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Alex Sinclair
Alex Sinclair

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You don't need to do any of that, it's ok!

You need to know these shortcuts! You must read these books! My opinions are your fact! My experience is universal!

How often do we see titles like these? I understand why you'd choose a title like that - it's a good way to bring people in and for some people the title will ring true. But for people like me, those who perhaps don't have the luxury of working on whatever tech is popular these days, or just have too broad an experience to get behind the enthusiasm... It's a drain on us, rather than a benefit.

I'd like to suggest removing the imperatives from titles and replacing them with softer, more welcoming titles. I believe everybody is better off reading "The Top 10 Books on DevOps" than "The Top 10 Books on DevOps You Need To Read" (apologies Jeremy Morgan...!), or replacing "The guide to Visual Studio Code shortcuts, higher productivity, and 30 of my favourite shortcuts you need to learn" with just "My guide to Visual Studio Code shortcuts and higher productivity" - leave me out of it! (Apologies lampewebdev)

Maybe I'm wrong - perhaps I'm just overly sensitive to this kind of thing - what do you think? Are you like me, and more likely to read and enjoy articles about "My experiences with..." or even just titles that drop "you" from them? Or are titles obligating me to do read them ok, even to be

I've never had the luxury of working on one thing - my job has always been to work on "the product" - UI, Server, and Database all. I've had to do that in a bunch of different languages and with a bunch of different frameworks, and there was always more to learn. I got by, I learned enough to solve the immediate problems, and whenever I got stuck I learned a whole lot to fix it.

If I'd followed every "10 things you must learn about Spring!" or "15 things you must know to pass a tech test!" - it gets so exhausting. I don't have room for those on my mental list, and that's ok!

Again, apologies to Jeremy Morgan and lampewebdev - you two just happened to be the top two examples of what I mean on my feed this morning

Top comments (1)

grumpytechdude profile image
Alex Sinclair

This is an amazing comment, thank you!

We know a lot about how to construct clickbait URLs now, so much so that various headlines can be deterministically analyzed to determine their click-bait potential with a tool like Sharethrough's Headline Analyser.

Crikey, I had no idea - I feel quite naive about this now! Thanks for sharing that analyser. Interestingly, plugging in the DevOps book headlines grants a relatively high Engagement score, but a low Impression score - while "You don't need to do any of that, it's ok!" scores relatively low Engagement, but a high Impression score. Interesting! I'll keep this in mind going forward.

I create content that I want to be proud of and then represents me authentically for the rest of my life.

I love this sentiment - it's truly excellent. I also like how, in your engaging titles, you've managed to completely avoid compelling the reader:

"100 pieces of advice I wish I had been given when starting my career as a software developer 20 years ago" - 75
"How to Deal with Difficult People on Software Projects" - 72

Those could just have easily been written:
"100 pieces of advice you must know from 20 years as a software developer" or "You must read this if you've ever worked with difficult people on a software project!"

So yeah, thanks for not writing them like that! And for showing how you can write titles that can be engaging, without poking holes in my mental bucket.