Reading Response #1- “Outpatients” by Elise Wu

         Christiane Campbell

          The online community Wu is trying to portray is sufferers of Factitious Disorder, which causes people to pretend that something is wrong with them because they enjoy the attention and sympathy they receive from it. The sources she relies on for finding out more about the disorder are online forums for people who know someone with FD and those who actually have it and are on the road to healing. She creates a verbal portrait of the community on the pages by describing the forums on which she visited for people with the disorder, or as she called, “FDers”. The first forum she visited was mostly comprised of commentary of people that fell susceptible to the acts of a loved one who was a FDer or suspected that that loved one had FD. The second forum she visited, she found from the first forum via a link in one of its posts. This time the posts in the forums were comprised of actual FDers. She notes that the FD posters have the same layout in their responses. This layout consists of the backstory of the FDer’s illness, how it affected them and their loved ones, expression that they’ve reached their limit with FD, and a request of advice on how to curb the behaviors from the disorder. The role that footnotes play in Wu’s text is providing helpful background information. For example, in the first forum she was in, the doctor in charge of it kept referring patients to his book in his replies to them. Wu then put in a footnote that someone politely called him out on it and that he denied using the forum as a way to advertise his book. In her piece, Wu describes the community by creating a verbal portrait of them, relies on specific sources, and ensures that the reader has a better understanding of her content by including footnotes with information relevant to what she is stating.

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