“Keep in mind that I will be improving”: The Opening Post as a Request for Absolution

Vittorio Marone 1 *

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Abstract

Creating, sharing, and critiquing user-generated content are increasingly common practices in online environments, as users become active producers, reviewers, and promoters, not just consumers, of content. This paper investigates the functions of the opening posts in an online discussion forum dedicated to user-generated game levels (i.e., mini-games) designed with the LittleBigPlanet digital game series. In the analyzed community, the first post of each thread plays a crucial role, as authors introduce themselves, present their work, and set the stage for discussion. Findings show that the opening post carries a variety of discursive functions: it serves as a creative presentation of content, a self-reflective disclosure of practices, and a passionate call to participation. Moreover, by artfully using these themes, participants construct the opening post as a “request for absolution.” Through an ethnographic discourse analysis approach that draws on politeness theory, this study furthers the understanding of how users discursively construct and seek to increase opportunities for interaction, peer feedback, and social learning in a creative online space.

Keywords

Discussion forums; thread openers; affinity spaces; gaming communities; discourse analysis in computer-mediated communication; Little Big Planet

License

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

Article Type: Research Article

https://doi.org/10.29333/ojcmt/2499

Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 5, Issue 1, pp. 136-158

Published Online: 15 Jan 2015

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Article Downloads: 210

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