Form and Function of Metacommunication in CMC

Form and Function of Metacommunication in CMC

Mirjam Weder (University of Basel, Switzerland)
Copyright: © 2008 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-59904-863-5.ch041
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Abstract

Online communities such as newsgroups and mailinglists are constructed around a common interest and a shared set of norms that regulates communication. These communicative norms can be studied either by observing the communicative practice of the participants or by analyzing what group members say about correct and appropriate behavior in that community (referred to as metacommunication). This chapter investigates the differing roles of metacommunication in online communities such as mailinglists, newsgroups, and online forums with an aim to provide a basis for the future analysis of group behavior. It explains how members are instructed about correct and appropriate communicative behavior, and how various evaluative means of metacommunication can negotiate these norms and contribute toward community building.

Key Terms in this Chapter

Metacommunication: Form of speech that conveys information about the ongoing conversation, exchange, or interaction rather than contributing to the content of that particular conversation. Metacommunicative behavior can be regarded in many respects as a direct expression of the norms of a community.

Common Interest: The common interest is the raison d’être of online communities that focus on leisure activities, hobbies, or fandom. A shared interest in a specific subject brings people together to form a community; it structures interaction and exchange within that community.

Norms: Regulate interaction and exchange within a community, govern group dynamics and indicate what is correct and appropriate behavior in that community. Membership to a particular community results not least from knowing and adhering to community specific norms.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions is a collection of the most frequent problems and corresponding solutions provided by owners or moderators of mailing lists, newsgroups, or other online services in order to assist (new) members in participating successfully in that community.

Instructive Metacommunication: Any form of text or speech that serves to socialize an individual into a community, or to instruct members of a community about correct or appropriate communicative behavior in a community.

Common Interest: The common interest is the raison d’être of online communities that focus on leisure activities, hobbies, or fandom. A shared interest in a specific subject brings people together to form a community; it structures interaction and exchange within that community.

Evaluative Metacommunication: Any form of text or speech that expresses the opinion of a speaker about the correctness/incorrectness of the form of an utterance, as well as the appropriateness/inappropriateness of the utterance.

Metacommunication: Form of speech that conveys information about the ongoing conversation, exchange, or interaction rather than contributing to the content of that particular conversation. Metacommunicative behavior can be regarded in many respects as a direct expression of the norms of a community.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions is a collection of the most frequent problems and corresponding solutions provided by owners or moderators of mailing lists, newsgroups, or other online services in order to assist (new) members in participating successfully in that community.

Norms: Regulate interaction and exchange within a community, govern group dynamics and indicate what is correct and appropriate behavior in that community. Membership to a particular community results not least from knowing and adhering to community specific norms.

Instructive Metacommunication: Any form of text or speech that serves to socialize an individual into a community, or to instruct members of a community about correct or appropriate communicative behavior in a community.

Evaluative Metacommunication: Any form of text or speech that expresses the opinion of a speaker about the correctness/incorrectness of the form of an utterance, as well as the appropriateness/inappropriateness of the utterance.

Off topic: Off topic are discussions or postings in mailing lists, newsgroups, or online forums that are not related to the common interest of the group.

Netiquette: A codified set of norms (rules of behavior) that aim at regulating interaction among members of an online community and the use of the resources of that particular community. Those rules help new users to integrate into the community, inform them about potentially inappropriate behavior, and guarantee a smooth flow of communication.

Online communities: Online Communities are communities of practice that are structured around a common activity, and perform their common activity by using Computer and Internet.

Off topic: Off topic are discussions or postings in mailing lists, newsgroups, or online forums that are not related to the common interest of the group.

Online communities: Online Communities are communities of practice that are structured around a common activity, and perform their common activity by using Computer and Internet.

Netiquette: A codified set of norms (rules of behavior) that aim at regulating interaction among members of an online community and the use of the resources of that particular community. Those rules help new users to integrate into the community, inform them about potentially inappropriate behavior, and guarantee a smooth flow of communication.

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