Computing and Information Systems - Research Publications

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    Synchronizing multi-perspectival data of children's digital play at home
    Mavoa, J ; Nansen, B ; Carter, M ; Gibbs, M (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-06-03)
    Studying digitally mediated play presents challenges in terms of how to view and record both the on-screen action and player’s bodies in physical space. Carrying out this research in a socially and technologically diverse range of family households poses further challenges, common to ethnographic media research in general. In this paper, we describe a method for generating richly detailed views of 6–8 year old children’s digital play with the game Minecraft, on a range of devices and in a range of household configurations. We explain the process undertaken in our own research, highlighting the need for flexibility and a collaborative approach between participants and researchers. We argue that collecting multi-perspectival recordings of digital play provides data that has the potential to greatly aid understanding of digital playworlds.
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    Media, mortality and necro-technologies: Eulogies for dead media
    Nansen, B ; Gould, H ; Arnold, M ; Gibbs, M (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2021-07-09)
    Working at the intersection of death studies and media studies, this article examines what we can learn from the death of media technologies designed for the deceased, what we refer to as necro-technologies. Media deaths illuminate a tension between the promise of persistence and realities of precariousness embodied in all media. This tension is, however, more visibly strained by the mortality of technologies designed to mediate and memorialise the human dead by making explicit the limitations of digital eternity implied by products in the funeral industry. In this article, we historicise and define necro-technologies within broader discussions of media obsolescence and death. Drawing from our funeral industry fieldwork, we then provide four examples of recently deceased necro-technologies that are presented in the form of eulogies. These eulogies offer a stylised but culturally significant format of remembrance to create an historical record of the deceased and their life. These necro-technologies are the funeral attendance robot CARL, the in-coffin sound system CataCombo, the posthumous messaging service DeadSocial and the digital avatar service Virtual Eternity. We consider what is at stake when technologies designed to enliven the human deceased – often in perpetuity – are themselves subject to mortality. We suggest a number of entangled economic, cultural and technical reasons for the failure of necro-technologies within the specific contexts of the death care industry, which may also help to highlight broader forces of mortality affecting all media technologies. These are described as misplaced commercial imaginaries, cultural reticence and material impermanence. In thinking about the deaths of necro-technologies, and their causes, we propose a new form of death, a ‘material death’ that extends beyond biological, social and memorial forms of human death already established to account for the finitude of media materiality and memory.
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    "What are you Bringing to the Table?": The Something Awful Let's Play Community as a Serious Leisure Subculture
    McKitrick, B ; Rogerson, M ; Gibbs, M ; Nansen, B (SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2022-05-16)
    Within the last decade, Let’s Plays, recordings of gameplay with commentary by the person playing, have grown in popularity and attention. The current research examining Let’s Plays has focused on the contemporary popularity of the phenomenon on YouTube. However, the origins of Let’s Plays as an influential media practice have not been fully investigated. In order to address this gap, we conducted a series of interviews with 34 creators from the Something Awful LP subforum—commonly identified to have originated the media form. Transcripts of these interviews were analyzed using concepts of serious leisure studies and cultural/subcultural capital. As a form of serious leisure culture, the members of the Something Awful LP community displayed motivations related to extrinsic and intrinsic rewards, such as increased sense of self-worth and recognition. The analysis of this Serious leisure culture highlights how this subculture was subsequently adopted by larger YouTube communities.
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    Let's play something awful: a historical analysis of 14 years of threads
    McKitrick, B ; Gibbs, M ; Rogerson, MJ ; Nansen, B ; Pierce, C (TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2022-05-31)
    The Something Awful Let’s Play subforum is widely acknowledged as the birthplace of the Let’s Play (LP) media phenomenon. LPs typically involve people recording themselves playing games while providing commentary. LPs are an important media form in themselves as well as being an important antecedent to many contemporary and popular media forms such as live streaming, esports and speed-running. An examination of the Something Awful LP subforum can contribute to an understanding of the origins of LPs and the community that created them. In this paper, we report on a study of the Something Awful LP subforum and describe the kinds of engagement the community participates in the top threads, as well as looking to see if there are specific individuals responsible for guiding the subforum overall. We collected data from the thousands of public threads posted in the LP subforum, from its inception in 2007 to the end of 2020. The analysis of these postings presented in this paper draws on previous understandings of the behavioral roles, forms of engagement, and policing of practices that often occur on internet forums as part of the regulation and organization of associated online communities. Our results show that the LP subforum was not dominated by a small minority of users that dictated the community’s LP posting, recording and commentary practices, and that the content of the specific threads was much more important in determining what forms of LPs became popular.
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    Digital housekeepers and domestic expertise in the networked home
    Kennedy, J ; Nansen, B ; Arnold, M ; Wilken, R ; Gibbs, M (Sage Publications, 2015-11-01)
    This article examines the distribution of expertise in the performance of ‘digital housekeeping’ required to maintain a networked home. It considers the labours required to maintain a networked home, the forms of digital expertise that are available and valued in digital housekeeping, and ways in which expertise is gendered in distribution amongst household members. As part of this discussion, we consider how digital housekeeping implicitly situates technology work within the home in the role of the ‘housekeeper’, a term that is complicated by gendered sensitivities. Digital housework, like other forms of domestic labour, contributes to identity and self-worth. The concept of housework also affords visibility of the digital housekeeper’s enrolment in the project of maintaining the household. This article therefore asks, what is at stake in the gendered distribution of digital housekeeping?
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    Introduction: What 'is' Australian Game Studies?
    GIBBS, M ; Carter, M ; Apperley, T ; Nansen, B ; Crawford, L (Digital Games, 2015)
    This special issue of the Transactions of the Digital Games Research Association Journal represent approaches by contemporary Australian scholars in the study of digital games. They responded to the provocation ‘What is Game Studies in Australia?’ the topic of the inaugural conference of the Digital Games Research Association Australia (DiGRAA). This event, held on 17th of June 2014, was a meeting of academic researchers, critics, designers, developers, and artists focused on developing a discussion of what game studies ‘is’ in Australia. The conference focused special attentiveness both to diversity and any particular regional issues that delegates chose to address. These articles illustrate the breadth and variety of approaches which were discussed.
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    Dwelling with media stuff: latencies and logics of materiality in four Australian homes
    Nansen, B ; Arnold, M ; Gibbs, M ; Davis, H (SAGE PUBLICATIONS LTD, 2011-08-01)
    Extending research into material, media, and cultural geographies of the home, our interest turns to the spatiotemporality of dwelling with information and communication technologies. We pose a number of questions: How do inhabitants and their media stuff adapt to the more rigid physical spaces of a building? How does the building respond to the more rapid changes to dwelling produced by this media stuff? And how are these differing times synchronised? In answer to these questions we present four case studies of homes in Melbourne, Australia, each representative of a particular strategy of synchronisation. They are: the found home, the imagined home, the designed home, and the renovated home. We identify logics informing these homes: the first naturalises the choices made, the second rationalises choices, and the third is one in which dwelling and (re)building are intertwined.
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    Framing the NBN: An Analysis of Newspaper Representations
    Wilken, R ; Kennedy, J ; Arnold, M ; GIBBS, M ; Nansen, B (RMIT University, 2015)
    The National Broadband Network (NBN), Australia’s largest public infrastructure project, was initiated to deliver universal access to high-speed broadband. Since its announcement, the NBN has attracted a great deal of media coverage, coupled with at times divisive political debate around delivery models, costs and technologies. In this article we report on the results of a pilot study of print media coverage of the NBN. Quantitative and qualitative content analysis techniques were used to examine how the NBN was represented in The Age and The Australian newspapers during the period from 1 July 2008 to 1 July 2013. Our findings show that coverage was overwhelmingly negative and largely focused on the following: potential impacts on Telstra; lack of a business plan, and of cost-benefit analysis; problems with the rollout; cost to the federal budget; and implications for business stakeholders. In addition, there were comparatively few articles on potential societal benefits, applications and uses, and, socio-economic implications
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    National, local and household media ecologies: The case of Australia's National Broadband Network
    Wilken, R ; Nansen, B ; Arnold, M ; Kennedy, J ; Gibbs, M (RMIT-SCH MEDIA & COMMUNICATION, 2013-01-01)
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    CHILDREN AND DIGITAL WELLBEING IN AUSTRALIA: ONLINE REGULATION, CONDUCT AND COMPETENCE
    Nansen, B ; Chakraborty, K ; Gibbs, L ; MacDougall, C ; Vetere, F (ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2012-01-01)