Thursday, May 31, 2007

Leaving pages blank

In general, I try not to rant. It's usually unseemly. But I will indulge in a small rant here, and I will try not to seem indecorous.

Many times, while going through a manual, report, or similar document, I have been annoyed by the silly phrase "This page intentionally left blank". I know, some people freak out when they see an empty page, and they think that somehow there might have been a printer's error and that there is some possibility they are missing some information that could be valuable, but there's no way for them to know for sure unless the publisher anticipates their worry and helps them by printing "This page intentionally left blank". But, I think they should get over it.

By printing "This page intentionally left blank", it obviously no longer is. And it is intentionally rendered unblank with a message claiming it is blank. I'm not the first to make this observation.

So, I suggest that publishers and printers of reports and manuals make the effort to denote the ends of sections with symbols or dingbats of their choosing. These closing symbols should clearly signal that no more information will follow until the next section heading, even if there is a blank page in between. That shouldn't be too much to ask of the average reader.

There. I'm done. I hope that wasn't too bad.

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