Wednesday, August 21, 2019

How to get on my personal blacklist

I spend too much time browsing the Internet.
Oh, wait, maybe it's not 'too much time.' How else would I run across videos of historical costume, or D-day imagined as in the Bayeux Tapestry, or the truly wonderful Regency dance site that I plan to feature in an upcoming post? Anyway, what else was I going to do with that time? Another set of knee exercises, whispers Conscience. Another inept swipe at marketing your books. Half an hour agonizing over a blurb for the next book...

Oh, go away, Conscience.

Anyway, as a consequence of all this browsing, naturally I've bookmarked sites. Lots and lots of sites. Lots and lots and lots of... oh, all right, Conscience. I promise to spend half an hour organizing my Regency research bookmarks. Soon.

A lot of these sites are other people's blogs, bookmarked for reasons like:

"Blogger A usually has some amusing snarky comment on the day's news."
"Blogger B has well-thought-out essays on topics that interest me, and what's more, she keeps her commenters civil."
"I like Blogger C's books so much that I'll read every word she writes, even when she chooses to write about her cats again."
"Blogger D's fiber art is so glorious that it makes me drool over the keyboard."

I don't officially "follow" many blogs because I don't like the notifications cluttering up my email, so mostly I check out Bloggers A, B, C and D by running through my bookmarks on a particular topic. And on periodic sweeps through the tangled mess of bookmarks, I delete or remove to Subfolder Purgatory sites that I realize I no longer visit with anticipation - in fact, I don't need the bookmarks any longer, because the only time I visit these blogs is when somebody else I'm reading posts a link to them. And half the time what has turned me off looking at a blog is not a Great Big Problem, just a minor irritant. These are some of the most frequent ones:

It's too hard to read. And I don't mean that the writing style goes beyond sixth grade English, I mean the format hurts my eyes. The blogger has chosen to put white words on a black background, or to use a pale gray font on a white background, and those words would have to be glorious indeed to persuade me to get a headache by squinting at them.

The unchanging header picture is so big that I have to scroll way down just to find out if the latest topic is something I'm interested in. No matter how beautiful your header picture is, try to bear in mind that I get to see it every time I visit your blog and I'm really more interested in what you've written lately.

Only posts every six months, if that. If the content is interesting enough, I don't need daily postings to make me keep taking a look; I don't check out many sites on a daily basis anyway. But there's a limit.

Those three little things cause more bookmark deletions than any content-based issues. Although I will add these things:

The eternal blog war. "Soandso said I said X, but he's a dirty rotten liar because I really said Y, and here's my clever response pointing out what an idiot he is, and look what a stupid thing he said after that..." Sigh. How about you and soandso go over to the infants' corner and work it out without dragging me in? If I've found your posts on other topics sufficiently interesting, I may check back in a few months to see if you've come back up out of that rabbit hole yet. Or I may not.

Anti-Semitism. One instance - just ONE - of cleverly referring to somebody with {{{ }}} around his name, and the bookmark to your blog is forever expunged from my list. Wiped with a cloth, if necessary. Or with BleachBit. Whatever works.

Shooting mosquitos with cannonballs. It's easy to write snarky reviews of beginning writers' books. Sometimes it's the only way to discharge the irritation built up by trying to read something so laced with technical problems that you were tempted to throw that expensive Kindle at the wall. But it's not nice to indulge in long screeds, however witty, at the expense of a newbie whom you call out by name and book title. Either discuss the general problem without pointing at the particular book, or keep your review to a short comment along the lines of "didn't appeal to me because..."

There are, doubtless, other irritants that drive me away from a blog, but that's probably enough kvetching for one day. All I really started out to say was:

Don't make me read white text on black.
Don't make me read tiny little gray letters on white.
Don't make me scroll past a massive unchanging header image.

Three modest requests, folks.


  1. Blogging words to live by. Yes yes yes on letting go of hard to read text colors & fonts. I hope I am passing muster most of the time. :-)

  2. I have no issue with white on black, myself (light gray on black is better, but most anything beats staring into a lightbulb that is "standard" white bg...ugh) but can agree with the rest.

  3. I hear it's the twenty-first century. Why isn't there a blogging platform that'll let readers have their choice of font and background colors?

    1. That would make sense, therefore...

      But I do use Vivaldi as my browser and there is a "Reader View" option to eliminate distractions, and color scheme for it can be set to Light, Dark, or System (or something like that, might have exact name wrong.) I use the Dark theme and enjoy not staring into lightbulb. But if I did that here and posted a screenshot, it might be.. triggering?

  4. Oops...I'm one that has a pic atop of her old pic was formatted correctly but this bugger makes you scroll to see my post. But it could be worse, right! I could have gray letters on white (really I thought they were black letters....or have white text on black! Two out of three isn't bad! Hope you come back to my blog...I'm working on another art book! HA

  5. Oh, I check your blog regularly, Robbie, because you've trained me to expect new and exciting art projects below that picture!


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