Friday, September 20, 2013

4 to 6 Reasons Why Blogs Shouldn't List Reasons

I'm told that TheHackerCIO will get a higher click-through rate, and thus attract more readership if I put numbered lists in my Post title. TheHackerCIO has a pretty negative view of this, but since I'm an easygoing guy, and since it's Friday, or  "FunDay," I thought I would take a stab at it. So here are N reasons why blogs or articles with numbered lists of reasons are irrelevant. Notice that I'm not predetermining the number in advance of writing this. I'll fill in the value of N at the conclusion, and then substitute the value into the posting title. That's the scientist or engineer in me, doing that! Hang on now, here we go:

1. The numbers are arbitrary. Couldn't they come up with one more reason why the Cloud is good for your business? If the article was too long, couldn't they trim one? More than one? Aren't some of them really aspects of the same reason? Reasons are typically hierarchical and nested, with lots of interdependencies and cross-relationships which are not captured by linear numeric lists. In fact, this structure is destroyed by such a flattened list.

2. The focus is on distinguishing the reasons, not exploring them in depth. In consequence, you will get a shallow understanding from these kinds of articles. I can count on one hand the number of articles with numeric lists that have seriously aided my understanding of anything. In fact, I can count it on one finger. You can see the trend starting even here and now!

3. Using this technique is manipulative of your audience. You are playing on a peculiar aspect of psychology in order to manipulate them into clicking into your blog. I hate manipulative people. Why would I now want to become one. I've got better things to do, like Hacking.

4. It's a very unnatural, forced approach, tending to produce uniformity and conformity  rather than variety and freshness.  It amounts to forcing the content of my thought into someone's Procrustian "numeric lists" format, which will result in the same thing that Procrustes' bed did: lopping off variety and improper emphasis given to what should receive short-shrift. TheHackerCIO is anything but a conformist publication. And what you read here is far from the normal, or "consensus".

5. I can't come up with another one right now, and I need to get back to Hacking. I've got a scheduler problem with my Server which isn't kicking off my batch jobs. However, you can see the problem right here from within this very list. If I really need a "5", I can always break #4 into two:

  1. produces uniformity
  2. produces conformity 

or, I could break it out into 3 reasons, and have a list of 6, like this:

  1. forced, unnatural approach
  2. produces uniformity
  3. produces conformity 

which is just to prove my point #1: the numbers are arbitrary; and to corroborate #2, that the more I break these out, the less you see the interrelationships and the less time I spend on exploring them. So instead, just to keep things a bit quirky and unconventional, let's establish a range for N,  where N is number of reasons, as I defined it at the start of this article. Then the range for N is 4-6, and so we now have calculated our Posting Title for the day: "4 - 6 Reasons Why Blogs Shouldn't List Reasons".

Have a FunDay! Learn some new technology!

I Remain Faithfully,


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