Entire paragraphs as linked text July 14, 2004 10:45 AM   Subscribe

Does anyone agree with me that posting an entire paragraph as a single link makes it very hard to understand? I find it very difficult to read these types of links and posts. Particularly because a mouseover event causes the entire paragraph (in bold typeface) to flash between white and yellow on a blue background.
posted by PigAlien to Etiquette/Policy at 10:45 AM (18 comments total)

sorry, stonerose, nothing personal! you're not the only one to do this, just the most recent example.
posted by PigAlien at 10:46 AM on July 14, 2004

And while we're at it, does anybody agree with me that comments more than four lines long are tough to read? Can we keep things short, please? Thanks. Also, please use two spaces after a period rather than one.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 11:20 AM on July 14, 2004

Wednesday is opposite day!
posted by PrinceValium at 11:21 AM on July 14, 2004

For what it's worth, I hate it, too. In fact, I rarely read anything presented like that while, in contrast, I read stuff that is lengthy. I usually initially think someone forgot to close a tag. Then I think (once I realize it's intentional), well, if I want to read that, I'll follow the link and read it where it's presented in a much less annoying fashion.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:55 AM on July 14, 2004

I agree that paragraphs longer than 4-5 lines are difficult to read, DJ, but I don't believe that's too long for an entire post. Of course, most of my posts are much longer than 4-5 lines, but I try and break the paragraphs down into readable chunks.

I appreciate your brilliant attempt at satire, but I was raising a quite legitimate issue of readability. A paragraph that is on bold yellow font on a blue background, which flips rapidly back and forth between yellow and white anytime there is a mouse movement, is very hard on the eyes and difficult to read.

My post was not about how well-written a paragraph is, but rather the means of display. I just don't think it's necessary to link an entire paragraph to make a point. Quote it if you will in its entirety and then include a small link to it at the beginning or end.
posted by PigAlien at 11:57 AM on July 14, 2004

My satirical point was intended to focus more on the relative rarity and pointlessness of pursuit of the issue. I personally don't find that the paragraph flickers upon mouse movement (difference in browser behaviour, I imagine). Yellow link text upon blue is difficult to read in large chunks, yes, but I'm able to follow the white link text better once my mouse is over it.

In any case, I can't see this MetaTalk thread having an effect on people's posting styles. We seem to have had a number of complaints like this recently, in which the subject is kicked around endlessly, but nothing ever changes. I suppose my satirical jab was an attempt to express the pointless nature of the thread while not appearing to be really snitty about it.

But while we're on the topic, posts with multiple block quotations bug me. I don't want to read an entire offsite article in a MeFi comment. Give me a two-sentence sound bite, and if I'm interested, I'll follow the link. Hey, you know what? That felt better than I thought it would.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 12:32 PM on July 14, 2004

What Dr John said. I RARELY ever read block quotations (in any context). They suck my will to live.
posted by Quartermass at 12:54 PM on July 14, 2004

oh for the day when we can receive metafilter intravenously, and not have to worry our precious little selves about the style of the posts and just concentrate on the substance.
posted by crunchland at 1:41 PM on July 14, 2004

two spaces after a period : Unfortunately, html does not recognize this.
posted by mischief at 1:41 PM on July 14, 2004

Then maybe the form handler should; it could insert a nbsp; when it parses the comment and reads two spaces after a period. [/nitpick]
posted by ChasFile at 2:05 PM on July 14, 2004

Actually, I'm kinda glad that HTML seems to have almost killed off that two-spaces-after-a-period thing. It was daft to begin with.
posted by reklaw at 2:28 PM on July 14, 2004

This thread made me laugh. Would read again!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:38 PM on July 14, 2004

oh for the day when we can receive metafilter intravenously, and not have to worry our precious little selves about the style of the posts and just concentrate on the substance.
You have that dream too?
posted by dg at 4:55 PM on July 14, 2004

Yeah, the paragraph-as-link thing is hard on the eyes; I stopped doing it in that thread after having the same thought.

As for block quotes... eh, I frequently use and read them. They're especially useful when you want to confront people with facts that they're not likely to click through to read, because of their ideological biases.

MeF-IV? Sign me up.
posted by stonerose at 5:45 PM on July 14, 2004

Two spaces after a period was a style intended for typewriters, whose fixed-width typefaces would make sentences run together otherwise. No proportional font needs the crutch.

I personally think that adding the link to an unobtrusive part of the quote is a) most readable, b) most in line with people's expectations, since many readers won't click through regardless of how it's formatted. I often use the final period or other punctuation to do this. It's also not hard at all to pick out a key phrase or concept from the text quoted, and use that for the link.
-- Or Wherever You Source It, July 14, 2004

If I were gay, I could be the HTML advisor for Queer Eye. Oh dear! Your links are strewn all over the floor! Where did you grow up, a cave?!
posted by dhartung at 11:46 PM on July 14, 2004

So shall we ask Matt to add a feature to the comment parser which looks for <blockquote> and <a> tags next to each other? If it finds one on preview, it flashes the MeFi background red and yellow, and screams WARNING WARNING WARNING. Should the user actually try to post, their monitor would explode.

Actually, what we really need is for MY monitor to explode every time I try to be subtlely satiric.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:14 AM on July 15, 2004

Also, I would watch Queer Eye for the Web Guy.
posted by DrJohnEvans at 6:15 AM on July 15, 2004

Hey, Hulk! Welcome to Metafilter :) I'm so happy to see you here - I love your blog!
posted by PigAlien at 6:51 AM on July 16, 2004

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