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Reasoning why - A little less than a happy high — LiveJournal
Reasoning why
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komos From: komos Date: January 15th, 2003 07:31 am (UTC) (Link)
Shakespeare’s works also predate the great movements towards standardization in spelling and usage, and he takes great liberties for the sake of making words fit his meter. Even if we forgive him this, it’s not clear that he managed to meet the IA’s requirement to "be as clear as possible with as many people as possible" if we assume that he was writing for the time. A good deal of his work challenges the viewer even once you become familiar with his dialect, and I’m not sure that he intended to communicate greater truths to the "groundlings" in the audience for his plays, or that he wrote his sonnets with English pig farmers in mind.

I think you picked up on the issue with IA’s tack, however. It would be very easy to stray into a discussion of what does/does not make great literature, and that was never my intent. I wanted to talk specifically about language, and yes, language in common usage.

The problem with applying rigid standards to internet communication poses its own problems. For instance, for the sake of speed, there is a tendency to abbreviate to the point of incomprehensibility. IIRC, BRB, ROTFLMAO have all fallen into common usage, but have absolutely no meaning to someone who has not spent a fair amount of time in the medium. Other adaptations for the sake of speed are truncated spellings and the tendency to drop apostrophes, capitalization, and punctuation. Someone posting on IRC can write, "brb i nd 2 get fd," and reasonably expect to be understood by a certain audience. A fair number of people reading this, however will look at it and see an incomprehensible string of cononants. Similarly, because there is such an emphasis on speed, these trends tend to be accompanied with unintentional mistakes in spelling, grammar, and usage.

Your own aggressive online footprint is itself a kind of adaptive abbreviation for the sake of speed. While it’s quicker to toss out a quip or call someone a "retard" in response to something they said, I think it’s been demonstrated pretty clearly that the meaning behind those quips is often lost because the natural response to aggressiveness is defensiveness. You certainly convey a message, but the real meaning of what you are attempting to say is lost to the greater part of your audience.

The short answer? Basically, a forum allows anyone to have a voice, where everyone is attempting to use that voice as quickly as possible, breeds sloppiness.

Talking about the Wall Street Journal is another matter entirely. The WSJ is a document that is purchased specifically for the information that’s contained therein. The writers, editors, and analysts employed by the organizations are professionals. Since I am purchasing goods and services from individuals who are being paid to present accurate information in a manner that is as clear as possible, then yes, they are held to a different standard. I will hold books, business correspondence, magazines, and websites to that standard as well. Personal email, journal entries, and IRC communication? These tend reflect the personal quirks of the author or are reflective of a developing dialect in and of themselves.
From: uruz Date: January 15th, 2003 08:00 am (UTC) (Link)

I agree with most of the points you present above (and interesting how you tie in my quick off-the-cuff utterances into a similar vein of thought - touche, and well done) but I have to pick apart one statement, if you don't mind:

The short answer? Basically, a forum allows anyone to have a voice, where everyone is attempting to use that voice as quickly as possible, breeds sloppiness.

The last time that I checked, my Internet usage or words-per-minute score isn't being monitored second by second. Speed really isn't of issue, even for the hunt-and-peck typists. And while I might cross my eyes at an obvious typo (and I would most certainly *not* layeth the retard smackdown on someone for a simple typo) or an unnecessary abbreviation or acronym, my anger is directed mostly towards people who purposefully ignore simple rules like homonyms (there/they're/their) and text rules (your/you're) on a forum board or chat room under the premise of "its the internet, who cares, n00b".

Ignorance, my dear panda, is not bliss. And it makes Uruz angry.
komos From: komos Date: January 15th, 2003 08:51 am (UTC) (Link)
No, no one is being monitored, but because the forum allows communication that is effectively instantaneous, there is the perception that speed is vital. This is especially true in the case of IRC/IM, but also applies to message boards and lists. Responses that hit the list first receive the most attention. Generally, they make most of the salient points and make use of our natural short attention spans. This allows the author to grab the kudos (if there is any) for original thinking, or for the smackdown of someone who is obviously wrong thinking. Perception being 90% of reality, it really has become a factor.

Incidentally, in this thread alone, I’ve managed to drop a comma, used it’s instead of its, and at one point used the wrong verb form of to be. This was partly due to the speed of my responses and partly due to poor editing. (Either way, you can call it carelessness on my part.) In spite of these obvious and flagrant flubs, I’m pretty sure that I’ve managed to convey the desired meaning. The meaning is not entirely dependent upon the symbols. Yes, choosing the currently accepted use of the symbols does tend to convey meaning more concisely, but the meaning does not necessarily become obscured simply through poor usage. I can recognize that "your going to understand me" is non-standard usage, but I can infer that "your" is a sloppy use of "you are" as a subject/verb because its use as a possessive is non-sensical. There are other examples that could be more confusing, such as "your going to the store," but most of the time the intent is easily discernable from the context in which the structure falls. So while the meaning-centered argument is perhaps the strongest in support of a hard-line stance for accepted usage, I tend to think it falls short when applied to certain forums and certain audiences. (This isn’t to say that when meaning is obscured I won’t hold the author responsible for being unclear, but my experience online has been that such occurs most often because of errors in logic or just bad writing.)

At any rate, the post was intended to be an exploration of why I tend to be a lot more forgiving of these errors where others are driven batty. I can say, "they’re just not that important," but it was important to me to puzzle through why that’s the case.
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