Archive for September 2014

Put a Date on Your Blog Post

There's nothing more irritating than reading a blog post, looking for a date, and being utterly unable to find a trace of one. There's a good reason for associating a time-stamp with a piece of writing, and that's context.

A lot of writing is a product of the time period from which it was created. That time period encompasses trends, motifs, and current events that fluctuate. Understanding those fluctuations helps one understand the motivation and biases of the author. It also informs an understanding of the author's conclusions and opinions.

Can you imagine reading Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, not knowing it was published over a century ago, and questioning where the author's racial attitudes come from? No, because every book is dated and therefore you don't have to ask yourself that question. Knowing when it was published, helps you better understand Heart of Darkness through your understanding of the world from whence it came based on your outside knowledge.

Now consider a blog post about a technical subject, politics, or science. Its value is directly correlated with the context from which we understand it. We may not have any prior knowledge of the author, so that's a piece of context we may have to go without. He should at least give us a date!

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