In the comments sections of news websites, commenters rely upon a staggering array of rhetorical moves, from evidence-based claims to personal insults and invective. It can be difficult for students to sort through this cacophony of claim and counter-claim.
This task measures a student’s ability to evaluate the relative strengths of two arguments posted in response to a news story about the social media application Yik Yak. One commenter, rabbits882, references relevant details from the article to support the claim that Yik Yak is more destructive than previous types of gossip. A second commenter, fortuneseeker3, claims that Yik Yak is no different than other forms of gossip. However, fortuneseeker3 does not refer to any information from the article and quotes Winston Churchill instead. Successful students will weigh the arguments presented by both commenters and contend that rabbits882 makes a stronger argument because she references evidence from the article itself instead of making unsubstantiated claims or presenting decontextualized quotes.