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I'm returning to this discussion having read (well, most of) the essay, and finding it far better than the HN discussion was at the time I'd first encountered it.

There's a cost to informational complexity, but also a value. The problem is that complex ideas require complex exposition, but complex exposition discourages exploration.

There are a few classic ways around this. One is the Hollywood Film / Bestselling Book blurb, often a brief sentence, if not a single word, supposedly capturing the gist of a work (or at least enticing someone to drop a dime on seeing/reading it).

Another is the in-depth review. See various London / New York / Los Angeles book review articles, some of which have graced HN. These can give an entry point, but are often themselves complex.

There's offering a few choice samples of quoted text from the work. If there's a concise and sufficient lede 'graph, that can work, though much contemporary writing seems to actively avoid this. Otherwise, a few exemplary sentences pulled from the piece may work (I'm curating a few for posting to Mastodon as I write this).

Or you can highlight the key structure of the article. alexandercrohde's comment is of this sort.

I liken this to the barker ("See the Amazing Thing!"), cracking the coconut -- making the hard-to-get-at bits immediately available, sampling, much as a grocer might provide tastes of fruit or cheese to give a preview of wares, and of providing a roadmap -- not revealing all the delights of a trip, but at least preparing the reader for the journey ahead. That's what the parent comment of this thread does, and pretty well.

There's a place for each of these, and a value in matching the appropriate preview mechanism to the corresponding form of content. Given the complexity of marketing information, it's a necessity. The sample is not the product, but it can help in deciding which products you choose to spend time on.

I'm finding the article fascinating, myself.




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