Being pretty well-versed in traditional ethnography, I am relatively familiar with the general ethics outlines of getting group permission for gathering certain types of information. I have even conducted medical anthropology in the field and had to deal with getting permission for individual participants (after overall project approval from the Board though) and experience formulating questions that would keep things within ethical requirements. However, my ethnography of YA fan fiction puts things into a different perspective. I think it could even help me to learn even more and grow as a researcher, especially since I have always been fascinated by online ethnographies (netnographies).
The only issue is that they are actually different from traditional ethnographies in terms of ethics. Specific guidelines are involved as to citing posters, how to cite them, when to ask permission, and when permission is not necessary. Thankfully, I stumbled across an awesome resource from 2002 called “The Field Behind the Screen: Using Netnography for Marketing Research in Online Communities” by Robert V. Kozinets. It is available at http://www.nyu.edu/classes/bkg/methods/netnography.pdf in addition to the “Journal of Marketing Research.” While it is not specifically targeted toward academic research, there are great tips on collecting data and analyzing it in an ethical way.