Volume 4, Issue 2
  • ISSN 2542-3851
  • E-ISSN: 2542-386X
Buy:$35.00 + Taxes



This study explores how and why people are impolite in . refers to anonymous comments overlaid on videos uploaded to video-sharing sites. Although there is wide recognition that impoliteness prevails in , the questions of how and why people are impolite in this context have rarely been investigated. This study addresses this lacuna of research. Using both an analysis of comments identified as impolite by participants and an analysis of focus group interview data, this research identified seven impoliteness strategies, covering both conventionalised formulae and implicational impoliteness. By applying uses and gratifications theory, this study identified five uses and gratifications for performing impoliteness in : social interaction, entertainment, relaxation, expression of (usually differing) opinions and finding connections. The dialectic of resonance and opposition that emerged from the data helped explain why impolite comments tended not to be perceived as inappropriate in . Thus, this study contributes to the emerging research on impoliteness in social media.


Article metrics loading...

Loading full text...

Full text loading...


  1. Bou-Franch, Patricia, and Pilar Garcés-Conejos Blitvich
    2014 “Conflict management in massive polylogues: A case study from YouTube.” Journal of Pragmatics73: 19–36. 10.1016/j.pragma.2014.05.001
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2014.05.001 [Google Scholar]
  2. Bousfield, Derek
    2008Impoliteness in Interaction. Amsterdam: John Benjamins. 10.1075/pbns.167
    https://doi.org/10.1075/pbns.167 [Google Scholar]
  3. Chen, Gina Masullo
    2011 “Tweet this: A uses and gratifications perspective on how active Twitter use gratifies a need to connect with others.” Computers in Human Behavior27(2): 755–762. 10.1016/j.chb.2010.10.023
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2010.10.023 [Google Scholar]
  4. Chen, Yue, Qin Gao, and Pei-Luen Patrick Rau
    2015 “Understanding gratifications of watching Danmaku videos – Videos with overlaid comments.” InCross-Cultural Design Methods, Practice and Impact, ed. byPei-Luen Patrick Rau, 153–163. Cham: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑20907‑4_14
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-20907-4_14 [Google Scholar]
  5. Culpeper, Jonathan
    1996 “Towards an anatomy of impoliteness.” Journal of pragmatics25(3): 349–367. 10.1016/0378‑2166(95)00014‑3
    https://doi.org/10.1016/0378-2166(95)00014-3 [Google Scholar]
  6. 2011Impoliteness: Using Language to Cause Offence. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. 10.1017/CBO9780511975752
    https://doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511975752 [Google Scholar]
  7. 2016 “Impoliteness strategies.” InInterdisciplinary Studies in Pragmatics, Culture and Society, ed. byAlessandro Capone, and Jacob L. Mey, 421–445. Cham: Springer. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑12616‑6_16
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-12616-6_16 [Google Scholar]
  8. Feng, Shaodan
    2018 “弹幕视频语言的四大特征 [Four main features of danmu video language].” 传媒 [Media] 6(1): 47–48.
    [Google Scholar]
  9. Gan, Chunmei, and Weijun Wang
    2015 “Uses and gratifications of social media: A comparison of microblog and WeChat.” Journal of Systems and Information Technology17(4): 351–363. 10.1108/JSIT‑06‑2015‑0052
    https://doi.org/10.1108/JSIT-06-2015-0052 [Google Scholar]
  10. Hardaker, Claire
    2013 “‘Uh.… not to be nitpicky, but… the past tense of drag is dragged, not drug.’: An overview of trolling strategies.” Journal of Language Aggression and Conflict1(1): 58–86. 10.1075/jlac.1.1.04har
    https://doi.org/10.1075/jlac.1.1.04har [Google Scholar]
  11. 2017 “Flaming and trolling.” InPragmatics of Social Media, ed. byChristian R. Hoffmann, and Wolfram Bublitz, 493–522. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110431070‑018
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110431070-018 [Google Scholar]
  12. Hoffmann, Christian R.
    2017 “Log in: Introducing the pragmatics of social media.” Pragmatics of Social Media, ed. byChristian R. Hoffmann, and Wolfram Bublitz, 1–28. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110431070‑001
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110431070-001 [Google Scholar]
  13. Johansson, Marjut
    2017 “Youtube.” InPragmatics of Social Media, ed. byChristian R. Hoffmann, and Wolfram Bublitz, 173–200. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter. 10.1515/9783110431070‑007
    https://doi.org/10.1515/9783110431070-007 [Google Scholar]
  14. Kádár, Dániel Z., Michael Haugh, and Wei-Lin Melody Chang
    2013 “Aggression and perceived national face threats in Mainland Chinese and Taiwanese CMC discussion boards.” Multilingua32(3): 343–372. 10.1515/multi‑2013‑0016
    https://doi.org/10.1515/multi-2013-0016 [Google Scholar]
  15. Khan, M. Laeeq
    2017 “Social media engagement: What motivates user participation and consumption on YouTube?” Computers in Human Behavior66: 236–247. 10.1016/j.chb.2016.09.024
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.chb.2016.09.024 [Google Scholar]
  16. Kienpointner, Manfred
    2018 “Impoliteness online: Hate speech in online interactions.” Internet Pragmatics1(2): 329–351. 10.1075/ip.00015.kie
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ip.00015.kie [Google Scholar]
  17. Lange, Patricia G.
    2014 “Commenting on YouTube rants: Perceptions of inappropriateness or civic engagement?” Journal of pragmatics73: 53–65. 10.1016/j.pragma.2014.07.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2014.07.004 [Google Scholar]
  18. Leech, Geoffrey
    2014The Pragmatics of Politeness. Oxford: Oxford University Press. 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341386.001.0001
    https://doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195341386.001.0001 [Google Scholar]
  19. Li, Bingyun
    2018a “弹幕言语不礼貌研究 [Verbal impoliteness in Danmaku].” 外国语言文学 [ [Foreign Language and Literature Studies] 35(2): 145–161.
    [Google Scholar]
  20. 2018b “弹幕言语不礼貌的情感表达功能 [Emotional expression functions of linguistic impoliteness in danmu].” 天津外国语大学学报 [Journal of Tianjin Foreign Studies University] 25(4): 82–94.
    [Google Scholar]
  21. Liu, Lili, Ayoung Suh, and Christian Wagner
    2016 “Watching online videos interactively: the impact of media capabilities in Chinese Danmaku video sites.” Chinese Journal of Communication9(3): 283–303. 10.1080/17544750.2016.1202853
    https://doi.org/10.1080/17544750.2016.1202853 [Google Scholar]
  22. Luo, Ying
    2016 “‘使用与满足’ 理论在弹幕视频中的体现——以 bilibili 网为例 [The reflection of ‘Uses and gratifications’ theory in danmu videos: The example of bilibili.com].” 大众文艺 [Popular Literature and Art] (15): 170–171.
    [Google Scholar]
  23. Marwick, Alice E., and danah boyd
    2011 “I tweet honestly, I tweet passionately: Twitter users, context collapse, and the imagined audience.” New Media & Society13(1): 114–133. 10.1177/1461444810365313
    https://doi.org/10.1177/1461444810365313 [Google Scholar]
  24. Pan, Yuling
    2000Politeness in Chinese Face-to-Face Interaction. Stamford: Ablex.
    [Google Scholar]
  25. Pan, Yuling, and Dániel Z. Kádár
    2011Politeness in Historical and Contemporary Chinese. London: Continuum.
    [Google Scholar]
  26. Qi, Xiaoxing, and Lijuan Hu
    2017 “使用与满足理论视角下的弹幕流行现象分析 [An analysis of the popularization of barrage from the perspective of use and satisfaction theory].” 采写编 [Journalism & Media Studies] (2): 137–138.
    [Google Scholar]
  27. Quan-Haase, Anabel, and Alyson L. Young
    2010 “Uses and gratifications of social media: A comparison of Facebook and instant messaging.” Bulletin of Science, Technology & Society30(5): 350–361. 10.1177/0270467610380009
    https://doi.org/10.1177/0270467610380009 [Google Scholar]
  28. Ruggiero, Thomas E.
    2000 “Uses and gratifications theory in the 21st century.” Mass Communication & Society3(1): 3–37. 10.1207/S15327825MCS0301_02
    https://doi.org/10.1207/S15327825MCS0301_02 [Google Scholar]
  29. Seargeant, Philip, and Caroline Tagg
    (eds.) 2014The Language of Social Media: Identity and Community on the Internet. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1057/9781137029317
    https://doi.org/10.1057/9781137029317 [Google Scholar]
  30. Tagg, Caroline, Philip Seargent, and Amy Aisha Brown
    2017Taking Offence on Social Media: Conviviality and Communication on Facebook. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan. 10.1007/978‑3‑319‑56717‑4
    https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-56717-4 [Google Scholar]
  31. Terkourafi, Marina
    2015 “Conventionalization: A new agenda for im/politeness research.” Journal of Pragmatics86: 11–18. 10.1016/j.pragma.2015.06.004
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2015.06.004 [Google Scholar]
  32. Wang, Jiayi
    2019 “Chinese business communication.” InThe Routledge Handbook of Chinese Discourse Analysis, ed. byChris Shei, 325–338. Abingdon: Routledge. 10.4324/9781315213705‑22
    https://doi.org/10.4324/9781315213705-22 [Google Scholar]
  33. Wang, Jiayi, and Charlotte Taylor
    2019 “The conventionalisation of mock politeness in Chinese and British online forums.” Journal of Pragmatics142: 270–280. 10.1016/j.pragma.2018.10.019
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2018.10.019 [Google Scholar]
  34. Whiting, Anita, and David Williams
    2013 “Why people use social media: A uses and gratifications approach.” Qualitative Market Research: An International Journal16(4): 362–369. 10.1108/QMR‑06‑2013‑0041
    https://doi.org/10.1108/QMR-06-2013-0041 [Google Scholar]
  35. Xie, Chaoqun,
    2015网络交际中不礼貌话语的建构模式及其语用机制 [Impoliteness in Computer-mediated Discourse: Construction Models and Pragmatic Mechanisms]. Beijing: Foreign Language Teaching and Research Press.
    [Google Scholar]
  36. Xie, Chaoqun, and Francisco Yus
    2018 “Introducing internet pragmatics.” Internet Pragmatics1(1): 1–12. 10.1075/ip.00001.xie
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ip.00001.xie [Google Scholar]
  37. Xie, Mei, Ju He, and Yule Feng
    2014 “大众传播游戏理论视角下的弹幕视频研究 [A study of danmu videos from the perspective of the play theory of mass communication].” 新闻界 [Journalism and Mass Communication Monthly] (2): 37–40.
    [Google Scholar]
  38. Yus, Francisco
    2017 “Contextual constraints and non-propositional effects in WhatsApp communication.” Journal of Pragmatics114: 66–86. 10.1016/j.pragma.2017.04.003
    https://doi.org/10.1016/j.pragma.2017.04.003 [Google Scholar]
  39. Zhang, Leticia Tian, and Daniel Cassany
    2019 “The ‘danmu’ phenomenon and media participation: Intercultural understanding and language learning through ‘The Ministry of Time’.” Comunicar: Media Education Research Journal27(58): 19–29. 10.3916/C58‑2019‑02
    https://doi.org/10.3916/C58-2019-02 [Google Scholar]
  40. 2021 “‘The murderer is him√’: Multimodal humor in danmu video comments.” Internet Pragmatics4(2): 272–294. doi:  10.1075/ip.00038.zha
    https://doi.org/10.1075/ip.00038.zha [Google Scholar]
  41. Zhang, Nan
    2015 “巴赫金狂欢理论视域下的弹幕文化 [Danmu culture from the perspective of Bakhtin’s Carnival Theory].” 今传媒 [Today’s Mass Media] 23(10): 121–122.
    [Google Scholar]
  42. Zhang, Wei, and Chaoqun Xie
    2015 “网络语境下不礼貌语用与身份建构分析——以微博研究为例 [A pragmatic approach to impoliteness and identity construction in cyber context: A case analysis of Weibo].” 当代外语研究 [Contemporary Foreign Language Studies] (5): 23–28, 34.
    [Google Scholar]

Data & Media loading...

This is a required field
Please enter a valid email address
Approval was successful
Invalid data
An Error Occurred
Approval was partially successful, following selected items could not be processed due to error