It is a common phenomenon that online discussion spaces are overabundant with lone posts; in other words, few posts receive replies from others. Admittedly, circumstantial factors and content affect whether a post receives replies. Yet, linguistic features within a post might also play a role in inviting replies. To investigate this hypothesis, a keyword analysis comparing initiating posts, which receive replies, to lone posts, which do not receive replies, was conducted. The posts were from the discussion in massive open online courses (MOOCs). MOOC discussion is one type of computer-mediated communication (CMC), with an emphasis on learning and is typically monitored by course facilitators. The keyword analysis revealed that initiating posts were often constructed in a question format, with hedges and indefinite pronouns to open up a dialogue and invite others to pitch in, whereas lone posts tended to be reflective and monoglossic in nature, yet with positive sentiments.
A keyword analysis between lone posts and initiating posts in MOOC discussions
CMC and Social Media Corpora 2018 | Antwerp | 17th September 2018