Second Pass at Arguments on Web Sites

see AnExampleOfNotesConsideringArgumentOnAWebsite

In this project, which will occupy us for a few weeks, we'll be looking at a number of web pages on two different websites to see how the rhetors manage arguments. In particular, we'll be keeping an eye on how the sites use presentational enthymemes (L&W pp 54ff), and practical reasoning overall. But, more broadly, we're here to see what we can see: What's interesting in how arguments operate or are managed in websites, and more generally in hypertext.

Don't skim this page! It is not the same as the page for the first pass. The content is significantly different.

Our next move is to take your consideration of the About webpages to another set of pages.

The department landing pages on the BSU website are under the control of a different rhetor than the About pages, and in design of the local navigation, they serve a different purpose. These pages address a different rhetorical situation than the About pages. The exigence has changed. The pages address a different implied audience.

So we'll look at them to with two ends in mind:
  1. How does the department rhetor manage presentational enthymemes (L&W pp 54ff), and practical reasoning?
  2. What rhetorical strategies from About pages are being used on department pages? What new ones are being used?

You're being asked to make some fine and subtle distinctions on these pages. the over-all design of the website tends to make distinctions and difference hard to see at first. But the rhetorical situation has changed, the exigence has changed, the rhetor has changed, the implied audience has changed, and so how the argument is managed has changed. At first blush the text, the images, and the like seem to be similar but the way the department rhetor uses those elements manages the arguments is different.

How to Proceed

1. On your ArgumentInTwoWebSites, create another page titled, SecondPass - your initials.

2. Choose a web page from the following departments

3. Consider the pages of your chosen department using the framework below. As before, you may copy and paste the heads below into your page to help guide your consideration.

Consider all the pages that are part of the department site - not just the landing page. Pay special attention to the department landing page as that seems to frame the arguments for the department. But do not stop there. You want a close look at the entire department web site.

=== The Webpage ===
=== The Exigence ===
=== Design and the Argument ===
=== Page Variations ===
=== The Banner Image and Local Navigation ===
=== Other Page Elements ===
=== Pronoun Style ===
=== The Kinds of Discourse === 
=== Embedded Text Links ===
=== Artistic and Inartistic Reasons and Evidence on the page ===
=== Department Claims ===
=== Summary: How the Department Manages the Argument ===

Elements to Consider in Notes

The starting webpage

Just include the link here. But keep the page open on your desktop so you can look at it as you work! Print it out if that helps you keep it in front of you.

The Exigence

Consider the specific exigence that the department landing page address for both the implied rhetor and intended reader (refer to those terms on Longaker, p. xx). It is not the same exigence as the About level pages!

The exigence is inferred from the implied rhetor and intended reader - as well as the position of the page on the website, and how it is positioned to be encountered. Consider how the intended reader got to the page.

Design and the Argument


Lede. Rhymes with need. The opening paragraph of a story or article. It's a journalistic device or element to help an actual decide whether to become an intended reader by signaling what the article is about. We're considering how the lede works to manage the argument. Most of the BSU pages seem to use a lede, displayed in a larger font than the rest of the text on the page. Our focus is on how the lede is operating rhetorically It may create an exigency, it may cap the argument, it may state a claim, it may ... do other things. Watch for them.
Focus on the department landing page for this. Walk yourself through how THIS page is organized SPECIFICALLY: list the page title, the headings, sub-headings if any, images, ... Work from top to bottom. Describing will make sure you are seeing the elements you need to work with.

You are welcome to copy and paste SELECTED parts of the text into your wiki page so you can focus on that section more closely and to illustrate what you're seeing.

To summarize this section, consider how, overall, the design of the landing page is being used to manage the argument.

Page Variations

Move through the pages on the department sub-site: they are listed in the navigation bar on the left. Note and describe thedifferences from the design of the landing page.

You need not go into as much detail in considering these pages as you did with the department landing page, but you'll want to be attentive to the differences. Some pages will be more rhetorically significant than others, and you'll need to note which ones they are.

For this section, indicate what pages you find rhetorically significant to the department's argument by considering the rhetorical management of their design in detail. Consider how those pages that you find rhetorically significant manage the department's rhetorical exigence and argument.

The Banner Image and Local Navigation


These elements are particularly significant because they vary from department to department - and that means they are being chosen to make a specific argument for that department. The topics in the local navigation are the topics that the department is using to make its argument.

Department Images

Pay special attention to the department images and how they are being used to manage the argument. Refer to L&M, presentational enthymemes, pp. 56-62. All the departments are using images to make claims and provide support.

Watch for patterns in the content of images. Departments are making particular arguments by controlling their choice of images.

Other Page Elements

Consider that the department pages use elements and page layouts that were not used in the About pages. Images, image galleries, an occasional box on the right hand side of the page with an image, a heading, short text, and two button links. Those are all part of the design of the page that the rhetor is using rhetorically.

These elements might be used to provide new enthymemes, or as caps, or to frame the coming argument or prime the implied reader for the coming argument. Consider their use here.

Pronoun Style

The About pages made marked use of the second-person pronoun YOU and the third person, WE and OUR. How is the department rhetor handling the use of person? All second? all third? Switching?

Consider the use of person in how the rhetor is managing the argument.

The Kinds of Discourse

The kind of discourse: epideictic, judicial, deliberative? Images: Same thing. Make note of what you see, and from that evidence, consider how the department rhetor uses the kinds of text in prose and in images to manage the argument.

Focus on the embedded text links. You touched on them above, but now follow the links on the page, and notice

The rhetor can create anticipation of that a link leads to with a comment, and can frame how the page will be read in various ways. Placing a link in a bullet item under a specific heading might signal that the link is a cap, for instance. We don't know until we look.

Once you explore the links, compose your notes concerning how the rhetor's use and position of links, and the page each link leads to, are managing the argument. We can't predict how the pages are linked, so this is a matter of careful inference on your part. It seems that these linked pages can function in a number of traditional ways. (See L&W, pp 56 - 62).

Artistic and Inartistic Reasons and Evidence on the page

For this section of your notes, consider whether the rhetor is using artistic and inartistic evidence, both ON THE PAGE YOU'RE ANALYZING, and in the pages the links lead to. See my example. Consider, too, in what elements they are being used in: text, layout, heads, images, links. See L&W pp 48 - 49.

Department Claims

We should be able to see each page as supporting or engaging in BSU's major claim in some way. And we did see that in your work with the About pages.

The departments are making other claims - either openly or tacitly - that the About pages do not. The departments can use the more specific material on their pages to make and support claims, provide evidence, work with different enthymemes than the top-level About pages.

Use this section to infer the specific, department-level arguments from what you have considered above. Bring the claims and enthymemes out into the open. List the claims and enthymemes as you have found them presented on the department pages. Just a list is enough but if you want to consider them in more detail, you'll gain from it. This collection will help you compose the final summary.

Summary: How the Department Manages the Argument

Draw on your notes to compose a couple of extensive paragraphs in which you consider how the department rhetor manages the argument on the department pages overall. Include here a consideration of the departmental exigence, how the rhetor uses kairos, the rhetor's use of local navigation topics, the rhetor's use of images, the specific placement of links, phrasing, the content they lead to ... Address how the presentation of the argument as something that works page by page through links guides the intended reader to form the enthymeme the rhetor is aiming at.

In these paragraphs, focus on the differences between the way the argument is managed in the About pages and the department pages.

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