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Everyone Please Opine On New Font Size

I talked to Hal the Schemer and, though he is sympathetic to the complaints, and is a great and godly man, he is not entirely persuaded that the smaller font size on the Boodle is bad. He points out that it will be easier to scroll down through the material if the font is smaller. Personally -- and I don't mean to sound snippety here -- I think of text as something one reads, rather than something one scrolls past. In any case, the font size is the way it is by design -- this is not some sort of accident -- and apparently it will stay that way unless people can post some persuasive objections. So have at it. Lurkers encouraged to join in.

By Joel Achenbach  |  March 1, 2006; 3:35 PM ET
Categories:  Navel Gazing  
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I'm able to boost the size of the type with the Safari browser on my Mac. I have it up a couple of notches, because the initial type size is simply too small. I do not wear glasses, by the way.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 1, 2006 3:48 PM | Report abuse

If you LIKE the new font size, please tell us that, too. We want an unbiased sample of opinions. Never mind my own opinion that the new size ("Atomic font")is not only eye-straining but soul-destroying.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 1, 2006 3:52 PM | Report abuse

Well, a side effect of the new font size is that LL's posts only take up three screens, rather than four. Much more economical--think of all the money we're saving by conserving the tickertape inside our magic desktop viewing box thingies.

Posted by: jw | March 1, 2006 3:54 PM | Report abuse

Mama's favorite font size is "in your face"
i.e., please magnify the new font size by
atomically squared preportions

Posted by: Nachomama | March 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

I think "great and godly" is a nice start to this post, though I might have added "good looking", "superb editor", "humble," etc. Keep up the good work, Joel!

Seriously -- the design folks here at are looking at whether we should bump up the default size of comments on Achenblog. But in the meantime, if you use Firefox as your browser, you can take matters into your own hands by going to the browser's menu bar, clicking on "View", then "Text Size", then "Increase". Safari lets you do something similar, according to an earlier comment.

Posted by: Hal the Schemer | March 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

Here's the deal: IT guys ALWAYS prefer tiny fonts and minute icons because they can keep the Windows (R) display settings at Maximum Resolution, which they feel is so completely cool as to totally outweigh the inconvenience of the tiny fonts and icons. My engineer brother-in-law liked to "fix" my laptop, rendering it essentially unusable just to enhance its "resolution."

Small fonts serve no rational purpose. The geeks who designed this Comment interface (I've forgotten the name), apparently subscribe to this "small fonts are better 'cause their cool and you can maintain ULTIMATE SCREEN RESOLUTION" school of programming. All of them should be forced to read their development notes from a distance of 30 feet, or they should be forced to write everything in PASCAL.

Lord, please deliver us from small fonts. Amen. Your humble servant and savant,

Posted by: CowTown | March 1, 2006 3:56 PM | Report abuse

"Where's my damn glasses?"
Achenblog fans cry in pain.
Boodlers hate tiny type!

(from prior boodle)

Posted by: haiku | March 1, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Since you're taking techie comments here - please inform Hal that your new RSS fgeed isn't working.
Also - I hate the small font!

Posted by: Techie | March 1, 2006 3:57 PM | Report abuse

Hal, the new RSS feed isn't working. You need to jiggle the thingamajiggy. Or whack it with a monkey wrench.

(Joel: I think it's working now, at this URL:

Posted by: Achenbach | March 1, 2006 3:59 PM | Report abuse

As Harry Reems would say, "Size does matter."

Posted by: kurosawaguy | March 1, 2006 4:01 PM | Report abuse

As someone who should wear glasses but is incredible vain I'm also against this tiny little font. It makes the posts look like they have an inferiority complex.

Posted by: ChiquitaBanana | March 1, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

Mama's glasses are so thick when she looks on a map she can see people waving.

Mama's glasses are so thick she can see into the future.

i.e., FOR MERCY SAKES please, increase the font size.

Posted by: bbking | March 1, 2006 4:03 PM | Report abuse

The small font is cute, but hurts my eyes. How come the kit is in large font and the kaboodle in small?

Posted by: Nani | March 1, 2006 4:08 PM | Report abuse

Tiny fonts are an evil plot by Gen X types to force Baby Boomers to wear their reading glasses at the computer.

Nope, don't like them.

Posted by: lurkerNDdark | March 1, 2006 4:09 PM | Report abuse

I like! For the first time since the beginning, I can scale the fonts up 120% or 150% with my browser so that I can read the screen without my glasses, and it doesn't screw up the formatting! Absolutely a step in the right direction.


Posted by: s.bartfarst | March 1, 2006 4:10 PM | Report abuse

Just think of Yo Mama--
Yo mama has one ear and has to take off her hat to hear what you're saying

Yo mama cross-eyed and watches TV in stereo


Posted by: YO MAMA | March 1, 2006 4:13 PM | Report abuse

I read you every day and have never posted before and I love your writing and often recommend your posts to people on the Dave Barry blog, which is my home but I digress.


Posted by: Eleanor | March 1, 2006 4:17 PM | Report abuse

No, no, no... larger font size, please. Yes, we can Command-Plus to make the font size bigger, but that's assuming we don't visit any other pages or want to read anything else on this page (please explain that to your advertisers).

It also makes the Boodle look less important than the Kit. Of course, if that's what Joel wants, then we should go along with it. But then he should also remember that a Kit with no Boodle is no real Kit at all.

Hal... If this is something you have the ability to do, I don't understand why you don't enlarge the font size for the Achenblog comments. Obviously it's what the boodlers want.

Oh yeah.. and can you do something about the strange spaces [tabs] that appear in the Comments box when you first click in it?

Thanks for listening,

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 4:18 PM | Report abuse

Wait! I didn't mean "No, no, no larger fonts size..." I meant "YES! LARGER FONT SIZES!"

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 4:19 PM | Report abuse

re-posting from previous, per request:

Don't suppose Joel will give us Hal the Schemer's home address so we can hold a torchlight parade in front of his house. Ah well, it was just a thought.

I can see the headline now: "Mob cheers as distraught boodlers hang WaPo IT maven in effigy."


also per previous post, some people seem able to increase the font test size, but others of us can't.


Two further arguments:

(1) I've worked with various and sundry readership studies from time to time (as virtually all newspaper/magazine editor types who deal with layout and page makeup do), and I'm not only amazed but borderline appalled that people whose business this is seem unaware of font size parameters and recoomendations. In particular, I know of NO recommendations for Web fonts that are less than 12 or 14 points (using the print scale, or 100% using the newer web language).

(2)If this were a case where there were costs attached to newsprint and ink, that would be one thing (a $&%$#&$# bean-counter thing, but at least arguable). But this is cyberspace, where there are no costs attached to paper or ink. This isn't the &%$#@* classified want ads.

Anything that makes it difficult for the reader AND HAS NO COST ATTACHED TO IT is simply insane.

Joel, please have the IT people stroll over to the layout desk of the print edition and have a little discussion about the facts of life. IT people may be great and godly people, but there are whole areas of expertise about which they know nothing, and this is one of them.
see for instance:
"Research has shown that fonts smaller than 10-point elicited slower performance from users. For people over 65, it may be better to use at least 12 or 14 point. A rule of thumb is for a size 3 character on the users screen to equal a printed 12 point character of the same font."
Source: Tullis, T.S., Boynton, J.L. and Hersh, H. (1995), Readability of fonts in the windows environment, Proceedings of CHI'95, 127-128.

and just found this:

By Daniel Will-Harris at
Font sizes on the web

I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!

I'm sick and tired of going to sites that use CSS to set their font sizes in points or pixels. I'm not sure who this text is formatted for—but it's too small for me, and, I would guess, a lot of people. The higher resolution your monitor, the smaller the type looks, and so these sites that are setting body text at 10 or 9 point are doing their readers a disservice.

If other people are like me, they try to read, get annoyed that they can't increase the size of the type in their browser, and go find another site that has the same kind of information but is easier to read!

In case you didn't know, you can usually enlarge fonts in your browser. In Explorer, choose View/Text Size and choose Larger or Largest. In Netscape, choose View/Increase font.

But if someone designs their site with CSS font coding that uses points or pixels, browsers don't scale the fonts.

There is one way around it, but it can also eliminate a lot of style in web pages. In IE, choose Tools/Options (View/Options in IE4) and click on Accessibility. There you can choose to ignore font sizes (and styles). In Netscape Navigator, choose Edit/Preferences, then click on Appearance/Fonts, and check "use my default fonts."

That works, but how many people know about it? And who wants to have to go through all those settings just to make the words readable?


And while we're at it, I like white space as much as the next guy/gal, but the column width on the blogs and chats and in fact most of the WaPo site tend to be pretty narrow. I understand that's 'cause they want to have room for menus, like the one above on the left, and the ad at the right. But there are ways around those issues with running a piece of narrow type down a snow field.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 1, 2006 4:24 PM | Report abuse

scc: without, viz. without running a piece of narrow type down a snow field.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 1, 2006 4:25 PM | Report abuse

I happen to know that Mama is one fine lady. The old gal would give you the hair off her back if you'd just increase the font size.

Posted by: Cheesehead | March 1, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Leading the boomers, as I am, I simply can't read the print for too long - eyestrain is a real problem for some of us. Please Hal, up the font size. Thank you on behalf of those of us who are "visually challenged".

Posted by: Pear | March 1, 2006 4:28 PM | Report abuse

Larger font, please! PLEASE!

Posted by: nellie | March 1, 2006 4:33 PM | Report abuse

I agree with TBG that ther is a subliminal message that our comments are not as important as Joel's Kit. I think the kit font size is fine, but don't understand the need to make the comments smaller. It is legible, but the adjustment seems unnecessary.

I would also like Arial or some other sans serif font so that the web page looks more like the documents I use at work.

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2006 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: yellojkt | March 1, 2006 04:35 PM
GOOD POINT YELLO, FOR EXAMPLE LOOK AT FONT IN THE THE THINGYS UNDER THE WHACHAMAJIGS ("Posted by.....") much easier to read than roman fonts witn "wings"

Posted by: oodlesofboodles | March 1, 2006 4:38 PM | Report abuse

Oodles is using his/her noodle there. I bet sciencetim could verify this but I think I've heard that for every "wing" on a letter in a 50 word sentence, the eye must make 10 to the power of X tiny muscular movements to bring the letters into focus, since each wing causes the eye to "take wing" in a different direction,


Posted by: ydoodleboodler | March 1, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

On the Positive Side:
The teeny-tiny font makes this look like a really difficult scientific text, so I feel a lot smarter reading the blog.

I already have poor computer posture, so I just have to lean a little bit closer to the computer with my reading glasses on.

On the Negative Side:
The nose smudges on my monitor are making it difficult to read the teeny tiny font.

Posted by: mary ann | March 1, 2006 4:42 PM | Report abuse

Ah, meetings and barroom post-meetings strike again.

Reposted from previous:

To celebrate the Incredible Shrinking Boodle, I adapt a quote from the late Richard Matheson:

"I was continuing to shrink, to become... what? The infinitesimal? What was I? Still a human being? Or was I the Boodler of the future? If there were other bursts of off-topic comments, other clouds drifting across seas and continents, would other boodlers follow me into this vast new world? So close - the infinitesimal and the infinite. But suddenly, I knew they were really the two ends of the same concept. The unbelievably small and the unbelievably vast eventually meet - like the closing of a gigantic circle. I looked up, as if somehow I would grasp the heavens. The universe, worlds beyond number, Joel's silver tapestry spread across the night. And in that moment, I knew the answer to the riddle of the infinite. I had thought in terms of man's own limited dimension. I had presumed upon nature. That existence begins and ends in Hal's conception, not nature's. And I felt my words dwindling, melting, becoming nothing. My fears melted away. And in their place came acceptance (and some occasional umbrage). All this vast majesty of the Achenblog, it had to mean something. And then I meant something, too. Yes, my words rendered smaller than the smallest, I meant something, too. To God, there is no zero font.


bc (again, apologies to the late RM)

Posted by: bc | March 1, 2006 4:44 PM | Report abuse

I have a theory. Would you like to hear it?

Ahem. My theory: IT types like to use small type for doing their development work, so they can see everything on the page. Other theory: They're sadistic bastards.

Posted by: CowTown | March 1, 2006 4:46 PM | Report abuse

I am a frequent lurker in the boodle (of the boodle? with the boodle?) and I really hate this font size. My eyes are literally aching just from reading today's offerings. I am not a huge believer in the whole "no pain, no gain" theory of life.

Posted by: Kim | March 1, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Ye gods, small font is hard on the eyes! With myopia, astigmatism, and presbytopia (sp?)I have enough problems seeing without dealing with small fonts... I know you can't please everyone, but, Hal, please have mercy on us and enlarge the font to 12, at least! I'm a fan of serif fonts myself, but I'd be satisfied with a sans serif if we can have at least a 12 point...

Posted by: Slyness | March 1, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Please make font sizes larger. I have a infinitesimal piece of tissue growing between the optic nerve and retina of one eye. Normally this means that street signs which should read Elkshorn Street read like Elksheet. If I close the eye, I can see correctly. In this teeny tiny font, I am missing whole words, whole kits even. I could close my eye but then the entire world would know how much goofing off I am doing.

So please, please, Hal the mighty,the great and godly, the good looking, the superb editor, the humble, please make the font size bigger.

This small font size also seems to playing games with my spelling and grammar. Oh wait, no, that's just me.

Posted by: dr | March 1, 2006 4:49 PM | Report abuse

Another vote here for sans-serif Helvetica/Trebuchet/Tahoma/Verdana font in a 12pt size or better.

In Firefox, the "Command +" font size increase only affects the one tab, which makes it an okay solution for me.

Re: tabbed white space in the comments box. Yes, I get that, too.

Posted by: Pixel | March 1, 2006 4:52 PM | Report abuse

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

What's smaller than this font size?

I don't know; what?

Bush's approval rating.

Posted by: Curmudgeon | March 1, 2006 4:55 PM | Report abuse

BZ (that's Navyspeak for Woo, Woo..)to 'Mudge for his handy tip on viewing text with I.E. That said,

I like the smaller type size (now that I know that I can scale it) because, once I scroll down past the WaPo banner and JA's mug shot, I get just plain text on a white background. Since I work in a fishbowl, it looks more like I'm really working when the boss happens to stroll by.....

Posted by: Don from I-270 | March 1, 2006 4:56 PM | Report abuse

And we want our PERMALINKS!

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 4:58 PM | Report abuse

.. . .... ....

get what I'm saying??

Posted by: CH | March 1, 2006 5:00 PM | Report abuse

and another thing:

I am getting really PO by being accused of making "errors" and I don't mean maybe!
Several times today this thang has sent me error messages and I can't TAKE IT ANYMORE!

Posted by: Nachomama | March 1, 2006 5:03 PM | Report abuse

uh, well, Loretta is from coal country and,
would someone please tell me what permalinks do? and what is the penalty for using them? And if artic beans are involved in any way. If sausage is involved, no problem, Loretta can cook w that.

Posted by: Loretta | March 1, 2006 5:06 PM | Report abuse

Permalinks will flash freeze the last post.

Posted by: nonblogger | March 1, 2006 5:08 PM | Report abuse

Of course global warming will take care of the permalinks for us, I guess.

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 5:16 PM | Report abuse

Joel says: [Hal] points out that it will be easier to scroll down through the material if the font is smaller.

That reminds me of those commercials where they say things like, "It's very convenient" and "They're very easy to make" but never say "They taste great!"

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 5:18 PM | Report abuse

Hal: I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Scrolling isn't easier or more convenient if you have to take more time reading the microscopic font.


Posted by: CowTown | March 1, 2006 5:20 PM | Report abuse

I don't have firefox, safari, nor the patience to mess with my obsolete windows settings. Add that to a cantankerous keyboard; I would respectfully request a return to a larger font. Great knock knock, Mudge.

Posted by: jack | March 1, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Hal: I'm sorry, but you're wrong. Scrolling isn't easier or more convenient if you have to take more time reading the microscopic font.


Posted by: CowTown | March 1, 2006 5:24 PM | Report abuse

Ouch!!! I agree with Joel. Readability trumps scrollability. Let's keep an eye-friendly font size.

Posted by: schlurker | March 1, 2006 5:27 PM | Report abuse

I do not like the teeny fonts. Yes, I can scale it up. But I don't like it. Scrolling is not an issue. Maybe on other sad and pathetic blogs where they get only 10 comments before the next blog item. On the Achenblog, the only font size that would make scrolling different would be 2-point. That is not a suggestion. I can zip my way to the bottom quite nicely, if that is what I'm looking to do, with a large font size.

When I first looked at The Debate and at Fisher's blog, using this software and this teeny type, I thought it looked sad and lonely. I definitely was discouraged from reading the posts. That, and the posters were dry, humorless, and boring.

For those who invoked the name of ScienceTim: I don't know nothin' 'bout no ocular physiology.

Posted by: Tim | March 1, 2006 5:31 PM | Report abuse

Mama wouldya buy me a mercedes benz?
Ok, no need to get ugly, I'll take the 500X binoculars.

Posted by: bbking | March 1, 2006 5:41 PM | Report abuse

by LRJonesBarakaWannabe

Posted by: LR | March 1, 2006 5:43 PM | Report abuse

Can you figure out how to make the Lamisil ads this tiny?

Posted by: My Toes | March 1, 2006 5:44 PM | Report abuse

Shiloh's snail mail just arrived. He says to add that he cannot see the small font from NFla especially with all the sand in his eyes after napping on the sidewalk in front of the refreshment stand all afternoon.

Posted by: anon | March 1, 2006 5:47 PM | Report abuse

i've been a lurker since the beginning. Before the terms 'kit' and 'boodle' evolved. The Boodle deserves a larger font size. Joel and his boodlers deserve MORE creativity...not less!! What are you thinking, Hal? Turn around, change the font size, add new fonts, don't work within the confines of existing blog technology! You can do it. Achenbach and his boodlers are trendsetters in this blog world...and that should include YOU, and fonts and all the creative unknowns you're gonna provide us, Hal. right? right Hal? please? C'mpn. show us what you got.

Posted by: wallflower | March 1, 2006 6:00 PM | Report abuse

C'mon, Hal. not C'mpn.

Posted by: wallflower | March 1, 2006 6:02 PM | Report abuse

I like fonts where I can set the size. Seems to me that whether I read carefully, or scroll past a lot of stuff, should be my decision.

If the type size can't be adjustable, then please make it larger.

I realize there are other browsers, but I use IE along with probably most other readers, and the size isn't adjustable in IE.

Posted by: jg | March 1, 2006 6:04 PM | Report abuse

and the winner is?

Posted by: tater | March 1, 2006 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Speaking of toes, at one time, Joel, I said that I would lay down and kiss your toes if you wrote about the destructive logging on California's North Coast.

I'm ready to prostrate myself again before you and caress your 10 piggies to increase your font size.

Posted by: Sasquatch | March 1, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

The small type makes these postings look less friendly. The postingss look like the fine print on legal documents, or the disclaimers on advertisements. The vast amount of white space makes everything look cold.

Posted by: Vana Diel | March 1, 2006 6:08 PM | Report abuse

whoooooooooooooooo very scary font especially when served with beans

Posted by: bloggerbeyondthegravy | March 1, 2006 6:12 PM | Report abuse

and the winner is?

Posted by: tater | March 1, 2006 6:13 PM | Report abuse


I would not read this site if I weren't using Opera, which allows me to scale up the type with the mouse wheel.

The type is very very much too small!

My $.02


Posted by: KarenJG | March 1, 2006 6:20 PM | Report abuse

the font size is fine. leave it. it'll prevent the old folks from lurking/weighing in

Posted by: frankiefrisch | March 1, 2006 6:23 PM | Report abuse

Another vote to put the font size back to what it was -- this really is painful to read, and in a sense, Hal is right: there is more scrolling going on because IT'S TOO DAMN SMALL TO ACTUALLY STOP AND READ.
Whew. I feel better now.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | March 1, 2006 6:24 PM | Report abuse

and frankierisch, I'd like to point out that you'll be an "old folk" one of these days -- unless of course your obnoxious comments eventually drive someone to homocide.

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | March 1, 2006 6:26 PM | Report abuse


Posted by: frankiefisch | March 1, 2006 6:27 PM | Report abuse


some of us old folks can still make out the little smudged areas, and ratchet up the font size until it looks like text

you're going to have to go smaller

Posted by: kp | March 1, 2006 6:28 PM | Report abuse

Death by vowel....

Posted by: Snarky Squirrel | March 1, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

it works out pretty well if I get far enough away to focus my 10-power binoculars

but then I have to poke at the mouse with a broom

Posted by: kp | March 1, 2006 6:40 PM | Report abuse

The small font size makes this more difficult to read and Joel really wants us all to read every word and so does Len.

Posted by: newkid | March 1, 2006 6:45 PM | Report abuse

As a casual reader, I can say that the comments are one of the things that sets this blog apart from other blogs.

Miniturizing the kaboodle doesn't make sense. It may, in fact, be part of Hal's diabolical scheme to weaken the blog so he can take over. Don't let that happen.

Go back to a readable size -- please.

Posted by: Bystander | March 1, 2006 6:55 PM | Report abuse

Can we also get a different font? I'm thinking an olde-timey font such as the one used by The Washington Post.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 1, 2006 7:06 PM | Report abuse

I'm buying stock in Execedrin, Pearl Vision, and Bush's Baked Beans...

Posted by: Loomis | March 1, 2006 7:41 PM | Report abuse

I'll try to weigh in without being obtuse this time.

I like the larger fonts.

And the larger fonts are more, er, over 40-friendly.


Posted by: bc | March 1, 2006 7:45 PM | Report abuse

WaPo will lose 80% of its readership in the baby boom generation because Mozilla quirks mode behavior demands 80% reduction in font size. This extrapolation of sociological behavior from quantum mechanics hermeneutics is based on direct experience and has been accepted by the population cited very much as gravity has been accepted. I see no further argument necessary, other than shouting to the circulation department: "We are going to lose 80% of our readers if we don't fix this font thing." Marshalling the support of the bread and butter side of the enterprise should enhance the editorial and news sides in the issue before the techies. Surely they remember: "now is the time for all good men to come to the aid of their parity," and "The quickly axed blowed up font jumped all over the lazy wogs."

Posted by: Shiloh | March 1, 2006 7:49 PM | Report abuse

I am aware that the prepositional challenge in the 80% rule, and the omission of "to" 80% of font size" is an extrapolative exaggeration, but this is a new kind of war.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 1, 2006 7:52 PM | Report abuse

Oh my God! Forget about the font sizes! I just opened my paper Post and Bill Gold has been moved from the comics pages! Er... I mean John Kelly.

Now I would have been soooo happy if this had happened to Bob Levy, but no--I had to suffer through him for years. Now that there's finally a guy with common sense AND a sense of humor, the Post moves his column away from the spot it's been SINCE 1947!

I'm curious: why doesn't the paper Post reduce the font to this teeny size if Hal thinks it looks so good?

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Hal, I've tried every trick I know and I can't make the font size bigger. Little help? I'll put in a good word with the spirits. Please?

Posted by: wiccan | March 1, 2006 8:06 PM | Report abuse

I cannot read the boodle. I only have IE installed. This font size is inaccessible to too many people.
There are rules about web site accessibility.
I never thought of myself as having vision challenges till I tried to read this. I feel you will be deliberately limiting accessiblity if you continue with this font size coupled with the technical issues that don't allow us to increase the magnification if we use the number one browser installed on U.S. computers.
This is discrimination against anyone who does not have perfect 20/20 vision.


Posted by: DoubleVision | March 1, 2006 8:07 PM | Report abuse

Hal says, "Seriously -- the design folks here at are looking at whether we should bump up the default size of comments on Achenblog."

He says they are deciding if they "should"--he's not admitting that they don't know HOW to do it, which is what I suspect to be the case.

Of COURSE you SHOULD--let the people who prefer the smaller fonts make an adjustment; for them it's just a preference. But for people who find this new font too small to read, it's not just a preference--it actually prevents them from reading it.

I personally don't have a problem reading the new size. I'm pretty sure it wouldn't have occurred to me to complain about it. Interestingly, I just compared the boodle font to the print in my March National Geographic (just arrived--Achenbach's on p.31). The Geographic font is smaller, but also more legible at the same distance. The conclusion I draw from that is that the size is not the only factor--not only is the boodle font the wrong size but it is also the wrong font.

Hal, stop discussing "whether" and start figuring out how you're going to make it happen.

Posted by: kbertocci | March 1, 2006 8:15 PM | Report abuse

HAL, thanks for caring.

I'm with 'Mudge. I'm sure there's some reason, and I can handle bumping the text size, but it's a hassle. For what it's worth, I typically use a 21" CRT at 1600x1200, at home a 23" 1920x1200, so I'm not exactly resolution-hostile. I need it to keep enough code on the screen so my poor addled mind can be productive, but when reading it's nice to be a ble to relax a bit.

Of course, you can always say "Sorry, Dave..."

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 8:22 PM | Report abuse

I can read the comments, but it does hurt my eyes. If there's any way to change the size, please do it.

Nice joke, curm.

The words seem to fade into the background, which is so white, and combined with the glare, it does not make for a good read. I've laughed all the way through most of the comments. That's certainly is one of the reasons I read this blog, you guys crack me up.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 1, 2006 8:24 PM | Report abuse

Hal and Joel, I have to increase the font size before I can scroll down to see where I left off the last time I was on the boodle. Kinda defeats the purpose, don't it? I then have to reduce the font before I go back to the other pages in the Post. I use Mozilla at home. Changing the size isn't difficult (the keystrokes CTRL + and CTRL - do the trick); it just adds work for me in order to enjoy the site.

In the words of that immortal Web master James Brown: Please, please, please make the font size bigger.


Posted by: pj | March 1, 2006 8:26 PM | Report abuse


What browser are you using?

Posted by: pj | March 1, 2006 8:28 PM | Report abuse

"That certainly is one of the reasons I read this blod, you guys crack me up."

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 1, 2006 8:28 PM | Report abuse

I give up, I'm going to bed. It's your fault, Hal.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 1, 2006 8:31 PM | Report abuse

I realize this may sound snippy, but I'd like to reframe the question:

Do the parents of the "design folks" know that their children just interrupted a group of adults having a pleasant conversation and are continuing to impede the conversational flow?

Would the design folks want us to tell their parents about this?

Would these design folks behave this way in their own living rooms when company comes to visit and conversations are taking place? This is, IMHO, the equivalent of cranking up "Inna Gadda Da Vida" on the stereo when people are trying to talk to each other.


Posted by: DoubleVision | March 1, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Bigger font please!

Posted by: Aloha | March 1, 2006 8:33 PM | Report abuse

Hmm, I think "Inna Godda Da Vida" would be more like a Wired magazine layout. This is more like, I dunno, Wall St Journal?

I bump it once, I'm ok, but it looks like it's a different font. Just the default Safari settings, I dunno.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Maybe this is going to make me sound paranoid, but I feel the underlying motive behind making the font small is to tell us, in a really underhanded, passive aggressive way, that our thoughts are "smaller" and not as significant as those who really write FOR the Washington Post. When I come to the blog to post, it's to feel important and heard, and to see my thoughts animated by a proper size font.

To paraphrase the great George Clinton, "I want my font uncut."

Sirin, Affirming.

Posted by: Sirin | March 1, 2006 8:36 PM | Report abuse

Joel: Although you could go to a bigger point size, you'll still have this computer-ish washed-out look on your present font. I'd suggest Arial Black or (pardon the expression!) Times New Roman 12 point. Even at 10 point, both of those fonts are rather dense. Arial Black is a bold font to start with. And Times New Roman has the unique characteristic of being able to cram a lot of characters per inch. Ha! Just like the NY Times! No, I didn't intend that a punch line. :)

Posted by: samtheoldaccordianman | March 1, 2006 8:43 PM | Report abuse

Have y'all noticed that since Tom Fan left town, the appearances of lopers and lurkers has plunged dramatically?

Coincidence? Eh?

Posted by: Goombahgirl | March 1, 2006 9:14 PM | Report abuse

Maybe Hal doesn't see the same font or size that we see.

Hal... Here is a screen shot of what I see:

Posted by: TBG | March 1, 2006 9:25 PM | Report abuse


Mod +1, insightful.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 9:32 PM | Report abuse

The bold type is really difficult to read.

Posted by: BenjCrowe | March 1, 2006 9:34 PM | Report abuse

samtheoldaccordianman should be samtheoldaccordianrenaissanceman

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 9:44 PM | Report abuse

Many of the letters in this font look exactly alike. Just look at the "b's" for instance.

Posted by: parmajean | March 1, 2006 10:11 PM | Report abuse

I'm at home now. The IE browser on my PC won't let me increase the font. I wish it would, because this is too small.

Posted by: Bayou Self | March 1, 2006 10:29 PM | Report abuse

This font is too danged small. As other boodlers have suggested, perhaps a different font would help too, or a bold font. I can't boodle at work, so I come home and have to boodleskim - and it's much harder now. I haven't been able to increase the font size using any of the helpful suggestions.

I am taking extreme umbrage at this foolish, capricious design change! Harumph!

Oh, and the other thing is, why is the font size in the comments box bigger (until it's posted)? Going between the font sizes is really disorienting - it makes me dizzy and queasy...

Where are the permalinks? They were an amazing, wonderful feature - yanked away. Where is the edit function, the preview? Hal, are you listening? Do you care?


Posted by: mostlylurking | March 1, 2006 10:36 PM | Report abuse

Bayou Self, have you come up with more snappy names? I may have to start posting under an alias to escape Hal's wrath.

Posted by: mostlylurking | March 1, 2006 10:38 PM | Report abuse

What I would like to do is this: start two instances of IE. In one of them, go to Tools -> Internet options -> Accessibility -> ignore font sizes, and use that one for Achenblog. Use the other one for everything else, so the page layouts will work properly. But, with IE 6 under XP, the settings from one instance of IE propagate to the other one, so the non-Achenblog IE isn't laid out property. So it's back to Tools, etc. to make it readable, which is a nuisance.

BTW, why have the new fonts been introduced? How do they make things better? I apologize if that was explained earlier and I missed it.

Posted by: jg | March 1, 2006 10:44 PM | Report abuse

Oh, for the love of Pete! I went to the WaPo front page, and *then* the "largest" text size kicked in. Double Bah!

aka mostlylurking

may begin posting as Snippety Rabbit

Posted by: Caged Rabbit | March 1, 2006 10:47 PM | Report abuse

I got a headachen reading this. If the point of the new font is to drive away the enfeebled, squinty-eyed remaining 15% of the population who still read beyond the headlines, then it has succeeded.

Posted by: shiloh | March 1, 2006 10:48 PM | Report abuse

Goombahgirl, I suspect it's not so much that our famous 'loper has gone away, as that he/she/it no longer has the object of his/her/its virtual stalking available. Does this make you feel bored and lonely?

I will be perfectly happy to have the *fan back, once she's settled in Hong Kong. I will be perfectly happy to have the stalker stay away. It did not escape anyone's notice, I expect, that in the past, you and goombah and Temecula and FachenA all seemed to show up only when the "loper" was in the middle of making it his/her/its business to snipe at Tomfan. For the sake of wanting to believe that most people are decent persons, not monstrous jerks, I will maintain the hope that this was mere coincidence.

Posted by: Tim | March 1, 2006 10:52 PM | Report abuse

>wanting to believe that most people are decent persons

Humnans: Inconsistent, unreliable, cannot be programmed.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 11:00 PM | Report abuse

SCC: Humnans, Humans.... oh fer Pete's sake...

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 11:02 PM | Report abuse

I've switched from IE to Netscape 8.0 Browser,(Safari is not available to me) and it gets even smaller and more unreadable.

I considered an e-mail to blog@, to report that I find all comment in this font OFFENSIVE to my eyes, but the link won't work in netscape as formatted.

Maybe a deluge of "the Achenblog comment font size is offensive" e-mails to the report offensive comment link at the top of the page will have some effect. This is a different kind of war.
Returning to IE.

Posted by: shiloh | March 1, 2006 11:03 PM | Report abuse

Now that I have INTERNET EXPLORER and Netscape side-by-side,there is NO DIFFERENCE in UNREADABILITY AFTER POSTING.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 1, 2006 11:13 PM | Report abuse

Now I have IE and NETSCAPE (this one) side-by-side and perceive no difference in teeny tiny type size which will further reduce when I post it

Posted by: shiloh | March 1, 2006 11:13 PM | Report abuse

N.B. The two previous Shiloh/shiloh posts are both recorded at 11:13 PM, so we have apparently also lost a more definitive time tag identifier in the GREAT SWITCH from PERMALINK. The loss seemed to go unnotice because of the TOO SMALL FONT CRISIS.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 1, 2006 11:23 PM | Report abuse


Nice try. More than most people would've done. Welcome to my world.

As my old Italian grandmother used to say "if it ain't somethin', it's somethin' else."

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 11:24 PM | Report abuse

Error: This is an inhuman and sub-humnan font size. (I've known a few humnans and they're okay, as humnans go.) I feel safe saying that as the population of both humans and humnans in this blog has diminished like the font.

Posted by: Shiloh | March 1, 2006 11:38 PM | Report abuse

Bummer. Send me your address, I'll send you a new Mac.

You'll love it.

Posted by: Error Flynn | March 1, 2006 11:45 PM | Report abuse

[Hong Kong, 1300 hours]

The new font size is the least of my worries -- I'm just ecstatic to have finally found a PC with which to check in on the A-blog. Having spotted an Internet cafe that never seems to be open when I want it to be, I'd just about given up, only to stumble upon a coffee shop and juice bar that has *free* Internet access. I walked in eating an ice cream cone, which I quickly ditched and exchanged for a black coffe and a blueberry muffin so I could 'boodle. Really, I feel as though I've found the Holy Grail.

[I should have my own laptop and Internet access at home within the next few days. For now, it's just the basics: mattress on the floor, sofa [luxury!], lime green Achenshirt -- but fantastic views of the harbor.]

[And to all those lurkers and new 'boodlers out there who could [sic] care less about my situation, I apologize.]

OK, now that I've found you all again, I'm stumped for something to say. Let's see -- the weather has been unseasonably cold, and the air smells like tangerines (it could just be the pollution, but since I'm an optimistic person, I'll stick with tangerines). Yesterday I caved in and broke my I-don't-eat-McDonalds-in-foreign-countries-rule; after biting into one too many gelatinous blobs with unexpected fillings, I felt the need to acquire a satisfying, predictable meal. I swear it won't happen again; I blame it on jet lag and culture shock. And maybe Achenblog withdrawal.

Looking forward to catching up on all the Kits and Kaboodles I've missed when I'm wired for 'boodling at home. I see a lot of new names -- how easy it is to get behind in one's 'boodling.


Posted by: Achenfan | March 2, 2006 12:01 AM | Report abuse

Wow. Just read some of the previous posts, which I hadn't read before I posted above. Coinkidinks abound!

And Tim, thank you.

Posted by: Achen- and Tom fan | March 2, 2006 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I have pretty good vision. Could you please make the font even smaller?

(I guess that makes the final vote: 290 to 1)

Posted by: ot | March 2, 2006 12:06 AM | Report abuse

SCC entry:
black coffeE

Posted by: Achenfan | March 2, 2006 12:06 AM | Report abuse

So good to hear from you, Achenfan - from Hong Kong! I was afraid you wouldn't be able to find us because of the diabolic blog change - we must have left enough bread crumbs for you.

Is the font really small and hard to read in Hong Kong, too?

I completely understand your need to eat something predictable - ha!


Posted by: mostlylurking | March 2, 2006 12:20 AM | Report abuse

I gave up small font for lent.

Hello, Achen/Tomfan (and I suppose Dreamer made it to Hong Kong, too.) Perhaps we can have a late night (my time, not yours) conversation some time.

Since I am 1000 miles from DC the font seems even smaller out here particularly when read in a cornfield. The size it was before, even if it was small by most standards, was far better than this. Please, Hal, lighten up and smarten up. If it is the 45-80 demographic you are after, you need to please those in the uppper range, too. Maybe the youngsters can manage and my trifocals make computer reading easier but not this font. Thank you for your attention to this matter. (That's what you say when writing letters to tax authorities to express your appreciation to them for looking at your epistles.)

I didn't have time to read all the earlier posts, particularly when scrolling down the type was so hard to see, but I think I am in the majority when I suggest that I would be happier if the type was LARGER.


Posted by: boondocklurker | March 2, 2006 4:31 AM | Report abuse

I'm up and the type is still small. Gee, I was hoping it was all a dream.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 2, 2006 5:04 AM | Report abuse


Good to hear from you, Achenfan. Hope everything is okay for you.

Good morning, everyone. It's expected to be in the eighties today where I live. Looks like we might get summer before spring. I'm not complaining. Love it. I hope everyone's day is just what they want it to be, everything good, and blessed.

Posted by: Cassandra S | March 2, 2006 5:10 AM | Report abuse

Font size is fine. For those of you with PCs and Firefox, will make the font bigger. For those of you with Macs and Firefox or Safari, will do it. For those of you with Infernal Explorer, you have other things to worry about.
And those of you who take even a minute to post and complain about the font size could have used those sixty seconds to scale the font up to 72-point Arial.
And finally, I've just about had it with those on the 20th floor who have been rebuilding the durn place since at least Dec ember 2, when my department arrived here on the 19th floor. They will soon feel the sting of the lash upon their pitiable shoulders.

Posted by: byoolin | March 2, 2006 8:05 AM | Report abuse

While waiting for the meeting to begin I just have to comment. The small font is dreary. It suggests a discussion of hedge funds and not the enlightened craziness of the achenblog. Unless, of course, we choose to discuss hedge funds.

Posted by: RD Padouk | March 2, 2006 8:07 AM | Report abuse

Font size is fine, but apparently the boodle doesn't like angle brackets in the comments. Mein previous post should have read:

Font size is fine. For those of you with PCs and Firefox, angle bracket (or "less than" sign)CTRL angle bracket (or "greater than" sign) angle bracket (or "less than" sign) + angle bracket (or "greater than" sign)will make the font bigger. For those of you with Macs and Firefox or Safari, angle bracket (or "less than" sign) The Sign Of The Artist Formerly Known As Prince angle bracket (or "greater than" sign) angle bracket (or "less than" sign) + angle bracket (or "greater than" sign) will do it. For those of you with Infernal Explorer, you have other things to worry about.
And those of you who take even a minute to post and complain about the font size could have used those sixty seconds to scale the font up to 72-point Arial.
And finally, I've just about had it with those on the 20th floor who have been rebuilding the durn place since at least Dec ember 2, when my department arrived here on the 19th floor. They will soon feel the sting of the lash upon their pitiable shoulders.

Posted by: byoolin again | March 2, 2006 8:16 AM | Report abuse

We need more comments on this. Come on, we get more comments on an American Idol item. This is the future of the Boodle. Speak up if you haven't already.

Posted by: Achenbach | March 2, 2006 8:48 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: Anonymous | March 2, 2006 9:17 AM | Report abuse

Here's the main question to ask: WHAT IS THE BENEFIT OF NOT CHANGING THE SIZE?

And I'm tired of people telling us to increase the type size on OUR end. No... don't blame the consumer. The product is bad. And as some people have pointed out, it just doesn't work for them. And believe it or not, this is not the only site we visit. Shocked?

Also.. please put back the exact time on the time stamp. Maybe the other blogs on this site don't need it, but we do.

Again, this is what it looks like on my computer (jpg file):

Please don't kill the 'boodle.

Posted by: TBG | March 2, 2006 9:21 AM | Report abuse

1) Not-black type - more of a "granite" or "dark charcoal" (in catalog-speak)
2) Teeny tiny font
3) Nose smudges against the monitor
Difficult to lurk and read the comments of the Amazing but now Disgruntled Boodlers

Posted by: mary ann | March 2, 2006 9:27 AM | Report abuse

One more thing

Now SHILOH is posting only in caps to help readibility. If that catches on, HOW LONG BEFORE THE ENTIRE BOODLE LOOKS LIKE AN ANGRY RUDE DIATRIBE? What is Hal turning the blog into?

Posted by: mary ann | March 2, 2006 9:32 AM | Report abuse

Posted by: schlurker | March 2, 2006 9:33 AM | Report abuse


Posted by: schlurker | March 2, 2006 9:35 AM | Report abuse

...not to sail against the prevailing
wind re font size but the new/different
fontsize is fine by me...compared to the
size of newsprint on paper seems little
different...the change may take time to
adjust to or for...and judging from some
of the comments those who are computer
savvy will do so...i am adaptable...and
will continue to enjoy the a-blog either

Posted by: an american in siam... | March 2, 2006 9:41 AM | Report abuse

"Category: Navel Gazing"



Posted by: bc | March 2, 2006 10:29 AM | Report abuse

1. I love the Kit and the Kaboodlers.

Posted by: lurker from the get-go | March 2, 2006 10:33 AM | Report abuse

But please, please, increase the font size.

Posted by: lurker from the get-go | March 2, 2006 10:34 AM | Report abuse

Thank you, Hal!


Posted by: bc | March 2, 2006 12:57 PM | Report abuse

and the winner is?

Posted by: tater | March 2, 2006 1:07 PM | Report abuse

I'll go to h** ferya
or Philadelphia
but i won't yellferya

what's the point of all this screaming
in the forest anyway if there is font in the forest and no one screams does anyone hear it? no.

how bout a gutsy little font like ----ALBERTUS EXTRA BOLD

Error may like Baskerville Oldface
we'd like Bahaus 93, or Bodini MT Black
or even...

BROADWAY, yes, that's it! that's why the lady is a champ

Posted by: Nachomama | March 2, 2006 1:22 PM | Report abuse

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