Empty Templates: The Ethical Habits of Empty State Pages

John R. Gallagher, Steve Holmes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


This article examines how empty state pages (ESPs) constrain user-generated communication through the ethical lens of Bourdieu’s habitus. The authors define ESPs as interactive instructional templates that prompt users to input information to participate in an online network. Through a case study analyzing ~450,000 online comments from The New York Times, the authors find a direct connection between ESP elements, such as the character limit for comments, and online writers’ cultivated habitus.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)271-283
Number of pages13
JournalTechnical Communication Quarterly
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 3 2019


  • Design of communication
  • ethics
  • research methods
  • visual rhetoric/visualization techniques

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • Communication


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