Online humour as a community-building cushioning glue

Vittorio Marone

Abstract


This article examines the uses and functions of humour in an online community of gamers and nonprofessional game designers who present and critique user-generated artefacts created with the popular game series LittleBigPlanet. Findings show that participants use humour and “good humour” to achieve a variety of social goals: to veil statements of ability and effort, alleviate negative comments, present user-generated content, attract new players, support other participants, and overall engender a smiling atmosphere that incentives collaboration, peer feedback, and social cohesion. Far from being a trivial ornament, humour emerges as a community building “cushioning glue” that connects, seals, and buffers different gears of computer-mediated interaction, contributing to defining the boundaries and the identity of the analysed online space.


Keywords


humour on the Internet; humour in computer-mediated-communication (CMC); discursive functions of humour; online gaming communities; LittleBigPlanet

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.7592/EJHR2015.3.1.marone

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