Linking to Bullshit

Marco Arment:

The industry of writing inflammatory bullshit about Apple is booming. It’s booming partially because writing inflammatory Apple headlines gets a lot of clicks. Apple is popular and the dominant player in many industries, so anything that attacks it will attract attention. […]

If you truly dislike bullshit writing and don’t want to support it, hit the publishers where it hurts: don’t read it, and don’t link to it.

I’ve given much thought to this over the years, for obvious reasons. I certainly link to bullshit less often than I used to. “Jackass of the Week” used to be an actual weekly feature, but as DF has grown in popularity, I’ve adjusted my standards for what I’m willing to give attention to.

My rule of thumb is to ignore anything that is stupid and languishing in obscurity. But if it’s stupid and published on a high-traffic site, or it’s an expression of a widely-held misconception, it’s often worth addressing, bullshit or not. Or take a guy like Rob Enderle. He’s a troll and an idiot, but he’s often worth linking to because he’s so frequently quoted as a knowledgeable expert by mainstream media reporters. If none of us ever linked to him, there’d be no record showing just how spectacularly wrong he’s been over the years.

The other thing is, I worry mostly about your attention, dear reader. If some jackass writes something willfully ignorant about Apple (or any other topic for that matter) and is privately pleased as punch after I link to it, because of the influx of page views, so be it. I don’t worry about page views. What I worry about is whether it’s worth your precious attention for me to link to something and comment on it.

Thursday, 8 November 2012