Date of Award

6-27-2011

Document Type

Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department

English

First Advisor

Bennett A. Rafoth, Ed.D.

Second Advisor

Nancy Hayward, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Gian S. Pagnucci, Ph.D.

Abstract

As a composition teacher and scholar, I have often found myself frustrated with peer review sessions in my composition classes, a frustration scholars such as Harris (1992), VanDeWeghe (2004), and Miller (2005) have noted is common for writing teachers. Online fanfiction groups, however, often use peer review as a central practice of their communities. This study analyzed fanfiction groups in order to see how feedback is used within these groups and how that feedback shapes the practices of the communities, as well as how different types of fanfiction groups might use feedback differently. Using Wenger‘s (2004) concept of communities of practice, I studied fanfiction at two diverse fanfiction online groups, the G.I. Joe subsite of Fanfiction.net, a large, public group devoted to sharing G.I. Joe fanfiction for the enjoyment of the members, and Joe Bootcamp, a small, private group dedicated to helping G.I. Joe fanfiction authors become better writers. This study analyzed peer feedback from twenty stories for each fanfiction community using a modified version of Simmons‘ (2003) categories of peer feedback. Interviews with members of the fanfiction groups were also conducted. Results found that types of feedback at each group were shaped by the domain of each community, with the large, public Fanfiction.net preferring comments offering praise and encouragement, and the small, private Joe Bootcamp valuing comments concerned with revision and editing. While many composition scholars such as VanDeWeghe (2004) and Murray (2004) discourage editing until later in the writing process, fanfiction writers see editing and revision as overlapping concepts, and many authors seek comments on both at the same time. Feedback is an essential practice of these fanfiction groups, offering further evidence that most authors can benefit from the feedback process.

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