[Humanist] 31.752 writing to be read?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Apr 7 11:20:19 CEST 2018

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 752.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 7 Apr 2018 09:57:12 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: writing to be read

Many of us here know all about the scourge known as 'safelinks', which make
messages close to unreadable. As a matter of course, whenever possible I
purge them from all messages received by Humanist because these messages,
our messages, are meant to be read; if there are too many of them I omit
those portions whose information is available otherwise. I'd like to suggest
that as a community (if that's the right word) we think more than we have
about our readers and begin to discuss the rhetoric of online
communications. How can we communicate more effectively and persuasively?

For example, in a message replete with many links, how might these be
composed so that reading is not bogged down if not derailed by URLs? When
one URL at the top of a message is sufficient the problem is solved. When it
isn't, what's the best way of handling references? I find the style of
reference particularly characteristic of technical papers, in which reading
is constantly interrupted by in-line references, makes articles less about
communicating an argument, more about deflecting attention to the work of
others, but perhaps this merely reflects my academic training.

Perhaps a topic for discussion at conferences?

You may be interested to know that one of the main reasons for creating
Humanist back in 1987 was to replace the then thoughtlessly chaotic source
of infoglut (horrid formatting, misspellings, bad grammar etc) with
something for literate scholars and so to help transform 'computing and the
humanities' into computing for the humanities. Still not a bad idea, I'd
say.... :-)

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor emeritus, Department of
Digital Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western
Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews

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