[print MeTa] March 3, 2010 1:37 PM   Subscribe

A quick thanks to people linking to "print versions" of articles online instead of paginated versions.

There seems to have been an uptick in this recently, and it's admittedly a small thing, but I really do appreciate the extra effort.
posted by Shepherd to Etiquette/Policy at 1:37 PM (25 comments total) 2 users marked this as a favorite

Except for the ones that automatically use javascript to print [javascript:window.print()]. They can burn, burn, burn!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:59 PM on March 3, 2010 [5 favorites]


And I really wish they wouldn't, but I've mentioned that before.
posted by jacquilynne at 2:01 PM on March 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


...now we must battle?
posted by Shepherd at 2:08 PM on March 3, 2010


META BIG BATTEL
posted by ocherdraco at 2:22 PM on March 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


But the print version doesn't fit on my screen, so I never know how the article ends.
posted by The Deej at 2:23 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can see where there might be some debate when the only option is a printable version that has no margins or pops up a print dialog -- although I still personally prefer a wall of wide marginless text to pagination. But what I don't get is when the site is one like the nytimes that offers a single page link that has all the correct formatting and everything and yet STILL people don't link to it! It drives me crazy when people don't do that, it's just inconsiderate.
posted by Rhomboid at 2:32 PM on March 3, 2010


Yes, single-page version should always be used when available.

Normal (non-print) version should be used by default for the reasons jacquilynne gives. If and only if the OP makes sure the print version preserves the formatting and images and doesn't pop up a print dialogue box, the print version seems fine as a clearly marked secondary link. For instance, link [printer-friendly].
posted by Jaltcoh at 2:38 PM on March 3, 2010


I can see where there might be some debate

No! There is no debate! There is only the pit!

Broadswords optional.
posted by quin at 2:40 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


I agree with jacquilynne. A link to the "print" version can almost always be found within a second or two of loading the article, so if you want to read it that way, it's just a click away. The inverse is not always true. Another advantage of linking to the original article is that you may see other relevant/related links in a sidebar or what have you that might be worth reading.

I don't really understand the hostility toward the non-print links, frankly.
posted by dhammond at 3:36 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]

A link to the "print" version can almost always be found within a second or two of loading the article, so if you want to read it that way, it's just a click away.
If that occurs to you when you first load it. What happens to me is that I get to the bottom of the first "page," realize that the article is three or ten times longer than I had thought, decide to keep reading anyway, scroll up to find the print button, get the longer version, and can't find the place where I'd left off.

On the list of things I care about it's pretty far down, but finding the single-page button makes me roll my eyes.
posted by fantabulous timewaster at 3:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Agreed, print versions are the way forward.
posted by turgid dahlia at 4:16 PM on March 3, 2010


I often open dozens of tabs and return to them later. If the article doesn't grab my attention by the first 'page' (and nearly none do) I close the tab and oh well. If there's no interruption in my reading I'll keep going unless the content is truly atrocious and usually get to the meat.

The bottom line is that for me linking to a single-page version in whatever layout increases the probability I will actually read the article substantially and I greatly appreciate everyone who takes the time to do so.
posted by Skorgu at 4:44 PM on March 3, 2010


"I don't really understand the hostility toward the non-print links, frankly."

Well, I can't speak for everyone but if I were to take a

> > Next
posted by majick at 4:44 PM on March 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


guess it'd probably be the unnecessary pagination.

On the other hand it could be

> > Next
posted by majick at 4:45 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


how much less cluttered the layouts tend to be.

< < Back
posted by majick at 4:46 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


AD SPACE
posted by The Whelk at 4:50 PM on March 3, 2010 [1 favorite]


Note to designers: the printer-friendly version is the way the web is supposed to look.
posted by jfuller at 4:54 PM on March 3, 2010 [6 favorites]


Hello, Note to advertisers: we generate more ad inventory by putting each word on a separate page!
posted by GuyZero at 5:53 PM on March 3, 2010


I'm gonna have to go ahead and disagree with you there. Many of these pages have the script which sets the wheels of printing in motion, this sends my machine into a tizzy because I don't have a printer and so none of that is set up at all.

For those who are in love with the printer friendly links and want to marry them, there's always the option of setting up two links, or you could just go to the non print link and use just one click (the same click I use to start the process of stopping the "OMG I HAVE NO PRINTER" freakout of my machine) to choose the print link yourself.
posted by rollbiz at 7:24 PM on March 3, 2010


People should link to both, to be decent.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 7:29 PM on March 3, 2010


Yeah, I pretty much gave up on the Onion when suddenly all of their articles took 45 bajillion clicks to make it through. Likewise, it's made me much more cynical about the lists that I knew were just half-assed linkbait already, but making them a page for each item makes me want to stab.

This may also be because I have a slow old computer, so each page can, if it doesn't have the elegant design of a MetaFilter, take forever to load.

It's like reading a sentence with endless comma splicing, essentially poor design grammar.

So "Yes, please" to print links.
posted by klangklangston at 10:06 PM on March 3, 2010


Can't we just go round the offices of the NY Times and threaten to burn them down unless they get with the programme and learn how to use the internet properly?

Next in the firing line: those stupid cartoons in the New Yorker.
posted by ninebelow at 2:28 AM on March 4, 2010


Does everyone know about Readability? It's a little javascript bookmarklet that you can you can set up with your preferred style, margin, and text size, then shove it in your bookmark bar, and anytime you come across any text you'd like to be prettier, click it, and you're good to go.

Disclaimers:

1. It only styles text it can see, so if it's some multi-page link bait, it only does the page you're currently on.
2. Sometimes, for reasons I don't understand, it won't pull in all the text from the page. (But this is pretty rare.)

Once you're equipped with it, print version vs. not becomes a non-issue, excluding multi-page articles. To that end, yeah, I'd really prefer if people made an effort to avoid multi-page stuff when possible, but it probably doesn't crack the Top 20 Things SpiffyRob Wishes People Did Differently on Metafilter (part 2, part 3, part 4)
posted by SpiffyRob at 4:39 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


those stupid cartoons in the New Yorker.

HEY!
posted by The Whelk at 5:36 AM on March 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


People should link to both, to be decent.

I just linked to a print version of an article, but the comments are in the paginated version and are worth a look. Wish I would have seen Jessamyn's comment sooner. Both is good.
posted by fixedgear at 9:39 AM on March 4, 2010


« Older Potential upgrades to MeFi Mail on iPhone?   |   subsite selection for myFavorites Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments