1. Read through the comments from that article and summarize the types of comments. For help summarizing, you might find a stasis framework helpful. (From OWL Purdue on Stasis: “Specifically, stasis theory asks writers to investigate and try to determine:The facts (conjecture); The meaning or nature of the issue (definition);The seriousness of the issue (quality): The plan of action (policy).
Almost every single person commenting is responding to the article as if they are under attack by the community. Every person appears to be either a bicyclist or related to a bicyclist. The fact presented is that there are tacks on the road, and the meaning behind it is that it is dangerous for bicyclists. These people commenting are explaining that it is an extremely serious issue because one person refers to the person at fault a “terrorist”. The same person mentioned that there should be security cameras installed in the area to catch said terrorist. Aside from the people that commented solutions, there are many people that “wish” or “hope” to find a solution to the problem. There is even one person that questions the validity of someone deliberately placing the tacks on the road, saying that maybe it was a mistake or it fell off of a truck. This is an example of someone who is not ready to blame a specific person or group of people.
Each comment has a different level of emotion, whether it be someone who is intensely upset or frustrated, to someone who is confused about the situation or hopeful that it will resolve. Some people express how they feel with the words, “deadly”, “maniac”, and “vengeance”. Most of these commenters believe the person responsible should be “charged with life-threatening acts” and “prosecuted to the full extent of the law.” In this case, the seriousness of the issue to them is that it’s a crime that bicyclists are being put in danger, costing their life, almost equivalent to a criminal deliberately attempting to kill people.
There are others who post their own experience as bike riders running into dangerous situations such as this one. These comments usually include ideas about how the situation should be handled or avoided. It’s easy to understand that these comments can alter the readers view about the scenario. The first commenter describes their experience of running over tacks in the road, her main point was that it is an “annoyance” and can cause the cyclist to “go careening in the opposite lane.” They don’t pose a solution, but they do say that the person in charge should be “caught before something worse happens.”
An opposing comment to the one above is a comment someone structured with a numbered list. This person decided to blame the cyclists for the reason there are tacks in the road. They support their argument with facts about traffic laws and mention that the city is not responsible to clean up for cyclists. Their fourth point even says that they can see WHY someone would throw tacks down on the road. Honestly, this seems like someone who wants to get a thousand emails from bicyclists from the area.
Not every person looked at the situation the same, people “hope” for a solution or want the person to get caught. Other people just speak up about their experience as bicyclists and give the article credibility by saying it truly is dangerous for them. A few commenters wish to find out more information, and look at the tacks as a broader problem in terms of animals and children getting hurt, not just cyclists. Then, there are the people who view the situation in terms of the cyclists at fault because of their experience with cyclists as being lazy litterers or rule-breaking riders.
It’s easier to categorize the comments if they are shorter and to the point, which most people have if they are angry about the tacks in the road. These people want to get their thoughts out there that they are frustrated and upset with the way the scenario is handled and want the person responsible to be held accountable. But, on the other hand, people who write comments that view the cyclists as responsible tend to have specific names related to how they feel, such as “Mr. Tackman” which clearly represents the side of the argument that the tacks are not a big deal. Another method that I use to categorize the comments is by looking at their first two sentences. Usually it is easy to understand their feelings or thoughts on the situation this way. Those who are searching for answers and feel victimized usually start out their comment with a personal experience related to tacks in the road. Considering how most of the people who read this article are bicyclists, I didn’t expect there to be any comments that treated the cyclists as if they were at fault.