The Fatal Arrogance of TL;DR

January 9, 2014

Judging by length is foolish. TL;DR shows self-contempt, because you’re ignoring the useful in exchange for the short or the amusing. The media has responded to our demand by giving us a rising tide of ever shorter, ever more amusing wastes of time. Short lowers the bar, but it also makes it hard to deliver much.

Please, give me something long (but make it worth my time.)

“TL;DR”, for those of you who don’t know, stands for “too long; didn’t read.” I agree with Seth Godin here, though I have to admit that I’ve been guilty of this habit far too often. I think it’s clear that we don’t learn nearly as much when we skim.

I write what I write in hopes that people read every last word. With that in mind, why shouldn’t I read others’ writings with that in mind?