'Beyond' pseudonymity: the socio-technical structure of online military forums

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Maltby, Sarah ; Thornham, Helen ; Bennett, Daniel (2018)

This article explores the tensions apparent in anonymous military online forums as sites of publicly visible yet discursively intimate performances of military identity and sites of distinct power relations. This article draws on data collected from British military forums and the organisations that own and manage them. We consider the discursive online practices within the forums and the extent to which the technological affordances of ‘anonymity’ (or what we define as pseudonymity) act as a critical interface between the military community who contribute to the content and non-military observers who read, access, mine and appropriate the content. In so doing, we raise critical questions about the nature of ‘anonymity’ and the complex tensions in and negotiations of private and public, visibility and invisibility that occur through it and the framing and monetising of particular online communities for economic and political purpose.
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