First, thank you all for the wonderful comments. I really appreciate hearing what you have to say.
@*David*: Perhaps I wasn’t clear in the body of the article, but I am not suggesting that all of that which is commonly called “copy” is crappy. As I wrote, the distinction I make here is completely my own, terms I use in my writing to distinguish different types of writing. I am absolutely not suggesting that everything the industry calls copy is garbage.
(I realize there will be those who don’t like my use of these words, but if Humpty Dumpty can use words however he means them, surely I can be granted some leeway with a little explanation. And if I make a word work _very_ hard, I shall pay it extra.)
On the subject of SEO, it was a very purposeful omission. Hundreds of people have already talked that subject to death. My interest isn’t marketing. My interests are art and experience. I’m not trying to address what makes “good” web writing: I’m speaking specifically to the idea of writing, even on the web, as a cultural foundation, as something to be experienced.
@*Alasdair*: I can’t disagree with you more, I"m afraid. Alt=”” is certainly not better than a thoughtful explanation. It’s dismissive. If we’re going to talk accessibility, let’s talk _emotional_ accessibility: how am I to engage my blind users if I don’t engage them with words? Am I doing my job if I serve up a sterile user experience under the guise of “accessibility”?
I think it’s important to recall that not everyone making websites is doing so merely to make someone else money. We’re not all working for corporations and businesses. Museums, universities, online magazines, personal websites—many of these websites exist to share information, experiences, stories. As i’ve mentioned, prosaic writing will not always be appropriate: I just want to remind us that sometimes it _is_, and we shouldn’t limit ourselves to one style.