Well, That's Insulting: This Technology Wants You to Read Less

Illustration for article titled Well, That's Insulting: This Technology Wants You to Read Less

Time was "tl;dr" was the battle cry of lazy internet jackasses, people with no attention span who nevertheless found the energy and wherewithal to complain about the length of any digital piece of writing that dared to be longer than a few sentences. Today, at CES, tl;dr is an irritating new "innovation."


Meet TLDR, a new product from Stremor whose sole complaint is that reading long stuff takes too much time. "We're putting an end to this time-sucking injustice with our collection of TLDR stuff," reads the TLDR website. "Our magic technology evaluates written material and reduces those tediously long web pages down to concise summaries." In other words: "Waaaaaaaaaah! Reading is boring."

TLDR, which currently comes as a browser plugin to be followed by a mobile app, does exactly what it says it does: compresses longform pieces of writing, be they emails or a New York Times articles, into bite-sized chunks totally devoid of the elegance and care that make a lot of lengthier works beautiful. To illustrate TLDR's potential, its creators are handing out to CES attendees a 32-page abridged version of Mary Shelley's classic tome, Frankenstein. "Abridging fiction is much more challenging than working with non-fiction," boasts the abridged work's introduction, adding that TLDR is "very proud of the result."

You know who was probably also proud of her version of Frankenstein? Mary Shelley. And now TLDR can't even give her enough respect to spell her name right on the cover when they mutilate her book.



Apparently the author never bothered to get the pitch, or they would have noted that Stremor has a search engine (4above.com), and a content authoring tool.

They might also have gotten the joke that the condensed, and more approachable version of the book has a condensed and more approachable author name.

That's before we get in to the fact that our technology is able to do sentiment, bias, reading level, author credibility, and more than 30 other facets of content. You can guess where this author scores on these metrics.

TLDR isn't supposed to stand for Too Lazy Didn't Research. In truth, the tech is great for the kinds of people who want to read at the 75% setting which allows you to read with out all the extraneous fluff, that authors put in to content.

Perhaps the author was turned off by the fact that our search engine supports thread detection so that the site that broke a story gets the top placement rather than the one with the most SEO juice, and they were aware that this would penalize them heavily.

Hard to tell, but based on the rate at which people are installing our plugin, I'd guess that the general public disagrees. (So does the informed public)

-Brandon Wirtz

CTO Stremor.com