“Disturbingly fascinating” blog exercise

Does The Standard have a predominant “gruff salty vernacular”? Recent discussions at there centering around abuse and behaviour turned up an interesting comment by NZ Femme:

In my pols paper last semester at Otago, during one of our tutorials that followed a couple of lectures on NZ Politics and the Media, our tutorial group had to divide in to four smaller groups. Each smaller group had to represent one of four NZ political websites: The Standard, The Daily Blog, Whale Oil, and Kiwi Blog. (Couldn’t choose which blog team you could be on, and to my barely disguised horror, I ended up on the Whale Oil team. It was excruciating.)

Anyway, the interesting thing was that the three females on “The Standard” team, all took on male gendered persona’s, and started talking in this kind of gruff salty vernacular. It was kind of disturbing.

As another commenter said “disturbingly fascinating” – fascinating yes, but I don’t think it’s disturbing, it’s not unusual for people to adapt their behaviour to fit their perception of the social group they are in.

And another comment (by blue leopard):

There are a couple of points that arise to explain what occurred in your tutorial:

a. The Standard is full of male gendered personas talking in a gruff and salty vernacular.

b. There are a variety of personas, male, female and gender neutral on the Standard and there are many polite and reasoned comments as well as gruff ones, yet the male gendered personas speaking in a gruff way are what that group of people noticed.

I choose b. as being the most accurate explanation.

I’d go for b. too, there’s a wide range of personalities at The Standard but a few often dominate the forums so will be far more noticeable to new visitors.

It would be even more fascinating to take this further and analyse the behaviour of students in all the blog groups.

It might depend on how well they thought they identified with and fitted in with the group they were assigned to. I’d guess that NZ Femme’s horror meant she adapt to a Whale Oil persona.

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