In this post, I wax philosophical about:
- Unique and Durable Table Numbers
- Pedantic Grade School Tests
- Calling out Updates
I love parantheticals, sidenotes, and footnotes.
This last year, I re-read J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings” series. As I finished each chapter, I then read the corresponding chapter from The Lord of the Rings: A Reader’s Companion. I love the overlay of the narrative and the influences into the narrative.
Though my favorite was reading The Annotated Hobbit: the Hobbit, or There and Back Again as that eschewed end notes in favor of margin sidenotes.
This is why I adopted the Tufte CSS stylesheet. It provides a crisp layout, with ample space for marginalia.
I chose to deviate from the mobile view having auto-collapsed margin and side notes. I opted instead to have them expanded by default, with a dotted line calling them out as something different. I may opt to include some coloration to help subtly separate them.
Unique and Durable Table Numbers
The Advanced Dungeons & Dragons Dungeon Masters Guide (1st Edition) includes an index of Tables and Charts. This index provides a quick mechanism to lookup something at the table.
Goodman Games’ Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) names each table. For example, in the Dungeon Crawl Classics (DCC) RPG, Table 5-2 lists the Mercurial Magic effects.
In both of these cases, the publisher provides an alternate mechanism for referencing rules; namely a table number. Other publications can reference tables by number, which creates a kind of durability to those references. So long as the original material continues the numbering scheme, they can move a table to different pages.
I have chose to caption and uniquely number each table on my site. Each table can be linked to on the blog post in which it occurs by using the following URL:
<table_number> is the specific table number you want). You may also link to the anchor tag on the page.
In this way, I’m committing to having tables that can be externally referenced. A small homage to a practice I first observed in gaming material.
Pedantic Grade School Tests
In 5th grade, our teacher administered a test on following oral instructions.
She started with something like this:
Take out a lined sheet of paper. In the top right corner of the page, write your name.
Now on the left side of the paper, write the number one (1) on the first line. On the second line write the number two (2). On the third line, write the number three (3). On so on until you’ve numbered twenty lines.
The teacher proceeded to dictate instructions, as each student translated those instructions into words and numbers on the paper. We all turned in our paper.
The next day, I got my paper back. I had scored a 99%. The teacher marked me wrong for numbering each line incorrectly. On the first line I had
1), on the second line I had
2), and so on. She marked me down for writing the
) after each numeral.
I accepted that for a moment, until I looked at another students paper. They had written
2. and so forth, but they weren’t penalized for writing a period after each numeral.
I raised my objection to the teacher, saying that a parenthesis was one character just as a period was one character. The teacher refused to budge, standing firm on my 99% score. She also upheld her decision about not penalizing people for writing
This minor classroom injustice certainly sat as a formative moment.
So, in honor of my 5th Grade elementary teacher, I added a closed parenthesis (e.g. “)”) to each of my sidenotes.
<noscript> tag instead displays.
Second, the site Search page uses the Lunr.js to query the JSON index page. This provides a reasonable enough query (and one that I use on my local machine).
Third, the site uses Data Tables to improve (perhaps) the utility of a few of the Metadata tables.
Animations and updating content create a nightmare to keep your site accessible. There are standards you can use, namely WAI-ARIA, to help guide you in making an accessible application. But even then, each bit of animation and live updates adds complications to what a given page represents.
Keep it simple. And in that simplicity, comes a freedom from maintaining moving parts. Moving parts are the places where things are most prone to break.
Calling out Updates
As I go back to prior blog posts, or glean more information, I like to include updates. You can see a list of Updates in the Metadata section. I’ve written a lot of things, and haven’t updated all the things that may warrant updating. However, I’m committed to writing updates as things change.
I believe truth matters. And that opinions and perspectives should change overtime. I wanted a mechanism to draw attention to those updates. On a given page, I call them out in different ways (as sidenotes, inline, or marginnotes) depending on how I’m thinking about the updates.
In this way, the words I originally used can exist alongside contextualization and updates.
I wanted to provide an insight into a few decisions that I’ve made. I hope this helps get a better sense of the how and why I do things.