The perils of inline hyperlinks

2023-01-23 @Blog

I cringe at disruptions to fluid reading. Web reading, book reading, no matter. And here I’ve occasionally neglected my own tenet.

A friend brought my attention to inline hyperlinks scattered throughout some of my postings. A quick revision produced but a handful of recent cases, nothing too abusive, but the little I found suffices to potentially frustrate reading effort. And in the past there’s been aplenty.

I sometimes inline-reference own postings concerning principles or paradigms mentioned in passing. Or in literature write-ups link to mentioned books I’d written about.

In criticism of that, I don’t generally find the inherent need for the practice not otherwise fostered by lazy writing.

I don’t wish to ever impose pre-requisites in following an argument on this site. And it doesn’t take heavy effort to briefly elaborate on an ancillary topic.

Or alternatively, structure the argument such as to avoid the need for immediate clarification in view of the general point. Easily addressed by appending a dedicated reference placeholder with content to optionally follow should one choose, without otherwise compromising the experience - in choosing to stay put on that one single page.

Speaking of which, I’d all but forgotten my own long devised VIM function to parse the markdown (it works only with markdown) for inline links and transform into bottom references, appending the respective placeholder section. See below. :)

Alas, come that inline hyperlink, and the yearning to open it heightens threefold: seconded by that of enqueueing the target in a parallel browser tab anxiously contending for your attention with the slew of others. But I rather you not even waste the energy in the very parsing exercise.

I’d be loth to impel a reader of this site to plunge into a wormhole of side trails or cross-references, or succumb to the classic surfing paradigm. And nowhere does that peril quicker manifest itself than in presence of inline hyperlinks.

I don’t endorse the general browsing methodology beyond the scope of research, comparative critique, juxtaposition of content, or the act premeditated and performed conscientiously in and of itself (however at odds with sound reason). It clashes with the focused reading pursuit. Too much contention.

Wikipedia, though immeasurable in value provided, is a prime case of anything but single-threaded focus: an excessive debauchery of inline hyperlinks. Not my intent to be the facilitator of that.

And I don’t much relate to the focused reading of a webpage differently than a page of a novel. Just as I construe margin and footnote elaborations more compromising than beneficial, such I view inline hyperlinks in a webpage: distracting and energy squandering.

Which I hold in the same vicious category as any culprit to the field of attention: ever-visible menus, ads, superficial color, decorations, images or visuals not inherently conductive. Let’s avoid these.

(Optional) further references

Questions, comments? Connect.