Monday, June 28, 2010

My Life as a Night Elf Priest

My book My Life as a Night Elf Priest: An Anthropological Account of World of Warcraft is available here. Twas very good fun writing the book, especially doing the research, but a lot of hard work too, like all books.

It is published by the University of Michigan Press in the Technologies of the Imagination Series.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Everything you always wanted to know...

but didn't know where to look for an analysis of cybersex is right here in Zek Valkyrie's exceedingly good article "Cybersexuality in MMORPGs: Virtual Sexual Revolution."

It's chock full of data from his extensive field research, well-written, and devoid of the fey musings that afflict much of what is written on cybersexuality. Valkyrie has spent a lot of time in game with his eyes open. He doesn't go for the sensational but the real. There's a bit more on Final Fantasy than World of Warcraft but he covers both. He knows his sociological literature and draws on a good range of thinking about sexuality in contemporary society.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

California quail

This morning I had a moment of perfection in seeing two California quail perched in a leisurely way atop bushes in the ecological preserve near my house in Irvine. As the birders amongst you know, we often must content ourselves with brief glimpses of interesting species (common species uncharitably called trash birds), so to actually have the time to gaze at the quail was quite wonderful.

There was a pair -- a plump male looking fatter and more regal than the pix in the bird books, and his slighter mate. As I walked down the path I flushed the proverbial covey, and they scattered, but not very far. There has never been hunting in the preserve (at least not in living memory) and the birds seemed unafraid.

The best thing was seeing the quail, or at least the male two days in a row! Again, a rare birding treat.

Tuesday, June 08, 2010

The Digital Habitat

With my colleagues Jannis Kallinikos and Giovan Francesco Lanzara, I co-edited a special issue of First Monday: The Digital Habitat: Rethinking Experience and Social Practice.

Available at First Monday.

It was fun working with the authors and I can honestly say I really like all the articles. The authors include the editors, and Yong Ming Kow, Paul Leonardi, Ron Day, Hamid Ekbia and Albert Borgmann.

Data Mining EQ2

Ahman et al. take a large database from EverQuest II and examine experience logs, transactions logs, character attributes, demographic attributes, and cancelled accounts to infer gold farming activity. Even with a lot of data this exercise of inference is difficult. The authors conclude that they could not "precisely identify gold farmers" although the analysis did have some statistically significant effects.

Check it out here.

And it does have a cute title: Mining for Gold Farmers: Automatic Detection of Deviant Players in MMOGS.