Kairos 13.2: Praxis - Productive Mess: Results

Results: Reputation

Reputation Evidenced through Intertextuality

Overall, we concluded that students did not have enough time or consistent experience with the forum roles to develop reputation systems on the forum. However, the intertextuality of a few key posts on the forum suggests nascent reputation development between a few users that represents the kind of reputation systems we anticipated. Two of the most active members on the forum, Trace_girl and SS, both posted to the same thread in week nine. Trace_girl posts anxieties about the value of college, and SS picks up this thread and connects the concern to a quote from William Henry's The Museum of Clear Ideas.

Something about SS's response must have resonated with Trace_Girl because in the following week Trace_Girl reads SS's launch post and then quotes it in another conversation:

There are always things to do other than watch TV that will increase your knowledge. It's a lot like [SS] said in the post Everyone Watches the Same Thing but Learns Different Things. "The issue that we use television as our main form of information needs to be addressed." This is very true. Instead of watching some pointless show on Tv after you do your homework try to read a book. Just because it's reading doesn't mean that it has to be boring.

Interestingly, Trace_Girl did not respond to SS directly but seems to have referenced her post for an interesting take on the readings and then quoted her in another thread.

Connecting multiple threads was a sophisticated act beyond the requirements of the prescribed forum roles. This type of connection was only performed one other time on the forums when a student connected a different SS launch post with another developing discussion. The user TH wrote

"Now I am pretty sure most students understand that to play the job game they need a degree, even if their expectations are often buffeted by the market's vicissitudes. From their friends and parents, they know how little a terminal high school diploma will buy." This quote by Aronowitz continues to verify what SS said in her previous launch post.  For without the college degree jobs are hard to come by.

Though the body of evidence is small, the fact that students go beyond their connection roles and pull from outside threads to quote SS suggests that some students began reading her posts consistently and quoting from them because they saw her as a particularly insightful participant in the conversation (though most students didn't know this, SS was a junior honors student whose first-year composition credits didn't transfer to Purdue). This admittedly minor occurrence suggests how reputation systems could operate on a multi-student forum. Some students may begin to develop relationships of shared ideas or trust in one another's interpretations, and ideas that students found particularly helpful would propagate as the discussion developed.