Chapter published in:Corpus Approaches to Social Media
Edited by Sofia Rüdiger and Daria Dayter
[Studies in Corpus Linguistics 98] 2020
► pp. 41–62
The control and censorship of linguistic resources in an online Community of Practice
This research utilises a corpus of one million posts retrieved from Popheads, an online Reddit-based Community of Practice (CoP), to analyse the power dynamics associated with language censorship in online CoPs. In 2018, the moderators of the community banned the community-salient word wig (‘surprised’ or ‘impressed’). Ostensibly, this was a top-down performance of linguistic control where the officially-appointed moderators put a stop to the diffusion of a seemingly beloved part of the community’s shared linguistic repertoire. However, through a mixed-methods analysis of the events surrounding the banning of wig, this research shows that moderators have not unilaterally enforced linguistic censorship. Instead, moderators have seemingly responded to a call, led primarily by members with markers of unofficial power, to restrict usage.
Keywords: Community of Practice, Reddit, online communication, censorship, power
Published online: 04 November 2020
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