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Abstract

Text-only CMC has been claimed to be interactionally incoherent due to limitations imposed by messaging systems on turn-taking and reference, yet its popularity continues to grow. In an attempt to resolve this apparent paradox, this study evaluates the coherence of computer-mediated interaction by surveying research on cross-turn coherence. The results reveal a high degree of disrupted adjacency, overlapping exchanges, and topic decay. Two explanations are proposed to account for the popularity of CMC despite its relative incoherence: the ability of users to adapt to the medium, and the advantages of loosened coherence for heightened interactivity and language play.