Wednesday, March 27, 2013

This page was not left blank after all

Like a break after a paragraph, a blank page is something you would expect after a chapter, after the table of contents and before appendices. Blank pages make it easier to read the content for which it acts as a separator.

For some reason a practice of adding disclaimers to the blank pages has been gaining popularity. Some are even promoting it. What is the reason for this? Are people getting too stupid to figure out on their own that a blank page is there just to separate content? It is possible that I'm just suffering from Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon again, but I'm sure that books used to contain a lot of blank pages without needing disclaimers on them.

I like to immerse myself when I'm reading and just consume the words as quickly as I am able to. Sometimes I find myself reading a line that has no relevance to the work I'm reading. There are a few variations, but it usually reads something like:

This page intentionally left blank

It's a lie. Actually it's not even a sentence(lack of a verb). The page ceases to be blank after it is written on. I'ts distracting. I's like a speaker keeping on talking without interruption instead of taking a pause to emphasize some point or to give some time for thinking. It's kind of like replacing every possible pause with verbal fillers. It's unnecessary and confusing. 

Okay, there might be situations where the author has not made it clear that the previous segment has ended, but then it's the matter of the author not doing a good enough job or you're reading something like poetry. A disclaimer at this point won't help you very much in any case. Sometimes it's distracting enough for someone to stop reading and instead write a blog article about it. So do everyone a favor and don't put empty page disclaimers, maybe then someone else is spared from an article like this.

What's wrong with a simple page number?

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