The story of Qi Shi Ma: Online discussion and community engagement in urban China
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articles were found. On the forum,
there were 300 threads. The time period of all the
news coverage and threads were 18 months after the accident. For the two threads that
got the largest number of subsequent posts, the first 50 posts were analyzed, so 100 total
posts were also included in the study.
For RQ1, the comparison between newspaper coverage and online discussions
was based on time and themes.
For RQ2, subsequent posts were analyzed to explore the flow of arguments or
debates. The number of opposite opinions was counted. The researcher also identified the
coherency between to the original threads’ themes and the subsequent posts’ themes.
In general, three salient themes were found: factual descriptions, criticism, and
Factual descriptions referred to the eyewitness reports of the accident, the reports
of subsequent events related to the accident, and the verification of related information.
This theme excluded any opinions or discussions.
Criticism included dissatisfaction, questions and anger toward the police, the
government, the court, local media, the driver and his family, and privileged social
classes, such as “Rich 2
Demands referred to how the government and the society should respond to the
RQ1. In this controversy case, does the online forum demonstrate the potential
to be a public sphere?
Online discussion and community engagement in urban China