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Im/polite reader responses on British online news sites


Neurauter-Kessels, Manuela (2011). Im/polite reader responses on British online news sites. Journal of Politeness Research, 7(2):187-214.

Abstract

Impolite and aggressive behaviour of anonymous users appears to be an important feature of online newspaper comments. This paper identifies and investigates how impoliteness is utilized strategically by newspaper readers to attack the author of an article. Empirical data is drawn from “Have-your-say” sections of the Guardian Online, Times Online and Telegraph Online. Results illustrate that impolite moves frequently involve face-threats that question the journalists’ authority, credibility and trustworthiness. In the main part of the paper a categorization scheme for different types of impolite moves is introduced and a working definition of impoliteness in the context of “Have-your-say” sections presented. After having sketched a number of fundamental methodological and theoretical challenges in impoliteness research, the paper also demonstrates how the communicative setting and medium influence the realization and interpretation of impolite behaviour in those forms of public debates. Given the challenge of identifying and conceptualizing impoliteness in general and more specifically in a computer-mediated environment, netiquette rules prove especially useful for norms of appropriateness. It is also argued that the strength of those face-threats may be boosted by the fact that they are uttered in front of a large audience and more specifically the journalist’s readership.

Impolite and aggressive behaviour of anonymous users appears to be an important feature of online newspaper comments. This paper identifies and investigates how impoliteness is utilized strategically by newspaper readers to attack the author of an article. Empirical data is drawn from “Have-your-say” sections of the Guardian Online, Times Online and Telegraph Online. Results illustrate that impolite moves frequently involve face-threats that question the journalists’ authority, credibility and trustworthiness. In the main part of the paper a categorization scheme for different types of impolite moves is introduced and a working definition of impoliteness in the context of “Have-your-say” sections presented. After having sketched a number of fundamental methodological and theoretical challenges in impoliteness research, the paper also demonstrates how the communicative setting and medium influence the realization and interpretation of impolite behaviour in those forms of public debates. Given the challenge of identifying and conceptualizing impoliteness in general and more specifically in a computer-mediated environment, netiquette rules prove especially useful for norms of appropriateness. It is also argued that the strength of those face-threats may be boosted by the fact that they are uttered in front of a large audience and more specifically the journalist’s readership.

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7 citations in Web of Science®
11 citations in Scopus®
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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > English Department
Dewey Decimal Classification:820 English & Old English literatures
Language:English
Date:July 2011
Deposited On:12 Mar 2012 15:23
Last Modified:08 May 2016 16:57
Publisher:De Gruyter
ISSN:1612-5681
Publisher DOI:10.1515/JPLR.2011.010
Permanent URL: http://doi.org/10.5167/uzh-59666

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