Rajesh Kumar

Optimizing life, one day after the next

A Humble Plea

27 Jan 2007

Take a look at this paragraph I came across today during my daily reading:

"I've long been an MVC and Java servlet fan. I love object-oriented programming, use REST as a web architectural style, and tend to think of XML-encoded data in entity-relationship terms. So why did I like PHP so much better than Rails?"

So what's wrong with this? Sure, it's a lot of jargon that doesn't make sense unless you've worked with the web for a decent amount of time. I have worked with the web for a decent amount of time and I do understand the jargon. So what's wrong you ask. It's the links! Notice how every jargon word has a link to Wikipedia.

Let me tell you. Linking every second word makes it extremely hard to read your paragraph. Especially for someone like me who speed-reads most web content, this is a huge drawback because a) some words are underlined for reasons other than emphasis, and b) some words are of a different color than the rest of the paragraph. Makes it very very difficult to put together the words in my head to form a coherent sentence.

You may argue that it makes it easier for your reader if he has to only click on a link. Trust me, if you're using firefox, it's really easy to wiki any term. You're already on the browser, you just have to press Ctrl+T to open up a new tab, type in "wiki term" and there you go.

So, please, please, please. A humble plea from my end. If you're a web content provider of any kind, whether a blog owner, an article writer, or a mailing list contributor, please do not insult your readers by linking to Wikipedia. You're making your content harder to read and a fool out of yourself. Everyone these days knows wikipedia. You don't need to show off your elite web skills if you've happened to come across this phenomenon known as wikipedia. I've been using it for years for literally everything I do. Except academic work of course. If I don't understand a term, I have enough common sense to look it up on wikipedia. I don't need to be told.

So next time you link to wikipedia in your blog/article, think twice. Your readers are smarter than you think.

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