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The story of Qi Shi Ma: Online discussion and community engagement in urban China
Unformatted Document Text:  - 13 - international media. As Table 2 indicates, 154 threads displayed content that was forwarded from such sources. [Table 2 here] In addition, six threads’ headings were found in the search results but their contents were deleted by the forum monitor. The headlines indicated two of these threads were calling for public gatherings to mourn the victim at the accident place. RQ2. In this controversy case, what characteristics of public sphere were manifested in the debates on the online forum? The thread that forwarded news reports on May 8 from Du Shi Kuai Bao got 20,178 subsequent posts and was identified as the most popular thread. The first 50 subsequent posts of this thread were two or three sentences in length, showing strong anger with the driver’s behavior. In their posts, users called for disclosing the driver’s personal information and advocated that he should get the death penalty. The original thread’s theme was factual description, and the main theme of the subsequent posts was demands. The thread about the victim’s memorial ceremony got 7,452 subsequent posts and was the second most popular thread. The posts showed strong pity for the victim and his family, harsh anger with the driver and tremendous disappointment about the police. No arguments or debates were found among those posts, which were all in one or two sentences. For this thread, the original theme was also factual description and the subsequent posts’ themes were criticism. For both threads, the subsequent posts were mainly emotional releasing. Among the 300 threads, only one thread directly argued with the other. One Online discussion and community engagement in urban China

Authors: Liu, Zhengjia.
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- 13 -
international media. As Table 2 indicates, 154 threads displayed content that was 
forwarded from such sources.  
[Table 2 here]
In addition, six threads’ headings were found in the search results but their 
contents were deleted by the forum monitor. The headlines indicated two of these threads 
were calling for public gatherings to mourn the victim at the accident place. 
RQ2. In this controversy case, what characteristics of public sphere were 
manifested in the debates on the online forum?
The thread that forwarded news reports on May 8 from Du Shi Kuai Bao got 
20,178 subsequent posts and was identified as the most popular thread. The first 50 
subsequent posts of this thread were two or three sentences in length, showing strong 
anger with the driver’s behavior. In their posts, users called for disclosing the driver’s 
personal information and advocated that he should get the death penalty. The original 
thread’s theme was factual description, and the main theme of the subsequent posts was 
demands
The thread about the victim’s memorial ceremony got 7,452 subsequent posts and 
was the second most popular thread. The posts showed strong pity for the victim and his 
family, harsh anger with the driver and tremendous disappointment about the police. No 
arguments or debates were found among those posts, which were all in one or two 
sentences. For this thread, the original theme was also factual description and the 
subsequent posts’ themes were criticism. For both threads, the subsequent posts were 
mainly emotional releasing. 
Among the 300 threads, only one thread directly argued with the other. One 
Online discussion and community engagement in urban China


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