I'm currently taking a class in the Analysis of Written Language, and I'm considering doing a linguistic analysis and comparison of two web serials for a major project.
My focus is not so much on the story itself as on the dynamic of the web serial and the community. More to the point, focusing on the readership (those who post comments) and how they are influenced or affected by an unreliable updater as opposed to a reliable one. When a writer fails to stick to a schedule, do the commenters start talking about other stories? Do they form a more cohesive community or fall apart? Do they start theorizing more on the potential outcomes of the story to compensate for what the author is failing to provide? Is there more criticism and/or praise to the author?
To answer these questions, I'm planning to break down comments into categories, then examine the trends in how much a given category pops up. I'm also looking at incidences of intertextuality (ie. do the comments refer to other stories? Do they refer to past, present or future events in the story they're commenting about)? If I have time (and I admit I'm rather swamped this semester), I also intend to look at the number of comments per update & repeat visitors/commenters. Once I've got the data I'll take a stab at doing an analysis.
To start with, I'm thinking of using Legion of Nothing for my 'reliable updater'. There's a fairly manageable number of comments per update (5-15) and it's fairly well recognized as a sample of solid web fiction. Jim sticks regularly to his schedule of updating every Wednesday and Saturday night.
Now, the problem I'm coming to you guys for help with - My original thought was to use Tales of MU as my 'unreliable updater' source. It's listed as updating five days a week but currently sits at an average of .8 updates a week. Trouble is, Tales of MU just updated to a new look and it appears the comments have been wiped for everything previous to last week. I'm looking for recommendations of web fiction that has enough regular comments to do an analysis with, but has a recognizably poor schedule or 'reliability'.
Of course, if you guys are interested, I'd share my results when I'm done.