That “Top 5” countdown listicle stuffs 5 pages of runners-up between #2 and #1.

Relaxing in bed on the first Sunday morning of my summer break, I web-surfed across the name of something I was interested in, on a “Top 5” list.

I host some “Top #X Whatevers” pages on my website, but I put all the items (writing tips of some sort) on one page, and include a table of contents that you can use to jump directly to the item you want to read.

But I knew the list I was considering reading would start with item 5, and that I would have to load, scroll past lots of ads, find the “next” link, click, and repeat.

Still, 5 items did not seem like too much of a burden. So I clicked, scrolled, and waded through items 5, 4, 3, and 2, finally making it to 1.

Or I thought I had gotten to 1.

Instead of loading the Top [Thing About Which I am Momentarily Curious], I found a “Runners-up #25-21” page, meaning that I still had 5 more spammy pages of craptastic chum to click through.

And now I feel that particular feeling of shame that comes from knowing you’ve been click-baited. And rather than slog through those extra craptastic pages, I wrote this blog post.

I hope Google develops a metric to determine how likely people are to bail out of a series of pages. A browser plugin that constructs dynamic tables-of-contents out of crappy listicles would be very welcome.

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