Newsletters

How on earth did the World Wide Web ever get to the point where this needed to be written:

Newsletters; or, an enormous rant about writing on the web that doesn’t really go anywhere and that’s okay with me

I know it’s very pretty to look at, but that’s an awful design to actually use in a web browser if you want people to read the textual content.1 Despite that it’s a well written essay – though I think the attitude to RSS is completely wrong-headed – that’s certainly worth a read.

[Via Sentiers #156] 2


  1. Can’t help but add that that’s not “an enormous rant” by any reasonable definition of the term; it’s 1,755 words once you strip out all the HTML and CSS. It’s just made to feel enormous because of the mostly-one-sentence-at-a-time presentational approach. 
  2. And yes, I’m aware of the irony that I got this link via a newsletter. I’d have been happy to have got it from the RSS feed of the Sentiers blog, but that’s not how this worked out. 
, 18 January 2021. Category: Uncategorized. Tagged: .

3 Comments

  1. Gordon says:

    Congratulations on reading that at all.

    I have an aversion to such things. If you believe your words are important for me to read, make them easy to read, don’t do THIS, what on earth did the readers do to deserve THIS?

    So didn’t read it, but I’m pretty sure I’m not missing anything groundbreaking.

    • John says:

      Having read the post (and stripped the text from the HTML because I wanted to get that word count) I was slightly tempted to post a link to a plain text version of the post. I decided against on the grounds that it wasn’t my content to repost, and anyway it would be impolite to override the author’s choice of format. He knew what point he was wanting to make and he chose that format to make it in.

    • John says:

      Also, I’m sympathetic to his notion that web sites are too damn complicated to maintain, but there are plenty of opportunities to post your content on the open web on the likes of Medium or Twitter if you don’t want to maintain your own CMS. Granted, some would argue strongly that publishing content on someone else’s web site means you’re not in complete control of it, but everything we write on the web is written in sand. One day I might decide it’s no longer worth my paying for the domain soreeyes.org and soon after these words could disappear from the open web (as opposed to being buried by this site’s utter obscurity, as at present) when an optician or doctor somewhere decides to pick up this domain and repurposes it to display very different content. One day I won’t be around to care about that. So be it.

      These words aren’t worth preserving, truth be told, and yet I do have a sentimental attachment to trying to do so. (I still feel a little guilty that I never did get round to putting back up earlier content from this site from previous CMSs. I’ve still got the files in a folder somewhere, but I’m not sure I’ll ever get round to bothering. Contemplating the amount of linkrot in old entries would be immensely depressing, just as looking at my early-2000 blogroll would be.)