Procedure, when discussed in regards to rhetoric, and to “digital rhetoric” in particular, is framed overwhelmingly in regards to game play (and to video games most frequently). We argue that this view needs to be expanded if scholars of rhetoric are to realize how complex human-computer rhetor systems function in diverse contexts. Such systems do so through procedural enthymemes, which persuade audience agents to action through the apparent logic of a given system. Procedural persuasion occurs most often via strategies that facilitate the agent to assume an active role in “self-persuasion” in order to complete a given enthymeme. In this text, we explore the procedural enthymeme as a rhetorical tactic for human and nonhuman persuasion by looking at three case studies of commonly used technological “matching” systems—search engines (Google), online matchmaking (Match.com), and social networking (Facebook)—that employ procedural enthymemes in order to persuade users toward particular engagements with those systems.
This is an author-produced, peer-reviewed version of this article. © 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution NoCommericial-NoDerivs 4.0 http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/. The final, definitive version of this document can be found online at Computers and Composition, doi: 10.1016/j.compcom.2016.08.007
Brock, Kevin and Shepherd, Dawn. (2016). "Understanding How Algorithms Work Persuasively Through the Procedural Enthymeme". Computers and Composition, 42, 17-27. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compcom.2016.08.007