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Lange, Patricia G. (2014). »Commenting on YouTube rants: Perceptions of inappropriateness or civic engagement?«. In: Journal of Pragmatics, Nr. 73. S. 53-65.

ISSN: 03782166

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Abstract: Ranting is often conflated with flaming and hating, which are frequently interpreted as inappropriate forms of online interaction. Scholars have categorized rants, which contain emotional criticisms of something or someone, as “anti-social” (Vrooman, 2002). However, scholars are moving away from universal interpretations of inappropriateness, and now engage in contextual analyses of online behavior. The present study examines a random sample of 330 text comments (drawn from a pool of 13,609 comments) that were posted across 35 rant videos on YouTube. Ranters describe numerous technical and social problems with the video-sharing site. But how are rant videos received on YouTube? Do commenters characterize them as inappropriate? Do rants stimulate productive discussion or do most commenters prefer to express emotional support for the ranter? Rather than displaying personal offense, numerous commenters discussed how problems with YouTube were being publicly revealed in video rants. Such issues are particularly relevant, as expectations about communicative norms are being proposed and contested in new media sites (Markham, 2011). This study argues that under the right circumstances, ranting helps construct an emotional public sphere (Lunt and Stenner, 2005) that generates discussion among similarly concerned YouTube participants about their online communicative rights and privileges.

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