Poorly typed posts ruin the subject matter. March 3, 2002 12:23 AM   Subscribe

I hate when important stories are ruined by lousy posts. How many errors can you find? Where's the cleanup crew when you need them?!
posted by insomnia_lj to Etiquette/Policy at 12:23 AM (32 comments total)

Posts are subjective. Deal.
On the other hand, at least you took the time to try and correct and maybe a discussion will come out of it. A further link to your post in here might have been good, though.
posted by Su at 1:29 AM on March 3, 2002

What an intolerent thing to post.

The simple solution is to open your own version of Metafilter - Metafilter Elite, perhaps - and then you can moderate the posts to fit your tastes.

Until then, vox populi, vox dei. I personally kind of like it that way - it feels like democracy. Perhaps the best answer is to play some Creedence, buy an umbrella... and get some sleep.
posted by Perigee at 9:22 AM on March 3, 2002

Since when are grammatical and spelling errors that subjective?

Yes, I have a hard time tolerating around fifteen errors, not to mention a missing link. It's not a question of intolerance or trying to stifle democracy. Maybe it's just a cry in the wilderness for a copy editor.

I have to wonder whether in the rush to post first, some people are getting sloppy.
posted by insomnia_lj at 10:03 AM on March 3, 2002

Well if you can point out the fifteen errors and the missing link me old cocker I am sure I shall learn .
posted by Fat Buddha at 10:43 AM on March 3, 2002

Maybe it's just a cry in the wilderness for a copy editor.

Either you're a copy editor yourself or you've never had one, insomnia_lj. Else you'd enjoy things as they are. ;)
posted by MiguelCardoso at 10:50 AM on March 3, 2002

Let your grimace be your umbrella.
posted by dong_resin at 12:21 PM on March 3, 2002

The only way I can come near fifteen errors is if I count things like missing commas and spaces after periods. I found one typo, but I'm not looking that hard. While these might be mildly annoying sometimes, pointing them out is generally considered tacky and unnecessary unless they make the post unintelligible, which is not the case here.
Unless it's been corrected by Matt after your post--which I don't think since the front page link isn't the same as yours above--I don't see any missing link, unless you forgot it yourself, also.

As for getting sloppy, etc, people develop their own typing habits the same way they have writing and speech mannerisms. I don't put a space in measurements(ie: 14pixels). Maybe FB doesn't see a reason to put spaces after commas and periods. Other than convention, there isn't really a reason for them.
Your comment in the thread was good, Insomnia. This post, on the other hand was pretty much unnecessary. Funny thing is, when I first saw this thread, I actually thought you were critiquing FB's post content, not typing skills. That's just petty.
posted by Su at 1:30 PM on March 3, 2002

I found thirteen mistakes in the front page post, most of them spacing and punctuation. I am not sure what the missing link part was about.

As for getting sloppy, etc, people develop their own typing habits the same way they have writing and speech mannerisms.

And your point is what? Is it that they have created their own rules and are no longer held to those already in place? I personally have developed a driving style of my own where I exceed the speed limit by 12 MPH, does that mean it is allowed? (Hint: No.)

If you are going to post to the front page, spend the extra three minutes to proof your work. I don't think we need to start lowering our standards now.
posted by hotdoughnutsnow at 9:07 PM on March 3, 2002

That was an awful post. I can't believe anyone is sticking up for a vague uninformative post with that many typing errors. It goes beyond personal style: it's an instant match for "loser" in the judging-content-by-form category. Cripes, if I posted that, I'd change my user name and then see if I couldn't sit in on the adult education classes down at the Council houses.
posted by Mo Nickels at 9:24 PM on March 3, 2002

Whatever happened to spell check?
posted by xammerboy at 10:13 PM on March 3, 2002

You're not exactly a fountain of posts, insomnia_lj. At least someone is trying.
posted by ttrendel at 11:08 PM on March 3, 2002

Alright, people.
Doughnuts: Speeding is allowed. There isn't a governor on your car, is there? That's a different thing from it being incorrect and punishable, which it is. Same thing here. There have been plenty of discussions in the past regarding slang and the morphing of the language(ie: "And your point is what?") and they are generally accepted things, though some will complain. Christ, there are people in the world who would consider contractions the heighth of bad taste. The word awful originally meant "awe-ful." Therefore, Mo's use was inappropriate. Right? I won't be condescending and provide a hint. You're smart and can figure it out.
Mo: I'm not sticking up for vague, uninformative posts. I'm sticking up for someone's ability to use the language--which has been a bastard from the beginning--however they choose. Do you refuse to respond to people with accents or who speak in dialect, or do you just call them idiots behind their backs?
Xammer: 1 typo does not amount to "Whatever happened to spell check." Please. If you're going to throw stones, at least make them worth dodging.

If you guys found the post uninformative, then argue that and I'll be happy to watch. Frankly, I have no idea what it's about. Instead, I see all of you creeching about little more than someone's typing habits and language usage--while using colloquialisms yourselves--and making vague allusions that the facts of the post were not up to your standards. If it was so bad and it's so important, then why dont I see comments from any of you in there?
posted by Su at 12:39 AM on March 4, 2002

I actually don't create a lot of posts, primarily because it would usually be construed as self-linking. (I help run LiveJournal, spend a lot of time on LiveJournal, and tend to see a lot of the most newsworthy bits.)

Besides, I prefer to comment. I just found the post in question so poorly done that commenting was a painful process itself. It was bad enough that it was vague - you couldn't easily determine what the post was about without clicking the link. It failed to offer a link to the "killing of innocents on 23 January", too...

But the spelling, punctuation, and grammar?! Oh, the horror. The worst part was "posses" instead of posesses.

And, no, I wasn't a copy editor. I used to be a tech writer, however. Yeah, I know, big difference. The point, however, is that some degree of cleanup might be in order occasionally unless the goal is to turn off readers (and writers).
posted by insomnia_lj at 4:38 AM on March 4, 2002

The worst part was "posses" instead of posesses

Hey sheriff - round up the copy editors' posse!
posted by MiguelCardoso at 4:55 AM on March 4, 2002

It's possess, insomnia_lj. Don't go correcting someone's spelling when you have no idea yourself.
posted by MiguelCardoso at 5:01 AM on March 4, 2002

Of course people can use language however they want, and so they must suffer the penalty of being thought uneducated, stupid, lazy, careless, thick, unmindful, etc. Yeah, I'm all for choosing the creative path: But against grammar? Punctuation? Spelling? Against spaces, for Christ's sake? Yeah, that's rebellion. Sign of a free-thinker, no doubt.

(Also: At least in my hockey fight post everyone knew what it was about, which cannot be said for the worthless hackery that started this thread and continues to be defended by people who mistake lack of discipline for iconoclasm.)
posted by Mo Nickels at 7:59 AM on March 4, 2002

MetaFilter: people who mistake lack of discipline for iconoclasm
posted by anapestic at 8:05 AM on March 4, 2002

Also, Su, I specialize in studying American English dialects, slang and etymology. I am a lexicographer, among other things. I tend to enjoy the diversity of language, the challenge of teaching newcomers English, and witnessing language form and reform. I've recently attempted to master a second language myself.

But the same mistake made repeatedly due to consistent ignorance gets no quarter from me. (And bad logic like yours, which, unless I miscounted, manages to encompass four logical fallacies in this thread alone, gets even less.)
posted by Mo Nickels at 8:09 AM on March 4, 2002

Speaking of grammar, punctuation and (inter alia) meaning, why is the US usage the following ".... Associated Press reporters saw US military helicopters rushing Saturday toward the snowy mountains where the battle was waged..." rather than the more precise "....(On) Saturday, Associated Press reporters saw US military helicopters rushing toward the snowy mountains where the battle was waged." The positioning of the day of the week could be there at the beginning, or right at the end after 'waged', and would make perfect sense. Whereas the original formulation seems to mean a day of the week (!) was relocated to a mountain battle (from where?!!?)

- john
posted by dash_slot- at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2002

I would never make an issue of it in metatalk, but--and, yes, I know this is irrational and (from someone who makes a lot of typos himself) hypocritical--when I see a post like the one being discussed here, my respect for the poster diminishes a little. It just looks so careless.
posted by rodii at 8:30 AM on March 4, 2002

If we let a wild elephant loose in a populated area it will cause massive destruction, but the uncontrolled wild mind can cause much more harm than such a crazed beast. If the deluded, wild elephant of our mind is not subdued, it will create much sufferings of the deepest hell in the future. In fact, if we investigate we can see that the creator of all the sufferings of this and future lives is nothing but our unsubdued mind. To subdue this wild beast is much more important than bringing a jungle elephant under our control.

Many benefits follow from taming our mind. If we take the rope of mindfulness and tie our elephant mind securely to the post of virtue, all of our fears will swiftly come to an end...

If we do not develop mindfulness, our meditations will be hollow and empty. There will be nothing to keep our wild elephant mind from running back and forth in its customary, uncontrolled manner between objects of attachment, anger, jealousy and so forth.

posted by Fat Buddha at 12:31 PM on March 4, 2002

Weird. That was exactly what I was going to say.
posted by BT at 9:02 PM on March 4, 2002

MiguelCardoso - Actually, it is "possesses", as in
"What possesses these people..."
posted by insomnia_lj at 5:51 AM on March 5, 2002

ï ♥ ߆!
posted by mlang at 6:47 AM on March 5, 2002

If you're still out there, - john, I suspect it's probably due to the existence of a horrible tome called "The AP Stylebook". I have never bothered with it, since I don't bother with straight-ahead news; but the kids over in the newsroom seem to put the thing on a pedestal and throw garlands at it.

It's rare that one of them doesn't ask me why I don't muzzy-up my writing with strict adherence to their golden calf. Their re-interpretation of my paragraphs are the only single thing that reassures me that I am indeed employable as a writer.

posted by Perigee at 7:12 AM on March 5, 2002

Yes, but the question is why is it in the AP stylebook? My guess is because it sounds better when read aloud.
posted by kindall at 8:45 AM on March 5, 2002

i've always disliked that stylistic quirk myself, but i agree with kindall that it sounds better when read aloud. i think, however, that the real reason for the practice is that it creates 'stronger' leads than either of the alternatives proposed by mr. dash_slot-.

with a prepositional phrase, one doesn't want to begin a newspaper article. the lead needs activity. adding a date at the beginning detracts from the sentence's 'activeness'; adding a date at the end just makes it sound awkward, rather like this lousy example that was posted on metafilter, today.
posted by mlang at 9:13 AM on March 5, 2002

".... Associated Press reporters saw US military helicopters rushing Saturday toward the snowy mountains where the battle was waged..."

I don't think that is specified by the AP Style Manual -- rather, I think it is that, since the actual day isn't the most important piece of information, it was pushed back into the sentence, so that the more critical piece of information was right at the front.
posted by mattpfeff at 9:15 AM on March 5, 2002

(much like mlang suggests)
posted by mattpfeff at 9:16 AM on March 5, 2002

with a prepositional phrase, one doesn't want to begin a newspaper article(sic)
That prose is so beautiful and deathless I am not sure if I should read it or make sweet love to it.
However I am confused, much as I would hate to describe it as lousy, does it mean one doesn't wish to commence reading an article, or writing one ?
Or does it mean empty verbosity does not necessarily equate with cleverness ? Never mind, we all make mistakes ,as the Dalek said when it climbed off the dustbin; some of us are never to be forgiven for them though,it would seem.
posted by Fat Buddha at 11:25 AM on March 5, 2002

It also possibly dates from the time when almost every city had a morning and afternoon newspaper. By putting the specific day on the article so prominently, local newspaper editors were more likely to see it and alter it as necessary. (It's fine to say "Such and such happened Saturday" in the Sunday morning paper, but if you were publishing the Saturday afternoon paper, you'd probably rather it say "Such and such happened today." Sounds more immediate.

To this day the AP runs many of the same stories twice, once "for AMs" and again "for PMs", to use their slang. (There are still a lot of afternoon papers out there.) Merely changing the day in the copy is far from the only reason they do that, though.
posted by aaron at 12:25 PM on March 5, 2002

MiguelCardoso - Actually, it is "possesses", as in
"What possesses these people..."

Insomnia_lj: I meant the verb and well you knew it. What possesses you to defend yourself? I'll grant you five Ss are probably excessive for a nine-letter word. But that's no excuse, young fella! ;) *paroxism of finger-wagging*
posted by MiguelCardoso at 1:01 PM on March 5, 2002

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