Too many links in APOD descriptions!

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mnash
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Too many links in APOD descriptions!

Postby mnash » Tue Jan 31, 2017 6:12 pm

Hi, I'm new to APOD, I've been viewing for a just couple of months. I love it, it's a great way to start my day!

As a newbie, I'm a little sheepish about making suggestions, but this issue aggravates me intensely. It's about the surfeit of unhelpful and non-astronomy related hyperlinks in the APOD descriptions. Reading through the description is often painful, with each highlighted link demanding attention only to lead the unwary to often disappointing and entirely irrelevant locations. Today's APOD description had 16 links. I didn't follow them all, but clicked on a few just to see what would happen. I was discouraged enough to write this post.

Why, for example, is "USA" linked to the wikipedia page about the USA? How many readers web-savvy and intelligent enough to follow and appreciate APOD need help to find out more about a country, especially one that is presumably fairly well known? Or "history of the world" linking to a graph of population growth since the dawn of time? How does that help anyone grasp the potential number of people taking photographs? "..get in the way" leads to a Joni Mitchell youtube video (don't get me wrong, I love Joni), but why? And "well planned drive" links to nothing at all.

Links to potentially unfamiliar astronomical terms are surely appropriate and useful, but it's a little insulting to assume that a reader needs help finding out about the most mundane and commonly known facts, and links to completely inane material are worse than unhelpful, they are distracting and diminish the intellectual appeal of APOD.

Just my $0.02. Thanks for a great service, and sorry to be a whiner.
Matt Nash
Whidbey Island, WA, USA

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rstevenson
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Re: Too many links in APOD descriptions!

Postby rstevenson » Wed Feb 01, 2017 11:01 am

Hi Matt. For what it's worth, I agree. The only such links I bother with are ones that are clearly going to go to the featured image itself, or to more info about that image. I just ignore the others entirely. The highlighting of the links themselves doesn't bother me. I guess I've just gotten used to skimming over them.

Rob

PS
If you want to see really annoying links, try one of George Monbiot's columns at the Guardian. He uses red for multiple links within the text. Yikes!

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Ann
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Re: Too many links in APOD descriptions!

Postby Ann » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:17 pm

Yeah... I post a lot of links, but I try to be relevant... :oops:

Ann
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neufer
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Re: Too many links in APOD descriptions!

Postby neufer » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:45 pm

mnash wrote:
As a newbie, I'm a little sheepish about making suggestions, but this issue aggravates me intensely. It's about the surfeit of unhelpful and non-astronomy related hyperlinks in the APOD descriptions. Reading through the description is often painful, with each highlighted link demanding attention only to lead the unwary to often disappointing and entirely irrelevant locations. Today's APOD description had 16 links. I didn't follow them all, but clicked on a few just to see what would happen. I was discouraged enough to write this post.

Links to potentially unfamiliar astronomical terms are surely appropriate and useful, but it's a little insulting to assume that a reader needs help finding out about the most mundane and commonly known facts, and links to completely inane material are worse than unhelpful, they are distracting and diminish the intellectual appeal of APOD.

You are fettered,” said Scrooge, trembling. “Tell me why?

I wear the chain I forged in life,” replied the Ghost. “I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on of my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it. Is its pattern strange to you?

Scrooge trembled more and more.

Or would you know,” pursued the Ghost, “the weight and length of the strong coil you bear yourself? It was full as heavy and as long as this, seven Christmas Eves ago. You have laboured on it, since. It is a ponderous chain!

Scrooge glanced about him on the floor, in the expectation of finding himself surrounded by some fifty or sixty fathoms of iron cable: but he could see nothing.

Jacob,” he said, imploringly. “Old Jacob Marley, tell me more. Speak comfort to me, Jacob!
Art Neuendorffer

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Chris Peterson
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Re: Too many links in APOD descriptions!

Postby Chris Peterson » Thu Feb 02, 2017 3:51 pm

I'd be fine with fewer tangential links to cats and the like, but I'm similarly fine if that's what the editors enjoy. Can't say the non-informational links have much impact on my overall experience.

For me, the one link that should be in virtually every APOD, and seldom is, is a direct link to the imaging details: date and time, equipment, exposure information, filters, etc. With the most interesting images, that's usually the first thing I want to know, and it's potluck whether I can find it easily, or if it even exists.
Chris

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owlice
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Re: Too many links in APOD descriptions!

Postby owlice » Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:53 am

mnash wrote:Links to potentially unfamiliar astronomical terms are surely appropriate and useful, but it's a little insulting to assume that a reader needs help finding out about the most mundane and commonly known facts, and links to completely inane material are worse than unhelpful, they are distracting and diminish the intellectual appeal of APOD.

Matt,

Welcome to APOD and Asterisk! Yes, some APODs have more links than others and I think it's pretty normal that some links won't appeal to all.

APOD is written for a wide audience. It's an education and public outreach (EPO) service and is used in grade/middle/high schools in addition to college classes, and of course is viewed by adults with many different levels of knowledge about and interest in astronomy, from complete novices to folks with PhDs in astrophysics. APOD is translated into 20+ languages and is viewed all over the world by people with different levels of computer experience (so much so that I wonder whether I should point out that if you hover your mouse pointer over a link, most browsers will let you know where the link goes, making it possible to avoid clicking on, for example, the USA link leading to the USA entry in the CIA Factbook, a great resource).

Given the diversity of APOD's audience, one can easily imagine that what educates one may not educate another, and that what amuses one person might not amuse someone else. Chris could do without the cats -- nothing wrong with that! -- yet a lot of others like the links to animal pictures and look specifically for them by scanning the text and trying to figure out which link might lead to one. For this particular APOD, with text reading "clouds sometimes get in the way," why of course there'd be a link to "Both Sides Now," which made me laugh.

You probably appreciate the Sunday APODs, yet these annoy some long-time viewers, as Sunday APODs are often repeats. Many viewers haven't seen them, however, and these repeats tend to be "really spectacular or important astronomy pictures" (as the APOD FAQ says).

So I guess my point is that whatever annoys you about APOD now is likely to change over time! :-D (For the record, I'm not annoyed by any aspect of APOD; I love it all.) Happy viewing, and again, welcome to Asterisk!

Owlice
A closed mouth gathers no foot.


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