October 3, 2011

Anti-Red Queen Aesthetics

In Alice in Wonderland, the Red Queen explains that you have to run faster and faster just to stay in one place. 

I'm reminded of that when I get emails pointing out that the aesthetics of this blog are so 2006, and I really ought to update them to look better. I appreciate the suggestions, but that would require work. Instead, I use the time I could use improving the look to write blog posts about why I'm not improving the look. See, I have an anti-Red Queen strategy: I just wait for everybody else's site to get worse-looking. Glancing at the new Slate homepage (page down a few times to get the full effect), I can see that all the pieces of my masterplan are starting to come together.

42 comments:

Anonymous said...

I hope someone here can think of a theory why websites have started to get uglier and less functional. I, personally, am blaming apple.

I hope your site, Steve, doesn't change until we've made actual progress in web design.

Harry Baldwin said...

Steve, your site looks fine to me. It's easy to read, unlike several others I could name. Nuff said.

Anonymous said...

interesting topics at liberal slate- "Is it ok to kill us citizens without trial- you bet"

Wasn't this a bill gates/microsoft sponsored thing if so and its running Microsoft instead of open source that would explain why its' aesthetics and features are left in the dust. IE is a joke and pain to web developers.

as for your site.. who comes for for aesthetics??

Matt said...

The best part of the new Slate homepage is the cover picture for the story about ending evil--4 white guys. Hitler is understandable I guess, but no Mao, no Kim il-Sung, no Idi Amin, no Pol Pot, no OBL for God's sake...Hitler was pretty bad, but I can think of a hundred people worse than Breivik off the top of my head.

I usually don't point stuff like this out because it doesn't matter, but one doesn't end up with 4 white guys on a story about evil by accident.

Anonymous said...

I have never had the slightest negative thought about your blog design. Clean, clear, and free of distractions. I like it. Always have.

Kylie said...

"...I get emails pointing out that the aesthetics of this blog are so 2006, and I really ought to update them to look better."

Oh, good grief.

I like the way this blog looks and functions. My vision problems can't be fully corrected so some sites are way too busy or distracting for me. Yours is just fine.

Plus, why would anyone even bother noticing outdated aesthetics (if indeed they are) when they have your articles to read?

Carol said...

Yes, keep it readable. Althouse has also kept her retro Blogger template. Why not? The content is the message, not the form.

Whatever you do, don't go black-reverse font.

Thripshaw said...

Your site is near perfect.

Don't change it.

Besides, extra bells and whistles might detract from the sledgehammer intellect you consistently deploy to make your arguments so persuasive.

Wes of Big Brother said...

Yeah I pretty much like the clean look of your blog. Half the time when blogs get fancy, they become harder to navigate or get cluttered.

Anonymous said...

Don't waste time on a fancy format. Yor site is extremely readable. Leave it as is.

Maguro said...

I think the aesthetics of this site are fine. Vdare.com is another story, though, really needs an overhaul. It looks like a Geocities page from 1998 or so.

Anonymous said...

When I read you, I click on View/Style/No Style.
I don't see the point of caring for esthetics when one is reading your skillfully crafted articles.

Anonymous said...

@ matt The best part of the new Slate homepage is the cover picture for the story about ending evil--4 white guys. yeah funny it's the only time diversity is not important. Imagine that.

What do you think the SPLC would say if someone published a story about ending evil and had Begin, Trotsky, Bela Khan and Rosa Luxemberg?

Jokah Macpherson said...

In all honesty, Slate looks about the same as it did the last time I read it in 2006. I was never a big fan of the purple.

Anonymous said...

The look and feel is just fine. Endless tinkering with your site is a waste of time. Content matters. Color schemes, not so much.

Nanonymous said...

Thank you for not participating in the movement to make web sites increasingly less readable. I blame web designers - they need to be paid more than once every ten years or so, so they constantly come up with useless things to "improve".

Now if you could also convince Taki Mag not to use Garamond... (That's ought to be one of the least legible fonts for online use).

Gene Berman said...

Your blog's just fine, Steve. Simplicity and ease of reading are important "aesthetic" values.

The only measure that would amount to anything would be a system for easier tracking of the "anonymous"
comments.

Whiskey said...

Drudge has not updated his site, and it loads FAST. As much as I love StuffBlackPeopleDontLike.com, it loads SLOW because of all the Flash and so forth.

This site is clean, easy to understand, the layout works. Its a classic, like Levis, old Coke with sugar cane sugar, and a 1957 Cadillac. No need to change the layout.

James said...

It's not a Red Queen situation at all. It's about meeting a certain minimum standard of beauty. And once you do that, you're done. You picked the blogspot template with the least personality and the ugliest shade of blue in existence. If it's all about functionality, why the floating squares and fading lines and random wavy thing? Why don't you just do something like Udolpho?

Or this free Wordpress theme is nice. You're always intimating that you think Google might censor you one day so perhaps you could go back to hosting your own.

Anonymous said...

I'm a big fan of simple, readable, default web formats. The only thing I can think of that you might want to add is a search box ... oh wait, you've got one (which I've never actually felt the need to use, since a Google search restricted by site accomplishes the same thing).

Well OK then, you're good!

ben tillman said...

Nothing wrong with the look of your site.

Dennis Dale said...

The old Slate design--seeing as it was as dull and depressing as the content--at least had the virtue of honesty.

Glaivester said...

I liked VDARE the way it was.

Keep your site the way it is.

There;s no reason to change it other than for change's sake.

Hail said...

Glaivester wrote:
"I liked VDARE the way it was."

Seconded.

Anonymous said...

Another comment for function over fancy formating, this reads fine to me, Steve.
Australian Long Time Reader.

AllanF said...

Ahh yes, the gawky adolescent phase. All things go through it; cars in particular. Give it a couple years and the site will be sufficiently aged as to be classy.

Reminds me of what Andy Rooney said, his Underwood lasted 20 years and 7 books while he went through 7 computers in 6 years. Then again Bill Gates, is a billionaire while Mr. Underwood went out of business.

Nothing says class like a typed letter.

Sooner or later I suspect Half Sigma will have a post on this in which he cites Paul Fussell.

Anonymous said...

If you want more people to read your writing; if you want more people to listen to your message, then you should update the design of your blog. It is a mistake to think that design does not matter. The design is the message to so many people.

At the very least, you should go into the blogger settings and choose one of the newly introduced features. It will take about 2 minutes.

http://buzz.blogger.com/

Anonymous said...

Slate now looks like the kind of site that pops up if you accidentally type in something like "Drude Report" or "Penthose.com."

Anonymous said...

This is so damn true Steve, sites are continuously getting uglier and uglier. I have never had an issue with your site.

Conatus said...

Keep your site retro!
You have the best comments section of them all, it rarely degenerates into post riposte subject de jour sniping. It is the Joe Friday rule..."just the facts, Ma'am."

I think the glam aspect of newly redesigned sites is a function of the idea of 'we have the brand new technical capabilities...let's do it!'

dearieme said...

If it is not necessary to change, it is necessary not to change.

George said...

If it ain't broke, don,t fix it.

Dennis Dale said...

or "Penthose.com."

Busted!

Kylie said...

"If you want more people to read your writing; if you want more people to listen to your message, then you should update the design of your blog. It is a mistake to think that design does not matter. The design is the message to so many people."

The people to whom the design is the message are not going to be receptive to what Steve has to say anyway so why bother?

Steve and the admirers of his blog are not making the mistake of saying design doesn't matter. The whole point of his entry and our comments is that it does matter. And we like the design of iSteve the way it is.

Logic is not your strong suit, is it?

Marc B said...

The site is streamlined and clean so why change it? Online graphics have come a long way in the last half decade in the same way computer hardware in that they no longer become outdated after just a few years.

NOTA said...

You have to keep running backward faster and faster just to keep up with the ugliness of job-justifying redesigns of websites every few months.

Re the slate topic:

I love watching the way that the centrist position among Democrats and Republicans is that the president can have anyone he wants killed at any time. And the fringy left and right are the only ones questioning it. Why, it's almost like the centrist media and pundits are in the business of justifying whatever powers or perks the wealthy and powerful in our country decide they want.

Anonymous said...

I'd rather you post a clear Komment Kontrol policy (times they approved, etc) than re-design... never mind, i like the volcano god aspect of KK

slyboots said...

The only design change I would like to see is that the main page - currently grey and blue - should match the comments page, which is beige (at least, if one uses Safari as a browser, as I do). The combination of beige filler, white text background, black text, blue link text, and orange highlighted text with the dark and light blue lines across the top is quite nice.

I seem to be a part of the tiny minority who prefer the new VDare - and especially the new stylized logo.

David said...

Don't mess with success.

not a hacker said...

Speaking of Slate, Steve, did you see Amanda Marcotte's piece on Amanda Knox?

"Less conventionally attractive women ..."

Get it?

NOTA said...

not a hacker:

What, is Amanda Knox really a middle-aged white guy, like the gay girl in Damascus?

Unknown said...

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