursue	  their	  own	  passion	  for	  the	  source	  material,	  which	  members’	  stories	  they	  choose	  to	  read	  and	  respond	  to	  and	  what	  writing	  they	  do	  themselves.	  Even	  the	  decision	  on	  what	  to	  post,	  how	  often,	  who	  to	  post	  to	  and	  what	  they	  say	  in	  their	  posts	  is	  completely	  up	  to	  them.	  If	  educators	  are	  to	  model	  the	  level	  of	  engagement	  students	  have	  in	  this	  community	  into	  other	  learning	  communities	  then	  they	  would	  need	  to	  find	  95  ways	  of	  allowing	  and	  encouraging	  students	  to	  have	  choice	  and	  agency	  over	  more	  of	  their	  learning	  as	  well.	  	   Although	  there	  are	  educators	  who	  might	  like	  to	  replicate	  similar	  online	  communities	  of	  practice	  in	  institutionalized	  educational	  settings	  there	  are	  some	  difficulties	  to	  overcome.	  One	  of	  these	  hurdles	  is	  in	  the	  previously	  mentioned	  student’s	  choice	  to	  participate.	  Even	  if	  we	  as	  educators	  say	  to	  students,	  “You	  can	  go	  to	  any	  community	  of	  practice	  you	  like,	  no	  matter	  what	  it’s	  about”,	  the	  students	  are	  not	  really	  there	  of	  their	  own	  free	  will.	  Participants	  need	  to	  choose	  to	  become	  a	  part	  of	  the	  community.	  For	  the	  community	  to	  work	  there	  needs	  to	  be	  investment.	  For	  such	  a	  positive	  community	  like	  the	  one	  I	  investigated,	  every	  member	  shares	  the	  common	  goals	  and	  interests	  and	  is	  free	  to	  stay	  or	  go	  at	  their	  discretion.	  If	  they	  are	  unhappy	  with	  what	  other	  writers	  are	  writing,	  they	  can	  go	  elsewhere	  or	  they	  can	  work	  within	  the	  community	  to	  change	  behaviors	  they	  don’t	  like.	  But	  once	  students	  are	  required	  to	  participate,	  they	  lose	  agency	  over	  the	  decision	  to	  participate.	  As	  a	  high	  school	  English	  teacher,	  I	  can	  say	  from	  experience,	  the	  tone	  of	  the	  class,	  the	  fellowship	  and	  general	  success	  for	  the	  participants	  in	  a	  required,	  assigned,	  regular	  English	  class	  compared	  with	  the	  specialized,	  optional	  and	  selective	  English	  class	  is	  vastly	  different.	  In	  my	  Honours	  class,	  students	  may	  forget	  to	  do	  their	  homework	  but	  for	  the	  most	  part	  they	  aren’t	  opposed	  to	  doing	  the	  assignment	  in	  the	  first	  place.	  In	  a	  regular	  class,	  there	  are	  more	  students	  who	  will	  question	  the	  validity	  of	  the	  assignment	  in	  the	  first	  place.	  They	  may	  want	  to	  know	  what	  will	  happen	  if	  they	  don’t	  do	  the	  assignment	  at	  all,	  why	  they	  have	  to	  do	  the	  assignment	  in	  the	  first	  place	  and	  if	  it’s	  possible	  to	  not	  do	  it	  and	  still	  pass	  thereby	  keeping	  them	  from	  having	  to	  do	  the	  course	  again.	  Even	  though	  there	  is	  the	  extrinsic	  “reward”	  96  of	  completing	  the	  class	  and	  eventually	  graduating	  that	  does	  not	  make	  them	  passionate,	  engaged	  members	  of	  the	  subject	  area.	  	  There	  are	  a	  few	  other	  areas	  of	  concern	  that	  would	  need	  to	  be	  addressed	  if	  a	  fanfiction	  site	  were	  to	  be	  used	  as	  a	  model	  for	  educational	  applications.	  Within	  the	  forum,	  there	  is	  an	  unlimited	  amount	  of	  writing	  however,	  what	  writers	  post	  to	  be	  read	  by	  other	  members	  is	  short	  fiction	  writing.	  Although	  writing	  short	  pieces	  of	  fiction	  is	  an	  excellent	  avenue	  to	  pursue	  and	  develop	  a	  writer’s	  skills,	  as	  an	  educator	  I	  am	  responsible	  for	  teaching	  all	  different	  kinds	  of	  writing.	  For	  instance,	  writing	  fiction	  does	  not	  necessarily	  translate	  into	  capable	  non-­‐fiction	  or	  business	  writing.	  The	  current	  fanfiction	  forum	  model	  would	  not	  support	  these	  other	  pursuits	  directly.	  However,	  if	  the	  teacher	  took	  advantage	  of	  the	  general	  principles	  that	  make	  fanfiction	  sites	  engaging	  and	  created	  assignments	  that	  employ	  peer	  audience,	  feedback,	  praise,	  they	  could	  introduce	  other	  styles	  of	  writing	  with	  an	  engaged	  class.	  Within	  a	  fanfiction	  site	  a	  level	  of	  accountability	  is	  missing.	  With	  both	  the	  giving	  and	  taking	  of	  advice	  and	  producing	  stories	  themselves,	  the	  members	  can	  do	  or	  not	  do	  whatever	  they	  please.	  In	  an	  ideal	  world,	  every	  student	  would	  be	  able	  to	  pursue	  the	  things	  they	  love	  and	  leave	  the	  rest	  untouched.	  However,	  in	  the	  formal	  education	  realm,	  there	  are	  foundational	  skills	  that	  need	  to	  be	  practiced	  and	  assignments	  that	  need	  to	  be	  completed	  to	  show	  the	  students	  can	  meet	  the	  learning	  outcomes	  of	  the	  course.	  A	  student	  does	  not	  get	  to	  choose	  to	  not	  do	  the	  work	  without	  any	  consequences.	  In	  rethinking	  what	  educational	  practice	  looks	  like,	  this	  would	  be	  an	  area	  that	  would	  require	  some	  consideration.	  97  I	  have	  mentioned	  a	  few	  times	  how	  positive	  and	  genial	  this	  fanfiction	  site	  is	  for	  its	  members.	  This	  occurs	  for	  a	  number	  of	  reasons.	  Choice	  is	  essential,	  of	  course	  but	  also,	  culture	  plays	  an	  important	  part	  of	  its	  success.	  If	  educators	  were	  looking	  at	  how	  to	  build	  similar	  positive,	  rich	  communities	  of	  practice	  online,	  a	  considerable	  investment	  of	  time	  would	  be	  essential	  in	  order	  to	  build	  a	  sustained	  practice	  with	  a	  culture	  that	  is	  encouraging	  and	  nurturing.	  A	  new	  community	  of	  practice	  could	  take	  years	  to	  get	  to	  the	  point	  where	  they	  have	  a	  clear	  charter	  of	  expectations	  that	  almost	  everyone	  follows.	  Even	  in	  the	  site	  I	  studied	  that	  had	  been	  going	  since	  the	  book	  came	  out	  in	  2008,	  there	  are	  still	  occasional	  gentle	  reminders	  to	  participants	  of	  decorum	  like	  to	  give	  credit	  to	  Suzanne	  Collins	  for	  the	  source	  material.	  The	  sustained	  practice,	  with	  the	  group	  essentially	  moderating	  itself	  towards	  more	  positive	  acceptable	  behaviors	  will	  take	  time.	  It	  is	  possible	  that	  teachers	  might	  have	  to	  moderate	  the	  site	  themselves	  until	  the	  culture	  is	  promoted	  and	  maintained	  by	  the	  group	  itself.	  Unfortunately,	  when	  one	  member	  has	  more	  power	  or	  authority	  within	  the	  community	  the	  power	  dynamics	  shift,	  then	  consequently	  it	  changes	  the	  learning	  dynamics.	  It	  could	  be	  possible	  to	  mitigate	  some	  of	  these	  potential	  problems.	  If	  writing	  courses	  were	  linear	  instead	  of	  semester	  length,	  that	  would	  allow	  for	  a	  greater	  investment	  of	  time	  for	  creating	  a	  culture.	  The	  teacher	  could	  then	  invest	  time	  at	  the	  start	  of	  the	  year	  to	  teach	  students	  explicitly	  how	  to	  participate	  positively	  within	  the	  community	  and	  perhaps	  coach	  a	  few	  students	  to	  act	  as	  respectful	  moderators	  of	  the	  site.	  In	  other	  fanfiction	  sites	  there	  can	  be	  the	  fractious	  and	  somewhat	  demoralizing	  practice	  of	  writing	  suckfic,	  stories	  written	  and	  posted	  specifically	  to	  mock	  and	  hurt	  one	  of	  the	  group	  members.	  Why	  does	  this	  site	  not	  seem	  to	  have	  any	  identifiable	  suckfic	  when	  it	  is	  a	  common	  98  enough	  practice	  within	  fanfiction	  sites	  to	  have	  its	  own	  term?	  Again,	  this	  might	  be	  related	  to	  the	  culture	  of	  the	  community,	  which	  established	  a	  particular	  tone	  and	  was	  able	  to	  regulate	  behaviors	  until	  it	  became	  the	  norm	  not	  to	  respond	  to	  stories	  members	  didn’t	  like	  with	  harassing	  forms	  suckfic.	  This	  particular	  group	  did	  not	  have	  the	  practice	  of	  ‘flaming’	  other	  members	  either.	  Again,	  flaming	  is	  a	  common	  practice	  in	  many	  online	  communities	  where	  one	  member	  publicly	  criticizes	  someone	  and/or	  their	  writing	  in	  the	  review	  or	  comments	  sections	  of	  the	  community.	  I	  suspect	  it	  is	  related	  to	  the	  particular	  culture	  of	  this	  group.	  This	  particular	  group	  asks	  members	  to	  use	  a	  story	  rating	  system,	  which	  asks	  writers	  to	  label	  any	  graphic	  sex	  or	  language	  into	  a	  particular	  X-­‐Rated	  category.	  Also,	  the	  source	  material	  for	  the	  fanfiction	  is	  from	  a	  young	  adult	  novel.	  Both	  of	  these	  qualifiers	  might	  dissuade	  older	  or	  perhaps	  more	  aggressive	  fans	  from	  choosing	  this	  particular	  community.	  Whatever	  the	  reason,	  it	  seems	  clear	  that	  there	  are	  many	  different	  factors	  why	  this	  particular	  community	  culture	  is	  positive	  and	  nurturing	  and	  educators	  cannot	  easily	  replicate	  it	  for	  mass	  consumption.	  For	  use	  by	  educators,	  the	  fanfiction	  community	  that	  they	  selected	  would	  have	  to	  have	  a	  way	  to	  filter	  the	  X-­‐Rated	  materials	  or	  educators	  would	  need	  to	  create	  separate	  communities	  where	  they	  could	  exercise	  some	  control	  over	  what	  kinds	  of	  material	  the	  students	  see.	  If	  students	  happen	  upon	  inappropriate	  material	  during	  their	  own	  time	  spent	  on	  the	  Internet,	  it	  is	  an	  entirely	  different	  situation	  if	  their	  English	  teacher	  assigned	  them	  to	  go	  that	  site.	  This	  is	  not	  an	  insurmountable	  problem,	  just	  another	  area	  that	  would	  require	  forethought.	  	  Despite	  the	  cautions	  I	  mentioned,	  if	  educators	  could	  replicate	  the	  best	  aspects	  of	  this	  particular	  online	  community	  of	  practice,	  there	  are	  some	  great	  advantages	  for	  students.	  For	  99  many	  students	  living	  in	  remote	  communities	  or	  even	  just	  living	  in	  communities	  that	  are	  not	  necessarily	  like-­‐minded	  because	  of	  “limitations	  in	  the	  physical	  world”	  (Beals	  and	  Bers	  59),	  like	  geography	  or	  transportation	  issues	  that	  would	  make	  it	  physically	  impossible	  to	  meet,	  an	  online	  community	  of	  practice	  could	  provide	  virtual	  meetings.	  An	  adolescent	  who	  writes	  in	  English	  who	  does	  not	  live	  in	  an	  English	  speaking	  country	  would	  have	  access	  to	  native	  speakers	  without	  leaving	  her	  house	  or	  country.	  Another	  aspect	  of	  this	  community	  that	  could	  help	  inform	  future	  online	  community	  design	  has	  to	  do	  with	  the	  possible	  value	  of	  membership.	  Although	  members	  use	  “online	  identities”	  there	  is	  some	  accountability	  to	  the	  membership.	  Visitors	  can	  read	  stories	  and	  posts	  anonymously,	  but	  at	  some	  point,	  if	  participants	  want	  to	  post	  more	  comments,	  write	  a	  story	  of	  their	  own	  or	  talk	  directly	  to	  any	  other	  member,	  they	  would	  have	  to	  create	  a	  representative	  online	  user	  identity	  and	  profile.	  Although	  these	  are	  not	  their	  ‘real’	  names,	  there	  is	  more	  transparency	  when	  there	  is	  some	  sort	  of	  identity	  attached.	  Being	  known,	  having	  a	  reputation	  and	  having	  stories	  that	  people	  have	  been	  interested	  in	  reading	  in	  the	  past	  are	  the	  reasons	  that	  someone	  would	  visit	  another	  member’s	  profile	  to	  check	  out	  their	  stories.	  If	  a	  member	  were	  	  ‘flaming’	  other	  members	  without	  participating	  in	  any	  other	  way	  they	  would	  soon	  find	  their	  profile	  being	  reported	  to	  for	  abusive	  use.	  It	  seems	  that	  personal	  ownership	  through	  the	  investment	  of	  time	  and	  energy	  separates	  valued	  members	  from	  those	  with	  a	  proverbial	  axe	  to	  grind.	  Of	  course	  anyone	  who	  wants	  to	  say	  terrible	  things	  can	  still	  create	  an	  account	  and	  go	  ahead	  and	  do	  that	  but	  it	  would	  take	  them	  longer	  and	  if	  they	  didn’t	  have	  their	  own	  writing	  posted,	  members	  would	  be	  quick	  to	  dismiss	  their	  negative	  comments.	  100  For	  adolescents	  who	  are	  developmentally	  at	  the	  stage	  of	  trying	  on	  different	  identities,	  an	  online	  community	  of	  practice	  could	  provide	  the	  participants	  a	  nexus,	  a	  pivot	  point	  where	  the	  different	  constructs	  of	  their	  different	  identities	  can	  be	  expressed	  in	  a	  safe	  environment.	  A	  safe,	  positive	  online	  community	  of	  practice	  like	  this	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  forum	  could	  provide	  adolescents	  with	  opportunities	  to	  explore	  in	  an	  open	  learning	  environment.	  Because	  adolescents	  are	  in	  such	  developmentally	  challenging	  times,	  some	  anonymity	  through	  the	  Internet	  adds	  another	  layer	  of	  comfort	  while	  they	  try	  and	  reify	  all	  the	  different	  pieces	  of	  themselves	  and	  their	  many	  different	  memberships	  in	  other	  communities	  of	  practice.	  Striking	  that	  balance	  between	  a	  safe	  place	  to	  try	  on	  new	  identities	  with	  some	  aspect	  of	  accountability	  and	  ownership	  instead	  of	  complete	  anonymity	  seems	  to	  be	  crucial	  for	  success.	  	  	  5.5 Comments	  on	  the	  Strengths	  and	  Limitations	  of	  the	  Research	  There	  are	  several	  areas	  where	  I	  feel	  this	  research	  provides	  inspiration	  and	  guidance	  for	  future	  researchers.	  The	  large	  number	  of	  coded	  and	  analyzed	  responses	  taken	  from	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  fanfiction	  site	  provides	  other	  researchers	  with	  a	  reliable	  sample	  of	  responses.	  Also,	  the	  coded	  comments	  represent	  a	  historical	  snapshot	  of	  what	  is	  happening	  in	  a	  fanfiction	  website	  at	  this	  time	  in	  the	  Internet’s	  development.	  This	  information	  could	  be	  useful	  to	  future	  researchers	  who	  may	  want	  to	  look	  at	  how	  online	  communities	  have	  developed	  over	  time.	  	  Using	  Wenger’s	  model	  of	  identity	  in	  practice	  from	  his	  book,	  Communities	  of	  Practice	  allowed	  for	  specificity	  in	  the	  focus	  on	  the	  retrieved	  comments	  from	  the	  site.	  With	  so	  much	  data	  and	  so	  many	  layered	  conversations,	  narrowing	  the	  investigation	  to	  one	  aspect	  of	  what	  the	  participants	  can	  be	  seen	  doing	  provides	  researchers	  with	  a	  manageable	  context.	  In	  the	  future,	  101  researchers	  could	  use	  the	  same	  data	  but	  look	  at	  a	  different	  developmental	  aspect	  of	  membership	  like	  Wenger’s	  ‘knowing	  in	  practice’	  (134-­‐142)	  in	  a	  fanfiction	  site.	  	  	  In	  addition,	  in	  terms	  of	  my	  analysis,	  my	  particular	  perspective	  of	  being	  both	  a	  teacher	  and	  a	  librarian	  allowed	  me	  to	  look	  at	  the	  online	  community	  not	  just	  from	  a	  media	  user	  point	  of	  view	  for	  my	  library	  patrons,	  but	  also	  from	  an	  educator’s	  point	  of	  view,	  analyzing	  implications	  and	  possible	  educational	  applications.	  Other	  practitioners	  may	  find	  this	  perspective	  to	  be	  helpful.	  There	  are	  some	  limitations	  to	  this	  study	  that	  should	  be	  taken	  into	  account	  by	  future	  researchers.	  Very	  early	  in	  the	  coding	  process,	  when	  I	  was	  copying	  conversations	  between	  members,	  some	  participants	  alluded	  to	  unseen	  PM’s	  (personal	  messages)	  and	  conversations	  happening	  with	  beta	  readers	  that	  I	  was	  unable	  to	  see.	  Whatever	  conversation	  may	  have	  taken	  place	  off	  page,	  only	  those	  members	  or	  the	  specific	  intended	  recipient	  could	  see	  what	  was	  said.	  These	  conversations	  may	  well	  have	  been	  very	  revealing	  and	  a	  far	  more	  intimate	  look	  at	  identity	  in	  practice;	  however,	  that	  kind	  of	  research	  would	  have	  required	  the	  personal	  consent	  of	  every	  member	  whose	  comments	  I	  wanted	  to	  read	  and	  sample.	  It	  is	  possible	  that	  even	  with	  membership	  I	  would	  not	  have	  been	  able	  to	  gain	  access.	  If	  I	  had	  veered	  away	  from	  conversations	  that	  were	  fully	  public	  to	  conversations	  that	  were	  limited	  between	  members,	  I	  would	  have	  been	  ethically	  bound	  to	  both	  inform	  the	  members	  and	  gather	  consent.	  This	  would	  have	  been	  a	  huge	  undertaking	  and	  far	  beyond	  the	  scope	  of	  this	  master’s	  paper.	  	  Also	  somewhat	  limiting	  although	  common	  in	  research,	  even	  with	  reading	  more	  of	  the	  private	  postings	  that	  could	  be	  found	  between	  members,	  the	  onus	  is	  still	  on	  the	  researcher	  to	  infer	  what	  a	  writer	  or	  responder	  meant	  by	  what	  they	  said.	  Without	  being	  able	  to	  read	  the	  102  minds	  of	  the	  members,	  there	  will	  always	  be	  at	  least	  some	  element	  of	  inference	  required	  on	  the	  part	  of	  the	  researcher.	  Another	  limitation	  is	  in	  the	  scope	  of	  the	  research.	  Although	  1200	  messages	  from	  hundreds	  of	  pages	  of	  fanfiction	  seems	  like	  a	  lot,	  it	  is	  such	  a	  small	  amount	  in	  contrast	  to	  the	  millions	  of	  posts	  that	  can	  be	  found	  on	  the	  Internet	  right	  now.	  Further	  research	  will	  probably	  need	  a	  wider	  scope	  of	  websites	  and	  authors	  for	  a	  broader	  perspective.	  Although	  it	  is	  tempting	  to	  consider	  using	  this	  research	  and	  this	  particular	  fanfiction	  site	  as	  a	  model	  for	  the	  creation	  of	  other	  education	  focused	  online	  learning	  communities,	  I	  am	  careful	  to	  remind	  myself	  that	  this	  online	  forum	  represents	  the	  ideal	  learning	  environment	  and	  although	  it	  may	  be	  representative	  of	  other	  fanfiction	  sites,	  potential	  educational	  applications	  may	  look	  quite	  different	  with	  the	  adjustments	  that	  would	  need	  to	  be	  made	  to	  facilitate	  formal	  educational	  use.	  There	  is	  much	  to	  be	  learned	  from	  this	  fanfiction	  community	  of	  practice	  both	  to	  help	  researchers	  understand	  identity	  development	  in	  online	  practices	  but	  also,	  to	  help	  inform	  practice	  in	  other	  educational	  settings	  both	  off	  and	  online.	  	  5.6 Future	  Research	  Possibilities	  This	  research	  represents	  a	  potentially	  useful	  contribution	  into	  investigating	  online	  communities	  for	  possible	  educational	  and	  workplace	  applications.	  Identities	  are	  expressed	  and	  formed	  in	  these	  communities	  and	  it	  is	  important	  to	  look	  into	  them	  further.	  The	  next	  logical	  step	  would	  be	  to	  inform	  and	  gather	  consent	  from	  fanfiction	  members	  and	  follow	  their	  private	  conversations	  and	  beta	  reader	  conversations.	  There	  could	  be	  much	  more	  intimate	  data	  collected	  regarding	  identity	  in	  practice.	  Data	  could	  also	  show	  the	  existence	  of	  conversations	  on	  103  the	  mechanics	  of	  writing.	  A	  mild	  criticism	  I	  had	  of	  the	  fanfiction	  forum	  generally	  was	  that	  it	  didn’t	  seem	  to	  be	  involved	  in	  any	  sort	  of	  depth	  in	  the	  scholarly	  practice	  of	  learning	  to	  write.	  Criticisms	  and	  suggestions,	  corrections	  and	  editing	  were	  not	  often	  apparent	  in	  the	  public	  part	  of	  the	  community.	  It	  would	  be	  very	  interesting	  to	  see,	  particularly	  from	  an	  educator’s	  point	  of	  view,	  what	  kinds	  of	  academic	  writing	  conversations	  the	  members	  are	  engaged	  in	  while	  meeting	  less	  publicly.	  Another	  recommendation	  for	  further	  research	  and	  the	  area	  I	  am	  most	  interested	  in	  would	  be	  an	  investigation	  into	  how	  members	  became	  involved	  with	  the	  fanfiction	  forum	  in	  the	  first	  place.	  If	  educators	  wanted	  to	  replicate	  the	  kind	  of	  positive	  identity	  formative	  and	  nurturing	  online	  environment,	  it	  would	  be	  crucial	  to	  find	  out	  who	  these	  members	  are	  and	  discover	  what	  brought	  them	  to	  become	  participants	  in	  the	  first	  place.	  As	  is	  the	  case	  with	  most	  successful	  ventures	  and	  successful	  cultures,	  it	  is	  always	  about	  the	  people	  who	  are	  involved.	  	  One	  question	  that	  intrigued	  me	  is,	  why	  is	  this	  particular	  book	  the	  source	  of	  members’	  online	  explorations?	  It	  is	  fascinating	  to	  me	  that	  fanfiction	  itself	  is	  both	  a	  compliment	  to	  the	  book	  or	  source	  material	  and	  the	  author	  because	  so	  many	  people	  become	  invested	  in	  every	  aspect	  of	  the	  novel.	  However,	  there	  is	  also	  an	  inherent	  criticism	  of	  the	  novel,	  otherwise,	  why	  would	  anyone	  want	  to	  change	  or	  rewrite	  any	  aspects	  of	  the	  novel?	  Since	  the	  book	  is	  the	  starting	  link	  for	  participation	  in	  the	  community	  which	  then	  leads	  to	  identity	  development,	  why	  then,	  this	  particular	  book?	  Fanfiction	  can	  be	  about	  wish	  fulfillment.	  I	  can	  speculate	  that	  some	  of	  the	  allure	  for	  this	  particular	  book	  is	  strong	  believable	  characters	  that	  fanfiction	  participants	  can	  develop	  further.	  They	  see	  the	  characters	  and	  create	  the	  relationships	  they	  wished	  they	  could	  have	  seen	  104  or	  go	  beyond	  the	  subtext	  of	  the	  story	  to	  create	  an	  outcome	  that	  pleases	  them.	  The	  dystopian	  world	  that	  the	  story	  takes	  place	  in	  mirrors	  some	  of	  the	  general	  fear	  and	  mistrust	  society	  has	  with	  governments.	  I	  also	  wonder	  if	  teenagers	  feel	  their	  lives	  are	  like	  those	  of	  the	  children	  volunteered	  for	  the	  ‘Hunger	  Games’.	  They	  may	  feel	  they	  too	  are	  pawns	  in	  adults’	  games	  because	  of	  the	  lack	  of	  control	  they	  have	  in	  their	  lives	  and	  this	  lack	  of	  control	  might	  possibly	  resonate	  with	  them.	  This	  research	  question	  would	  involve	  a	  deep	  analysis	  into	  the	  relationship	  a	  reader	  has	  with	  the	  book	  and	  how	  that	  leads	  to	  this	  further	  expression.	  It	  is	  a	  fascinating	  question	  and	  more	  research	  could	  provide	  some	  useful	  revelations.	  Towards	  this	  goal	  of	  discovering	  what	  brought	  the	  members	  to	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  and	  what	  made	  them	  participate,	  it	  would	  be	  interesting	  to	  do	  a	  survey	  of	  a	  fanfiction	  forum	  and	  ask	  members	  to	  give	  feedback	  to	  researchers	  directly	  after	  the	  first	  time	  they	  create	  a	  profile,	  the	  first	  time	  they	  post	  a	  story	  and	  the	  first	  time	  they	  write	  a	  review	  asking	  them	  to	  help	  pin	  point	  the	  reasons	  or	  influences	  that	  brought	  them	  to	  those	  activities.	  	  	  5.7 Final	  Thoughts	  	  Although	  I	  answered	  my	  research	  question	  about	  whether	  it	  is	  possible	  to	  see	  expressions	  of	  identity	  and	  identity	  formation	  in	  a	  fanfiction	  community,	  the	  underlying	  question,	  can	  I	  as	  a	  teacher	  and	  librarian	  recreate	  this	  learning	  community	  in	  some	  way,	  I	  cannot	  answer	  definitively	  at	  this	  time.	  Other	  than	  directing	  promising	  young	  writers	  or	  young	  adults	  who	  share	  the	  love	  of	  a	  particular	  novel	  to	  a	  relevant	  fanfiction	  forum,	  educators	  have	  a	  great	  deal	  yet	  to	  figure	  out.	  Like,	  why	  young	  adults	  chose	  to	  go	  to	  the	  fanfiction	  site	  in	  the	  first	  place	  and	  why	  some	  sites	  seem	  positive	  and	  nurturing	  and	  others	  are	  less	  helpful.	  Before	  105  educators	  intentionally	  send	  a	  young	  writer	  to	  a	  fanfiction	  site,	  it	  is	  important	  that	  they	  first	  vet	  the	  site	  particularly	  for	  X-­‐rated	  materials.	  Again,	  it	  is	  one	  thing	  if	  a	  student	  happens	  upon	  sexually	  explicit	  stories	  during	  their	  free	  time	  and	  another	  entirely	  if	  their	  English	  teacher	  sends	  them	  there.	  	  Even	  though	  I	  do	  not	  feel	  I	  can	  create	  my	  own	  online	  community	  of	  practice	  just	  yet,	  I	  feel	  there	  are	  significant	  lessons	  to	  be	  learned	  from	  this	  fanfiction	  forum	  that	  can	  immediately	  be	  put	  into	  action	  in	  my	  teaching	  practice.	  Ownership	  over	  the	  material,	  opportunities	  to	  share	  peer-­‐to-­‐peer,	  giving	  students	  choice	  and	  room	  to	  follow	  their	  own	  passions,	  bridging	  the	  power	  gap	  in	  some	  way	  and	  strengthening	  the	  relationships	  of	  all	  learners	  are	  just	  a	  few	  of	  the	  ideas	  that	  have	  been	  refreshed	  and	  made	  concrete	  through	  this	  research.	  These	  techniques	  are	  already	  considered	  good	  practice	  in	  teaching.	  	  Though	  I	  am	  not	  a	  fanfiction	  writer	  myself	  however,	  I	  now	  have	  a	  great	  appreciation	  and	  respect	  for	  the	  community	  I	  investigated	  and	  for	  the	  many	  writers	  there	  who	  share	  their	  writing	  and	  their	  expertise	  within	  their	  community	  without	  pay	  and	  with	  only	  modest	  recognition.	  	  These	  young	  people	  display	  the	  wealth	  of	  creativity	  and	  flashes	  of	  brilliant	  writing	  that	  remind	  me	  how	  active,	  engaged	  young	  adults	  can	  be	  in	  the	  wide	  open	  world	  of	  fanfiction	  forums.	  	  	  	  106  Works	  Cited	  A.Rose.Love.	  “A.Rose.Love”.	  9	  September	  2012.	  Web.	  4	  February	  2015.	  <https:	  //­‐Rose-­‐Love>.	  abk1973.	  “abk1973”.	  28	  October	  2013.	  Web.	  10	  July	  2015.	  	  	  <>.	  Allen,	  Kate	  and	  John	  E.	  Ingulsrud.	  "Reading	  Manga:	  Patterns	  of	  Personal	  Literacies	  Among	  	  Adolescents."	  Language	  Education:	  An	  International	  Journal	  19.4	  (2005):	 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 How	  Computer	  Games	  Help	  Children	  Learn.	  New	  York:	  Palgrave	  	  	   Macmillan,	  2006.	  Print.	  Simmons,	  Amber	  M.	  "Class	  on	  Fire:	  Using	  The	  Hunger	  Games	  Trilogy	  to	  Encourage	  Social	  	  	   Action."	  Journal	  of	  Adolescent	  &	  Adult	  Literacry	  56.1	  (2012):	  22-­‐34.	  St	  Clair,	  Ralf.	  "Ludic	  Literacies	  at	  the	  Intersections	  of	  Cultures:	  An	  interview	  with	  James	  Paul	  	  	   Gee."	  Language	  and	  Intercultural	  Communication	  8.2	  (2008):	  91-­‐100.	  112  Street,	  Brian.	  "What's	  New	  in	  Literacy	  Studies?	  Critical	  approaches	  to	  literacy	  in	  theory	  and	  	  	   practice."	  Current	  Issues	  in	  Comparative	  Education	  5.2	  (2003):	  77-­‐91.	  The	  Government	  of	  British	  Columbia.	  Ministry	  of	  Education	  of	  BC	  e-­‐Learning.	  2015.	  Web.	  25	  	  	   January	  2015.	  <>.	  TheGirlWithTheSilverTongue.	  “TheGirlWithTheSilverTongue”.	  2	  September	  	  2014.	  Web.	  3	  July	  2015	  <>.	  Thomas,	  Angela.	  "Children	  online:	  Learning	  in	  a	  virtual	  community	  of	  practice."	  E-­‐Learning	  2.1	  	  	   (2005):	  27-­‐38.	  Thomas,	  Bronwen.	  "What	  Is	  Fanfiction	  and	  Why	  Are	  People	  Saying	  Such	  Nice	  Things	  about	  It?"	  	  	   StoryWorlds:	  A	  Journal	  of	  Narrative	  Studies	  3	  (2011):	  1-­‐24.	  TwilightCakes.	  “TwilightCakes”.	  10	  July	  2010.	  Web.	  15	  July	  2015.	  	  	   <>.	  Urbanksi,	  Heather.	  Writing	  and	  the	  Digital	  Generation.	  Jefferson:	  McFarland	  &	  Company	  Inc.,	  	  	   2010.	  VriskaLee.	  VriskaLee.	  16	  September	  2012.	  Web.	  12	  July	  2015.	  	  <>.	  Vygotsky,	  L.S.	  Mind	  in	  Society:	  The	  Development	  of	  Higher	  Psychological	  Processes.	  Ed.	  Michael	  	  	   Cole,	  et	  al.	  Cambridge:	  Harvard	  University	  Press,	  1978.	  Wenger,	  Etienne.	  Communities	  of	  Practice:	  Learning,	  Meaning,	  and	  Identity.	  New	  York:	  	  	   Cambridge	  University	  Press,	  1998.	  113  Williams,	  Bronwyn	  T.	  "Tomorrow	  will	  not	  be	  like	  today:	  Literacy	  and	  identity	  in	  a	  world	  of	  	  	   multiliteracies."	  Journal	  of	  Adolescent	  &	  Adult	  Literacy	  51.8	  (2008):	  682-­‐686.	  Zebras,	  Rainbow.	  “Rainbow	  Zebras”.	  3	  August	  2014.	  Web.	  8	  July	  2015.	  	   <­‐Zebras>.	  	  	  	   	  114  Appendices	  Appendix	  A	  	   Coding	  Rubric	  Wenger’s	  Identity	  in	  Practice-­‐Negotiated	  Experience	  Negotiated	  Experience	   Explanations	   Examples	   Respondent	  Performance	  Milestones	   Completing	  stories,	  Particular	  Levels	  of	  Accomplishments	  “I	  mean,	  I’m	  up	  to	  a	  100	  reviews,	  which	  is	  completely	  amazing,	  I	  never	  thought	  this	  story	  would	  make	  it	  this	  far	  so	  thank	  you,	  thank	  you,	  thank	  you.”	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/13/Tick-­‐Tock)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Markers	  of	  Transition	   Changing	  from	  one	  level	  to	  another-­‐noting	  a	  change	  in	  the	  relationships	  Hello	  again,	  long	  lost	  land	  of	  fanfiction!	  Apologies	  for	  my	  long	  absence;	  I’ve	  been	  working	  on	  a	  screenplay	  and/or	  novel	  based	  on	  this	  fanfiction	  but	  I	  have	  terrible	  motivational	  block.	  I’m	  hoping	  that	  sharing	  my	  work	  in	  progress	  here	  will	  spurn	  me	  to	  work	  faster	  and	  get	  my	  research	  done.	  	  Love	  the	  subject	  matter	  and	  frankly,	  am	  tired	  of	  me	  holding	  myself	  back	  (DustWriter	  /s/9903005/1/A-­‐Journey-­‐North)	  	  	  DustWriter	  	  	  Attaining	  Levels	   Markers	  of	  progress	  or	  completion	  in	  writing	   Chapter	  nine	  is	  now	  officially	  up	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/9/Tick-­‐Tock)	   A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Celebrations	  –rituals	  of	  decorum	  or	  praise	  The	  group	  manners	  of	  giving	  praise	  and	  thanks,	  celebrating	  I	  could	  not	  stop	  reading	  this	  story,	  it	  was	  so	  good	  (MockingjaysAndDandelions	  /r/8153095/0/3/)	   MockingjaysAndDandelions	  Reputation-­‐how	  one	  is	  known	  	  When	  others	  mention	  looking	  forward	  to	  seeing	  other	  works	  by	  the	  same	  author	  	  	  	  I’ve	  been	  thinking	  about	  this	  story	  and	  your	  writing	  a	  lot	  lately.	  I	  went	  back	  and	  reread	  a	  few	  of	  my	  favorite	  stories	  while	  waiting	  for	  an	  update.	  You	  never	  disappoint.	  (emarina	  /r/9903005/0/2/)	  emarina	  	  	  	  	  	  115  Appendix	  B	  	  	  Coding	  Rubric	  Wenger’s	  Identity	  in	  Practice-­‐Community	  Membership	  Community	  Membership	   Explanation	   Example	   	  Respondent	  Belonging	  through	  competence	  Feeling	  included	  because	  they	  are	  achieving	  competence	  in	  writing	  you	  are	  really	  the	  reason	  I’m	  writing	  this,	  and	  you	  guys	  make	  it	  worth	  it	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/10/Tick-­‐Tock)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Belonging	  Familiar	  Territory	  The	  group	  norms	  and	  practices	  create	  a	  sense	  of	  belonging	  and	  a	  familiar	  state	  This	  story	  wouldn’t	  be	  here	  without	  you	  guys,	  whether	  you’ve	  been	  here	  through	  the	  journey	  or	  just	  catching	  up	  now	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/15/Tick-­‐Tock)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Mutuality	  of	  engagement	   Both	  parties	  engaged	  in	  the	  common	  practice	  (Hunger	  Games)	  I	  almost	  cried	  when	  peeta	  said	  sorry…	  (romanticunderworld	  /r/8153095/0/2/)	   romanticunderworld	  Engaging	  in	  action	  with	  other	  people	  Involving	  members	  into	  the	  practice	   If	  you	  have	  any	  questions,	  message	  me,	  I’m	  willing	  to	  beta	  for	  anyone	  who	  requests	  it.	  (A.Rose.Love	  /s/8153095/1/Tick-­‐Tock)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Play	  our	  part	  in	  relations	  of	  engagement	  (give	  +	  take)	  When	  responding	  to	  a	  response	   	  Thank	  you	  to	  micimic022,	  LivingReminder,	  Kari	  (Wouldn’t	  think	  of	  it.	  I	  don’t	  think	  she	  would	  take	  them	  anyway,	  so	  why	  do	  it?	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/2/New-­‐experienc)	  Iam97	  Negotiability	  of	  repertoire-­‐sustained	  engagement	  history	  of	  practice	  	  in	  practice	  “expertise”	  length	  of	  membership,	  artifacts	  of	  past	  practice	  Author	  has	  written	  17	  stories	  for	  Hunger	  Games.	  I’m	  back,	  readers.	  Slowly	  but	  surely	  publishing	  bits	  of	  a	  fic	  I	  started	  years	  ago	  and	  now	  plan	  to	  rework	  into	  a	  brilliant	  screenplay	  that	  wins	  Oscars	  and	  lets	  me	  get	  cut	  off	  by	  the	  Jaws	  theme	  as	  I	  babble	  on	  my	  acceptance	  speech.	  (DustWriter)	  DustWriter	  Actions	  and	  Language	   Actions	  and	  language	  specific	  to	  this	  community	  OOC,	  POV	   	  	  Subtleties	  of	  practice	   Giving	  advice/reflections	  on	  the	  story	  –a	  deeper	  engagement	  than	  mutuality	  of	  engagement	  You’re	  doing	  a	  wonderful	  job	  portraying	  the	  results	  of	  Prim’s	  trauma	  and	  building	  the	  danger	  they’re	  continuing	  to	  face.	  I	  also	  like	  the	  subtle	  references	  to	  Katniss’	  shifting	  feelings	  about	  he	  own	  mother.	  (Honeylime)	  	  Honeylime	   116  Appendix	  C	  	   Coding	  Rubric	  Wenger’s	  Identity	  in	  Practice-­‐Learning	  Trajectory Learning	  Trajectory	   Explanation	   Example	   	  Respondent	  Work	  in	  Progress	   A	  story	  or	  writing	  in	  development	   Part	  12:	  Woot!	  Okay	  so	  I’ve	  finished	  up	  to	  chapter	  14	  and	  am	  currently	  working	  on	  15.	  Which	  means	  the	  whole	  thing	  is	  almost	  complete.	  (A.Rose.Love)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Participation	  &	  Reification	  –becoming	  they	  are	  becoming	  someone	  or	  something	  else	  by	  participating	  I	  plan	  on	  becoming	  an	  author	  when	  I	  ‘grow	  up’.	  Right	  now	  I’m	  working	  on	  my	  very	  first	  novel”	  (A.Rose.Love)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Social	  contexts-­‐temporality	  of	  identity	  Sense	  of	  self	  changes	  within	  the	  social	  setting	  (would	  they	  respond	  differently	  if	  a	  teacher	  gave	  writing	  advice	  instead	  of	  a	  member)	  Part	  13:	  Yah!	  Okay,	  so	  I	  love	  you	  guys	  really,	  seriously,	  honestly,	  I	  love	  you.	  I’ve	  never	  had	  a	  story	  go	  this	  far	  before,	  I	  mean,	  I’m	  up	  to	  a	  100	  reviews,	  which	  is	  completely	  amazing,	  I	  never	  thought	  this	  story	  would	  make	  it	  this	  far	  so	  thank	  you,	  thank	  you,	  thank	  you.	  I	  can’t	  say	  it	  enough.	  (A.Rose.Love)	  A.Rose.Love­‐Rose-­‐Love	  Peripheral	  participation	  (not	  full	  but	  access)	  Newcomers	  who	  are	  not	  members	  but	  who	  get	  to	  observe	  and	  learn	  and	  begin	  to	  tip	  their	  toe	  in	  the	  community	  water	  “guest”	  feedback	  not	  members	  but	  still	  participating	   	  	  Inbound-­‐newcomers	  invested	  in	  future	  participation	  Newcomers	  (newbies)	  who	  are	  members	  (already	  identifying	  themselves	  as	  members)	  I’m	  from	  another	  country	  and	  I’ve	  got	  NO	  IDEA	  what	  OC	  or	  OOC	  is	  so	  could	  you	  please	  do	  me	  a	  favor	  and	  PM	  me?	  (Zebras	  /r/7572849/0/25/)	  Rainbow	  Zebras­‐Zebras	  Insider-­‐new	  events,	  demands,	  inventions	  Call	  outs,	  requests,	  events,	  a	  feeling	  of	  membership	  required	  to	  ask	  things	  of	  other	  members	  Responds	  to	  query	  of	  whether	  or	  not	  to	  include	  a	  rebellion:	  	  “I	  like	  the	  idea	  of	  the	  rebellion	  but	  there	  has	  to	  be	  a	  peeta	  and	  katniss	  thing	  going	  on!;)”	  (elisemellark	  /r/7572849/0/28/)	  elisemellark	  Outbound-­‐lead	  out,	  moving	  on	   Moving	  toward	  other	  groups	  or	  different	  kinds	  of	  writing	  A	  participant	  leaves	  the	  group-­‐did	  not	  find	  an	  example	   	  	  Boundaries-­‐spanning,	  linking	  communities	  of	  practice	  Finding	  the	  edges	  of	  this	  group	  versus	  other	  groups	  Did	  not	  find	  an	  example	   	  	   117  Appendix	  D	  	   Coding	  Rubric	  Wenger’s	  Identity	  in	  Practice-­‐Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐Memberships	  &	  Nexus	  of	  the	  Local	  and	  Global Nexus	  of	  Multi-­‐memberships	   Explanations	   Example	   	  Respondent	  Various	  forms	  of	  membership	  into	  one	  Memberships	  in	  all	  kinds	  of	  worlds	  on	  and	  offline-­‐including	  different	  media	  outside	  of	  this	  fandom	  Yay!	  You	  watched	  Little	  Manhattan	  !	  Maybe	  you	  don't	  have	  to	  worry	  that	  much	  about	  being	  so	  girly.	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/24/)	  DandelionOnFire	  Various	  identities	  /	  constructs	  of	  ourselves	  We	  work	  and	  rework	  who	  we	  are-­‐the	  student	  is	  influenced	  by	  a	  story	  or	  writing	  of…	  3)I	  read	  your	  chapter	  yesterday	  night,	  so	  when	  I	  went	  to	  school	  the	  next	  day	  and	  was	  asked	  if	  I'd	  betray	  my	  country	  instead	  of	  starving	  to	  death	  I	  knew	  exactly	  what	  to	  answer.	  I	  referred	  to	  the	  instinct	  every	  human	  being	  has	  that	  tends	  to	  make	  them	  do	  whatever	  it	  takes	  to	  survive.	  Okay,	  not	  just	  that,	  but	  I	  based	  on	  that!	  I	  actually	  remembered	  what	  Peeta	  said	  in	  your	  story!	  (DandelionOnFire	  /r/7572849/0/29/)	  DandelionOnFire	  Influence-­‐social	  bridges	  to	  private	  selves	  Community	  communication	  that	  leads	  to	  private	  revelations	  I'm	  sick,	  so	  I	  have	  plenty	  of	  time	  to	  write.	  And	  while	  you	  wait,	  you	  could...let	  me	  think...oh	  yeah!	  Review!	  	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/3/New-­‐experience)	  iam97	  Different	  rules	  and	  norms	  (of	  different	  memberships)	  Navigating	  rules	  of	  membership-­‐like	  disclaimers	  for	  copyright	  Disclaimer:	  I	  do	  NOT	  own	  the	  Hunger	  Games,	  and	  obviously,	  I	  don't	  own	  the	  story	  with	  the	  bread	  either.	  (Iam97	  /s/7572849/1/New-­‐experience)	  iam97	  	  Local	  and	  Global	   Explanations	   Example	   Respondent	  	  Lived	  and	  shaped	  identities	  –	  of	  various	  groups	  Different	  parts	  of	  who	  we	  are:	  a	  girl,	  a	  German,	  a	  teacher-­‐who	  we've	  become	  Languages:	  I	  speak	  English	  and	  German	  fluently	  and	  I	  also	  know	  Latin,	  it's	  just	  don't	  really	  speak	  Latin.	  I	  know	  a	  little	  Spanish.	  (Iam97)	  iam97	  Broader	  perspective-­‐context	  a	  comparison	  of	  the	  outside	  communities	  to	  this	  communities	  Did	  not	  find	  an	  example	   	  	   


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