Dreaded Click Here Link

Click HereJonathan Chait wrote an article today about how conservatives are trying to spin a couple of articles about the Tax Policy Center take down of Romney’s tax cut proposal. I don’t have much to say about that. If this careful work cannot persuade conservatives that there is something wicked and ridiculous about Romney’s claims, then they are beyond reason. (But we already knew that.) The reason I bring it up is that Chait demonstrates a very common and bad tendency of providing useless links.

The problem is the use of “Click Here” links. In this, the first paragraph of his article, he does this six times in two locations:

So you know that Brookings/Tax Policy Center study about how Mitt Romney’s tax plan requires a middle-class tax hike, the one I keep writing about with a disturbing compulsion that suggests some kind of addictive behavior pattern? (Previous examples here, here, here, and here.) I’d say I have one more point but that’s probably a lie. Two other analysts associated with the TPC have published blog commentaries, and some conservatives are holding these up to show that they disprove the Obama campaign’s interpretation.

You notice the last two? There aren’t literally “here” but they provide as much information. All six tell us absolutely nothing about what the links refer to—both for people and for search engine bots. I know a lot of people link this way, but it is bad. Don’t do this! Instead, edit your text so that it reads more like this:

So you know that Brookings/Tax Policy Center study about how Mitt Romney’s tax plan requires a middle-class tax hike, the one I keep writing about with a disturbing compulsion that suggests some kind of addictive behavior pattern? (Previous examples: Tax Promises Mathematically Impossible, Tax Trap Springs Shut, Tax Cut Defenders Get Dada, and Tax Wonk Jihad Continues.) I’d say I have one more point but that’s probably a lie. Howard Gleckman and Donald Marron, both analysts associated with the TPC, have published blog commentaries, and some conservatives are holding these up to show that they disprove the Obama campaign’s interpretation.

Now wasn’t that easy?

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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