“Control your emotions, Potter” Journal Article uri icon



  • As social media platforms become a larger part of sharing life, they have by necessity become a part of sharing death. In life, pop culture fans can have parasocial (one-sided, mediated) relationships with celebrities. Yet when fans of departed celebrities express their grief in public comment threads, conversations often result in disagreements about how to grieve. These disagreements consistently appear in response to the deaths of public figures, and have been broadly labeled "grief policing." We performed a thematic analysis of public Facebook comments responding to the deaths of Alan Rickman, David Bowie, and Prince. Our findings describe prominent grief policing practices and explain how commenters may be importing norms from other contexts when shared spaces consist of transient interactions that make norm formation difficult. Our findings contribute to a broader understanding of how conflicting norms affect discourse in transient online spaces. Approaching online incivility through a lens of conflicting social norm enforcement may open doors for improvements in public discourse online.

publication date

  • December 6, 2017

has restriction

  • closed

Date in CU Experts

  • January 4, 2018 9:23 AM

Full Author List

  • Gach KZ; Fiesler C; Brubaker JR

author count

  • 3

Other Profiles

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 2573-0142

Additional Document Info

start page

  • 1

end page

  • 18


  • 1


  • CSCW