If you're giving a presentation, making an argument, or proposing something, the most important thing to keep in mind is: what's the takeaway? It's not sufficient to just lay out information, you also need to provide the conclusion, reaction, or decision that the information implies.

Now, why is this? If you're providing information to someone, surely it's their job to decide how to respond? Perhaps that's true, but in reality, people don't tend to notice, or if they do they don't mind. Even if they disagree with your conclusion, it's much easier to build their response from yours than create one from scratch.

If you're providing information, your optimal strategy is to predigest that information so that your audience has to do less work digesting it themselves. Compared to undigested information, yours will spread further, evoke stronger responses, and be easier to understand.

However, as a consumer of information, this is deeply problematic. Firstly, the choice of predigested conclusion will frame your response, even if it doesn't dictate it. You may agree or disagree, but you're far less likely to find a totally unrelated conclusion or different angle on the idea once you have an existing conclusion to work from.

The second issue is that working out a conclusion for yourself is an important component of understanding. Much the same way that you can memorise the answers to a test, you can agree with a response without really understanding how that response follows from the information. In fact, you may not even realise when it doesn't.

This is particularly troubling in the context of modern journalism and social news, where the line between editorial and reporting is blurry, and the incentive structures of advertising and social media encourage making content as easy to digest and share as possible. You will very rarely find viral content that doesn't also tell you how to react to that content.

Even if the content itself doesn't contain a predigested reaction, the comments are a selection of ready-made reactions for you to choose from. It's a common pattern on popular social news sites to read the article, then read the comments, then decide what you think. But by that point it's more a matter of choosing who you agree with than forming your own opinion.

In conclusion, it may be better to stop reading before you reach the part where an author goes from providing information or making arguments into telling you how to respond. If the content is designed to make that impossible, perhaps it's not worth reading at all. And, furthermore, Carthage must be destroyed.