Please provide an abstract for posts to

When writing on, you can provide the first paragraph or two as an abstract, with the rest of your post as the "extended" body. In this post I'll try and convince you that doing this is more considerate of the readership, and good for you too!

When you first start editing a new post, you're actually editing the abstract, which is helpfully titled BODY, because if you put all of your content in here, the abstract is the body.


Put a summary of your post here. Think of it as your pitch: you're trying to convince the reader to click on Continue reading.

Then click on the EXTENDED tab, and write the full body of your post in there.


So, why should you bother?

  • It's much more considerate of the people who are reading this via a browser. If everyone did this, more posts would fit onto each page, and the reader can skim the abstracts to decide which they're interested in reading. Rather than scrolling past pages of code, looking for the next post.
  • This doesn't affect anyone reading via a feed: the full article is delivered.
  • It can help you with your writing. I always write the abstract first, knowing that this is all you're going to see, so I need to make it accurately and concisely summarise what follows.

I wasn't even aware of this until Shawn Corey pointed it out.


I suggest that even more important than the abstract is the title of the post. Many people don't read through the website, but through an RSS reader or some other feed source that shows only the title. It should describe something about what is in the article.

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About Neil Bowers

user-pic Perl hacker since 1992.