An Annoyance-Driven Blog Post

Back when John Siracusa published Annoyance-Driven Development in the tail-end of February, and amidst the discussion that ensued, I felt that I had nothing to add to the conversation and thus had no need to link to the piece. I still feel that way, but the idea that annoyance could affect change in the world — whether in the form of the development of a particular technology or, as in the case of this article, the advent of a blog post — invariably stuck with me.

Every time Ben Brooks posts a new article, my feed reader updates and shows me a short snippet from the first paragraph. For each article, that snippet is the same. It starts with, “This feed is delayed by seven days....”, and then continues with the article after the short disclaimer informing every single reader, every single time he or she previews an item in their feed reader of choice, that the feed is delayed by seven days, and to remove this message one must merely become a member for a small monthly fee. This happens for each and every item Ben posts. Every single time. If I have not made my annoyance quite clear yet, let me make it obvious: for every article I see this in, I grimace. I have read the same preview for months, and it grates on me for each and every piece to which it is the preluding snippet. And that would be every single one, with the exception of the occasional “Quote of the Day” posts.

I get that Ben has to advertise the benefits of becoming a member and this is certainly a very effective way of doing so while simultaneously providing his readers with a tangible incentive, as evidenced by my frustration articulated above, but at what cost? This annoyance breeds distaste and ultimately I find myself glossing over his articles, unwilling to take the extra time required to find out exactly what any given piece is about.

I realize this is a trivial thing I’m making a big deal of, but it is a trivial thing that bugs me, and I’m sure I am not the only one.