Sunday, January 17, 2010

Question 5 Study

Unless I’m missing something, I think this is the first published study of RLSH. When I began work on this book, I began e-mailing RLSH something called “RLSH form 101,” a set of 8 questions. This was a useful tool for introduction, and to help me see common threads in the community. I have just started to analyze some of this data now. I’m not sure how useful this data will be, or how it might be used in my book. In my experience, though, if I get even a small insight from it, it’s worth doing. I should probably mention this is not the opinion of the community in the whole, just a sampling of people in it.

This study revolves around Question 5 of the survey: “What is the biggest misconception about RLSHs?”
52 RLSH answered this question. Some gave more than one answer, for a total of 70 answers.
Example: The Wasp says, “In my opinion, it's that we're all vigilantes, or crackpots.” That counts as two answers- “vigilante” and “crazy.”
The answers fell into 8 categories, described below. I’ve provided a couple sample responses for each category.

1.That we are vigilantes (or attack people, etc.)-15
(Specifically used the word “vigilante”-11)
“Most of all, we are not ‘vigilantes’ and we are not seeking trouble.” –Laserskater
“The biggest misconception about the RLSH community to me would be that they just assume we are out to "beat up" criminals when in fact a lot of us have serious operations in whatever we do, whether it be patrols or charity.” -Symbiote

2.That we are crazy (nuts, out of touch, etc.)
“That we're crazy middle-aged men going through their midlife crisis without enough to do. I pride myself in turning that stereotype on its head.” –Shadowflare
“That we're crazy. We're not crazy. Well, not all of us.” -Anonyman

3. That we are comic book geeks living in our parent’s basement (or home)
- 10
(Specifically used the words “mom's basement”- 6)
“That we are all just a bunch of fat kids in our mother’s basements.” -Thanatos
“And also that we all live in our mom's basement playing video games.” –Zen Blade

4. That we are cosplayers/LARPers/other sort of roleplayers-9
“That we are ‘cosplayers’ who just play dress up & go to conventions.” –Superhero
“We’re comic book geeks playing in a fantasy world.” -Recluse

5. That we think we have super powers-7
“That we think we have super powers. We know we don't.” –Scavenger
“I think that most people get us confused with people who have powers. People think that because we wear a costume, it makes us think we have powers. In reality, the reason we dress this way is for impact. To inspire others to do charity, not fight crime with make-believe” -Mantis

6. That we are in it for fame/attention
“Most people think we're looking for fame. It's true that some of us are looking for attention. We see ourselves as symbols. Some symbolize hope & some are even a symbol to strike fear into criminals.” -Nite Guard
“Some people think we do this for publicity, but for real we just want to help.” -Archangel

7. That the World Superhero Registry is our central hub
“That the World Superhero Registry is our hub.” –Geist
“Another one is that the World Superhero Registry is the main hero site. WRONG.” -Lionheart

8. Other/didn’t know
“I don’t really pay attention to those things, I just pay attention to where I am needed. I care about the people and the community that I live in.” –Shadow Hare
“I guess it seems insane to me how people both in and out of the community presume we're some cohesive group, some institution or solid group of some kind. Everyone has their own story, their own perception, their own level of involvement with each other and the work. Yeah, we happen to commune in the same places, in bunches, some of us even work as little 'teams.' But in the end, we're just people, individuals.” –Citizen Smoke

Conclusions: Many RLSH think misconceptions exist that they are vigilantes, crazy, living in their mom’s basement, roleplaying, think that they have super powers, in it for fame, and are centered around the World Superhero Registry, among other possible misconceptions.

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