This chapter will chart the online commenting landscape by defining the platforms where we comment and exploring how and why we comment. It will argue that the concept of the online community is a useful tool for understanding the social implications of our online group interactions. The chapter will conclude by outlining the factors that influence how we as individuals and collectively can affect the climate of the online domain and the role the institutions that own the online commenting platforms have in forming normative online behaviours through their policies and technological affordances.
- Online community
- Virtual community
- Online harassment
- User interface
- Social media
- Social networking sites
This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.
Aakhus, Mark, and Esther Rumsey. 2010. Crafting Supportive Communication Online: A Communication Design Analysis of Conflict in an Online Support Group. Journal of Applied Communication Research 38 (1): 65–84.
Alonzo, Mei, and Milam Aiken. 2004. Flaming in Electronic Communication. Decision Support Systems 36 (3): 205–213.
Anderson, Benedict. 1991. Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism. London/New York: Verso.
Barker, Valerie, David M. Dozier, Amy Schmitz Weiss, and Diane L. Borden. 2015. Harnessing Peer Potency: Predicting Positive Outcomes from Social Capital Affinity and Online Engagement with Participatory Websites. New Media & Society 17 (10): 1603–1623. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444814530291.
Barnes, Renee. 2014. The ‘Ecology of Participation’: A Study of Audience Engagement on Alternative Journalism Websites. Digital Journalism 2 (4): 542–557.
———. 2016. The Ecology of Participation. In The SAGE Handbook of Digital Journalism, ed. Tamara Witschge, Chris Anderson, David Domingo, and Alfred Hermida, 179–191. New York: Sage.
Baym, Nancy K. 1998. The Emergence of On-Line Community. In Cybersociety 2.0: Revisiting Computer-Mediated Community and Technology, ed. Steve Jones, 35–68. Thousand Oaks/London/New Delhi: Sage.
———. 2015. Personal Connections in the Digital Age. Cambridge/Malden: Polity.
Beer, David. 2008. Social Network(ing) Sites … Revisiting the Story So Far: A Response to Danah boyd & Nicole Ellison. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13 (2): 516–529.
Blanchard, Anita. 2004. Virtual Behavior Settings: An Application of Behavior Setting Theories to Virtual Communities. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 9 (2). http://jcmc.indiana.edu/vol9/issue2/blanchard.html.
Blanchard, A.L., and T. Horan. 2000. Virtual Communities and Social Capital. In Social Dimensions of Information Technology: Issues for the New Millennium, ed. G.D. Garson, 5–20. Hershey: Idea Publishing Group.
Blanchard, Anita L., and M. Lynne Markus. 2004. The Experienced Sense of a Virtual Community: Characteristics and Processes. ACM Sigmis Database 35 (1): 64–79.
Blanchard, Anita L., Jennifer L. Welbourne, and Marla D. Boughton. 2011. A Model of Online Trust: The Mediating Role of Norms and Sense of Virtual Community. Information, Communication & Society 14 (1): 76–106.
Borgatti, Stephen P., Daniel J. Brass, and Daniel S. Halgin. 2014. Social Network Research: Confusions, Criticisms, and Controversies. In Contemporary Perspectives on Organizational Social Networks, 1–29. Bingley: Emerald Group Publishing Limited.
Borst, Irma, Christine Moser, and Julie Ferguson. 2017. From Friendfunding to Crowdfunding: Relevance of Relationships, Social Media, and Platform Activities to Crowdfunding Performance. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444817694599.
Bourdieu, Pierre. 1986. The Forms of Capital. In Handbook of Theory and Research for the Sociology of Education, ed. John G. Richardson, 241–258. New York: Greenwood Publishing Group.
boyd, Danah M., and N.B. Ellison. 2007. Social Network Sites: Definition, History, and Scholarship. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 13 (1): 210–230.
Burnkrant, Robert E., and Alain Cousineau. 1975. Informational and Normative Social Influence in Buyer Behavior. Journal of Consumer Research 2 (3): 206–215.
Burt, Ronald S. 2005. Brokerage and Closure: An Introduction to Social Capital. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bury, Rhiannon. 2016. Technology, Fandom and Community in the Second Media Age. Convergence: The International Journal of Research into New Media Technologies: 1–16. https://doi.org/10.1177/1354856516648084.
Carpini, Michael X. Delli, Fay Lomax Cook, and Lawrence R. Jacobs. 2004. Public Deliberation, Discursive Participation, and Citizen Engagement: A Review of The Empirical Literature. Annual Review of Political Science 7: 315–344.
Castells, Manuel. 2013. Communication Power. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Chen, Chih-Jou, and Shiu-Wan Hung. 2010. To Give or To Receive? Factors Influencing Members’ Knowledge Sharing and Community Promotion in Professional Virtual Communities. Information & Management 47 (4): 226–236.
Citron, Danielle Keats. 2014. Hate Crimes in Cyberspace. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Coe, Kevin, Kate Kenski, and Stephen A. Rains. 2014. Online and Uncivil? Patterns and Determinants of Incivility in Newspaper Website Comments. Journal of Communication 64 (4): 658–679.
Conover, Michael D., Bruno Gonçalves, Alessandro Flammini, and Filippo Menczer. 2012. Partisan Asymmetries in Online Political Activity. EPJ Data Science 1 (1): 1.
Couldry, Nick. 2010. Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics After Neoliberalism. London/California/New Delhi/Singapore: Sage.
Crawford, Kate. 2009. Following You: Disciplines of Listening in Social Media. Continuum: Journal of Media & Cultural Studies 23 (4): 525–535.
Davenport, Sally, and Urs Daellenbach. 2011. Belonging to a Virtual Research Centre: Exploring the Influence of Social Capital Formation Processes on Member Identification in a Virtual Organization. British Journal of Management 22 (1): 54–76.
De Souza, Clarisse Sieckenius, and Jenny Preece. 2004. A Framework for Analyzing and Understanding Online Communities. Interacting with Computers 16 (3): 579–610.
Dholakia, Utpal M., Richard P. Bagozzi, and Lisa Klein Pearo. 2004. A Social Influence Model of Consumer Participation in Network-and-Small-Group-Based Virtual Communities. International Journal of Research in Marketing 21 (3): 241–263.
Diakopoulos, Nicholas, and Mor Naaman. 2011. Towards Quality Discourse in Online News Comments. Proceedings of the ACM 2011 Conference on Computer Supported Cooperative Work. Hangzhou, China.
Dvir-Gvirsman, Shira. 2016. Media Audience Homophily: Partisan Websites, Audience Identity and Polarization Processes. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444815625945.
Ellison, N., C. Steinfield, and C. Lampe. 2007. The Benefits of Facebook “Friends”: Exploring the Relationship Between College Students’ Use of Online Social Networks and Social Capital. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12 (3): 1143–1168.
Ellison, Nicole B., Charles Steinfield, and Cliff Lampe. 2011. Connection Strategies: Social Capital Implications of Facebook-Enabled Communication Practices. New Media & Society 13 (6): 873–892.
Gibbs, Jennifer L., Heewon Kim, and Seol Ki. 2016. Investigating the Role of Control and Support Mechanisms in Members’ Sense of Virtual Community. Communication Research: 1–29. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650216644023.
Goffman, Erving. 1959. The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life. Garden City: Doubleday.
Granovetter, Mark S. 1973. The Strength of Weak Ties. American Journal of Sociology 78(6): 1360–1380.
Habermas, Jurgen. 1984. The Theory of Communicative Action. Trans. Thomas McCarthy. Reason and the Rationalization of Society. Vol. 1. Boston: Beacon press.
Hampton, Keith N. 2016. Persistent and Pervasive Community: New Communication Technologies and the Future of Community. American Behavioral Scientist 60 (1): 101–124.
Hardaker, Claire. 2010. Trolling in Asynchronous Computer-Mediated Communication: From User Discussions to Academic Definitions. Journal of Politeness Research 6 (2): 215–242.
Haythornthwaite, Caroline. 2005. Social Networks and Internet Connectivity Effects. Information, Community & Society 8 (2): 125–147.
Heatherly, Kyle A., Lu Yanqin, and Jae Kook Lee. 2016. Filtering Out the Other Side? Cross-Cutting and Like-Minded Discussions on Social Networking Sites. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816634677.
Herring, Susan, Kirk Job-Sluder, Rebecca Scheckler, and Sasha Barab. 2002. Searching for Safety Online: Managing “Trolling” in a Feminist Forum. The Information Society 18 (5): 371–384.
Holbert, R. Lance, R. Kelly Garrett, and Laurel S. Gleason. 2010. A New Era of Minimal Effects? A Response to Bennett and Iyengar. Journal of Communication 60 (1): 15–34.
Honeycutt, Courtenay. 2005. Hazing as a Process of Boundary Maintenance in an Online Community. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10 (2): np.
Hopkins, Liza, Julian Thomas, Denise Meredyth, and Scott Ewing. 2004. Social Capital and Community Building Through an Electronic Network. Australian Journal of Social Issues 39 (4): 369.
Hutchens, Myiah J., Vincent J. Cicchirillo, and Jay D. Hmielowski. 2015. How Could You Think That?!?!: Understanding Intentions to Engage in Political Flaming. New Media & Society 17 (8): 1201–1219.
Hwang, Hyunseo, Youngju Kim, and Yeojin Kim. 2016. Influence of Discussion Incivility on Deliberation an Examination of the Mediating Role of Moral Indignation. Communication Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650215616861.
Kaigo, Muneo, and Isao Watanabe. 2007. Ethos in Chaos? Reaction to Video Files Depicting Socially Harmful Images in the Channel 2 Japanese Internet Forum. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12 (4): 1248–1268.
Kaplan, Andreas M., and Michael Haenlein. 2010. Users of the World, Unite! The Challenges and Opportunities of Social Media. Business Horizons 53 (1): 59–68.
Kiesler, Sara, Robert Kraut, Paul Resnick, and Aniket Kittur. 2011. Regulating Behavior in Online Communities. In Building Successful Online Communities: Evidence-Based Social Design, ed. Robert Kraut and Paul Resnick, 125–178. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Kittur, A., B. Suh, B.A. Pendleton, and E.H. Chi. 2007. He Says, She Says: Conflict and Coordination in Wikipedia. CHI 07: Proceedings of the ACM Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems, 453–462. New York: ACM Press.
Knobloch-Westerwick, Silvia, and Benjamin K. Johnson. 2014. Selective Exposure for Better or Worse: Its Mediating Role for Online News’ Impact on Political Participation. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 19 (2): 184–196.
Knobloch-Westerwick, Silvia, and Jingbo Meng. 2011. Reinforcement of the Political Self Through Selective Exposure to Political Messages. Journal of Communication 61 (2): 349–368.
Lee, Hyunjoo, and Junghee Lee. 2010. Computer-Mediated Communication Network: Exploring the Linkage Between Online Community and Social Capital. New Media & Society 12: 711–728.
Lin, Hsiu-Fen. 2008. Determinants of Successful Virtual Communities: Contributions from System Characteristics and Social Factors. Information & Management 45 (8): 522–527.
Ling, Kimberly, Gerard Beenen, Pamela Ludford, Xiaoqing Wang, Klarissa Chang, Xin Li, Dan Cosley, Dan Frankowski, Loren Terveen, and Al Mamunur Rashid. 2005. Using Social Psychology to Motivate Contributions to Online Communities. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 10 (4): Article 10. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1083-6101.2005.tb00273.x.
Litt, Eden. 2012. Knock, Knock. Who’s There? The Imagined Audience. Journal of Broadcasting & Electronic Media 56 (3): 330–345.
Livingstone, Sonia. 2008. Taking Risky Opportunities in Youthful Content Creation: Teenagers’ Use of Social Networking Sites for Intimacy, Privacy and Self-Expression. New Media & Society 10 (3): 393–411.
Lowrey, Wilson. 2006. Mapping the Journalism-Blogging Relationship. Journalism 7 (4): 477–500.
Marwick, Alice E., and Danah boyd. 2011. I Tweet Honestly, I Tweet Passionately: Twitter Users, Context Collapse, and the Imagined Audience. New Media & Society 13 (1): 114–133.
McMillan, David W., and David M. Chavis. 1986. Sense of Community: A Definition and Theory. Journal of Community Psychology 14 (1): 6–23.
Messing, Solomon, and Sean J. Westwood. 2012. Selective Exposure in the Age of Social Media: Endorsements Trump Partisan Source Affiliation When Selecting News Online. Communication Research. https://doi.org/10.1177/0093650212466406.
Meyer, Hans K., and Michael Clay Carey. 2014. In Moderation: Examining How Journalists’ Attitudes Toward Online Comments Affect the Creation of Community. Journalism Practice 8 (2): 213–228.
Mutz, Diana C. 2006. Hearing the Other Side: Deliberative Versus Participatory Democracy. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Nip, Joyce Y.M. 2004. The Relationship Between Online and Offline Communities: The Case of the Queer Sisters. Media, Culture & Society 26 (3): 409–428.
Norris, P. 2002. The Virtuous Citizen. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
O’Sullivan, Patrick B., and Andrew J. Flanagin. 2003. Reconceptualizing ‘Flaming’ and Other Problematic Messages. New Media & Society 5 (1): 69–94.
Papacharissi, Zizi. 2002. The Presentation of Self in Virtual Life: Characteristics of Personal Home Pages. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 79 (3): 643–660.
———. 2004. Democracy Online: Civility, Politeness, and the Democratic Potential of Online Political Discussion Groups. New Media & Society 6 (2): 259–283.
Parks, Malcolm R. 2011. Social Network Sites as Virtual Communities. In A Networked Self: Identity, Community, and Culture on Social Network Sites, ed. Zizi Papacharissi, 105–123. London: Routledge.
Phillips, Whitney. 2015. This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things: Mapping the Relationship Between Online Trolling and Mainstream Culture. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press. eBook Collection (EBSCOhost), EBSCOhost. Accessed 12 Sept 2017.
Preece, Jenny, Blair Nonnecke, and Dorine Andrews. 2004. The Top Five Reasons for Lurking: Improving Community Experiences for Everyone. Computers in Human Behavior 20 (2): 201–223.
Putnam, Robert D. 2001. Bowling Alone: The Collapse and Revival of American Community. New York: Simon and Schuster.
Rainie, L., and A. Smith. 2012. Social Networking Sites and Politics (Dataset). Pew Internet. http://pewinternet.org/Reports/2012/Social-networking-and-politics.aspx. Accessed 13 Sept 2016.
Reader, Bill. 2012. Free Press vs. Free Speech? The Rhetoric of “Civility” in Regard to Anonymous Online Comments. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 89 (3): 495–513.
Reich, Zvi. 2011. User Comments: The Transformation of Participatory Space. In Participatory Journalism: Guarding Open Gates at Online Newspapers, ed. Jane B. Singer, David Domingo, Ari Heinonen, Alfred Hermida, Steve Paulussen, Thorsten Quandt, Zvi Reich, and Marina Vujnovic, 96–117. West Sussex: Wiley.
Rheingold, Howard. 1993. The Virtual Community: Finding Connection in a Computerized World. London: Addison-Wesley Longman Publishing Co., Inc.
———. 2000. The Virtual Community: Homesteading on the Electronic Frontier. Boston: MIT Press.
Rosenberry, Jack. 2010. Virtual Community Support for Offline Communities Through Online Newspaper Message Forums. Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly 87 (1): 154–169.
Ruiz, Carlos, David Domingo, Josep Lluís Micó, Javier Díaz-Noci, Koldo Meso, and Pere Masip. 2011. Public Sphere 2.0? The Democratic Qualities of Citizen Debates in Online Newspapers. The International Journal of Press/Politics 16 (4): 463–487.
Scheufle, Dietram A., and Patricia Moy. 2000. Twenty-Five Years of the Spiral of Silence: A Conceptual Review and Empirical Outlook. International Journal of Public Opinion Research 12 (1): 3–28.
Scott, C.R., S.A. Rains, and M. Haseki. 2011. Anonymous Communication: Unmasking Findings Across Fields. In Communication Yearbook, ed. C. Salmon, 299–342. New York: Routledge.
Shen, Cuihua, and Charles Cage. 2015. Exodus to the Real World? Assessing the Impact of Offline Meetups on Community Participation and Social Capital. New Media & Society 17 (3): 394–414.
Sherrick, Brett, and Jennifer Hoewe. 2016. The Effect of Explicit Online Comment Moderation on Three Spiral of Silence Outcomes. New Media & Society. https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444816662477.
Springer, Nina, Ines Engelmann, and Christian Pfaffinger. 2015. User Comments: Motives and Inhibitors to Write and Read. Information, Communication & Society 18 (7): 798–815.
Stieglitz, Eric J. 2006. Anonymity on the Internet: How Does It Work, Who Needs It, and What Are Its Policy Implications. Cardozo Arts & Entertainment Law Journal 24: 1395.
Stroud, Natalie Jomini. 2010. Polarization and Partisan Selective Exposure. Journal of Communication 60 (3): 556–576.
Tanis, Martin. 2008. Health-Related On-Line Forums: What’s the Big Attraction? Journal of Health Communication 13 (7): 698–714.
Tanner, Eliza. 2001. Chilean Conversations: Internet Forum Participants Debate Augusto Pinochet’s Detention. Journal of Communication 51 (2): 383–403.
Tyler, Richard. 2006. Comprehending Community. Critical Studies 28 (1): 21–28.
van Dijck, José. 2009. Users Like You? Theorizing Agency in User-Generated Content. Media, Culture & Society 31 (1): 41–58.
Wasko, Molly McLure, and Samer Faraj. 2005. Why Should I Share? Examining Social Capital and Knowledge Contribution in Electronic Networks of Practice. MIS Quarterly 29 (1): 35–57.
Wise, Kevin, Brian Hamman, and Kjerstin Thorson. 2006. Moderation, Response Rate, and Message Interactivity: Features of Online Communities and Their Effects on Intent to Participate. Journal of Computer-Mediated Communication 12 (1): 24–41.
Wojcieszak, Magdalena E., and Diana C. Mutz. 2009. Online Groups and Political Discourse: Do Online Discussion Spaces Facilitate Exposure to Political Disagreement? Journal of Communication 59 (1): 40–56.
Rights and permissions
© 2018 The Author(s)
About this chapter
Cite this chapter
Barnes, R. (2018). Hitch Up the Wagon: Charting the Online Commenting Landscape. In: Uncovering Online Commenting Culture. Palgrave Macmillan, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-70235-3_1
Publisher Name: Palgrave Macmillan, Cham
Print ISBN: 978-3-319-70234-6
Online ISBN: 978-3-319-70235-3
eBook Packages: Literature, Cultural and Media StudiesLiterature, Cultural and Media Studies (R0)