OTB Reader Survey

I’ve had several regular readers complain/mention recently that there have been a lot of longer-than-usual posts here, making it harder to navigate the site. I’m experimenting a bit today with putting most of the material in such posts, especially the ones that are outside the politics and national security topics that are the major focus of the site, in the extended entry.

Is this preferable or is having to click “Continued…” to read the posts more aggravating than simply scrolling past the ones you’re not interested in?

Update (1445): The early results, at least, are overwhelmingly against hiding long posts simply for the sake of length. I’ve restored the posts to their original length.

My basic practice has been to use the extended entry for one of two purposes: Surprise/effect as in caption contest results or to hide entensive background information. I haven’t used the former much since Rodney is running the contests. I’ve used the latter quite a bit. See, for example, the Al Lucas and Mitch Albom posts from today. In the first case, I’ve “hidden” some long background pieces and in the second the entry was incredibly long because I cut-and-pasted several entire columns for the sake of historical context.

Please feel free to continue the discussion below. I’m always looking for ways to tweak the site to make it more reader friendly.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Alex Knapp says:

    Clicking “continued” is aggravating. And I rarely scroll by articles anyway. Keep the long stuff going!

  2. I have never been a big fan of the “continued” bit and don’t find scrolling a probelm at all.

    The only time I find the “continued” button to be useful is when there some kind of “surprise” that is hidden for effect.

    I find hiding content just for length to be annoying more than anything.

  3. I find the expand comments thing to be a great thing. If you have enough of the article at the top, I can do a quick read and see if I even want to invest the time in a full read. Social Security? My eyes glaze over, move on. Lebanese protest babes? Interested. You get the idea.

  4. That is, “continue reading” I meant. Hmm, gotta find a way to add that feature . . .

  5. Jim Henley says:

    I follow OTB via RSS, so it’s immaterial to me personally. But when I experimented with “Continued . . . ” a little over a year ago, my readers on balance disapproved of the change.

  6. Just Me says:

    I don’t mind either way, although I like for there to be enough of the piece for me to get an idea what it is about and what is going on, also I don’t like it on every single post either. Some posts are just so long that giving a good idea of what it is about in conjunction with the continued is sometimes a good option.

  7. Sgt Fluffy says:

    Keep the long posts

  8. McGehee says:

    When I click in, I scroll down until I find the thread I’m looking for (usually one I’ve read and commented on) and then I use the entry-to-entry navigation at the top to read the subsequent posts.

    Clicking “continue” won’t bother me. I might like entry titles in the links up yonder, but if I haven’t complained about it before, it must not bother me much anyway.

  9. Todd Pearson says:

    Continued is better. There is a good reason why newspapers don’t put entire articles on the front page.

  10. Mark J says:

    On my site, I use JavaScript to show the rest of the entry without having to leave the front page (e.g. “show the rest here…”). I find this to be a good compromise.

  11. James Joyner says:

    Mark: Mine does that.

  12. Tom says:

    I like the jump page. If I am browsing I can get the gist of the post. If I am digging, well one click and it is all there.


  13. slickdpdx says:

    I agree with Todd Pearson.