I like Slate.com. I really do. One of my guilty pleasures is reading Emily Yoff's Dear Prudence column every Thursday. It's just that when I move on to the other interesting articles, I have a problem with being pulled out of the story by a combination of links and seemingly random bold print.
So I'm actually complaining about the formatting rather than the content.
I appreciate that the site wants me to know their writers can properly cite references for the statements they make but I view these large swaths of light blue text as an interruption to the reading experience. Take, for example, this article on Afghanistan (and yes I know I'm using a link but it's small and relevant). Five links in nine paragraphs with the average one being 4.5 words long. My inner reader's voice stumbles over these written speed bumps and loses focus on an otherwise well written article.
And just look at this:
What is up with this seemingly random bolding of large portions of text? Do the editors really think I can't pick out the important parts of the article myself? If I've managed to navigate to the tuna story I probably have an interest in reading and understanding what they are reporting so it's unnecessary to be so condescending as to point out the three or four lines that really get to the heart of the story. Especially something written so plainly as "endangers the species". That packs a wallop all by itself.
Maybe that's what irks me. A relatively smart site like Slate shouldn't be so nervous that it must cite a reference for every fact or treat its readers like dufuses who can't understand which arguments or conclusions are important without being bold (See? It's like I don't trust you to understand that this is the point I am trying to make).
Station Ident: I Am Still Asleep
2 hours ago