User-Generated Content: When Would It Be Considered Graffiti?

  • There is no definite boundary of when user-generated content (UGC) is considered appropriate or inappropriate -- that is relative to each user's perspective. It is also not productive or conducive to classify every UGC as a type of graffiti, since the reaches are too broad.

  • However, examining the relationship between specific instances of user comments in forums and graffiti is an interesting concept.

  • There are an abundance of forums online, ranging from those that post about golf to make up to computer games to traveling to political issues. The structure is much like a digital bulletin board, where specific categories are divided into sections, and within each section (sub-forum) there are individual threads that users or administrators post. Subsequent users may reply to these thread, which produces a sometimes linear, sometimes non-linear discussion of sorts.

  • Identifying instances of graffiti within forums, then, could be focused on user posts and user comments. If we consider forums as a community, where users choose to become members of it (i.e. sign up with a user ID), then instances of graffiti would be relative to the topics generally not part of the user base consensus. When user posts and comments are not in equilibrium with the respective rules of that particular forum, there are usually ways for other users to flag and report content that they feel do not fit within the forum, and administrators and moderators have the power to remove the comments. This is analogous to graffiti art in the physical world - public art that are consented by the building owners/general public are kept on the streets, while graffiti art that are not authourized or not accepted by the public may be removed at anytime.