Past studies mostly suggest that virtual community be the platform especially applicable for private exchange because people express themselves through hiding their real images and identities in online interaction. On the other hand, the anonymously private opinions at cyberspace are easily cited and forwarded as public ones because of the powerful search engines and hyperlink connections of internet. We consider that both public and private aspects coexist in the interaction of virtual community. This study is conducted as an interpretive research and uses the views of “front region” and “back region” in dramaturgical theory to unobtrusively observe a virtual community. We analyze the data upon hermeneutic circle to find out that the point of reference of the stage in virtual community is shaky. The virtual community can be both public and private channel at the same time just as the front region and back region overlapping. We also expect that the administrative team of every virtual community recognize the subject matter and elaborate an appropriate online environment for their members.
Lin, Chien-nai; Wu, Hsiao-Chi; and Hsieh, Ching-Cha, "A WORLD OF PARADOX: IS THAT THE PUBLIC STATEMENT OR PRIVATE TALK IN VIRTUAL COMMUNITY?" (2009). PACIS 2009 Proceedings. Paper 5.