Jerome's Midterm Revision

Original Midterm Draft

http://lucchesi-sp13.wikidot.com/blog:a-report-for-web-developers:online-discourse-communitie

Revision Proposal

1. Audience
At the end of my midterm project, I concluded by addressing a specific audience: web developers who want to create a website for anonymous-internet-user based discourse communities (websites like wikidot, AskUbuntu, reddit, etc.). I will be addressing this audience in my midterm revision also.

2. Key Questions
My piece will cover three questions:
— What are the basic guidelines for facilitating your internet-community’s goals?
— How will you maximize the efficiency of achieving a shared goal through a website?
— Which website features could you include to help the community fulfill its goals?

3. Writerly Challenges and Concrete Goals
I have three goals for this piece:
a) Maintain a singular tone (active voice) throughout the whole piece
— In my midterm piece, my tone had shifted — making my argument less powerful. I’m planning to keep a consistent tone for the revision so that the argument is more believable and relatable. This practice will also help me with writing consistent reports in the long term.
— The revision piece will be more unified if I achieve this goal, and the “feel” of the paper will stay consistent.
— As in my midterm piece, the work will be less unified if I do not maintain a singular tone.
b) Use less dashes (—)
— In my midterm piece, I’ve used a plethora of dashes. For formal reports (and passive voice works) such as my midterm, it is not necessarily appropriate to use as many dashes as I had before. If I practice using these dashes in my revision, I will be able to use them in a more powerful way in the future.
— The revision piece will be less formal (and in active voice), so the use of dashes will still be prominent. However, I will use less dashes than the midterm project. If I complete my goal, the arguments that I structure in each sentence will be properly supported. I usually supply “outside data” between these dashes, so the sentences will be stronger in supporting the whole idea.
— If I use too many dashes, the piece will be too choppy and unreadable. There would be too much data to account for in the passages, and the sentences will be hard to read. If I use too little dashes, however, I won’t be able to properly provide that data — data that supports the piece at a sentence-level — that I would like to include.
c) Concentrate an argument
— In the midterm report, I disengage from the argument in the discussion section. I want to avoid doing this for my midterm piece, and for any piece in the future.
— If the argument is consistent in the paragraph-level, then the whole piece will be consistent and strong.
— If the argument strays at any point, the reader could lose track of the focus.
4. Genre Models
In this revision, I hope to create a WikiHow article to facilitate the advice that I would like to give to web developers. I will be using this website as my guide. http://www.wikihow.com/wikiHow:Writer%27s-Guide

Revision Cover Letter

When I started to compose the final revision, I just kept my audience in mind and started to write. I had trouble with deciding what the main theme would be for the Wiki How-To, but I eventually settled on “How To Improve a Community-Based Website”. This is because my targeted audience are web developers who want to make their website fit a certain community's needs. I first looked at the guidelines for creating a good Wiki How-To. Then, I examined Swales' criteria of discourse communities, because I believe that his criteria are the best models that one can use to improve their website to match a discourse community's needs, nonetheless an internet community's needs. After looking at the criteria, I used my former midterm piece's main points to start creating the rest of the revision.

I mostly started to flesh out the main steps. I didn't necessarily plan anything out; the points in my former midterm were the points that I needed to address in my midterm revision. As I went along, I looked back at both Swales' criteria and the Writer's Guide for the Wiki How-To to edit the piece. I also thought about the examples that I mention in the piece, and I made them a huge part of the main theme. I completely based my points around these examples as if they were immaculate, but I soon realized that this was a mistake. One of the problems with my revision paper was that it was too short, but the problem was alleviated once I was reminded that the audience would not necessarily maintain the same format as the examples. At the end of creating my paper, I looked over everything quickly.

The steps were the main points of the paper, and they were physically separated. I feel that this is an effective outline technique – creating a Wiki How-To is almost like creating an outline itself. In my next few pieces, I can first try giving my self a purpose for the audience (almost like the title to my Wiki How To), and then write steps to achieve this goal. Sub-steps could be supporting data that could facilitate my writing, and pictures can help me visualize what I need to write. It might not work for some papers, but it's a start to most writing prompts. I feel that this discovery is a success for my paper. I've also achieved my goals stated in my proposal, but these goals are not that substantial.

As stated earlier, I feel that my piece didn't have enough detail. If I had done this project earlier or if I had completely re-planned the whole revision, then I might have been able to include more detail in each of the steps. My overall approach to this paper was a little regressive of me; I've mostly used an elementary process to craft my paper. Editing it as I went along, the whole project was a little lackluster compared to any other works that I've done in the past. If I had done anything differently, I would have used a completely different prewriting process – one that I have never used before.

Midterm Revision

How to Improve a Community-Based Website

Have a community in mind and need to make a website for it? Here are some suggestions to help you create certain features that can facilitate the community's conversation.

Steps

Know Your Community's Goals

1. Know your community's goals. You're designing the website around your community, so it's a good idea to know what they need to accomplish so that you can make it easier for them. Here's some examples of goals:

  • To create a library of questions about a topic (ex. AskUbuntu)
  • To provide different details about a certain topic (ex. Nethack Wiki)
  • To share and collect research data

2. Include an about page which states your website's goals clearly. You want to make this page short and sweet. You might even want to make it your homepage so that everyone who visits could see the community's goals. Either way, an about page is always helpful for your website.

G21BBOo.png?1

Create A Forum for Your Community

1. Add an online forum or a forum-like feature. Forums are excellent for communities because they provide a means of intercommunication between its members. Members can provide feedback to other members who post in the forum, thus further approaching the goal. There are other types of forum-like features such as:

  • The question and answer system in AskUbuntu
  • Reddit's link/comment system
  • You can create a unique system, depending on your community!

2. Lay down certain rules to facilitate posts in the forums. Although adding rules can make your forum less based on free discussion, the community can achieve its goal more efficiently if posts are regulated. You should also appoint moderators to enforce these rules. Some rules can include:

  • No bumping
  • No irrelevant posts
  • No personal information
  • Any rules that can generally keep privacy intact and the community on track

Create Features For Feedback

1. Add a meta section where members can discuss the site and its rules. Members should be able to provide feedback on the rules, so it is beneficial to add a genre which is devoted to providing feedback. AskUbuntu has a great example of a meta forum. The meta forum should have the same features as the regular forum, but different types of rules.

4zAmENS.png?1

Depending on the platform that you use, you may want to make the meta section look different, or it might be a completely different site in general, just like AskUbuntu.

Create Features for Your Community's Goals

1. Search bars or a tag system gives easy access to other topics. Search bars help members search for old topics, and it adds a level of convenience for your members. Tags can help members search for certain subjects of posts. Adding this system can help your community achieve its goal faster.

2. Add a point/reputation system. These systems can help members pinpoint veterans and reliable users. They can add value to a person's post, and they can help identify bad/irrelevant posts. Apprentices can search for help in the Sites in the StackExchange and reddit use similar systems.

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In reddit, reputation points are known as "karma points".

3. Add any other systems your website may need. Depending on the community's goals, the website may need different types of systems to help their intercommunication move along faster. Some examples of these are:

  • Poll systems
  • Album systems
  • Live chat systems
  • Generally, any system which provides a different genre that is aimed towards the goal

Tips

  • Thumbnails help your website look better and help your users locate certain parts of the website.
  • It is intuitive for members to locate the search bar at the top of all the web pages.
  • Depending on the platform that you are using, you should keep your forum organized in a way that helps your community become more efficient.
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