In order to understand the content of the messages which serve as examples in this paper, a brief breakdown of their salient features may be helpful. Each of group has its own structure, its particular way of enabling the coherent organisation of communication. For the text-based groups, a typical entry might look like:
Date: Thu, 17 Apr 1997 21:33:49 +1000
From: Michael Abramovich
Subject: Re: ART
John Lane wrote:
>>>Can anyone out there tell me where they usually get their art from?
>>Can anyone tell me where they get their programming from?
>Can anyone tell me where they get their money from?
I think this exchange says more about Multimedia than any other thread I've seen
The first feature is the ‘header’; this denotes the origins of the message. It contains the date, the sender’s online ‘identity’, and the thread to which they are contributing. Headers can get extremely long and complex, but these core elements remain the most important. Next, in this case, is the relevant clipping of the previous message that is being commented upon in the current one. Excerpts, by convention, are shown with the ‘>’ symbol at the beginning of each line. Multiples indicate how many times the clip has been reposted. In this instance, it can be seen that the three questions were posed in consecutive postings. The current sender’s comment is at the end of the message. The actual form of any single message may vary slightly, but the pattern in generally fairly similar.