[Air-l] Taxonomy of Content on the Internet (Eliezer Ferreira)

Christy Dena cdena at cross-mediaentertainment.com
Sun Sep 17 17:52:58 PDT 2006

Hello Muhammad and Eliezer,

Thankyou for taking the time to further define metadiscursive. I employed
the term as a lazy catchall for the sake of brevity, but ended up causing
concern for my research. You're right, I shouldn't employed a term that is
wrought with plurality. I appreciate the guidance you have given because I
have only looked at this question from the point of view of the paratextual
and intertextual at this stage. I'm also aware of the difficulty of defining
what is a discussion about something and what is a work. Indeed, this is
what I argue -- that they are all layers of the 'work'. But I don't think
there is data that is that specific (tell me if there is!). 

I have assumed that there is not data that already clusters activity on the
Net according to its status in a 'work', and instead am trying to find any
data that provides a snapshot of different types of activity. Since a lot of
research has gone into blogs, forums and listservs (in particular fan
communities) I thought there would be some data on this that I can compare
with data on how many works are available on the Net: how many films webcast
for instance, how many hypertext works etc? Even data for a specific country
or even data around a particular work would help. 

At present I'm comparing data on a per-work basis: comparing sites that are
part of the fictional world, forums, listservs, news articles and so on. I
label them all as part of the work and describe their various functions in
the work. In the end, I think I'll have to just go with this per-work
analysis. But it would be nice to find out if there is any data that
provides some form of taxonomy of data on the Net.

Is this clearer?

Thankyou for your assistance in advance,

Message: 6
Date: Sun, 17 Sep 2006 12:58:52 -0300 (ART)
From: Eliezer Ferreira <tradutoref at yahoo.com.br>
Subject: Re: [Air-l] Taxonomy of Content on the Internet
To: air-l at listserv.aoir.org
Message-ID: <20060917155852.16082.qmail at web51706.mail.yahoo.com>
Content-Type: text/plain; charset=iso-8859-1

Dear Christy, 
         As professor Muhammad has said I don't have a definite answer to
our investigation. But I guess any study of this nature must be considered
by an etnographic point of you since we are to take into account the
diversity of material posted on the Net and the culturally situated
individual who has written that. As the very concept of discursive and
metadiscursive may vary feom Scholars to Scholars, so the approach peolple
may have of the other discourse. Maybe it hasn't been the focus of your
research, but at least it is some food for the thought. 
        My research project is related on how students read on the internet
and hoiw the digital divide affects this reading. So, in a way, I am to
analyse data from an etnographic pespective also. 
        Hope I have shed some light...
     Good luck in your journey, 
  Eliezer Ferreira 
  Professor of English 
  Faculty of Arts and Letters /UFPE
Muhammad Abdul-Mageed <mumageed at yahoo.com> escreveu:
  Dear Christy, and all,

Although I do not have an answer for the question you raised, I guess an
important point is the one related to the criterion upon which we label
anything as being metadiscursive. As far as I can see, two main perspectives
can emerge. First, it can be said that anything that is not related to the
propositional content--which Christy seems to call the 'actual thing,' is
metadiscursive. Second, anything related to 'writer-reader' interaction can
be taken as being an example of metadiscourse. Again, as far as I know, this
will depend upon the perspective from which we strike the distiction between
discourse and metadiscourse. But I am not sure whether you Christy is
concerned with these theoritical issues about the nature of metadiscourse or
not. Anyhow, 'metadiscourse' has been defined differently by different
people. Scholars like Williams, Deborah Schiffrin, Vande Koople, Avon
Crismore, and Ken Hyland have been actively involved in theorizing about the
concept. And it is
the more recent writings of Hyland that seems to challenge the traditional
definitions of the concept and offer a different classification, not based
upon the dichotomy of discourse and metadiscourse as two opposing, but
intricately related, concepts. I think that we need to be clear about the
criterion before deciding.


Muhammad Abdul-Mageed,
Dept of English,
Faculty of Arts,
Kafr El-Sheik Univerity,

Christy Dena wrote:
Hello All,

I'm trying to find out if there is any data to support the contention that
the majority of content on the Internet is meta-discursive: discussions
about things rather than the actual thing. This is I believe a logical
assumption to make considering the amount of content in blogs, wikis,
forums, listservs, news, general websites and so on; and the affordances of
the web and the primary function of the web for many. But perhaps there is
more content (mainly remediated perhaps) that I may be aware of. I'm aware
that more and more content is being made available on the Net but I don't
think it outweighs discussions about it yet. I can look at the stats on the
amount of blogs and so on and the stats on why people use the web but I'm
wondering if there are any studies that compare the various types of content
available on the Net? And, I'd also be interested on the views of those on
this list. Do you think there is more meta content than anything else? Do
you think there more discussions about content than anything else? 

I'm aware that a snapshot of the entire Net is not an option, nor is there
the possibility of a conclusive taxonomy of the Net, but just interested in
pursuing the idea. As a background, I'm looking at this question from the
view of an analysis of how entertainment has changed with the Internet.

If I simply missed studies that are already on the AOIR website or have been
discussed on this list, could someone just send me a link, and accept my


Christy Dena

School of Letters, Art and Media

University of Sydney, Australia


Web: http://www.ChristyDena.com 

Web: http://www.SlateNight.com 

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