Clear and to the Point

24 March, 2009

Bad writing: Coat-rack articles

Filed under: writing — monado @ 04:25

Wikipedia asks its writers to avoid a category of rhetorical stalking-horses that it calls coat-rack articles. (The authors don’t hyphenate their term but I will, so that it’s read Coat Rack on the first try and not Coa Track.) A Coat Rack is a slender framework on which the author piles an elaborate accumulation of irrelevant or unlooked-for material. The Wikipedia description gives a number of amusing examples. Here is but one:

Some Dude Did It So It Must Be Good

Jim B. Ean is an athlete. One day he converted from religion X to religion Y. Isn’t it nice how he saved his soul that way? Here are some more fun facts about religion Y, the greatest religion in the world: …

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