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Journal Articles Journal of Pragmatics Year : 2004

On-line polylogues: conversation structure and participation framework in internet newsgroups

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Abstract

This paper deals with discussions within internet (usenet) newsgroups. These discussions can be described as computer-mediated or ‘on-line’ polylogues. We observe that the specific features of newsgroups (computer-mediated communication, asynchronicity, and the public nature of the messages) have many repercussions on conversation structure and on participation framework. A newsgroup is a set of multiple conversations in which exchanges of messages are often truncated. The conversational sequences are generally very short. Messages are sometimes inaccurately positioned in the sequential structure of the conversation. The conversation structure is sometimes misunderstood by the newsgroup users. Newsgroups also have a specific participation framework. There are three kinds of participant roles in a newsgroup: simple readers (or eavesdroppers), casual senders, and hosts. We can distinguish three levels in the production format: the transmitter (or animator) is the physical source of the message; the writer (or author) is the person who formulates the message; and the enunciator (or principal) is the participant to whose position the message attests. We can also distinguish several configurations of these production roles corresponding to several modes of participation (transmission, form, motive). Last, we can observe a three-party configuration of reception format: eavesdropper, favored recipient, and addressed recipient.

Dates and versions

hal-02929813 , version 1 (03-09-2020)

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Michel Marcoccia. On-line polylogues: conversation structure and participation framework in internet newsgroups. Journal of Pragmatics, 2004, 36 (1), pp.115-145. ⟨10.1016/S0378-2166(03)00038-9⟩. ⟨hal-02929813⟩
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