Metacommunication Patterns in Online Communities

  • Arto Lanamäki
  • Tero Päivärinta
Part of the Lecture Notes in Computer Science book series (LNCS, volume 5621)


This paper discusses about contemporary literature on computer-mediated metacommunication and observes the phenomenon in two online communities. The results contribute by identifying six general-level patterns of how metacommunication refers to primary communication in online communities. A task-oriented, user-administrated, community (Wikipedia in Finnish) involved a remarkable number of specialized metacommunication genres. In a centrally moderated discussion-oriented community (Patientslikeme), metacommunication was intertwined more with primary ad hoc communication. We suggest that a focus on specialized metacommunication genres may appear useful in online communities. However, room for ad hoc (meta)communication is needed as well, as it provides a basis for user-initiated community development.


Online community metacommunication genre computer-mediated communication 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Arto Lanamäki
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tero Päivärinta
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Information SystemsUniversity of AgderKristiansandNorway
  2. 2.University of BergenNorway

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