Fragmented, hectic and satisfactory interviewing

I'm basically done with my first batch of interviews. I'm just waiting the last two replies from two interviewees and then I need to do some sorting of the mateiral, but a part from that, I say that I'm quite satisfied!

I had six interviews. Two people are mostly gamers and 'minor' contrinutors within the Italian Wesnoth community. The other four interviewees are regular contributors (one was regular and got now retired) within the international/official scope of Wesnoth. Interviews were carried in a fragmented and heterogenous way: three of them over e-mail, two over IRC, and one face-to-face!

This has been an exciting experience because it allows you to interact in different ways with the people who are connected with Wesnoth, and this is interesting both from the perspective of research methodology but also at the personal level. The different ways of conducting the interviews also force you to re-think and tailor your questions (and basically, what you want to know form them) accordingly to the kind of interaction with the interviewee.

Recruitment for interviews

Currently, I'm working on recruiting interviewees. Initially, I was thinking to interview first people as developers of BfW and later on, people as users. However, I realised this was a bad choice at two levels. A practical one: the whole process of interviewing one group at a time could result in delays (e.g. If I have to wait 2 months before I complete developers interviewing without even beginning to make questions to users I can end up having some problems when unexpected delays happen.). At a theorical level: it is somewhat artifical to distinguish informants' categories between "developers" and "users". They are both at the same time.

Anyway, I currently sent reruitment calls in the international community (-dev mailing list, #wesnoth-dev) and in the italian community forum, and I'm really satisfied by the answers provided by the people. They showed supportive about my research and provided some useful clarifications. For instance, I overlooked the fact that artist developers are far more present within the international forum than they are in the mailing lists and IRC.

I definitely need more people to interview, but I'm sure that with the few ones who already offered their help, I can let emerge some good hints about development/use mediation in Wesnoth.

Technical problems on the road to the (cyber-) field

After having adjusted the PhD project proposal, I started organising the approach to the field. Namely, start following the BfW community and interacting with its users and developers. While I still have some items in my todo list concerning the beginnning of my empirical research (e.g.  contacting some mailing list admins, deciding which area of the community to tackle first...), I realised that some technical problems need to be solved ASAP.

I mainly work from my University, but the proxy and the configuration/policies of the University network causes me two problems.

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