This paper describes our research into methods for inferring social and instrumental roles and relationships from document and discourse corpora. The goal is to identify the roles of initial authors and participants in internet discussions with respect to leadership, influence and expertise. Web documents, forums and blogs provide data from which the relationships between these concepts are empirically derived and compared. Using techniques from Natural Language Processing (NLP), characterizations of authority and expertise are hypothesized and then tested to see if these pick out the same or different participants as may be chosen by techniques based on social network analysis (Huffaker 2010) see if they pick out the same discourse participants for any given level of these qualities (i.e. leadership, expertise and influence). Our methods could be applied, in principle, to any domain topic, but this paper will describe an initial investigation into two subject areas where a range of differing opinions are available and which differ in the nature of their appeals to authority and truth: genetic engineering' and a Muslim Forum'. The available online corpora for these topics contain discussions from a variety of users with different levels of expertise, backgrounds and personalities.