Fifteen Tips, Tricks and Thoughts this month.
This area of the website continues to evolve. I started off with very short Twitter-type posts, mainly tips, and although I’m still doing some of those, I have found it’s also a great place for blog-style posts about boats, gear and techniques that I can write in a few minutes and publish without doing all the research and analysis that a full article deserves.
An example this month is another thought about vane gears.
I find this freeing, since this format lends itself to writing briefly about an idea, without having to reach a conclusion and support that—a point to think on, rather than a specific learning.
Useful Bits and Pieces
The area has also become a great way to add information in pieces as it comes to my mind, rather than aggregating a bunch of stuff together for an article, which might never see the light of day because of our already full publishing schedule.
For example, in recent months I have been dashing off a quick tip most-every time I use a tool that I have not written about before.
And, better still, we were then able to aggregate all the tool tips together as an added resource when we published the summary tool kit article in our Maintaining a Cruising Boat Online Book.
That said, I do need to figure out an elegant way to curate and include relevant tips in the Online Book. The good news is that the software architecture of the site will make that relatively easy.
Inappropriate for Articles
And, finally, the Tips area is a good place for me to write about stuff I would not feel comfortable bugging you paying members about in the article area.
This piece about our old boat being for sale again is a good example.
If you have any thoughts on the above, or suggestions to make the Tips, Tricks and Thoughts area better, please leave a comment.
I read this section with the same interest as the rest of the site. The shorter format is a nice alternative. I no suggestions for improvement. It seems pretty functional already.
I like your efficient use of words, concise writing and getting to the point. My only suggestion is to put a word limit to the comments as occasionally some are long winded.
I too have thought of that option. That said, we might lose out on some very useful deep dives into things that I’m not qualified to opine on, so it’s a trade off. On the other hand it might focus people on getting the point across without going off on tangents (I have Phyllis to do that for me). And of course if there was more than one point to make there would be nothing preventing two or more comments, each focusing on one point.
Does anyone else have any thoughts on this?
Hi Ian and John,
Even though my comment above was short, I guess the French word “touche” would be appropriate here… 🙂 I’m certainly guilty of frequently pouring in loads of words. I try to split it up to make it easier to read, and I try to remove unnecessary details.
Could I do the filtering and shortening better if I was forced to by a length limit? Yes, definitely. Would that process remove value from my post? Hard to say. Occasionally it might, but my guess is that I’d spend more time compressing it without apparent loss, or split it in more than one post. Speaking for myself only, I doubt that a fitting limit would make a big difference. I’d just adapt.
I happily read long posts from others. Perhaps they could be made shorter, but I feel that a single flowing text can also bring me deeper into what the writer wants to explain. Sometimes the same thing explained in two different ways is what it took to make me to get the point.
If a limit is introduced, I think it would be smart to make it generous. One of the qualities of this site is the depth and thoroughness in the comments. That certainly doesn’t fit in a Twitter format or similar. The members here seem to have a longer than currently normal attention span. 🙂 Also, if introduced, I think it would be smart to have a counter showing exactly how far we are from the limit.
I think that’s a very good analyses. And I totally agree that any limit should be generous and way over the twitter limit.
What limit do you think would make things a bit more concise, and encourage people to break comments up by subject, but not stifle debate, which is the very last thing I want to do. It’s a hard trade off, and if we can’t do it right, I would much rather leave it as it is.
I really don’t know what would be a good limit. Some posts are too long with 20 words. Others are too short with a thousand words. I lean towards thinking that the benefits of a limit are nice but not essential, while the potential damage might be significant.
Anyway, there’s an automatic motivation towards limiting lenght, even without an absolute limit. Writing takes time and effort. If there is a limit, I would probably spend more time in total, editing to keep it inside the limit. I don’t really think that would influence my willingness to spend the time needed, but these things are influenced by emotions more than logic. What I think I’ll do isn’t necessarily what I’ll actually do. As you know, no person ever born was in control of their emotions. Especially not those who think they are. 🙂
Perhaps, rather than a limit, some sort of extra input on length could help giving awareness to the writer that novel level is approaching? Perhaps some progress bar? Or the text turning red? Or the letters becoming gradually smaller to illustrate that it’s also harder to read for others? 🙂 Maybe displaying the current number of words and a comparison to the average or the desired length could be a useful reminder?
Interesting suggestions and observations. I love the font getting smaller and smaller! Unfortunately, the only thing I can actually do is a character count down that goes red when it gets near the limit.
Is it possible to have the character counter that turns red, as you mention, but still have no hard limit? The number would only be info that it’s getting longer than recommendable, while those needing a longer format can pretend to not see it and keep writing. I think many, myself included, might be influenced by that recommendation.
Most anythings possible with coding but given how slow I am at it, I don’t think it’s worth my time to implement anything other than what’s already available in the software with options, particularly given that I don’t perceive this as a big problem.
I vote for no limit on comment length.
Please do NOT limit comment length. The quality of the comments here are such that restricting comment length would be a huge disservice to your subscribers IMO.
No immediate plans, but I’m not sure it’s that cut and dried. Stein makes some good points for the idea if properly implemented with a generous limit, and I myself live under a word length restriction (enforced by my editor) which is undoubtably good for my writing.
“I apologize for such a long letter – I didn’t have time to write a short one.” Mark Twain.
A vote for long format here.
I find a lot of very useful titbits in the comments. I think the site would be the less for it if a short format in comments was enforced. If one doesn’t want to read a long post, then dont and move on.
There is much wisdom in the comments, would hate to lose it.
We have no intention of going over to short form like twitter, so any limit would be generous and there would be nothing to stop a second or third comment, which might work well for comments that are now so long because they cover multiple subjects that people tend to skip over them.
Anyway, just an item for thought at the moment.