Disclosure of gender identity in internet forums: a case study of Saudi Arabian forum communication

Madini, Abeer Ahmed and De Nooy, Juliana (2013) Disclosure of gender identity in internet forums: a case study of Saudi Arabian forum communication. Gender, Technology and Development, 17 3: 233-257. doi:10.1177/0971852413498741

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Author Madini, Abeer Ahmed
De Nooy, Juliana
Title Disclosure of gender identity in internet forums: a case study of Saudi Arabian forum communication
Journal name Gender, Technology and Development   Check publisher's open access policy
ISSN 0971-8524
Publication date 2013-11
Sub-type Article (original research)
DOI 10.1177/0971852413498741
Volume 17
Issue 3
Start page 233
End page 257
Total pages 25
Place of publication New Delhi, India
Publisher Sage Publications India
Collection year 2014
Language eng
Formatted abstract
Internet discussion forums provide opportunities for largely anonymous communication among participants. The extent to which these opportunities are taken up is of particular interest in cultures where gender relations are highly regulated and cross-gender communication is strictly limited, such as in Saudi Arabian society. This article studies participation in a public discussion forum of expatriate Saudi students. It focuses on the nature of information (whether accurate or not) that participants choose to reveal about themselves, and its effect on the forum participation. Particular attention is paid to whether and how the gender of the participants is revealed. The analysis demonstrates that few participants take advantage of the possibility of not revealing gender. Rather, gender is emphasized in most usernames and can usually be deduced from the message content. Although there is no pressure to reveal name, age, marital status, etc., reactions to the rare messages where the gender of the writer is not indicated show that clues to gender are considered essential to all but the briefest exchanges. This encourages participants to limit contact with participants of the opposite sex, as a result of which the forum communication remains largely gender segregated.
Keyword Online communication
Discussion forum
Saudi Arabia
Gender segregation
Cross-gender communication
Online identity
Q-Index Code C1
Q-Index Status Confirmed Code
Institutional Status UQ

Document type: Journal Article
Sub-type: Article (original research)
Collections: Official 2014 Collection
School of Languages and Cultures Publications
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Citation counts: Scopus Citation Count Cited 1 times in Scopus Article | Citations
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Created: Fri, 25 Oct 2013, 11:49:23 EST by Ms Katrina Hume on behalf of School of Languages and Cultures