14) The BackPage: A Bit About Brigada’s Style

Have you ever wondered why we put URL’s on a separate line, by themselves, and why we spell out the link instead of simply encoding it in a hidden way, behind the words? First, many Brigada readers tell us they pass along their Brigada to others. Some even PRINT their copy and hand it to non-computer-using friends (because in some cultures, there are still people without access to the internet; they only get it when they visit another town or another friend). If we encoded the link, hidden, behind the words??? Those printed versions would look very useless — because, yes, the word (link) would be a different color, showing that if you click on it in the “live” version, you’d open a web page, but the printed page (on paper) would no longer reveal that link. What’s more, sometimes people copy and paste these items. And when they do, links get jumbled. By separating links between blank lines, we learned (back in 1996, in fact) that the link travels much more safely and securely. Finally, we here at Brigada believe you should always know where you’re going BEFORE you click. By showing you the exact link, you aren’t clicking so blindly. Our email software distributor (iContact) is one of the “big three,” and they constantly test for spam, but by showing you the exact nature of the link you’re about to visit, YOU get to decide if you want to go there. We wish more in the industry would do the same.

Notice that when you add a comment to an item, you can do it totally anonymously. That’s because many of our users live in sensitive places. They’re a bit guarded about giving out their identity.

And notice, you can even “subscribe” to a series of comments on an item, even if you don’t want to comment yourself. So in other words, you can NARROW your involvement to just one single item — because it interests you. We believe that’s tons better than being pushed into lots of conversations with which you weren’t really wanting to be involved.

And why do we not add more pictures? Easy. Bandwidth. Many of our users are struggling in international locations and their internet pipe is TINY. By keeping pictures to minimum size AND number, we’ve heard, over the years, that they’re extremely grateful. So if you visit someone else’s webpage, you might find it simply BUZZING with exciting flashing banners, ads, pictures and more. Visit the Brigada website, and maybe it’ll look a bit vanilla at first. But … we believe it grows on you. “Clean” is something fairly rare on the internet these days. Anyway, those are our theories — and they seem to be working for us. Ask our 7000 active email readers and thousands more who visit our website. Thanks for being a part of the Brigada family!

Want to learn more? Visit our online version and click on “About” or “Submit an item.” Want to give feedback? Just click “Comment” below any item, online, including this one. God bless your week!

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