Wednesday, February 09, 2011

What's With the NYT?

Specifically their automated hyperlink system. The Times has a program (I assume) which runs through their articles and turns various words and phrases into links to other web resources. Sounds cool? Depends on the link because sometimes that program is dumb.

Consider this article about Pixar hoping Toy Story 3 will get best picture. Some links make sense: "Tom Hanks," "Toy Story," " the top-grossing film of the year." But consider this sentence from the article:
On a visit to the Pixar campus here, in an old canning factory a short drive from San Francisco, I got a brief lesson in the laborious art of animation.
Which word or phrase should be made into a link? Pixar? San Francisco? Nope; it was canning (click on the link for more articles about canning!) But that's not the worst one. At the end, the interviewer jokingly asks Toy Story 3 director Lee Unkrich if he has an animated version of himself.
"No," he said. "That would be really creepy. No, thank you."
Don't think that sentence deserves a link? The Times disagreed. Clearly, people want to know more about the word, "no," especially the 1998 Canadian comedy.

The thing is, I find it equally likely that the Times does this on purpose in an attempt to be cute. Is it cute? No.

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