From Astral Codex Ten: Every Flashing Element On Your Site Alienates And Enrages Users
File that under Truer Words Were Never Spoken.
Yes. Yes, those elements alienate and enrage uses and everyone should quit using them. In fact! My new platform for when I run for political office will include making those dratted flashing elements illegal, as well as getting rid of telemarketer phone calls once and for all.
A few days ago I needed to look up an obscure point of Jewish law, as you do, and found this Jewish law website. The background toggles every few seconds between a picture of a rabbi and a picture of . . . a different rabbi? There’s no conceivable benefit to this and it makes it almost impossible to concentrate on the text.
Right! That’s the thing about flashing this and that on websites! Blinking images make it impossible to concentrate on the text and there is NO CONCEIVABLE BENEFIT, so cut it out!
Having read the post, though, I will add that I don’t find this type of thing as annoying as Scott does. I literally had not noticed that gmail blinks a “saving draft” message at the top corner of your email when you are typing an email. I HAD noticed that this WordPress site blinks to a “saving draft” message every few seconds at the top of the page, but this doesn’t annoy me.
I am now grateful that I’m not in the 17% of users who find that unendurable. I guess it’s good to start the day grateful for something. However, I would be MUCH MORE GRATEFUL if website designers would not have extremely obtrusive, rapidly strobing images anywhere the actual text I am trying to read. Speaking as someone who isn’t bothered by the “saving draft” message, I am confident that EVERYONE hates that.
While at Astral Codex Ten, I also looked at this post: Your Incentives Are Not The Same As Media Companies’
Unfortunately I hate many of you.
Only the ones with Twitter accounts. If you don’t have one of those, you’re fine. But if you do have one, there’s a good chance you said something which horribly offended me. You said everyone who believed X was an idiot and a Nazi, and I believed X. You read the title but not the body of an article about some group I care about, and viciously insulted them based on your misunderstanding of their position. You spent five seconds thinking of a clever dunk on someone who happened to be a friend of mine trying really hard to make the world better, and ruined their day.
Maybe the people who do these things think it’s all water under the bridge. It’s not. I block people on a hair trigger, which means that I’ll never see anything else you write, ever again. If you make one ill-considered “haha, aren’t people who think [your strawman of my position] so stupid”, then you can be as eloquent and scholarly as you want in everything else you write, and I will never get a chance to consider it or change my mind or feature your ideas on ACX.
I don’t just block you on Twitter. Until I forget who you are – which might take years – I get mildly upset every time I see your name. If someone links to an article you write, I’ll close it as soon as I recognize the byline. If you’re at some kind of real-life event I’m also attending, I’ll avoid you. I’ve had negative associations with whole political movements just because one of their members insulted a person I respect, in some especially unfair way. I’ve sometimes found myself being irrationally uncharitable to everyone named Albert or Allen or Alvin just because a totally different guy named Alfred was a jerk on Twitter.
This isn’t out of some kind of principle. It’s how my emotions naturally work. I think it’s a natural human urge, and a lot of other people work the same way.
Wow, Scott. I pretty much quit using Twitter because of this (well, in part because of this), but at least I don’t generalize from one jackass named Albert to everybody named Albert. At least, I don’t think I do that. I don’t have that quick a hair-trigger for blocking people either, although come to think of it, if I did, maybe I would enjoy Twitter more and spend more time over there.
But that’s not exactly what the post is about. The post is actually suggesting that when people imitate the style of confrontational journalists, they alienate practically everyone. That … may be true. It’s probably worth considering.