First of all, let me thank y’all for the feedback. I’d like to address a couple of the concerns raised here, particularly the notion of the piece being too long or wordy.
I think it’s important to keep in mind whom this piece is written for. While I would be thrilled to hear that non-writers got something out of this article, essentially it is written for writers. Most writers tend to be voracious readers; we love words, and we tend to enjoy making en emotional connection with whatever we’re reading (I would even argue that is true of casual readers, too.) It’s very difficult to achieve the appropriate emotional connection with a subject like this with few words. Although I’m writing for the web, I don’t believe in sacrificing the human connection with my reader in order to be in line with current web writing standards.
This brings me to my second point. I accept that in today’s world casual readers don’t read online; they skim. Historically, the web has been an unfriendly place for readers: pages weren’t designed for ease of reading, content (let alone grammar or style) was a secondary consideration. Why would anyone invest time in a hostile environment like that? But I’m looking toward tomorrow. I see writers and designers working together to make pages easy and inviting to read. I see them building pages that are engaging, accurate, interesting. I’m looking forward to when readers will read online, and I want to challenge other writers to usher in that era by writing good, engaging content, even if that means it’s long. Writers train their readers, and as the content of the web changes, the way casual readers approach online content will change, too. If we don’t raise the bar higher, the web will never improve. And that, to me, is unacceptable.