10. One Opinion
The author is under the age of 40, but sees his own experience as the best way to interpret reality. Never mind that there are 7 billion people in the world. To the author, 30 years on this Earth will do just fine to make a top 10 list of generalizations about their subject matter.
A person who uses anecdotes when speaking face-to-face is a great conversationalist. But in a web article, they’re meant to seem friendly. No, the reader probably won’t ever meet the author. But that doesn’t mean the author won’t try to ingratiate his points with the reader by writing in a conversational way.
8. Ad Revenue
Top 10 lists are packed with advertisements. The purpose of the article is to make money, so they don’t have to be thoughtful. They just need to contain enough commonly accepted ideas that people are likely to want to share it with their friends on Facebook
7. Too Many Pages
It would be easier to read all 10 items on one page. So why don’t Top 10 lists ever fit on a single page? Because every time you click a link a new ad loads.
6. Usually Incomplete
Unless the list covers the digits 0 through 9, it isn’t comprehensive. Is there any subject that can be explored in 10 paragraphs or less? Google estimates that 130 million books have been written in the history of mankind. How many of those books ended after 10 paragraphs?
5. Only Half the Story
The author is writing from their perspective, to an audience of people with the same perspective. Rarely does the author attempt to convince someone of an opposing viewpoint. The comments section of any controversial top 10 article is an echo chamber.
4. Repetitive Entries
Top 10 authors don’t have the time to create new content. A website needs to publish every day of the week. Writing something original every day is too time consuming.
3. Emotionally Charged
You wrote an article about database performance? Good for you, but don’t expect to get more than eight page views. A top 10 list needs to appeal to the masses, and the best way to do that is to reach the reader’s emotional side.
2. Waste of Time
I’ve wasted five minutes of your time reading this list. I’ve wasted 30 minutes of my time writing it. Will either of us remember any of these 10 points a year from now?
1. This List
If you enjoyed reading this article, you agree top 10 lists are stupid. If you didn’t enjoy it, then it is a working example to prove that top 10 lists are stupid. Either way, you agree. Checkmate!