Oh, good grief.
Eric Zorn, of the Chicago Tribune, “writes”:http://blogs.chicagotribune.com/news_columnists_ezorn/2006/04/blind_rage.html about how angry he gets with bloggers who build blind links into their articles because of how much time it apparently wastes for the reader to click on the link to determine if the material contained therein is interesting to them. I left a comment on the article and on another site that referenced the article and got “reamed”:http://journals.aol.com/johnmscalzi/bytheway/entries/5798 in both places. Seriously, folks, what gives?
If I’m writing an article, as far as I’m concerned, the part _I’m_ writing is the _only_ part that matters. If I include a blind link within the text, it’s because something on that linked site is, in my mind, somehow relevant to the topic at hand – whether it be another related article I’ve written, or supplementary material that my readers _might_ want to investigate further, or something that might only be linked in a very subtle way in my own mind. ((Besides, you can usually get a general idea of where the link is headed by what text serves as the hyperlink. I deliberately try to make all my links somewhat apparent like that.)) I value a smooth and continuous stream of thought in my writing, something that flows easily from Point 1 to Point 2 to Point 3 and so on, so I hate building links into the discussion in such a way that only disrupts the flow, both for me and for my readers. The way I see it, if you’re on my site reading, you’re there to see what _I_ have to say about the topic under discusssion and then contribute your responses, if you so choose. The links are completely _optional_. If you want to click them and read more on the issue, feel free. But you’re under absolutely no obligation to do so. Read a different way, if you don’t want to click through, then don’t. No one’s holding a gun to your head.
Apparently, both Zorn and others think that this practice is rude and inconsiderate. I disagree. I don’t see how blind links do anything other than document part of the intellectual process the writer followed to get to the article in question. I honestly don’t mind when others put blind links in their articles. Sometimes I follow them; sometimes I don’t. Either way, there’s no reason to get in a twist about it.
Am I the only one that sees this as no big deal at all? Or does everyone else think that blind links are rude, too? So far, all I’ve seen are responses from the people who get really upset about this.