Rhetorical Situation Rpbe

Why We're Shutting Off Our Comments by Suzanne LaBarre


  • Suzanne LaBarre is the author of this article. If regular viewers are familiar with LaBarre's writing style, they may be able to interpret or appreciate the work better.
  • Popular Science seems to be addressing the people who rely on them regularly for science news. They make they article feel fairly personal, like a letter written specifically to their normal, treasured viewers.
  • The intended audience is most likely adults, considering the wordiness of the article who have a passion for science and learning. These people may be offended that they can no longer discuss topics with fellow viewers; However others may be relieved that spam will no longer be appearing on this website.

What and How?
*The article's thesis is

As the news arm of a 141-year-old science and technology magazine, we are as committed to fostering lively, intellectual debate as we are to spreading the word of science far and wide. The problem is when trolls and spambots overwhelm the former, diminishing our ability to do the latter. Popular Science

*LaBarre explains the social experiment used to discover the affect of different types of comments on the readers.
*The different topics are separated by topics.
*The argument relies on social experiments and opinions of different comments. One of the sources for an experiment comes from the University of Wisconsin. Labarre uses this source as a basis for her argument and build credibility.

  • The tone is mostly informative and serious.
  • One quote,

Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader's perception of a story. Popular Science sticks out because it is in a larger font, bold, bright red, and positioned in between all of the other paragraphs.

  • The design of the article seems formal. It has a very stereotypical online article layout.
  • The article has one image right above the text that does not seem to apply to the topic particularly.
  • There are links to other articles within the text of this article.
  • There are no footnotes or endnotes with this article.

When and Where?

  • This article was published in September 2013. Some viewers may believe we have the technology now to block spam and other bugs so the comments should be turned back on for the public.
  • This is a .com domain. The ads on the side and the top of the article page are most likely funding the website. Since the domain has companies interested in funding, odds are it is a reliable and popular website for people who enjoy science.


  • Labarre's purpose for this article is to help the readers understand why Popular Science is deciding to turn off their comments.
  • This is an important topic because it can help viewers avoid getting bugs on their devices and becoming displeased by Popular Science.
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