First, yes, when the complaint is nothing more than "I HATE SLIDESHOWS," it is easy to stop there and conclude the user has not bothered to hit the blog link. I can see that. Admittedly, it took more than a few instant-close responses on my part before I stumbled over the link to the alternate article format. These days, my first reaction is to hunt for that link. If the link is absent (still happens sometimes), I still close and move on - maybe after giving a + vote to one of the criticisms of the format just for weight. Let me come back to that in a second.
Despite the fact that I am grateful for the link to the alternative format, I have a couple of observations to make about the split article option (besides the fact that people miss the link) that still count against it. 1. The link pops to a new tab/window (personal opinion is that this is wasteful unless jumping to a new site) and then 2. the comment section on the blog option is not tied to the original; you have two threads. Granted, the original thread is nearly always filled with "I hate slideshows" arguments and doesn't really support the content of the original article. I would, however, prefer that both articles tie to the same discussion (if that is even possible).
Back to my opinion on the format, itself. Yes, I'm on the other side of that fence and that's just my feeling on the format. I have never authored a slideshow and can't speak for why an author chooses that format over the other. But, there is some value to the fact that the slideshow is consistent in drumming up negative responses. I rarely hear praise for the multi-click format in these discussions. If changing the slide didn't reload the entire page (I agree this seems like "click bait"), the complaints might drop, but there'd still be opposition. I compare the dislike for this format to the same reason why we dislike other articles that have a second page with two closing sentences as its only content. Readers are smart enough to understand that ad revenue is important to the continuing success of the site; we get that. We don't like to feel "tricked" into providing an extra dose of traffic for piecemeal content. It seems... dirty.
If I may offer a suggestion, the option to view one format over another should show up side-by-side in the email notifications. Let a user see there's an option and jump straight to the blog format they prefer and they'll likely jump in, read the content, and maybe provide useful feedback in the discussion. There will always, of course, be critics, but it would be nice to see the dialog filled with something other than debate over formatting. What do you say? "View Slideshow" living next to "View Blog format" in our email alert - not too difficult.
And now, to contribute to the discussion regarding the article:
Thank you, Jack, for gathering some data on useful tools for our ninja pouch. I am always glad to learn a better way to get the job done and often share these with my coworkers. I must agree with the comment that the ConnectionMonitoring tool is less useful than the others, but I do like the rest of this list. I think the Sysinternals TCPview trumps the netstat-ish ConnectionMonitoring and renders it superfluous.
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