Skip

Spelling and grammar guideline? November 8, 2007 9:03 AM   Subscribe

Proposed guideline: Posts are required to be reasonably literate.

I'm an elitist asshole. This is what I expect to see on Myspace or the Youtube comments section, not what I want to see on my Metafilter. I think quality control should be an issue here. Discuss.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim to Etiquette/Policy at 9:03 AM (238 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

I think quality control should be an issue here.

Ok, I'll create the queue for all posts and comments to go through TheOnlyCoolTim first. Thanks for volunteering to go over the 150 posts per day and 2,500 comments!
posted by mathowie (staff) at 9:05 AM on November 8, 2007 [36 favorites]


Burn.
posted by Joseph Gurl at 9:09 AM on November 8, 2007


pwned by mathowie!
posted by slogger at 9:10 AM on November 8, 2007


Come on, I'm not talking about checking everything in advance or even caring about the grammar of comments. Did you look at that post? We're already controlling for doubles, self-links, chatfilter. I think egregious violations of the English language should count too.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:10 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Heh, dnab's comment was priceless.
posted by brain_drain at 9:11 AM on November 8, 2007


y usai dat? yer meen, make fun of iliterits.
posted by jonmc at 9:13 AM on November 8, 2007


P.S. I call your bluff. Set that shit up, and I'll do it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:13 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think egregious violations of the English language should count too.

Y que debemos hacer con postas que son tantas malas que insultan la lengua castellana?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 9:15 AM on November 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


MOR PLO CHOPS. LES TOK.
posted by quonsar at 9:17 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


Well, at least we agree on one thing.
posted by milarepa at 9:18 AM on November 8, 2007


Ok, I'll create the queue for all posts and comments to go through TheOnlyCoolTim first. Thanks for volunteering to go over the 150 posts per day and 2,500 comments!

Come on, Matt. I think you're being a bit disingenuous if you really think that's what he's implying with this callout.

Of course the three administrators cannot moderate every comment and every post--though TheOnlyCoolTim does have a point: posts like this lower our level of discourse and generally encourage poor answers.

The solution, however, is not a callout, but to flag and move on. The system is already in place. In that way the administrators can narrow their attention down from those 2,500 posts, to the few that are getting flags.

And TheOnlyCoolTim is right, this does need a rewrite.
posted by dead_ at 9:19 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I think all posts should be reasonably literate, and the post you linked to, TheOnlyCoolTim, is reasonably literatre, because it can be read with a reasonable amount of effort.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:19 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


Well, at least we agree on one thing.

PLO CHOPS R DLISHOUS?!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:20 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm glad someone's here to call people out on this stuff since Dame has been M.I.A. for like, the last 2 years.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2007


People who can't type don't deserve our halp
posted by Razzle Bathbone at 9:21 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I approve of this plan as long as anything using an apostrophe in possessive 'its' is automatically deleted.
posted by 0xFCAF at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


P.S. I call your bluff. Set that shit up, and I'll do it.

not what I want to see on my Metafilter.
posted by milarepa at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2007


Proposed guideline: if your MeTa post is a whingy, elitist rant that ironically ends with discuss as a one-word “sentence” , you should be forced to watch your mother be sodomized by a goat, Ron Paul, and your severed penis.

Maybe that's unrealistic, but I dare to dream.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


Well, at least we agree on one thing.

PLO CHOPS R DLISHOUS?!!


No, SEND MOHR COPZ!
posted by robocop is bleeding at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2007


HighSchoolAngstFilter written in IM-speak. Awesome.
posted by chundo at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2007


Won't somebody think of the LOLCATS?!!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:22 AM on November 8, 2007


While I agree, Matt, that there's certainly no place for an every-post-every-comment filter, jesus, that AskMe post is just awful -- seriously, if a big chunk of Metafilter posts started to emulate that style (or lack thereof), I'd find it hard to get past.
posted by delfuego at 9:23 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Easy solution: enable the TOCTM-queue, with a hook into Paypal.

...if it takes more than five minutes for a post to be approved or disapproved/edited, he pays $5.

Comments can take 15 minutes, and the penalty there should be only $1.

...if TOCTM refuses to give his credit card details, permaban.

Step up.
posted by aramaic at 9:24 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


EB: that is quite a daring dream, indeed. I require gallons of scotch to clear my head. Who's buying?
posted by crush-onastick at 9:25 AM on November 8, 2007


Isn't it funny? Can't it just be funny that among all of the interesting, complex, or stupid but semi-to-fully-literate questions, cathec's overlong text message to the hivemind made it through? And will receive compassionate answers that take time and effort to write? I think we're a ways away from being overrun with fourteen-year-old girls taking remedial English. Until such a time, the incongruity of the occasional appearance by the unable-to-form-grammatical-sentences in this otherwise hyper literate community is kind of pleasant.
posted by kosem at 9:26 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


TheOnlyCoolTim does have a point: posts like this lower our level of discourse and generally encourage poor answers.

Posts like that encourage whiny Metatalk posts from pretentious internet-grammar nazis. Go and read the answers in that post. They're just as reasoned and thought-out as the answers in any other similar post. If you cannot bring yourself to read a post with (gasp!) all lower case letters, go read any one of the other 149 questions posted.

This is what I expect to see on Myspace or the Youtube comments section, not what I want to see on my Metafilter.

I think this sentence is missing some words and/or some punctuation. Discuss that.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 9:27 AM on November 8, 2007 [9 favorites]


I think we've been had. The cathec is clearly Paulsc's sockpuppet.
posted by Wilder at 9:27 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


While I agree, Matt, that there's certainly no place for an every-post-every-comment filter, jesus, that AskMe post is just awful -- seriously, if a big chunk of Metafilter posts started to emulate that style (or lack thereof), I'd find it hard to get past.

Agreed. One of the reasons why I love Mefi is that it's blessedly free of the chatspeak and grammar ignorance that plagues other communities. I like being on a site where people know about things like capitalization and complete sentences.

And if that makes me an elitist or perscriptivist, then so be it.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2007 [6 favorites]


Where is the cut off line? Yeah that post was pretty bad, but at what point do you edit, delete, allow etc? Should LOLcatz be deleted (and yeah the grumpy answer is yes), how about posts with a few misspellings in them, stuff that links to pages that have bad grammar?

I understand what you are saying, again that was a pretty horrible post, but IF things are going to be deleted because of this metric it is probably best if it is exceedingly rare, on an individual basis and handled through flags and m/email.

Personally I would deleted all MetaTalk posts that end with "discuss".
posted by edgeways at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2007


This isn't a real issue yet. I agree that the post was a either a triumph of illiteracy or proves that somehow an automated text messenger become sentient.

However, putting a mechanism into place to control an issue that doesn't happen 99.73% of the time seems like a wasted effort. If self-policing quality control issues doesn't continue to work, I'll eat (shootsThis isn't a real issue yet. I agree that the post was a either a triumph of illiteracy and leaves) my hat.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


i cant beleiv he thought he culd rplace babby

sum babbys is just irreplacable
posted by Greg Nog at 9:28 AM on November 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


But there is no trend here. It's just one post that offended this guy's sensibilities of what his metafilter should be like.

Frankly, the $5 fee is quality control, and this one post aside, the site's quality control is better than anything else I've seen on the internet.

Mountains out of molehills. This guy just likes the attention.
posted by milarepa at 9:30 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


i cant beleiv he thought he culd rplace babby
...in teh cornr

nobuddy rplaces babby in teh cornr
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 9:31 AM on November 8, 2007 [8 favorites]


argh -- damn cut and paste gremlin comes in and completely undercuts my argument. Last paragraph should read.


However, putting a mechanism into place to control an issue that doesn't happen 99.73% of the time seems like a wasted effort. If self-policing quality control issues doesn't continue to work, I'll eat (shoots and leaves) my hat.
posted by MCMikeNamara at 9:32 AM on November 8, 2007


Yeah, taking this post more seriously than it deserves, I agree that if this were a trend, a willingness by the admins to delete illiterate posts would be a Good Idea.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 9:33 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


1- what did your hat ever do to deserve that

-or-

2. "hey sailor, what's your hurry?"
posted by edgeways at 9:34 AM on November 8, 2007


I think quality control should be an issue here.

You know who else thought quality control should be an issue here?
posted by public at 9:35 AM on November 8, 2007


Anyone who isn't educated enough to spell should be baned.
posted by starman at 9:36 AM on November 8, 2007


What amazes me about this callout, TheOnlyCoolTim, is that you don't recognize the intensity and brilliance of cathee's writing-- or the density of it. She got so much real feeling and detail about the story into that question I'm kind of stunned; her writing makes Holden Caulfield look stilted and verbose.

It did make me really uncomfortable, but that was because she made herself so vulnerable to her boyfriend -- and to us.
posted by jamjam at 9:36 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


If this gets best answer, it was worth it.
posted by chundo at 9:37 AM on November 8, 2007


It ticked me off, too.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 9:38 AM on November 8, 2007


I'll volunteer a rewrite:
I feel like my boyfriend thinks I can easily be replaced. How can I communicate with him about that?

- - -

My boyfriend and I have been together for around six months. We have never had a fight, and neither of us angers easily. But sometimes he does upset me, and I don't say anything about it because I find it hard to communicate my feelings. For example, we had a conversation last night about how people can be replaced. He said it's generally easy to replace people, like when an employee quits or is fired. I disagreed with him because I felt like he was saying (in essence) that I could easily be replaced in our relationship. I didn't express this feeling to him explicitly, but I did ask what he would do if I died. He said he would wait a year and then find someone else, which is a fair response but still made me feel insecure.

Am I overreacting to his statements about how people can easily be replaced? More generally, how can I communicate about these feelings with my boyfriend in a way that doesn't make me even more upset?
Actually, I like the original version better.
posted by brain_drain at 9:41 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Posts like that encourage whiny Metatalk posts from pretentious internet-grammar nazis.

All I'm suggesting is that we encourage a bit of thoughtfulness in our posts. If you want to call that being a pretentious grammar Nazi, it's your call.
posted by dead_ at 9:41 AM on November 8, 2007


las nit i was eati n potatoe chips in my bed and i felt liek i as haiving a hart atak does any one nowif I shuld go to the doctor only problem is i i spent alll my $ on 6 pnds of frozin pork and soc. sec $$ dont come for trrwo week yet
posted by killdevil at 9:41 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually if I see these posts early enough, I'll often delete them and email the OP and give them a chance to rewrite them and then undelete them. As it is, posts like that are an admin pain because people flag them, they're hard to understand and they engender a lot of comments that are just like "you can't spell" etc. In this case, there were a lot of thoughful answers by the time I saw it (I'm travelling, cortex has had a busy week at work) and so it seemed best to leave it so that the work people took trying to answer a badly phrased and presented question wasn't for naught. Generally, yes OnlyCoolTim I agree with you.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:42 AM on November 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


That post is horrible. My eyes! The goggles do nothing!
posted by Riemann at 9:43 AM on November 8, 2007


I'm not talking about some fancy mechanism. I'm not talking about requiring formal grammar and perfect spelling or some sort of Metafilter Style Guide. Mods already eventually go over every post, as far as I know. They see if it is a double, self-promotion, chatfilter, or if it violates any of the other guidelines. I think this sort of rank illiteracy, that decreases the quality of Metafilter, should be one of those other guidelines. I'm not saying it's a big problem, but that doesn't mean we should consider it acceptable.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:47 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


i'd say something but TPS has saved the day.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 9:48 AM on November 8, 2007


Ah, Jessamyn's answer satisfies me.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 9:49 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


It bugged me. I flagged it out of irritation, knowing there wasn't really a rule being broken and nothing would happen.
Normally, such a combination of illiteracy and idiocy could be dealt with by a brisk mocking, but AskMe is supposed to be civil.

On preview, ah. Thanks Jess.
posted by CunningLinguist at 9:50 AM on November 8, 2007


I think we've been had.

That possibility had crossed my mind.
posted by timeistight at 9:51 AM on November 8, 2007


What a mess. Even the quotation marks were abbreviated. Wow.
posted by necessitas at 9:52 AM on November 8, 2007


i tink quality ctrl be a issue hre

ok Ill make the queue for all posts and comments go thru onlycooltim 1st thx for volunteering to go over 150 posts/day and 2500 comms rofl lol ok thx bye
posted by WCityMike at 9:53 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


If you are deleting many questions of the quality of cathec's, Jessamyn, you are lowering the level of discourse in AskMe, not raising it.
posted by jamjam at 9:56 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


As far as I'm concerned, text-speak is just another dialect. I love dialects. I love them even more when I'm not completely fluent in them, which is the case here.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:57 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


And as such, I agree with jamjam.
posted by small_ruminant at 9:57 AM on November 8, 2007


public: You know who else thought quality control should be an issue here?

Nader?
posted by quin at 9:58 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Force thou the spell cheque. Make every man speaketh in the Queen's English.

Et, en plus, nous ne supporterons plus des autres langes.
posted by blue_beetle at 9:59 AM on November 8, 2007


If you are deleting many questions of the quality of cathec's, Jessamyn, you are lowering the level of discourse in AskMe, not raising it.

Huh. I thought your first response was sarcasm. So I guess I'll respond to that one:

What amazes me about this callout, TheOnlyCoolTim, is that you don't recognize the intensity and brilliance of cathee's writing-- or the density of it.

Well, yeah, by definition when you remove letters, words and punctuation it becomes more dense. But this is verbal diarrhea, not brilliance. Raw, yes, intense, maybe, but never brilliant.
posted by chundo at 9:59 AM on November 8, 2007


If you are deleting many questions of the quality of cathec's, Jessamyn, you are lowering the level of discourse in AskMe, not raising it.

It happens maybe once every few months and as I said if I don't think I'll have time for a back and forth with the OP about it, the fallback solution is to do nothing and let it stand. The guidelines specifically say "Use spell check and write so that you can be understood." and that's our general expectation. We remove questions that make no sense as well, occasionally.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:04 AM on November 8, 2007


Christ, quonsar. Matt, as a pony request, can we have a button we can click to simultaneously "favorite" and "flag as offensive?" You can just put it next to quonsar's comments. I think it'd save a lot of us a lot of clicking.
posted by koeselitz at 10:04 AM on November 8, 2007


"TheOnlyCoolTim"

I do not think this means what you think it means.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 10:10 AM on November 8, 2007


I think this sort of rank illiteracy...

I agree: Leave no Mefite behind.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 10:12 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Sounds like I got here a little too late, but as an FYI, the Television Without Pity forums - and probably some other forums - have similar guidelines in place. It's not elitist, it just makes things easier for everyone to read.

The way I see it, encouraging intelligent discussion in a written medium involves encouraging intelligent writing. Wanting to read something I can actually understand doesn't make me an elitist asshole.

I haven't been a member of Metafilter for long, but this doesn't seem like it's a huge or persistent issue. Which means you guys are doing pretty gr8!
posted by Metroid Baby at 10:12 AM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


I found this ask.me written than most posts. If brain_drain's version had been the question posted I don't think it would have registered for me as a strong emotional issue. The original question by cathec is suffused with emotion. It's touching. If you can't see past matters of style you should have your reading license taken away from you. This is nothing but bullying. People who try to keep other people from communicating because they don't write idiomatically are no better than high school jocks who taunt and exclude fellow students who aren't good athletes.
posted by Kattullus at 10:12 AM on November 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


Mods already eventually go over every post, as far as I know.

I'm not sure what you mean, really; we don't have a formal "look at/QA every post" mechanism in place or anything, though we see most stuff incidentally and certainly anything that gets flagging action.

Aside from that, what Jess said, with my personal addition being that, fundamentally, there's nothing wrong with a post or comment with crappy spelling/grammar/style/whatever in isolation. There's no entrance exam, and people can be bad at the whole writing thing and still have every right to be here. The site collectively discourages it, but that's not the same as forbidding it and as Jess says it's a rare occasion besides where something is so much of a mess that we'll nix it on those grounds.

Whether they'll enjoy their time here, react positively or negatively to the feedback they get for their off style is another question entirely. But we've got some members in good standing here who don't drop sparkling, style-book English prose in their daily goings on the site; that they're participating in good faith is kind of what matters, and I'm glad to have them around. The average here is great, and that's what matters; one user here or there whose writing is on the low end of the curve in one respect or another doesn't break the system or ruin the site; and because the site is as strong on average as it is, there's a good chance that the folks who struggle with their communication will only benefit from hanging around.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:15 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


but mr can you maybe listen there's

but mr can you maybe listen there's
me &
some people
and others please
don'tconfuse.Some
people

's future is toothsome like
(they got
pockets full may take a littl
e nibble now And then
bite)candy

others
fly,their;puLLing:bright
futures
against the deep sky in

May mine's tou
ching this crump
led cap mumble some
thing to oh no
body will
(can you give
a)listen to
who may

you

be
any
how?
down
to
smoking
found
Butts

e.e. cummings
posted by rtha at 10:16 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


Come on, Matt. I think you're being a bit disingenuous if you really think that's what he's implying with this callout.

It's a snarky joke, if that wasn't clear enough. Sure I'd love it if people used descriptive tags, concise titles, and perfect spelling and grammar but another "can't we make everyone write better?" MetaTalk post made the snark rise up in me because no, there currently is no way to make everyone write better and not everyone will see this post and take it to heart.
posted by mathowie (staff) at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2007


I'n not saying that cathec is e.e. cummings. And on first read, her post made me wince. But she communicated her difficulties and question clearly and expressively. I wouldn't want to see all of AskMe look like that, certainly. But this one post should mean some sort of QA grammar/usage system should be put in place? Nah.
posted by rtha at 10:19 AM on November 8, 2007


You know, after reading this today, I started thinking about how a massive asteroid strike wouldn't be a terrible way for the world to end. I mean, it's sort of the eschatological equivalent of having a heart attack in your sleep - sudden, deadly, and not really the fault of anybody in particular. Everybody would suffer equally, and nobody would be able to say, "I was right."

Well, except for the people who tried to warn us about the asteroid strike. But they would be dead anyway, so I don't think it would matter.
posted by Afroblanco at 10:23 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


for
christ's sake, look
out where yr going
posted by Bernt Pancreas at 10:25 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I think the earth should be wiped out by a giant thesaurus, open to the entry "apocalypse," just for the poetic irony of it.
posted by Astro Zombie at 10:25 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Outrage fatigue, volume twelve.
posted by GuyZero at 10:26 AM on November 8, 2007


STIKLURS YOONIGHT!
posted by cog_nate at 10:34 AM on November 8, 2007


If you can't see past matters of style you should have your reading license taken away from you. This is nothing but bullying. People who try to keep other people from communicating because they don't write idiomatically are no better than high school jocks who taunt and exclude fellow students who aren't good athletes.

I think you want the TurkeyOutrageFilter MeTa down the hall. Spellcheck knows no color or gender boundaries.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 10:34 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Exactly, rtha, cathec reminds me of e. e. cummings; I was thinking of suggesting she try a little poetry, and that I thought it might come very naturally to her, but I don't know how to do things like that without being patronizing.
posted by jamjam at 10:36 AM on November 8, 2007


I don't want to make everyone write better on this site. It's mostly really hard and frustrating to try. I get paid for that shit; I won't do it for free. I want people who can't or won't write to go to one of the many, many other sites on the internet that cater to people who can't write. "Elitist" is not a four letter word (in fact, it has seven letters).
posted by Kwine at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2007


This is one of the few times I've disagreed with TPS, but being an elitist Nazi grammar police person myself, I think TOCT handled this much more delicately than some of the respondents to the OP did. Chat-speak is a pet peeve of mine already, and unless you are being charged for every letter you post, it simply isn't an acceptable alternative for a properly-worded, spell-checked and previewed post.

Also, thank you to brain_drain for providing me with a workable abbreviation for "dirtynumbangelboy'". I keep wanting to read it as "dirty dumb bagel boy" or something equally outrageous, but now I have DNAB to fall back on. I learn something worthwhile every day on MeFi.
posted by misha at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2007


That post really was one of the worst pieces of writing I've ever seen on MeFi. Fortunately most people here are at least competent writers.
posted by orange swan at 10:39 AM on November 8, 2007


I'm not sure what you mean, really; we don't have a formal "look at/QA every post" mechanism in place or anything, though we see most stuff incidentally and certainly anything that gets flagging action.


That was basically my impression - I'd be surprised if there are many posts some mod doesn't see incidentally.

As for E.E. Cummings, he, James Joyce, and so on get to play with the English language because they know what they are doing. There's a difference between poetry or Finnegans Wake and illiteracy.

re: Ambrosia Voyeur

The nick is a stupid joke that I've kept around from '97 or '98.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:44 AM on November 8, 2007


That was basically my impression - I'd be surprised if there are many posts some mod doesn't see incidentally.

Okay, agreed then. I was worried you were assuming there was a literal workflow that every post got subjected to or something.
posted by cortex (staff) at 10:46 AM on November 8, 2007


"I think quality control should be an issue here." is more difficult to understand than the AskMe.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:46 AM on November 8, 2007


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fixing_Broken_Windows
posted by andoatnp at 10:54 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


I'm sorry I use too many big words like "quality" and "issue."
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 10:54 AM on November 8, 2007

'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
"Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
The frumious Bandersnatch!"
He took his vorpal sword in hand:
Long time the manxome foe he sought—
So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
And stood awhile in thought.
And, as in uffish thought he stood,
The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
And burbled as it came!
One, two! One, two! And through and through
The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
He left it dead, and with its head
He went galumphing back.
"And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
O frabjous day! Callooh! Callay!"
He chortled in his joy.
'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
All mimsy were the borogoves,
And the mome raths outgrabe.
posted by ericb at 10:55 AM on November 8, 2007


I'm sorry I use too many big words like "quality" and "issue."

It parses funny. Sensitive l'il elitist, ain't ya?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 10:58 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Wow, I laughed until my cheeks were wet reading that. My five-year old nephew's spelling is atrocious and I'd venture youth is a failing he shares with the asker. It's enlightening to read anyone's voice, though.

What makes me chuckle most is the thought that it's a beautiful hoax, an outside line, a sublimity of hooey. What a coup de troll that would be!
posted by breezeway at 11:02 AM on November 8, 2007


It's not elitist, it just makes things easier for everyone to read.

If we value ease of reading "for everyone" too much, shooting for the common denominator, we wind up meaninglessly mediocre, with no specialization or erudition, no dialect, no EASL posters and no lulz. So bizznoo to thizznat.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:03 AM on November 8, 2007


TOTC: sorry for handle teasing, I know well the feeling, as someone who doesn't actually peep at windows. But, softie I am, I think this difficult-to-enforce literacy benchmark-setting is uncool, so that's that.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:06 AM on November 8, 2007


in fact, it has seven letters

That just means it's worse, by three whole letters! Short words are proletariat words, suitable for use by the masses. Three letters good, four letters bad. Seven letters = death.

I don't know why you lumpenproles keep tempting fate like this. How many times do we have to tell you?
posted by aramaic at 11:06 AM on November 8, 2007


Everyone here keeps talking about "the OP's original question." I found seven:

ok so does he really think he can replace me entirely?

how can communicate how i feel?

he hardly ever gets mad and i hardly do ever either but when he does upset me i normally don't say anything about it im the type of person that finds it reeeeeal hard to talk about feelings does anyone else get that?

i want to get better at communicating how i feel but don't know where to start sometimes if im real upset i feel if i say anything i mite cry and i never like other ppl seeing me cry any suggestions?

from what ive told you do u think im making a big deal out of nothing?

i wish i had asked that question to set things straight that would stop me from over analysing things like i am now! so h ow can i be open, communicate better and learn how to talk about my feelings with out getting so upset?

if someone close to you said that you could easily be replaced would you be mad?


This is not a question that can be solved, even by the loose standards of relationshipfilter. It's a mess, even without the poor grammar. To quote an apropos MeTa from days past: Since when did AskMeta turn into HoldMe ComfortMe?
posted by googly at 11:06 AM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I don't know, upon reading cathec's question for the umpteenth time, that I'd call her illiterate. She doesn't misspell anything (I'm not counting IM abbreviations like "ppl"), and she doesn't even use a damn grocer's apostrophe, which many many MeFites who know better (and I include myself) have used sometimes in haste and an inability to proof before hitting "post."

Honestly, except for the lack of capitalization and the abbreviations, it zips along beautifully. It's certainly more communicative and clear than some of the relationshipfilter questions we've seen that have ostensibly been written in standard English.

In fact, now I'm wondering if it isn't some elaborate experiment performed on us by an anthro/linguist/sociology grad student.
posted by rtha at 11:08 AM on November 8, 2007


Oh yeah - and TheOnlyCoolTim, I know that cummings and Joyce (and Stein and...etc.) get to break the rules because they know what the rules are, and that's part of what makes them great. But it doesn't mean that only rule-knowers can create something poetic, either.
posted by rtha at 11:10 AM on November 8, 2007


HOW U MAK BABBY
posted by sourwookie at 11:10 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actually, I like the original version better.

Proving that no post can be replaced!
posted by Chuckles at 11:11 AM on November 8, 2007


That AskMe read like Lady Sovereign wrote it. But it doesn't mean she doesn't deserve our help and respect... it's easy to feel superior to others, but isn't it more pleasant to feel HELPFUL and therefore RESPECTED for not trying to deride another person?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:11 AM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Jessamyn, given the examples here and here, do you think it's fair for you to be judging the readability, grammar, punctuation and/or spelling of other people's posts?

As rtha notes, cathec's post seems to flow in a Color Purple sort of way.
posted by joaquim at 11:14 AM on November 8, 2007


Alvy

I can't understand how it parses funny. My writing parses a little awkwardly more often than I would like, but as far as I can tell "I think X should be Y" is a pretty simple sentence. Seriously, please explain. Does "quality control" not parse as a noun to most people? To me it does.

rtha

The thing is Metafilter is not the place for poetry. The internet is serious business! If this person can communicate so well, they ought to be able to stick some punctuation in there to avoid the impression of illiteracy.

To me, not being able to understand it is not the issue. The issue is that I think this lack of quality should be discouraged here.

Unicorn

Discouraging posts like this removes an opportunity for derision. You may not that I didn't post an answer saying "You are replaceable because you are dumb and only good for blowjobs," although from that level of writing it seems to me like the most likely correct answer.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:24 AM on November 8, 2007


Speculatin' on Alvy's behalf, I think the objection might be this:

"I think quality control should be an issue here" tells us that you think that it should be somehow considered in the context of the situation, but doesn't tell us a dang thing about what sort of consideration that should be, what agency, what anything.

It'd be like discussing a failed joke and saying that you "think that humor should be an issue here."

It's effectively a pretty damned vague statement, even if we can make reasonable guesses as to your intent. Is what I'm guessing Alvy was getting at.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:30 AM on November 8, 2007


Use your adult words.
posted by ColdChef at 11:30 AM on November 8, 2007


P.S.S. please if you get a chanse put some flowrs on Algernon's grave in the bak yard.
posted by trip and a half at 11:33 AM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


You are replaceable because you are dumb and only good for blowjobs," although from that level of writing it seems to me like the most likely correct answer.

Great. What a spectacular direction to go in. I now pledge my allegiance to whatever points you wish to make, as you are clearly a beneficent observer.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:34 AM on November 8, 2007


Won't somebody think of the LOLCATS?!!

Excellent point, IRFH. In fact, I think cathec may actually BE a lolcat.
posted by dersins at 11:40 AM on November 8, 2007 [4 favorites]


TheOnlyCoolTim, since you clearly stated that I may not, I'll take that option. After all, your grammar is clearly superior.

But I think it's fabulous that you don't factor in looks re: blowjobs, only intelligence! See, you're a great guy after all.

Group hug?
posted by Unicorn on the cob at 11:42 AM on November 8, 2007


It's not so much the "quality control" that irked me so much as the "should be an issue here."

IMO, "I think quality control should be an issue here," would better phrased as "I think quality control on the site should be more vigorously enforced," or "I think MetaFilter's lack of quality control is an issue that needs to be addressed," or "I think more stringent standards should be applied to posts on MetaFilter."

Mind you, I write pretty ass-backwards myself.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:47 AM on November 8, 2007


You don't speak for me, cortex!

Unless what you said was more articulate than what I was trying to say. Which it was. Bugger.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:51 AM on November 8, 2007


You may not that I didn't post an answer saying "You are replaceable because you are dumb and only good for blowjobs," although from that level of writing it seems to me like the most likely correct answer.

Protip: When critiquing someone's writing and declaring it unfit for this website, it's best not to make spelling errors yourself.
posted by euphorb at 11:55 AM on November 8, 2007


How about a "Do everyone a favor and don't compose posts in your phone" plea on the New Post page?
posted by Reggie Digest at 12:06 PM on November 8, 2007


Wow. OCT, if you really have time to be outraged over stuff like this maybe you need to volunteer somewhere. I'm sure there's an Adult Literacy program near you that would love the help.
posted by doctor_negative at 12:10 PM on November 8, 2007


jessamyn: I think you want the TurkeyOutrageFilter MeTa down the hall. Spellcheck knows no color or gender boundaries.

I didn't put my objection in terms of race, gender or class. What I do object to is a pile-on for something as trivial as punctuation. The analogy I used was that of high school jocks who look down on a fellow student because he's not athletic. Another analogy would be to a person speaking up at a meeting whose opinions were discounted for the shabbiness of his or her attire. There are many reasons for why a person would dress inappropriately or lack physical prowess, few if any of which warrant ostracization or abuse. The same goes for poor punctuation.
posted by Kattullus at 12:14 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Actual head line from my morning paper.

"Chiapas governor says it's unlikely those stilll missing probably are not alive."

Yes, three llls in still and that sentence structure is just a little funky and hard to figure. At least this lady is only a youngster posting her woes to meta.
posted by Iron Rat at 12:23 PM on November 8, 2007


Student's Right to Their Own Language. (pdf)

Background

Members of NCTE and its constituent group, the Conference on College Composition and Communication (CCCC), became concerned in the early 1970s about a tendency in American society to categorize nonstandard dialects as corrupt, inferior, or distorted forms of standard English, rather than as distinct linguistic systems, and the prejudicial labeling of students that resulted from this view. Be it therefore

Resolution

Resolved, that the National Council of Teachers of English affirm the students' right to their own language—to the dialect that expresses their family and community identity, the idiolect that expresses their unique personal identity;

that NCTE affirm the responsibility of all teachers of English to assist all students in the development of their ability to speak and write better whatever their dialects;

that NCTE affirm the responsibility of all teachers to provide opportunities for clear and cogent expression of ideas in writing, and to provide the opportunity for students to learn the conventions of what has been called written edited American English; and

that NCTE affirm strongly that teachers must have the experiences and training that will enable them to understand and respect diversity of dialects.

Be it further Resolved, that, to this end,

that NCTE make available to other professional organizations this resolution as well as suggestions for ways of dealing with linguistic variety, as expressed in the CCCC background statement on students' right to their own language; and

that NCTE promote classroom practices to expose students to the variety of dialects that comprise our multiregional, multiethnic, and multicultural society, so that they too will understand the nature of American English and come to respect all its dialects.

posted by exlotuseater at 12:28 PM on November 8, 2007


I share the concern expressed in TOCT's initial post, even if the tone isn't the greatest thing of all time, and am glad to see Jessamyn's response.

Oh, and Tim posted something to MetaTalk complaining about something on MetaFilter! *points, laughs*

That's standard procedure, right?
posted by ibmcginty at 12:31 PM on November 8, 2007


My comment is: Jesus, you people on metafilter are jaded*. I found that question pretty touching, and I really meant what I said in there; she was fucking eloquent. Part of me hopes she ditches that loser, although I guess I don't know that he's all bad; I just feel like she deserves better.

In any case, don't be a dick, Tim. I know cooler Tims, and they aren't assholes.

*see if you can catch the clever double meaning here
posted by koeselitz at 1:04 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hey guys, it's Ethereal Bligh's birthday.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:05 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Happy birthday, EB, long may you post! :)
posted by Kattullus at 1:07 PM on November 8, 2007


By the way, a propos of nothing, ever since I read this askme, I can't get this out of my head:

I shall be released
Bob Dylan

They say everything can be replaced,
Yet every distance is not near.
So I remember ev'ry face
Of ev'ry man who put me here.

I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

They say every man needs protection,
They say every man must fall.
Yet I swear I see my reflection
Some place so high above this wall.

I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.

Standing next to me in this lonely crowd,
Is a man who swears he's not to blame.
All day long I hear him shout so loud,
Crying out that he was framed.

I see my light come shining
From the west unto the east.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall be released.
posted by koeselitz at 1:25 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Happy birthday, EB, long may you post!

Long may you post??? You mean he's not posting long now?!??!

I kid!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:30 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


EB! Happy birthday!

*note to self: never cross a Scorpio.
**note to everyone else: Not that I believe in that stuff! Mostly!

posted by rtha at 1:34 PM on November 8, 2007


there's a good chance that the folks who struggle with their communication will only benefit from hanging around.

Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Instead of "you're dumb, go away" how about some insightful answers to her dilemma and some pointers to some of the great threads that illustrate what a good post looks like. Good citizens are made, not born.

Or maybe we need a Baby MeFite mentorship program for new members. Every new mwmber would be assigned to an older more experienced member who would show them the ropes, steal all their belongings, Get them hooked on dope, and then sell them on the yard for a carton of smokes.
posted by billyfleetwood at 1:39 PM on November 8, 2007


Happy Birthday, EB.
Can we find out cathec's birthday and give her a shift key?
posted by Cranberry at 1:45 PM on November 8, 2007


Happy Birthday, EB. Let's get a pint, eh?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 1:52 PM on November 8, 2007


Get them hooked on dope, and then sell them on the yard for a carton of smokes.

This strikes me as a rational solution that takes into consideration all of the many variables and arrives at an equitable result. I heartily endorse it.

We could even sidebar the current offerings.
posted by aramaic at 1:56 PM on November 8, 2007


All these posts ... and no puerile misogyny?

You guys are slacking.
posted by bhance at 2:00 PM on November 8, 2007


Thanks for the birthday wishes, all!
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 2:03 PM on November 8, 2007


i have to repost this classic poem by person unknown -

Eye halve a spelling chequer
It came with my pea sea,
It plainly marques four my revue
Miss steaks eye kin knot sea.

Eye strike a key and type a word
And weight for it two say,
Weather eye and wring oar write
It shows me strait a weigh.

As soon as a mist ache is maid
It nose bee fore two long,
And eye can put the error rite
Its rare lea ever wrong.

To rite with care is quite a feet
Of witch won should bee proud,
And wee mussed dew the best wee can,
Sew flaw's are knot aloud.

Eye have run this poem threw it
Your sure reel glad two no,
Its letter perfect awl the weigh
My chequer tolled me sew.
posted by pyramid termite at 2:03 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


I like it, pyramid termite, but The Impotence of Proofreading is even funnier.
posted by dersins at 2:15 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Happy B-day, EB.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:31 PM on November 8, 2007


My comment in the original thread was made when I was very sleepy, and was deleted (rightly so, I should have waited for the MeTa thread).

I said that I didn't think that the question was real. And I am still not sure. It seems like a mocking sockpuppet question from someone who has a bone to pick with RelationshipFilter and/or LOLgrammar at large.

Considering the user hasn't had any other activity on the site, if they aren't a weird meta-joke, I think they probably just need to participate a bit more and get a feel for what it's like around here. But personally, I still feel like it's not a real question. /puts on tinfoil hat
posted by SassHat at 2:35 PM on November 8, 2007


Paging Clavdivs. There's nothing wrong with a little stylized language, as long as it's done stylishly.
posted by whir at 2:37 PM on November 8, 2007


ive been going out with ma boy

This is why text-speak drives me to distraction: both "my" and "ma" have two letters. What is the point of writing "ma" instead of "my"? You can't even blame it on the desire to be economical with letters. Why would someone go out of their way to change a two letter word? Also, does anyone even pronounce it "ma"?
posted by necessitas at 2:39 PM on November 8, 2007


Weirdest bit: cathec joined in July, a full 4 months before making this post. What is going on?
posted by Deathalicious at 2:40 PM on November 8, 2007


More people favorited cathec's post than have ever favorited any of mine, so he or she must be doing something right.
posted by sweetkid at 2:58 PM on November 8, 2007


Great. What a spectacular direction to go in. I now pledge my allegiance to whatever points you wish to make, as you are clearly a beneficent observer.

It's my cynical pessimistic asshole version of Occam's Razor. Call it Asshole's Razor. When I see someone on the internet writing like a careless dumb person, where all I can see is their writing, should I think that they're probably pretty dumb and careless (and just maybe their boyfriend probably only keeps them around for sex, not love, especially when he's said they can be replaced easily?) or should I think they're probably actually a wonderfully intelligent person who happens for some reason to write like a careless idiot?

I don't KNOW that she's vapid, but her writing is, and here on the internet that's all we have. If the post had been deleted for revision, like Jessamyn said would probably be done if she'd been around, then I wouldn't have had to think these mean thoughts and cathec wouldn't have embarrassed herself on the internet. High standards are good for everyone!

I'm also not outraged. The internet does not affect my emotions very much. Even when I make a typo in 'note'.

As for the thing about being like a jock making fun of the non-athletic: this is the internet. It's for writing, at least on this site, like the football team is for playing football. Are the football players supposed to let the 90-lb. weakling on the team and praise his football skills as he runs the wrong way down the field? Perhaps in this wonderfully standards free world where cathec's writing is emotional and moving rather than inducing what the kids these days call "lulz."

Also everyone who really likes that sort of writing needs to be reading more vapid & drama-filled Myspace and Livejournal accounts. Seriously, they've got treasure troves over there.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 2:58 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Also everyone who really likes that sort of writing needs to be reading more vapid & drama-filled Myspace and Livejournal accounts. Seriously, they've got treasure troves over there.

I read AskMeta because I like to read the questions people have, and the answers our members supply. I think it's interesting to read what people are interested in knowing. Occasionally, a post will be written in a less than perfect manner, for any number of reasons- the person is new to the internet and unaware of forum etiquette, English is not their native language, or they just don't give a shit. But I don't care because that's not the point- I don't read AskMeta because everything is grammatically perfect. I read it because I'm interested in what the people are writing about. It seems that you wouldn't care about this sort of post even if it were written in a proper manner, because you seem to think you're above reading that sort of "vapid" subject matter, so why do you care so much how this particular post was written? The more you drone on about your intellectual superiority, the more you embarrass yourself, not cathec (and not just because you keep exposing your own grammatical failures). Quit while you're... a "cynical pessimistic asshole".
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:13 PM on November 8, 2007 [7 favorites]


Why would someone go out of their way to change a two letter word? Also, does anyone even pronounce it "ma"?

Yes, to the second, which pretty much explains the first.
posted by cortex (staff) at 3:22 PM on November 8, 2007


Weirdest bit: cathec joined in July, a full 4 months before making this post. What is going on?

Dated guy for two months, things began to fade a little, and she thought, ooo, better have that Metafilter account ready to go for when the shit hits the fan!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 3:24 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Dated guy for two months, things began to fade a little, and she thought, ooo, better have that Metafilter account ready to go for when the shit hits the fan!

I don't know. If she had the capacity for forward-thinking, she would have purchased Hooked on Phonics at the same time.
posted by necessitas at 3:35 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


The writing is vapid. If it was written with the slightest amount of care I'd have read it with a moderate amount of interest. But the complete failure to correctly use English overshadows the content of the post. It's not less than perfect and it's not a case of ESL. It's atrocious. If people were to write like that all the time here we'd be Yahoo Answers. I'm not claiming vast intellectual superiority. I make mistakes all the time, though I still haven't figured out what's really wrong with the first quote you tried to pick.

This is what I expect to see on Myspace or the Youtube comments section, not what I want to see on my Metafilter.

There's an implied "it is" before the "not." I believe that's completely standard. Perhaps then it should be a semicolon but not a comma. Whatever small error may exist, the point is that I did not write:

dis is wut iexpect to see on myspace or the youtube comments section not wut I want to see on ma metafilter


I'll claim intellectual superiority over that, thank you.

If you think cathec isn't embarrassing herself by writing like that, especially in a forum where people are mostly literate, please stop kidding yourself. You seem to write in correct English for some reason.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 3:41 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


This thread reeks of snobbery. Let it go.
posted by wafaa at 3:48 PM on November 8, 2007


There's really no excuse for belittling people, sorry.
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:51 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


guise cmon this is her 1st questoin like you never started out somewheres and had to lern the places way of working

like its cool 2b mean you know what i mean??? cuz its not........you shuold give a brake sumtimez.

THAT IS MY IMPRESSION OF YOU GUYS. C'mon, seriously, bring your A-game. "u kant spel" jokes are lamer than not being able to spell. Your joke fails to move me. Try harder. I mean, you ridicule cathec for not trying to spell when she writes, but you don't try to be funny when you joke. Where's the parity?
posted by Eideteker at 3:57 PM on November 8, 2007


I love it when a thread appears and grows into a monster, all while I'm sleeping.

1) One man's 'reasonable' is another man's I WILL STAB YOU IN THE EYE WITH A QUILL WHITTLED FROM BUDDHA'S SHINBONE.

2) Happy birthday, EB.

3) mathowie: not everyone will see this post and take it to heart. Since when was that a requirement for Metatalk threads? Some people will see it, some people might even use a little more care in their writing, mission accomplished. Other people won't care, or will get all het up that somebody actually has the temerity to call poop poop, as if everyone's special snowflakeyness will be jeopardized by it. Bah, I say: bah.

4) There may be no excuse for belittling people, but embiggening them can get you arrested in some places.

5) There is no 5.

6) Wait, yes there is: RAAAR I AM A VIKING
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:06 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Seriously, guys. I don't think the AskMe OP is going to be hanging around much longer. So why are y'all messed up about this?
posted by wafaa at 4:12 PM on November 8, 2007


A literal Viking?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:13 PM on November 8, 2007


And the "cathec can't spell" shit is just stupid.

"dis is wut iexpect to see on myspace or the youtube comments section not wut I want to see on ma metafilter"


Please.

She says "ma" for "my" - but only once. She uses some nonstandard IM-type abbreviations (nite, e.g.), and refuses to use punctuation or apostrophes.

But she correctly spells a ton of words that I've seen mispelled in youtube comments, myspace, and right here in Metafilter. In fact, except for the IM stuff, everything else ("conversation" "communicate" "value") is spelled correctly, including words that have IM equivalents, like "said" or "could".

If you want to criticize her lack of punctuation, go for it. No apostrophes? Right on. Lack of appropriate capitalization? Yeah!

But goddammit, her spelling's better than that of a whole lotta folks here who should (and do) know better.
posted by rtha at 4:18 PM on November 8, 2007


My GOD, Tim, you're being a dipshit. Run around outside for a while, talk to some babies, pet some puppies, and realize that, amazingly, grammar and typography, far from being a metric of intelligence, are actually a small game played by silly sots such as ourselves.

But wait-- here's a tremendous chance for you to learn this lesson! Just go back into the AskMe question you're kvetching so vehemently about, and note that it's a thoughtful, intelligent question. Above and beyond that, it's a caring question that reflects a real and honest consideration about the asker and the world around. It reflects more intelligence, that is to say, than your incessant whinging and prattling.

So fuck right off. Okay?
posted by koeselitz at 4:24 PM on November 8, 2007


Seriously, guys.

Fuck. I meant to write guise. Hopefully you know what I mean. Eidetker does.
posted by wafaa at 4:25 PM on November 8, 2007


the "cathec can't spell" shit is just stupid.

Would you settle for "cathec can't form a coherent sentence and writes like a half-witted, gibbering fourteen-year-old on crystal meth"?
posted by dersins at 4:27 PM on November 8, 2007


Bullshit, dersins. Sentences were all clearly formed, as were thoughts. They just weren't written out the way you silly fucks require.
posted by koeselitz at 4:29 PM on November 8, 2007


"At least "she" didn't "do" "this". (yeah, just try and tell me I'm wrong.)
posted by wafaa at 4:31 PM on November 8, 2007


The more I read that post the more convinced I am that cathec is not some myspace ninny with a 6th grade education.

These bits in particular make me think that someone's having us on, for whatever reason:

what i really should have said to him was


it really really hurt me [-]
made me feel like i was of little value to him

"Like I was of little value"? What illiterate internetista writes like that? And she writes "ma boy" and then - then! constructs "should have said" instead of "shoulda sed" or "shoulda tole him"?

She writes the way someone who knows the rules writes when they're writing the way they think someone who doesn't know the rules would write.

On preview: but her sentences aren't incoherent, and they're not gibbering. Her lines break where periods would go. She gives examples in a linear fashion. If you dropped in a few commas, periods, and maybe a semicolon (and some apostrophes), it really wouldn't need any rewriting.
posted by rtha at 4:36 PM on November 8, 2007


Eh, fuck this. Matt, can you just replace TheOnlyCoolTim, please? That'll make this much easier.
posted by koeselitz at 4:37 PM on November 8, 2007


I'm an elitist asshole.

The rest of the thread just exists to prove the initial self-assessment.

Who wants 2 talk like a adult anyway whatever!
posted by breezeway at 4:38 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Koeselitz, hot on the trail of the Grammar Nazis, failed to realize the Etiquette Nazis were rapidly gaining strength on the outskirts of Danzig...
posted by Neilopolis at 4:39 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


A website has never been improved by the presence of users who write like retarded teenagers.
posted by Afroblanco at 4:41 PM on November 8, 2007


Bullshit, dersins. Sentences were all clearly formed, as were thoughts.

Bullshit yourself, koeselitz. Just because it is possible to divine (with some work) what she was getting at, doesn't mean her sentences or thoughts were fully formed or coherent.

Perfect grammar is not a necessity (or, as you put it, something we "silly fucks require"), but it is a convention, one that is a courtesy to your readership so they don't have to work just to ascertain the basic meaning of the fucking question they're trying to do you a favor by answering.

I note that it's a convention to which you yourself adhere. If it's not important, why do you?
posted by dersins at 4:43 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


A website has never been improved by the presence of users who write like retarded teenagers.

Unless they're dead sexy, and post pics to prove it on their new, improved avatar-enabled profile pages.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:46 PM on November 8, 2007


No, wait, not even then. You're right.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 4:47 PM on November 8, 2007


rhta: Please note (look, I spelled that right now!) that I was careful in my selection of misspellings: wut, ma, dis. Not all the same, but in the same style of the post I was emulating. (My actual favorite: "what if a i died?". It's a me, a Mario!)

I also wouldn't be all that surprised if it was some weird troll.

koeselitz: It's the small game that makes up the basis of this site, which is writing. Also, fuck right off dipshit to you too, and a happy new year!
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 4:54 PM on November 8, 2007


Sorry, dersins. I snapped. But the elitism is too much sometimes -- that was a really great question.

dersins: "Bullshit yourself, koeselitz. Just because it is possible to divine (with some work) what she was getting at, doesn't mean her sentences or thoughts were fully formed or coherent."

Seriously, read the question over-- if you supply punctuation, every sentence is gramatically correct. Sure, it's missing the punctuation, but that's no sign of shoddy intelligence, only sloppiness borne of youth raised at the hands of our parents' generation.

It is a convention of courtesy, but I don't demand courtesy when I don't get it, and I don't always take it as an insult.
posted by koeselitz at 4:55 PM on November 8, 2007


Where the hell is languagehat, and why am I doing this all alone?
posted by koeselitz at 4:57 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


A website has never been improved by the presence of users who write like retarded teenagers.

That's pretty subjective. I, myself, am bumming on the suck that is most of the comments, but in a just-get-me-going-I love-it way. It's been that kind of day.
posted by wafaa at 4:58 PM on November 8, 2007


I guess what pisses me off is that there was no small eloquence in the question. And all of that is lost on a bunch of angry old men like us.

I think I'll go drink a few.
posted by koeselitz at 4:59 PM on November 8, 2007


stavrosthewonderchicken
Tell me you don't really look like your profile picture. It's a cartoon, right? Well?
posted by wafaa at 5:07 PM on November 8, 2007


The thing is Metafilter is not the place for poetry. The internet is serious business!

If you want it to be, sure. Seems boring to me, but it's your browser. Point it where you will. That's the beauty of the internet. TheOnlyCoolTim, the issue some people are having here isn't that you're concerned about readability. It's that you aren't:

To me, not being able to understand it is not the issue. The issue is that I think this lack of quality should be discouraged here.

You don't care if the post can be read, but you want to exclude the postings of people who write posts in non-standard English? That doesn't compute. Unless...

When I see someone on the internet writing like a careless dumb person, where all I can see is their writing, should I think that they're probably pretty dumb and careless (and just maybe their boyfriend probably only keeps them around for sex, not love, especially when he's said they can be replaced easily?)

I'll claim intellectual superiority over that, thank you.

You're heaping contempt on someone with poorer writing skills than yourself. Contempt accomplishes nothing, because it's dismissive. It helps no one improve their sentences because it equates bad grammar with shameful behavior or stupidity. It's very difficult to learn to do something better when you're told you sound stupid to begin with. Being asked to improve the quality of your text is very different, because it treats you as a capable person who just needs to work on something more, and perhaps your skills as well. What contempt does accomplish is making you look like an ass.

It's an AskMe. jessamyn's usual approach makes sense within that context. Occasionally a member needs to nudged toward a clearer post. The OP gets answers, and we can all understand the question. That said, Mugglenet and Whedonesque require clarity of language in posts, and they do it because the ability to understand is of concern to the site administrators. And while I would have no issue with such a policy here, it doesn't seem to be needed. These are edge cases.
posted by Tehanu at 5:08 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bad grammar makes TheOnlyCoolTim falafel.

Falafel! Ha ha ha!
posted by miss lynnster at 5:16 PM on November 8, 2007 [3 favorites]


Smart people talk out the side of their necks, too. Only they smart enough to deny they selling you a ticket they know you ready to punch. Rub it on your chest.

Pa'lante.
posted by breezeway at 5:16 PM on November 8, 2007


TheOnlyCoolTim: "The writing is vapid. If it was written with the slightest amount of care I'd have read it with a moderate amount of interest.
You obviously read it with enough interest to critique it for grammar, decide that it was lacking and did not meet your exacting standards, come over the MeTa and lovingly craft a perfectly-worded objection. I would consider that at least a moderate amount of interest.
posted by dg at 5:24 PM on November 8, 2007


Being asked to improve the quality of your text is very different, because it treats you as a capable person who just needs to work on something more, and perhaps your skills as well.

That's actually more or less what I was getting at originally, and what Jessamyn said would have probably happened had she not been travelling. With "being asked to improve the quality of your text" read as "deleted, and told to rewrite, because no one needs to see that shit until you write it properly."

In talking about comprehension, I believe that the ability to discern the content does not somehow make extremely low quality writing fine and dandy. I could figure out what people were saying if they wrote everything in Pig Latin, but I'm not going to start making all my FPPs in that style, because it would make this website suck. So does this no-punctuation no-capitalization AIM-speak.

Basically, I wholeheartedly agree with Afroblanco's "A website has never been improved by the presence of users who write like retarded teenagers."

Maybe it's elitism. But that's what makes this a better website than most. We're already elitist about self-promotion and double posts, and this keeps us above Digg.

Since Jessamyn's and Cortex's posts I've just been sticking around to argue on the internet, since that's the serious business it's for. (The internet is serious business is not serious business.)
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:28 PM on November 8, 2007


dg: The accusation I was answering was one that I considered the relationship subject matter too vapid for me or somesuch. That if it were properly written I would not have read it.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:30 PM on November 8, 2007


A website has never been improved by the presence of users who write like retarded teenagers.

Perhaps that's true, but what people forget here is that websites are rarely improved by elitist assholes, either.
posted by milarepa at 5:30 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Bad grammar makes TheOnlyCoolTim falafel.

a meat grinder made my sheep falafel
posted by pyramid termite at 5:32 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


A website has never been improved by the presence of users who write like retarded teenagers.

Perhaps that's true, but what people forget here is that websites are rarely improved by elitist assholes, either.


I wouldn't want the comments around here to sink to youtube level either, but I also don't want to have to submit an SAT score before being taken seriously.

And the people who get their panties in a knot about the occasional spelling or grammar era should keep in mind that many users are probably posting surreptitiously from work and maybe don't have the time to edit evey utterance as if it were the Magna Fucking Carta.
posted by jonmc at 5:36 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Intellectual elitists generally fail to comprehend how hamstrung they are in the world by their own tediousness. I'll take a room full of half literate, alcoholic ditch diggers any day, please and thanks.
posted by The Straightener at 5:42 PM on November 8, 2007 [5 favorites]


*hits The Straightener over the head with shovel, steals his beer, leaves incomprehensible note of explanation*
posted by jonmc at 5:44 PM on November 8, 2007


Magna Fucking Carta

Will my double elephant illustrated Kama Sutra suffice?
posted by breezeway at 5:44 PM on November 8, 2007


He said everything can be replaced
yet every sentence was not clear
So I wrote an in-your-face
And then came to post it here.
I see the shite come piling
From the Green unto the Grey.
Any day now, any day now,
I shall get my way..
posted by Abiezer at 5:56 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


And the people who get their panties in a knot about the occasional spelling or grammar era

No one has their panties in a knot over minor errors, as you can see because no one took your bait.
posted by Kwine at 6:04 PM on November 8, 2007


I do not wear panties.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:10 PM on November 8, 2007


I was careful in my selection of misspellings: wut, ma, dis. Not all the same, but in the same style of the post I was emulating. (My actual favorite: "what if a i died?". It's a me, a Mario!)

That's the thing, though - they're not in the same style. She doesn't use wuz or evar. I think the "what if a i died" might actually be a typo, because grammatically it doesn't make sense - and the rest of her question is basically sound.

The fact that she spells longer, more difficult words correctly is telling - either her use of IM-speak (nite, b, ppl) is purely stylistic, or someone's funnin' us. The point earlier about ee cummings et al. being able to break the rules because they knew the rules could easily apply here - we have no proof that she's ignorant of the rules of standard written American English. We only have evidence that she breaks them.
posted by rtha at 6:14 PM on November 8, 2007


Perhaps that's true, but what people forget here is that websites are rarely improved by elitist assholes, either.

Totally disagreed. There are plenty of elitist assholes on Metafilter who make the place better.

doesn't change the fact that they're assholes, but still...
posted by Afroblanco at 6:15 PM on November 8, 2007


WHEN WILL JESUS BRING THE PLO CHOPS?
posted by Tube at 6:22 PM on November 8, 2007


Totally disagreed. There are plenty of elitist assholes on Metafilter who make the place better.

Let me rephrase. Sites are rarely improved by people acting like elitist assholes.
posted by milarepa at 7:07 PM on November 8, 2007


One of the perks of being bad with grammar and spelling is that it lets you know who the tedious people are.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 7:20 PM on November 8, 2007


I do not wear panties.

Taking this personally are you? Methinks you protest too much.
posted by small_ruminant at 8:04 PM on November 8, 2007


Not at all. Couldn't care less, honestly. I just like to mention, whenever the subject of panties comes up, that I do not, in fact, wear them. Call it a quirk of mine.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:08 PM on November 8, 2007


Damn. Here I've been picturing you in red lace all this time.
posted by breezeway at 8:32 PM on November 8, 2007


I just like to mention, whenever the subject of panties comes up, that I do not, in fact, wear them. Call it a quirk of mine.

That's quite a thong and dance, sir. ;>
posted by jonmc at 8:33 PM on November 8, 2007


Commando-style, baby, swingin' dad-balls akimbo!
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:33 PM on November 8, 2007


So now we know why you're the wonderchicken.

Also, koeselitz, you're not alone... you were never alone... we were with you like a Christian rock song.
posted by Kattullus at 9:22 PM on November 8, 2007


dg: The accusation I was answering was one that I considered the relationship subject matter too vapid for me or somesuch. That if it were properly written I would not have read it.

posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:30 PM on November 8 [+] [!]


Wow, you complain about someone else's spelling and grammar, and then concoct the monstrosity above. Let me help you out here:

dg: The accusation I was answering was one that I considered the relationship subject matter too vapid for me or somesuch. That if it were properly written I would not have read it.
posted by oneirodynia at 9:24 PM on November 8, 2007


I honestly wanted to be awesome enough to take cathec's post just as I would take any other. And I tried to get past the chatspeak and the dispunctuation. Tried again and again. But the thread of content was nearly impossible to follow. There was no lead-background-question-details structure, just a pile of unhappy ruminations; and I find no eloquence in it, Salingeresque or otherwise.

AskMe, it turns out, is populated by actual people who volunteer their time to help strangers on the Internet, and not just by stroke-giving, platitude-mouthing robots. Effort invested toward their understanding your question is not only likely to be well repaid, it's common human graciousness. Conversely, a conspicuous non-effort is uncivil and selfish.

I like to think I have tolerance enough for the occasional solecism, and it is certain that I do not believe that all the random fetishes of various self-important grammar writers amount to anything terribly significant. My standard answer to 'I just said X and I think it isn't even a word' begins, 'We understood you, didn't we? Instantly!' But this post did not rise to the 'we understood you' challenge particularly well at all.

If it were a brilliantly incisive question, all lean muscle and razor-sharp tooth, that happened to be clothed in chatspeak, I would pass it by. If it were the outrageous ramble that it is, but clothed amusingly in, say, florid Victorian elaboration, I might even have favorited it. As it stands, I did my level best to be honest, kind, funny, and helpful in good balance; but to be frank, that post made my eyes bleed.

I am glad to hear that its survival was an aberration, for it was
... a monster of so frightful mien
As, to be hated, needs but to be seen.
Yet seen too oft, familiar with her face,
We first endure, then pity, then embrace.
We will attract those who aspire to whatsoever we tolerate, moderated only by the $5 barrier to entry. Matt is correct that there is, as yet, no way around the human moderation costs. Still, I move for the immediate installation of StupidFilter as soon as it becomes available. If MeFi doesn't use it wholesale, I will use the browser plugin. (Actually, I will probably use the browser plugin anyway, and see if it can make eighth grade finally end on the Internet like it eventually did in real life.)

Koeselitz is wise not to demand courtesy, and not to take its absence as insult. But I'll cast my opinions here overall with TOCT, envisioning cooperative, competent communication 'not wisely, but too well'. The Christian rocker squad can carry on as they were.
posted by eritain at 10:27 PM on November 8, 2007 [9 favorites]


You've been sniffing the Hazlitt again, haven't you eritain?
posted by Abiezer at 10:49 PM on November 8, 2007 [1 favorite]


Eritain for the win.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:13 PM on November 8, 2007


I dunno, when I first read that question I imagined it being read by some British teenager with one of those grating accents they have over there and it made a lot more sense.
posted by cmonkey at 11:17 PM on November 8, 2007


Eritan: Barf.

OK, I am totally annoyed by inconsiderate writing and bad grammar, and as a result I left a kind of snarky response in the cited askme question. But I have to say that eritan is just as difficult to discern as chatspeak, and 100 times more idiotic and pretentious. Or however you spell that big, difficult word. Hurf durf.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 11:20 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


I'm confused by all the falafel and PLO chops in this thread. Is it dinner time yet?
posted by Coaticass at 11:21 PM on November 8, 2007


eritain for poet laureate! Of the glorified principality of Douchistan!
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 11:38 PM on November 8, 2007


a meat grinder made my sheep falafel

It made your sheep into chickpeas???
posted by Jon Mitchell at 11:49 PM on November 8, 2007


It made your sheep into chickpeas???

Mmmm. Shepherd's pie!
posted by ericb at 11:53 PM on November 8, 2007


MeTa posts like this invariably bring howls of derision and talk of "grammar nazis" from those who like to practice their snark.

The OP deserves to be shit on. It's offensive chatspeak.
posted by Neiltupper at 11:56 PM on November 8, 2007


oneirodynia: "dg: The accusation I was answering was one that I considered the relationship subject matter too vapid for me or somesuch. That if it were properly written I would not have read it.

posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 5:30 PM on November 8 [+] [!]


Wow, you complain about someone else's spelling and grammar, and then concoct the monstrosity above. Let me help you out here:

dg: The accusation I was answering was one that I considered the relationship subject matter too vapid for me or somesuch. That if it were properly written I would not have read it.
"

Heh, I read and re-read that comment (and noticed the typo in my own at the same time, to my shame) over and over but couldn't make much sense of it. Then I thought "maybe it's just me and everyone else understood it perfectly". Nice to know at least one other person had similar thoughts. Unfortunately for me, I am one of those people who know good grammar when they see it, but don't really understand why it's good, so critical analysis of writing isn't my strongest point.
posted by dg at 11:58 PM on November 8, 2007


SHEPHERD'S PIE
1 onion, diced
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 lb. lamb, minced
1 clove garlic, crushed
1 large carrot, diced
1 beef stock cube
1 lb. chopped tomatoes
1 tablespoon corn flour
3 tablespoons tomato puree
pinch of salt and pepper
2 lb. potatoes
1 stick butter
This is how to make a real English shepherds pie, made with lamb. If made with beef, it would be known as cottage pie.

Firstly, heat the olive oil in a pan, add the onion, garlic and carrot and cook until soft. Add minced lamb and stock cube, then cook until the mince is brown and shows a crumbly texture. Stir in the tomatoes and tomato puree, and add the corn flour. Leave to simmer, stirring occasionally, for about fifteen minutes, or until thickened.

Meanwhile, peel and chop potatoes and boil until soft, then mash them with the butter and salt and pepper to taste.

Put the filling into a deep dish, then top with the mashed potatoes and put under a warm grill (broiler) until the top is brown and crisp.
posted by ericb at 11:59 PM on November 8, 2007 [2 favorites]


Mmmm. I haven't had shepherds pie in years. Who says we have crap food? Nonsense. I might well make some this weekend. ( Shepherds pie. Not crap food )
posted by Jon Mitchell at 12:24 AM on November 9, 2007


Red sky at morning, Shepherd's warning
Red Sky at night, Shepherds delight
Minced meat and mashed potatoes, Shepherds pie!
posted by Sparx at 5:38 AM on November 9, 2007


heat the olive oil in a pan

Sir! Sir, I think you forget yourself! Olive oil? Olive? That, sir, smacks of popery! Surely you intended to use tallow?

I say sir, you must take more care when speaking, lest some of the more impressionable members of our society take you for an Italian, perchance even (I shudder to say it myself) a Portuguese.
posted by aramaic at 6:22 AM on November 9, 2007


I have no strong opinion about the post, just a strong distaste. I tried to read it, it started to give me a headache, so I moved on. For people with more snobbish tastes, there were plenty of other questions to read. I read those.

But I was a little shocked by the people here (literate people, too!) who accused TOCT of poor craftsmanship. Did they do that as a rhetorical device or do they really think his post contains errors?

According to standard, conventional, conservative grammar rules, "Discuss." IS a complete sentence. "Discuss" is an imperative, and imperatives are allowed to have an implied "you." But "You, discuss" would be frightfully clunky, so it's a good thing TOCT used implication.

TOCT already defended "This is what I expect to see on Myspace or the Youtube comments section, not what I want to see on my Metafilter," but then suggested that maybe the comma should have been a semi-colon. I think a semi-colon would have been acceptable, but a comma is fine, too. In fact, it's the more conservative choice.

Had the second clause been complete, a semi-colon would have worked. As written, it can't stand on its own as a sentence: "Not what I want to see on my Metafilter." It's subordinate to the first clause -- it cries out for a comma. A semi-colon would work best in this situation (in which a period would also work):

This is what I expect to see on Myspace or the Youtube comments section; it's not what I want to see on my Metafilter.

In that case, the semi-colon would imply a conjunction, most likely "but."

TOCT could have been slightly more risque and separated the two clauses with a full stop:

This is what I expect to see on Myspace or the Youtube comments section. Not what I want to see on my Metafilter.

My fifth-grade teacher would have given him a frowny face, but I such fragments-as-sentences are common-usage nowadays. As. Long. As. One. Doesn't. Overdo. It.
posted by grumblebee at 7:40 AM on November 9, 2007


I dunno, when I first read that question I imagined it being read by some British teenager with one of those grating accents they have over there and it made a lot more sense.

I did too! When I read it I could hear the voice in my head (I knew it was her voice, because all of the other voices in my head speak in Mid-Atlantic English). It would make a terrific monologue, perhaps with a little editing. If I were younger I might actually use it as an audition piece.

Hey, whatever her shortcomings, she was smart enough to join MetaFilter, right? How stupid could she be? We're the bomb.
posted by Evangeline at 8:24 AM on November 9, 2007


Thread is full of hipsters.
posted by [@I][:+:][@I] at 10:30 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Where the hell is languagehat, and why am I doing this all alone?
posted by koeselitz at 7:57 PM on November 8


Sorry, I was offline due to router problems. But you weren't alone, you had Kattullus to help you (and, on further review, Tehanu), and between you you pretty much said everything I would have. So, thanks!

And if that makes me an elitist or perscriptivist, then so be it.

*points, laughs*
posted by languagehat at 10:40 AM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


People who try to keep other people from communicating because they don't write idiomatically are no better than high school jocks who taunt and exclude fellow students who aren't good athletes.

I against all bullying. If we bullied someone to stop him from being racist, I'd be against it -- even though I hate racism. No bullying!

However, I think you've loaded your analogy a bit by evoking high-school bullies. Sure, the jocks shouldn't bully the nerds or anyone else. But what about a jock who is a bad athlete? He shouldn't be bullied either, but should he be allowed on the football team? Aren't teams -- and communities -- allowed to have standards?

Now, I'm not saying that a MeFi community standard SHOULD be that all members use correct grammar and punctuation. I'd probably vote against such a ruling, if it was open to a democratic process. But I don't think someone who proposes something like this is necessarily a bully.

MeFi community standards -- if they exist -- are not codified. They are a loose bundle of rules, taboos and rituals. As-long-as the remain so, they'll be discussed, interpreted and people will attempt to amend them.
posted by grumblebee at 11:08 AM on November 9, 2007


Top hit on Google for perscriptivist.

But yes, my spelling was wrong. I can admit a mistake.
posted by Afroblanco at 11:09 AM on November 9, 2007


For your perusal:

Okay, so does he really think he can replace me entirely? How can I communicate how I feel?

I've been going out with my boy for about six months, during which time we have never been in a fight before. He hardly ever gets mad, and I hardly do ever either; but when he does upset me, I normally don't say anything about it. I'm the type of person that finds it reeeeeal hard to talk about feelings. Does anyone else get that? I want to get better at communicating how I feel, but don't know where to start sometimes. If I'm real upset, I feel if I say anything, I might cry, and I never like other people seeing me cry. Any suggestions.

Anyway, last night, me and my boy had a conversation. He was saying that everyone can be replaced. I was saying, "yes, they can, but it will never be exactly the same. Example: an employee of yours quits, and you replace him, but no one works exactly the same way. He will have a different approach and view on things." He said that you can easily find someone the same or pretty much the same, and kept repeating that everyone can be replaced, which I disagreed with. What I really should have said to him was, "so do you think you can replace me easily, then?" However, I didn't think fast enough. Instead, I kept my mouth shut.

Later on, I said, "so, what if I died?" He said, "then I'd wait a year, and then find somebody else." Fair enough; if I died, I would want him to move on, but although he never used the words directly, it upsets me that he thinks he can replace me entirely - every single bit of me... I had a mate say that to us once, and not as a joke -- that she could easily replace us -- and even that hurt! It's not 'til the next day at work that I properly sit down and think about it. And although it's a little think, it really, really hurt me; it made me feel like I was of little value to him, that he believeed I could easily be replaced!

From what I've told you, do you think I'm making a big deal out of nothing? I wish I had asked that question to set things straight. That would stop me from over-analysing things like I am now. So: how can I be open, communicate better, and learn how to talk about my feelings without getting so upset? If someone close to you said that you could easily be replaced, would you be mad?

Thanks for the help, guys. :)


See, people, perfectly normal sentence structure -- all I did was standardize spelling and add punctuation.
posted by koeselitz at 11:31 AM on November 9, 2007


all I did was standardize spelling and add punctuation.

You say that as though it is somehow a minor edit-- one which makes little difference to the overall readability of the question.

This, I think, is where we fundamentally disagree.

It is my opinion that your edit has transformed the question from a barely-readable screed which appeared to have been written by (as I said earlier) "a half-witted, gibbering fourteen-year-old on crystal meth," into a perfectly readable question which now appears to have been written by a coherent adult.

I do not see this as a minor revision.

Your opinion clearly differs. That's what they do, opinions. They differ. It's what makes them opinions.
posted by dersins at 11:50 AM on November 9, 2007


barely-readable screed

Can you really not read the post as originally written? It's in English and most of the words are spelled correctly. If you cannot read it, perhaps there is something wrong with your reading skills. Why your not being able to read should be Metafilter's problem is a mystery to me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:28 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Why your not being able to read should be Metafilter's problem is a mystery to me

You're clearly confusing me with someone who actually cared enough to bring the subject up in the first place. That would be TheOnlyCoolTim.

Me, I simply offered my opinion on a topic that was under discussion.

You, I'm not sure what your point is, other than maybe you thought that attacking me might garner you a few more favorites.
posted by dersins at 1:41 PM on November 9, 2007


My "you" could apply to any of the "yous" in this thread who described the post as something they could not read. And I really don't need any more favorites, but thanks for thinking of me.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 1:45 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


My "you" could apply to any of the "yous" in this thread who described the post as something they could not read

Except you, y'know, quoted me. Which certainly makes it appear to be directed at me.

But perhaps this is just my lack of reading comprehension rearing its ugly head once again.
posted by dersins at 1:55 PM on November 9, 2007


Maybe so. At least I know now what I'm getting you for Christmas.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:06 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


Works for me!
posted by dersins at 2:14 PM on November 9, 2007


Warning: The below contains more than two paragraphs and words over eight letters long. I well know that in some people's eyes this makes it too hard to read. Let's assume that they already called me a dork and move on.

Putting cathec's post in paragraphs was not a minor revision either. It involved considering the structure of the argument and making the form match. And it is exactly that kind of work that I maintain belongs to the asker. If cathec had done that kind of work toward her question's readability, I might have ignored her post, because it still has a big chunk of 'Validate my anger, and validate my frustration at what I couldn't say!' mixed in with its very answerable and interesting 'How can I learn to talk about my feelings?'. But I sure wouldn't be here in MetaTalk, expounding the awfulness of the specter it raises.

Story time. In the late '90s and early '00s I belonged to an online community which at the time produced stimulating, inventive poetry on a regular basis. But it was overrun by various kinds of careless writing—grammatical carelessness which sometimes overlay perfectly thoughtful concepts, mental carelessness cloaked in publishable grammar and mechanics, and often carelessness of both kinds banally wrapped together, like an uncomfortable dream when you ate four chimichangas and read 'Politics and the English Language' just before bed.

Well, the whole place became much less usable, and its community gradually fled. The perpetual defense of those who wrought that ruin was something along these lines: 'You can't say that the site was all good before and my post made it all bad. Therefore my post is fine and you're anal. In fact, there can be no such thing as a bad post.'
Fools! who from hence into the notion fall
That vice and virtue there is none at all.
If white and black blend, soften, and unite
A thousand ways, is there no black or white?
(Alexander Pope, An Essay on Man.) Make no mistake: The site I visited is still up. But he community I enjoyed there has never recovered. Many of us stop by and contribute something from time to time, but we haven't got the critical mass anymore. It's been years, and I still miss it.

So when I see this sort of thing, I see a threat to MeFi as I know it, i.e., as one of a very few online fora that do not suck. I see the prospect of a place that used to advance my understanding and expand my society becoming a place where age-old arguments are unprofitably repeated to the rhythm of grown-up schoolyard insults. I see the thoughtful, the knowledgeable, and the honestly funny (in which groups I esteem many, many people from both 'sides' of this thread) not feeling inclined to put quite so much effort into the site as before—the early stages of "What's the use?" And I take it badly.
posted by eritain at 2:16 PM on November 9, 2007 [4 favorites]


Works for me!

And can I play, too? I always loved that stuff when I was little. Reader Rabbit was my best pal!
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:16 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


I still can't get over that the OP for that thread spelled "might" as "mite." Among other things.

I don't think it was something so egregious that required all this fuss. But it does, to me, show either immaturity or a lack of respect for the reader to not even attempt to follow writing conventions. I let this one pass cause I assumed she was young. And damn those whippersnappers!
posted by agregoli at 2:17 PM on November 9, 2007


(And eritain has some great points in this thread - it's scary to see the small island of Metafilter catch a few raindrops from the tropical storm mess that is the Rest of the Internet.)
posted by agregoli at 2:19 PM on November 9, 2007


If you cannot read it, perhaps there is something wrong with your reading skills.

Yes, I could read it. It took more work for me than it normally would -- and it was painful (in the "this gives me a headache" sense) -- but I COULD read it.

I can see how someone might say, "Oh come ON! It wasn't all that hard to read."

I suspect it was harder for some than for others. I was born in the early 60s, before the Internet and the various forms of "text messaging." I also grew up in a middle class, intellectual household. We didn't watch TV much.

I'm NOT claiming superiority. Perhaps it would have been good for me to be more involved with popular culture, slang and new ways of talking/writing. But superior or inferior, that's how I am. I can probably change, but that's how I am NOW.

I have a hard time parsing text that's not clearly written, that isn't punctuated or that uses "4" for "for." My 40-something brain just doesn't process that stuff as easily as a 20-something brain -- a brain that grew up with the web and with text messages. I CAN process it, but it's work.

If that seems strange to you, think of it this way: can you parse Elizabethan English? Probably, but it probably means you have to work at it. It might even be a bit painful or exhausting for you. How would you feel if people started posting in Elizabethan?

I wouldn't mind it, because I've been studying Elizabethan for years. Other people have been studying l33t (or whatever) for years, without even consciously trying to study it.

I'm not pro or con much of anything here. I'm just pointing out that it's not all that strange for someone -- given a certain upbringing -- to have real trouble parsing a poorly-punctuated, poorly-spelled post.
posted by grumblebee at 2:22 PM on November 9, 2007


I'm not pro or con much of anything here. I'm just pointing out that it's not all that strange for someone -- given a certain upbringing -- to have real trouble parsing a poorly-punctuated, poorly-spelled post.

Or to just simply dislike to the point of DO NOT WANT.
posted by agregoli at 2:28 PM on November 9, 2007


It does, to me, show either immaturity or a lack of respect for the reader to not even attempt to follow writing conventions.

And there it is, right there: "immaturity or a lack of respect." If it's immaturity, it would be respectful to let it slide (which, in fairness, the above-quoted did). If it's a lack of respect, there's no need to pursue it, unless you're immature enough to pursue respect online. But if you don't know, the only decent thing to do is to assume the former, or diminished capacity, or whatever, and let it slide.

Otherwise, you're a fourteen-year old telling us that a ten-year old is childish. The younger one is trying to tell us something about how she feels, while the older one is telling us how stupid the younger one is. You're both children.

Only one of you is a brat.
posted by breezeway at 2:42 PM on November 9, 2007


It does, to me, show either immaturity or a lack of respect for the reader to not even attempt to follow writing conventions.

Keep in mind that it might not be either of those things. A friend reminded me again today that there are plenty of people who use Metafilter for whom English is not their native language. We cry and moan about how US-centric the site is, so why should we act in a manner that might scare away people from other parts of the world who are less than sure of their English writing skills?
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 2:56 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


breezeway: If it's a lack of respect, there's no need to pursue it, unless you're immature enough to pursue respect online.

Uh, say what? Respect is an important part of what makes MetaFilter a functioning community.

koeselitz, I rewrote the original question as well (on AskMe).

In any case, it sounds as though intelligibility is already part of the guidelines. So we just need to flag it and move on.
posted by russilwvong at 3:31 PM on November 9, 2007 [1 favorite]


eritain is demonstrating admirably that using standard English doesn't necessarily improve readability.

Or, what croutonsupafreak said.
posted by small_ruminant at 4:02 PM on November 9, 2007


I'd guess the writer is English-English, TPS, given her use of "mate" for "friend" and "us" to mean "myself". Your point still stands, though.
posted by Jon Mitchell at 7:03 PM on November 9, 2007


why should we act in a manner that might scare away people from other parts of the world who are less than sure of their English writing skills?

Because it's the right thing to do.

Oh, wait.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:11 PM on November 9, 2007


I think the "ma boy" may be drift from SMS; it takes one key punch to get an "a" and three to get a "y".

At any rate, I basically agree with TOCT that quality should be something of an issue, but feel confident that MeFi admins would never let the place evolve into a chat-speak haven, so I'm pretty relaxed on the subject. However...

You are replaceable because you are dumb and only good for blowjobs = Not what I want to see on my Metafilter. So I propose we go ahead and kill TOCT now.
posted by taz at 9:00 PM on November 9, 2007


“‘You are replaceable because you are dumb and only good for blowjobs’ = Not what I want to see on my Metafilter. So I propose we go ahead and kill TOCT now.”

Better late than never.
posted by Ethereal Bligh at 11:07 PM on November 9, 2007


Shouldn't there be an invisible chat hand at work here, where all of us metaconsumers simply choose to ignore (or flag and ignore) crap AskMes so that the posters get discouraged and walk away? Or are we simply unable to avoid consuming anything that's put in front of us, even if it's more pop tart than steak and eggs?
posted by davejay at 11:11 PM on November 9, 2007


You're right, russelwvong. I should have simply written "immature enough to pursue respect." As we mature in this regard, we learn that respect is something to give and share, not something to demand or pursue. I wasn't clear.
posted by breezeway at 12:34 AM on November 10, 2007


Jon Mitchell: "I'd guess the writer is English-English, TPS, given her use of "mate" for "friend" and "us" to mean "myself". Your point still stands, though."
Or learned English in an English-English context. When I was marketing an English school, potential students in some countries often expressed a preference for studying in the US because they wanted to learn English with an American accent. Apparently, Australian accented tortured English is inferior to the American accented version.
posted by dg at 2:07 PM on November 11, 2007


« Older First of all, thank you to #1,...  |  Blackberry browsing on AskMe... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments

Post