Who is writing this comment?

Comments and questions about the APOD on the main view screen.

Who is writing this comment?

Post by wolaver » Tue Nov 16, 2004 5:41 pm

Who is writing this comment? This is a fan who visits the APOD every day. Somewhere along the line it appears that an editor of APOD wanted to give the page some "character" by always starting with a question, or he was told in some journalism class that this opening is a "grabber." After a while it gets tiresome. Otherwise, the piece is well written and authoritative.

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Post by RJN » Tue Nov 16, 2004 6:10 pm

I am the one who (usually) likes to start APOD text with a question. Yes, the main reason is that it is a "grabber" that draws people into reading the text. There are other reasons, too. Frequently the image was taken to answer a single scientific question. That question is frequently itself interesting but would remain unknown to those who view the image. Including this question as the short lead brings this question to light and attempts to take the reader on the journey of the scientist(s) who took the image.

Next, the question shows that scientists do not have all the answers. Many times an image is shown with an explanation indicating the end of inquiry. The message is that science progresses in short jumps of absolute knowledge. The people who makes these knowledge jumps are geniuses and above reproach. But in reality, science is more closely a series of questions with increasingly detailed guesses at the answer by relatively normal people. The lead question is one attempt at communicating this.

Lastly, the lead question is part of the current "style" of many APODs. Different writers / news sources have their own styles. This is (one of ) ours.

Why do you find the lead question annoying? What is annoying about it? We are always trying to make APOD better so perhaps if you could explain your perception in more detail it could help us build better and less annoying APODs.


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Post by The Meal » Wed Nov 17, 2004 4:03 pm

FWIW, Dr. Nemiroff, I really like the style you employ in writing the blurbs. /buttkisser

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Post by makc » Fri Nov 19, 2004 10:30 am

Latest leading question "How old is this galaxy?" is three days old. I guess RJN took its "annoyance" into account ;)