Annoyance-Driven Blogging

This post is, in fact, not quite like the others. It is a parody of Hypercritical I wrote for parody week, so take it with a big grain of salt…

I’ve been reading Hypercritical, John Siracusa’s new blog outside of Ars Technica, and it has been good to read more of John, rather than the glacial pace his blog there had been updating lately.

But even on his own space, John has been unable to escape some of the trappings of his past. A blog that updates with some frequency naturally lends itself to multi-post reading sessions. But reading a post about the annoyance of having to watch a minute and a half of opening credits before each episode can get tiresome.

To be fair to John, the existence of this kind of post may not be entirely under his control, given his quasi-OCD tendencies. But getting bogged down in these details misses the point.

Yes, we all know and love John Siracusa for his, well, hypercritical tendencies, but these are best consumed as part of a post on a broader subject, like a spice, having nothing but that in a post quickly gets to be too much.

This may sound comically selfish, but true innovation comes from embracing your audience expectations, not fighting them. Find out what is annoying your readers. Give people what they want and they will beat a path to your door.

We nerds love bickering about technology for its own sake. Indeed, there’s always something to be gained by criticizing the state of the art and goading into providing more of a good thing. But the most profound leaps are often the result of applying criticism as strictly needed in the context of a more constructive post. By all means, criticize, but also research, expose and propose what could be done better and how. Go after those things and you’ll really make people love you. Accentuate the positive. Eliminate the negative.

2 thoughts on “Annoyance-Driven Blogging

  1. I do love your blog usually, but tonight I unfortunately find myself somewhat confused by this post; I’d love if you clarified its message. Isn’t “embracing your audience expectations, not fighting them” kind of what Siracusa’s “Hypercritical”-branded philosophy is about? Like, you contrast “criticize” with “research, expose and propose what could be done better and how,” and I have difficulty seeing how the latter actions are different than the former—other than, perhaps, in the tones the words may convey to a listener. I suppose the most important part of the essay might be “in the contact of a more constructive post,” which seems to be suggesting that Siracusa is…but I’ve always seen Siracusa’s tone and message as one of the most constructive I’ve ever seen on the Internet when it comes to criticism, even in artistic or literary circles. Likewise, saying that Siracusa should focus an essay “on a a broader subject” also confuses me a little; the “Annoyance-Driven Blogging” article this essay is in response to cites specific usability cases but uses it to paint an overarching theme across entire large industries, such as those of broadcast television and console video games. The post was over pretty broad subjects, so I confess I am puzzled by what you meant.

    I feel that there’s something important in this essay, but I’m having trouble discerning it. I do apologize if I seem dull! I’d love clarification.

  2. First: oh dear. I meant “in the context of a more constructive post”, not “contact”; sorry about that, it has been fixed.

    Second: well… while I wanted to make a point to an extent, there are some… things… about this blog post which are not quite regular (beginning by the fact comments are open; do not worry, they will be preserved whatever happens). Fair warning: this will be the case for all posts this week, in fact.

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