Bravo for this editorial!
Users’ comments in discussion forums
In this paper, I study how comments function as follow-ups in the discussion
forums of online newspapers. Follow-ups recontextualize an object of discourse
from its prior context to an ongoing context. A follow-up involves stance-taking,
positioning, and negotiation of meaning. The data were obtained from
one major French online newspaper called lemonde.fr. They consist of ten editorials
with political and social topics, along with their subsequent comments.
The first objective was to find out how, and by which linguistic means, writers
express their stance and evaluate the editorials. It was found that they do it
through axiological adjectives, explicit positioning, and various communicative
acts, as well as by affective, epistemic, and ironic expressions. The second aim
was to examine how the discussion forum posts target the prior discourse, and
open up a negotiation, i.e., what types of responsive and initiative properties
are used to negotiate the meaning. Findings indicate that the comments target
either the content or the stance expressed in the editorial. By using them, users
imply that they know more about the issue or they share the same view.