Gut Rumbles

July 24, 2003

random stuff

I deleted a couple of defunct blogs from my roll and added a couple of others. I'm really going to miss the ones I deleted, but they deleted themselves first.

I left a couple of nasty comments to people who have blogs that hurt my eyes to read. I have a simple question to ask here: If you read books all of your life with black type on a white page, WHY THE FUCK do you think white type on a black page makes some kind of cosmic statement? Why do some people do red-on-pink, for that matter?

What is WRONG with you people? Long ago, I took some good advice from a Creative Writing instructor who told me that when I sent missives off for publication, I should make them EASY TO READ. He said, "Rob, these editors read manuscripts all day long. That's what they do for a living. They'll shit-can something that taxes their concentration as soon as they see it. You want YOUR manuscript to be EASY to read. Otherwise, NOBODY is going to read it. Use good paper, large fonts and double-space every line. I don't care how goddam good you may write. If you make it difficult to READ, nobody's gonna look at it."

I know many a blogger who should heed that advice.


On the other hand, the easiest blogs to read are those with a very pale grey background with black print. The high intensity of a pure white background of a monitor can be wearing to the eyes after a while, as it differs greatly from the 'white' of a book or newspaper.

Posted by: MommaBear on July 24, 2003 07:13 PM

Like she said. And at 2AM when I open my iBook, if the page is white, it about blinds me, hence the white text on black. I may change it if I can find an alternate color scheme I like and doesn't hurt my eyes. I'm basically a night owl so it works for me. Oh, and it makes it harder for idiots to print. Now aren't you glad I came here cause I would have been left wondering what you didn't like about my font otherwise.

Posted by: mog on July 24, 2003 07:24 PM

Red on pink?! Sheesh, I'd move on right away, too. But I don't really understand your aversion to white letters on dark background, actually, I prefer that. It's restful to my eyes. I do a lot of typing, and set Word to have the same background as Word Perfect, white letters on blue.

Posted by: Daniel Day on July 24, 2003 07:25 PM

I agree 100%. Can you read mine ok? If not, oh well. Get glasses...just kidding. I understand where you're coming from.

Posted by: SageOne on July 24, 2003 07:25 PM

Design goals, I would assume. People want something that's different and aesthetically interesting, not the black on white newspaper norm. Blogs tend to be more about personal expression than publication guidelines.

I never had a problem reading negative text, but some do. That's why I added the 'invert text' option to my blog. :)

Posted by: Mr. Lion on July 24, 2003 07:25 PM

You're seeing a PoMo influence. People try to read Physics books and they find it incomprehensible. They then conclude that incomprehensible = erudite. beeeeep. Wrong answer, try again.

The purpose of writing is to convey information. The purpose of intentionally writing incomprehensibly is to convey the superiority of the writer. I see exactly the opposite. Anyone can make a subject incomprehensible.

A true mark of literary genius is to write about a complex, difficult subject in such a way that it is understandable and enjoyable. That is what Isaac Asimov was so good at doing.

Posted by: Byna on July 24, 2003 07:28 PM

I like the option Da Goddess uses where you can change her layouts on the fly. If I can ever get master that code technique I'll do the same thing.

Without the red-on-pink.

Posted by: A.J. on July 24, 2003 07:41 PM

I teach physics and amazingly enough the skill they most lack is in writing their results in a form that CAN BE READ!

BTW due to vision problems I use Lynx (a text browser), a green on black color scheme and really LARGE fonts!

Posted by: Stan on July 24, 2003 08:52 PM

And, books are published with black print on gray paper out of practicality, not because it "easier to read."

Posted by: GORDON on July 24, 2003 08:55 PM

I agree on white being too bright. I have to have high contrast, but there's a reason for my pale blue background. I tend to like most similarly pale, non-glaring background colors - as long as they have text in an appropriately readable forecolor.

Posted by: Jay Solo on July 24, 2003 08:57 PM

1. Whose got red on pink? (This I gotta see!)
2. Rob, your quote

Use good paper, large fonts and double-space every line. I don't care how goddam good you may write. If you make it difficult to READ, nobody's gonna look at it.

should be taken to heart by quite a few lawyers I know, too. The Fifth Circuit got it right. That must be why they require all briefs to be in 14-point font, double-spaced, with one-inch margins all around! (Maybe the reason Justice is blind is from reading all those obfuscative (word?) briefs for oh so many years....)

Posted by: Joni on July 25, 2003 01:15 AM

It's very disconcerting to me that I miss a lot of good blogs because I CAN'T SEE THEM. When I link a black page, I just move on. If I stay there, I 'll have a headache in a couple of paragraphs. Even my Seeing Eye dog has difficulty!!!

Posted by: Indigo on July 25, 2003 09:44 AM

On an unrelated note, I just heard that the Italian company Powergen Italia took down their website after a surge in hits.

Posted by: The Spork Effect on July 25, 2003 12:02 PM

Hmmm...I'm probably one of those bloggers you would fit into the category of needing to heed your advice. However, as MommaBear stated, the white on the screen is quite a lot brighter than the white in a book and therefore, after perusing several black on white sites, my eyes are killing me. And, I did ask my readers at one time if my site was too hard on their eyes and no one complained...course, it's not a black background either.

Posted by: serenity on July 25, 2003 02:12 PM

I have red on pink, for menu items only. It's readable. And it's not what I want you to sit around reading. That's why the main text is black on white. MommaBear is right, the easiest readable color scheme is black text on a light gray background. Light type on a dark background? Ouch, my eyes! It really does cause them to ache.

Posted by: sugarmama on July 25, 2003 02:14 PM
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