Location

Brock University

Document Type

Paper

Start Date

15-5-1997 9:00 AM

End Date

17-5-1997 5:00 PM

Abstract

Using Edward Damer's discussion of effective argumentation principles and Douglas Walton's discussion of argumentation dialogues, I consider arguments from several Usenet newsgroups, the largest collection of Internet discussion groups. In unmoderated newsgroups, participants can engage in open discussions and debates. However, with no central authority, the argumentation in many Usenet groups often degenerates into anarchy. Presenting examples where participants ignore standards of rational conduct and subvert attempts at goal-directed argumentation, I raise questions about the rhetorical nature of an unstructured discourse community. I also consider what the examples reveal about spontaneous argumentation and electronic communication.

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Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

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May 15th, 9:00 AM May 17th, 5:00 PM

Eunoia on the Internet?: Usenet Newsgroups and the Subversion of Rationality

Brock University

Using Edward Damer's discussion of effective argumentation principles and Douglas Walton's discussion of argumentation dialogues, I consider arguments from several Usenet newsgroups, the largest collection of Internet discussion groups. In unmoderated newsgroups, participants can engage in open discussions and debates. However, with no central authority, the argumentation in many Usenet groups often degenerates into anarchy. Presenting examples where participants ignore standards of rational conduct and subvert attempts at goal-directed argumentation, I raise questions about the rhetorical nature of an unstructured discourse community. I also consider what the examples reveal about spontaneous argumentation and electronic communication.