Title: Genre, knowledge and digital code in web-based communities: an integrated theoretical framework for shaping digital discursive spaces

Authors: Doreen Starke-Meyerring

Addresses: Center for the Study and Teaching of Writing, Department of Integrated Studies in Education, McGill University, 3700 McTavish Montreal, QC H3A 1Y2, Canada

Abstract: Emerging digital discursive spaces, such as wikis, offer new opportunities for knowledge communication. However, participants join such spaces through the lenses of their established discursive practices. These practices, however, interact with the code – the technological design – of these spaces, which can reproduce, question, or undermine them, and present alternative opportunities and visions for knowledge communication. Participants, therefore, ultimately face questions about the ways in which tensions between established (genred) practices and alternative practices enabled by code are to be negotiated. Drawing on theories of rhetoric and technology, this article offers an integrated theoretical framework that allows developers of online communities to examine the established rhetorical practices of participants and the ways in which the code of the discursive space may question or facilitate these practices. The paper then illustrates how this framework may be applied to facilitating academic knowledge communication in a wiki space and concludes with implications for decision-making in shaping digital discursive spaces for knowledge communication.

Keywords: genre; digital code; digital discursive spaces; knowledge communication; academic peer review; peer production; wikis; web based communities; online communities; virtual communities.

DOI: 10.1504/IJWBC.2008.019547

International Journal of Web Based Communities, 2008 Vol.4 No.4, pp.398 - 417

Published online: 16 Jul 2008 *

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