This post began sometime last week: I was in a meeting and the subject of links opening in new windows came up. Somebody was noting how it had caused a user problems on a certain site. Internally, I flew into a rage. IT'S TWO-THOUSAND-@#$%ing-NINE, more than two millennia since Jesus first came to earth to tell people not to use target="_blank" on their links, and we're still dealing with this crap?
Like any mature adult, I dealt with this by throwing together a bookmarklet to express my rage and righteous damnation of all links that open in a new window. You, too, may use the fruits of that indignation by dragging the Link Witch Hunt to your bookmarks toolbar. Use it to conduct a witch hunt on any page you're viewing to scour it for offensive links. If the site passes, it gets a benevolent green congratulatory message. If it does not, however, the severity of its offense will be judged and all links angrily flagged for the world to see.
With this tool in one hand and a torch burning in the other, I went in search of particularly offensive sites. Our own PBS.org was quickly burned, Facebook's sins were even more flagrant, and--naturally--the sites of a few of my web gurus were revealed to be utterly pristine.
I must admit I shed a few tears when I had to tie Twitter to the stake, too.
Over the weekend, all of this burning and damnation caused me to reflect on a few things. Did I really have the right attitude about links that opened in a new window? Were they as bad as I felt they were? Were they equally bad in all instances?