I recently learned a new online term, TLDR, short for "too long; didn't read." It's a sign of the shortening attention span of internet users, and I'm not entirely sure it's a bad thing, because encouraging concise writing is rather an old concept, and not one that's terribly well-honored in New Paltz.
Al Gore, meet William Strunk
Perhaps he didn't invent something at amazing as the internet, but William Strunk did make a small mark on the world: he published the most well-regarded book on writing style in the English language. Long before the click of Gore's mouse (yes, he probably invented that too) made it impossible to keep anybody's attention, Strunk advised to "omit needless words" (see #13 at the link).
Long before Gore or Strunk was the Civil War, first one reported on by journalists in the field with the ability to file stories from afar with the newfangled telegraph. Because of the unreliability of the wire, a reporter knew his story could be cut short at any time - so the fewer words it could be expressed in, the better. (Incidentally, this also led to the "inverted pyramid" style of writing news articles; if only half the story made it to print, it had better be the most important half.)
Today web writing is dominated by the inverted pyramid, and a strong recommendation to avoid the need for readers to page down, because that's when they get bored. The professional writers pick out two or three searchable keywords first, and then build the web page or article around them.
Then there's New Paltz
To be fair, New Paltz is unlike any other small community in this regard, but as a community we're damned long-winded. I'm not just talking about the sheer length of most of the comments on this blog (which I want any readers we have to understand don't need to be read before you comment yourself), it's anywhere and everywhere we get to offer our opinions. I mean, have you seen the letters column this week? There's a letter packed with ideas for the school district that rambles on for well over a column. How many people are going to read the whole thing?
We (and I choose the word carefully) can take advice that's as old as the Civil War to avoid the TLDR curse of the new generation. Who's with me?