Imperatives in Past Online Discussions: Another Helpful Source for Community Newcomers?

AbstractExperienced members of online communities use discussion to familiarize newcomers with norms. These members use imperatives, a kind of directive speech act, to suggest a course of action. A method for automatically recognizing such imperatives is described here. The recognition performance of the algorithm is compared to that of human readers. In addition, to test and illustrate the technique, the imperatives in a sample of Wikipedia deletion discussions are extracted, analyzed, and discussed. The method may be used not only to understand a community’s culture and practices but also to elicit information that is beneficial to the community’s newcomers.

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