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The story of Qi Shi Ma: Online discussion and community engagement in urban China
Unformatted Document Text:  - 10 - articles were found. On the forum, 2 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. Findings In general, three salient themes were found: factual descriptions, criticism, and demands. 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 nd Generation.” Demands referred to how the government and the society should respond to the accident. RQ1. In this controversy case, does the online forum demonstrate the potential to be a public sphere? 2 http://hangzhou.19lou.com/ Online discussion and community engagement in urban China

Authors: Liu, Zhengjia.
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- 10 -
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.  
Findings
In general, three salient themes were found: factual descriptions, criticism, and 
demands.  
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
nd
 Generation.” 
Demands referred to how the government and the society should respond to the 
accident.  
RQ1. In this controversy case, does the online forum demonstrate the potential 
to be a public sphere?
2
 http://hangzhou.19lou.com/
Online discussion and community engagement in urban China


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