Discursive equality and everyday talk online: The impact of "superparticipants"

Todd Graham, Scott Wright

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

73 Citations (Scopus)


Empirical studies of online debate almost universally observe a "dominant" minority of posters. Informed by theories of deliberative democracy, these are typically framed negatively-yet research into their impact on debate is scant. To address this, a typology of what we call super-participation (super-posters, agenda-setters and facilitators) is developed and applied to the http://www.moneysavingexpert.com/ forum. Focusing on the first of these, we found 2,052 superposters (0.4%) contributing 47% of 25m+ posts. While superposters were quantitatively dominant, qualitative content analysis of the discursive practices of 25 superposters (n=40,044) found that most did not attempt to stop other users from posting (curbing) or attack them (flaming). In fact, in contradiction to the received wisdom, super-posters discursively performed a range of positive roles.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)625-642
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Computer-Mediated Communication
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Deliberation
  • Political talk
  • Public sphere
  • Virtual community

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