Monday, 20 October 2014

Reviewing Sites you Hate

I don't (yet, at least) review other websites, but I could conceivably want to comment on something I was criticizing. I'd probably want to link to it so readers could read it, if they wanted to check out whether my comments were accurate or off-base. In fact that's probably basic responsible reviewing -- a special case of responsible journalism, and something that is routine in academic writing.

The trouble is, that would increase the site's view count, which for some sites generates revenue. It would also increase their ranking in search engines. I wouldn't want to do that if I disliked the site enough.

I just discovered one solution for the problem: You paste a URL into a box and it gives you another URL to use in place of the original -- one that avoids generating another page view. At first I suspected it used cacheing, but they are cleverer than that. So, if you ever want to link to something questionable (presumably because you're dissing it), check it out.

Monday, 22 September 2014

Walkthroughs versus Let's Play versus What I Really Want

A long time ago I purchased a copy of Settlers 6 by Ubisoft to run under my old XP system. It's a real-time strategy game, with city-building and only a little combat (in most scenarios), so it easily fits into the category of game I usually enjoy (which I wrote about back in April last year). I ran through the first nine scenarios OK, but ran into a lot of trouble on the tenth, Juahar.  I stopped playing the game out of frustration and shifted back to others like Pharaoh/Cleopatra that I liked better.

When I recently updated to a new machine with Windows 8, I installed it again but decided I'd consult a walkthrough to avoid the kinds of frustrations I ran into the first time around. This led me to think about what kind of advice I really wanted. Basically, the walkthrough, though excellent, often gave me too much information for optimal enjoyment. Don't get me wrong -- the walkthrough was well written, and I'm delighted to have had it to look at. It turned the scenario from something frustrating to something enjoyable. But I'd have enjoyed the game more if I knew a little less.