Computer-mediated humor and ethos: Exploring threads of constitutive laughter in online communities
Computers and Composition Volume 20, Number 3, ISSN 8755-4615 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
Joking seems to be an inescapable part of the culture of email and mailing lists, and yet few have described the rhetorical functions of humor in these text-based forms of computer-mediated communication (CMC). In this article, we argue that humor serves a critical ethos function in online communities created by mailing lists. By connecting what humor theorists already recognize as a social dimension in joking to the contemporary interpretation of ethos as a constitutive force, we find that humor constitutes a virtual group ethos. Our model of ethos-building humor emphasizes its computer mediation, drawing close attention to what we identify as threads of constitutive laughter that form in mailing list discourse. We apply the model to the rhetoric of a university writing center mailing list.
Hübler, M.T. & Bell, D.C. (2003). Computer-mediated humor and ethos: Exploring threads of constitutive laughter in online communities. Computers and Composition, 20(3), 277-294. Elsevier Ltd.