Here’s something you don’t see every day: A long discussion on the relative merits of a Jakob Nielsen pronouncement. Much of the
argumentdiscussion seems to misinterpret his article, but who really cares? What really matters is that we have yet another article discussing whether or not HTML and Programming skills are essential to good writing on the web. That’s ever so much more important than discussing how we could teach kids to use the unique benefits of a hypertext medium to express themselves. We here at M3 would hate to be put in the position of saying that Nielsen has a point, so instead we’ll weigh in on the MeFi discussion by saying that it is our opinion that you become a better writer the same way you become a better singer or a better skateboarder — practice, practice, practice. Yes, it’s important to learn technique, but people who would otherwise be watching their TiVos or playing on their Playstation 2s are expressing themselves daily in their weblogs. That has to be a good thing. We’re not suggesting a weblogs will replace The Great [your country here] Novel, simply that it has value as a way to learn (through trial, error, and flamewar) effective written expression.
Oh yeah, Jakob Nielsen is an arrogant butthead. We’re contractually required to say that.