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Javnost - The Public, Vol. 15 - 2008, No. 2

Needles in a haystack: A new approach for identifying and assessing political talk in nonpolitical discussion forums

, pages: 17 - 36

Talking politics online is not exclusively reserved for politically-orientated discussion forums, particularly the everyday political talk crucial to the public sphere. People talk politics just about anywhere online from reality TV discussion forums to numerous other forum genres. Thus, the need to tap into those discussions is important if our aim is to provide a more comprehensive overview of the online discursive landscape. However, widening our scope of analysis presents us with a new set of diffi culties, namely, how do we identify political talk within the vast pool of threads and postings, and how do we assess such talk in light of the public sphere, while at the same time, taking into account its informal nature. The aim of this article is to tackle these questions by presenting a methodological approach, which attempts to detect, describe, and assess political talk in non-political discussion forums.

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