Title Look who’s talking: Emergent evidence for discriminating between differences in listserv participation
Author Pomson, A.
Source Education and Information Technologies, Vol. 13, Number 2, Pages 147-163, June 2008
Year 2008
Access date 26.01.2009

This paper reports findings from a study of LookJed, the oldest and largest on-line forum for Computer Mediated Discussion among individuals interested in Jewish education. The study adopted a “cyber-ethnographic” approach, with postings to the forum seen as “acts of communication” that reveal what is important to their authors. An interest in exploring similarities between forum conversations and those in teachers’ lounges led to an investigation of Herring’s claim that most listservs do not include discussion at all, only the trading of information. This investigation found that active forum participants generally use the forum for discrete purposes, most commonly to exchange information about “subject matter” or “teaching material”, less commonly to exchange opinions and ideas, and rarely to do both. Integrating an analysis of patterns of contribution with an examination of their discursive content reveals six preeminent “types” among the population of contributors, each of whom participates in the forum in different ways and acts with different purposes. Although this typology is at best suggestive and needs to be tested against other listserv cases, its easy identification suggests that in order to better understand the cultures of virtual forums, it is important to pursue a more variegated characterization of listserv participants and their motivations than has typically been the case in CMD research where users are most frequently identified as either lurkers or fanatics, or as active or passive participants.

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SI areasICT & humans (1)
ICT & applications (2)