Understanding What the Argument is Lacking

Katie Kelly

This article itself could have been better designed using its own principles. Ram’s blog post I feel has the best summary of what one could take away from this article and it align with what the authors were trying to convey. Ram’s criticism of addressing limited audience consideration in a set of principles via an article about issues with limited audience consideration is also completely valid. While I’m assuming these principles are meant to be applied to informational documents that may be used by multiple parties from diverse backgrounds, since the article fails to make that explicit it leaves lots of holes for us to poke our heads through.

The article should have started out with the ending example, pointing out the issues with a document and how it may or may not be usable/accessible/universal. By starting off with theory about applicable documents, I fail to see how applicable the principles are until after the example. Considering the only way these principles are applicable are functional/usable documents such as the landlord/tenant example, I call into question other historical pieces of text that were influential and violated most of these principles.

A Modest Proposal was a satirical letter by Jonathan Swift and violated most of the principles described for universal documents. Besides this being in an era where most people didn’t know how to read it can be assumed the targeted audience is higher society that isn’t experiencing all the issues of famine and over population. But since it is satirical, the entire letter take a great deal of effort and could be interpreted as completely crazy proposal rather than understanding the commentary of the dire situation.

Given that example is fairly old and perhaps the authors are trying to address the disabled audience of modern times since the rise of social justice warriors’ means for fighting against these unequal playing fields. Would never know because the method in which the authors describe the principles, any and every document puts some audience at a disadvantage, even if the document was not meant for that audience. New paper’s are written at a 6th grade reading level, but is an audience disadvantaged by the paper because they cannot afford a copy the same way the authors described a disadvantaged audience who does not have the same version of Microsoft Word? What about audiences who cannot read altogether? These principles are too broad and in attempt to erase boundaries between rhetoric and disabled audience, failed to put their own boundaries on how applicable the principles are. As a college student who is supposed to analyze and comment on articles to show I read and understood them, this article makes me a disadvantaged audience by spending more time asking why the authors didn’t follow their own principles when designing their document.

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One thought on “Understanding What the Argument is Lacking

  1. I had similar thoughts on a lot of the areas you touched on so I had to ask, “am I a disadvantaged audience member because I don’t think I’m fully understanding this discussion the way they want me to.” I think perhaps it’s more to do with the execution for me than the actual question and answer they raised.

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