I find the imperative really, really annoying in otherwise-valuable articles like this. My instinctive reaction to sentences like “If you are writing for the Living Web, you must write consistently. You need not write constantly, and you need not write long, but you must write often.” is “bite me”.
The only rule on the Living Web is “you must write whatever the hell you feel like writing, whenever the hell you feel like writing it.” By giving orders to the contrary, Mark just comes off sounding snooty.
If they hadn’t been phrased as imperatives liberally salted with “must"s, many of these bits of advice would have been useful. “If you want people to keep coming back to your site, it will help if you write consistently, so it won’t happen very often that they come in expecting something new, and are disappointed.” But it’s not a “must”; if your writing is good enough, people will set page-minders on you, and will eagerly go and read when they get the change notification, even if the time interval isn’t predictable.
And maybe you don’t _care_ whether or not thousands of people keep coming back. How do I reconcile all these “musts” with “you are, in the end, your most important reader”?
“Never waffle, whine, or weasel.” What, never? So people who are naturally whiny weasels should just stay the heck off of the Living Web, or should at least never show that side of themselves? They should leave the place to us perfect types who can always avoid doing those things?
“Understand the storyteller’s art and use the technique of narrative to shape the emerging structure of your living site.” And if you don’t have the time or the inclination to study the storyteller’s art, just shut the heck up?
“If you are writing in order to discover your mind or to try out a new stance, continue by all means— but file the note in your desk drawer, not on your website.” Utter drivel. I _like_ to read people trying out new stances and discovering their own minds. I dunno why Bernstein doesn’t, but I resent him trying to forbid people from doing it.
“Disagreement is exciting.” I found this article very exciting. *8)