Access to the field: Wesnoth forums and WIF

A few days ago, I finally registered to the official Wesnoth forum and to the Italian Wesnoth Forum. For both, I opened a thread where I introduced myself and the motivations for being there.

I already received a lot of "welcome!", a couple of comments on my "role as a researcher", and few other ones about the "interesting nature of the research topic". Only in one case, I felt the need to clarify (reassure) one community member about the type of investigation I'm carrying out. I preferred to re-state clearly that I will not perform any data mining, nor I'm interested in putting their private/sensitive data at the center of my analysis. In this page, I tried to explain in more details how I intend to respect these kind of data. When Introducing myself to the forums, I made sure to refer back to the page, so that people who read my introductions will have a better picture about the issue. However, the member who raised the concern specified afterwards, that his comment was not meant to be 'negatively critical', but rather a joke on the accessibility of private/sensitive data in the Internet, in general.

Before registering, I put quite some thinking on which kind of medium address as a first entry point. Now, I consider myself satisfied of choosing the official forum over, let's say, the developer mailing list, or one of the IRC channels. The decision of registering also on the Italian forum wasn't planned, rather it rose with a fortuitous event, but I'm satisfied of this decision as well. The event I'm referring to is the forthcoming IV Italian Tournament of BfW. Being on two forums at the same time, it requires a little more attention, since I do not want to be dragged into one specific community too early in my research, but it gives me the possibility to observe two different groups (in their composition and practices) which are connected by the same artefact.

Ultimately, I'm also happy of having opted for a disclosed participant observation in the forum. Namely: having stated my researcher identity and my research purposes. It's relieving :