I bet you have a very funny reply to this topic that involves an emoticon September 27, 2011 3:50 PM   Subscribe

Is it just me, or are more people using emoticons in comments than a year or so ago?

Emoticon usage is a personal pet peeve of mine. I'm not saying there should be a rule against it, and I'm not saying that people should stop doing it (although it will make me think less of your post, for whatever that's worth to you), but it does seem like there are more ascii winks and smiles than I've noticed in the past.

Has anyone else noticed this, or is confirmation bias on my behalf? I tried to do a site and Google search, but emoticons are the sort of thing that drives a text parser crazy, so it didn't work very well.
posted by codacorolla to Etiquette/Policy at 3:50 PM (182 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite

No. :P

C'mon, you didn't see this coming? ;)
posted by entropicamericana at 3:56 PM on September 27, 2011


For someone that doesn't like emoticons you just signed up for a Noah's ark of them
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:56 PM on September 27, 2011 [38 favorites]


I bet you have a very funny reply to this topic that involves an emoticon

I wouldn't say very funny.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 3:57 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Yeah, read the thread title. I think I can take a few bad jokes if it helps clear this up for me.
posted by codacorolla at 3:57 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


ಠ_ಠ

(someone had to)
posted by eyeballkid at 3:58 PM on September 27, 2011 [7 favorites]


I'd be in favour of an instant account ban with no option of a Brand New Day for anyone who uses them.
posted by gman at 3:59 PM on September 27, 2011


posted by eyeballkid

ಠ_ಠ
posted by villanelles at dawn at 3:59 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


@codacorolla: are you possibly saying that people are doing things because they aren't familar with the conventions of the site?

-LI
posted by LionIndex at 3:59 PM on September 27, 2011 [20 favorites]


I can't think of anything funny. :(
posted by Specklet at 4:02 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


codacorolla: Can't say that I've really noticed it, personally.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:03 PM on September 27, 2011


although it will make me think less of your post, for whatever that's worth to you

Excellent — another entry for my list of "ways to make the form-matters-more-than-content crowd move right past things I write". Hot damn! :-) :-D ;-)
posted by Lexica at 4:03 PM on September 27, 2011 [18 favorites]


@codacorolla: are you possibly saying that people are doing things because they aren't familar with the conventions of the site?


I see what you did there. That's hilarious. Good work. I'll treat it like an actual question: maybe. I don't even know if it's actually happening, or just me being a grump. I would say that an influx of new users could lead to more emoticon usage. I've seen old users do it as well.
posted by codacorolla at 4:04 PM on September 27, 2011


I wonder what Lexica thinks about all this?
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:05 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I think it's because people are beginning to lighten up a bit. Not all of them.
posted by heyho at 4:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I'm still dense as ever.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


You are being a grump. I have not noticed this.
posted by Mizu at 4:08 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I would say that an influx of new users could lead to more emoticon usage. I've seen old users do it as well.

To respond seriously: I haven't noticed any uptick in emoticons myself, but it does generally seem that people bring in whatever typographical conventions they're used to from other sites. If there is in fact something to this, and it's not just a Baader-Meinhof thing, that's what I would normally ascribe it to. If you're seeing this more in AskMe than in other parts, that would sort of confirm the n00b thing, because that seem to be where n00bs typically hang out before venturing to other parts of the site.
posted by LionIndex at 4:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


We should have a 'submit facial expression' button next to every comment; with which people could upload a webcam shot of their visage as a response. I think that would take care of the emoticon infestation.
posted by troll at 4:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


(╯°□°)╯︵ D:
posted by Rhaomi at 4:11 PM on September 27, 2011 [25 favorites]


(╯°□°)╯︵ D:

I reserve a special place in my heart for the "flips table over" emoticon.
posted by codacorolla at 4:12 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I think the solution is clearly to bring back the image tag.
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:13 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have not noticed. My own impression is emoticon usage is probably down from what it was several years ago.
posted by frobozz at 4:14 PM on September 27, 2011


I used to be so down on emoticons until I saw how people in my job (internal communications) were prone to wild misinterpretations on what I had thought were the most straightforward emails. Now, a minor irritation I think can be the lesser evil.

Think of it like a hamburger tag for more than one situation.

I lost my pet peeve, he ran away one afternoon; I think one of the neighbours had been feeding them and he seems to like it more over there.
posted by smoke at 4:15 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


I haven't noticed either, actually, though it's possible I have smiley-blindness.

๏_๏
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 4:16 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


This is like the MetaTalk version of chatfilter: some people will notice an icrease in emoticon use, some will not. If you're not asking for people to stop using them, what is the point of this MeTa?
posted by 23skidoo at 4:16 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


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posted by filthy light thief at 4:16 PM on September 27, 2011 [19 favorites]


This is like the MetaTalk version of chatfilter: some people will notice an icrease in emoticon use, some will not. If you're not asking for people to stop using them, what is the point of this MeTa?

Information instead of coercion? What better way to understand what's happening on the site than to ask other members. It's not like here's a limited amount of screen space.
posted by codacorolla at 4:18 PM on September 27, 2011


It's hard to avoid confirmation bias with something like this. If you think it's on the increase, then every time you see an emoticon it lends more weight to that hypothesis. Actual numbers are the way out of that, but like you discovered, it's pretty difficult information for us mere mortals to obtain. The infodump doesn't help either, since it doesn't have any comment text in it.

I don't know if cortex would be both willing and able to run some kind of query on the comment text? Maybe just look for occurrences of the string ":)" and compare that to the number of comments, and see if the average-smilies-per-comment metric is increasing or not.

Also you are assuming it's people who are doing this more. Have you considered that it might be aliens or evil robots attempting to seem more human-like to avoid suspicion?
posted by FishBike at 4:18 PM on September 27, 2011


LionIndex: "If you're seeing this more in AskMe than in other parts, that would sort of confirm the n00b thing, because that seem to be where n00bs typically hang out before venturing to other parts of the site."

Never considered this bit, of people new to this site hanging in AskMe; anything backing this up? It is what I did, when I came here; I didn't know for the longest time about the blue, much less Talk.
posted by dancestoblue at 4:19 PM on September 27, 2011


As for your question: maybe a small increase, but nothing that seems worrisome (to me). Anyway, tone is really hard to convey in text, so the emoticons, as silly as they are, can convey more than a phrase. And I personally prefer a smiley face to LOL.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:19 PM on September 27, 2011


Text-message iconography creep.
posted by crunchland at 4:21 PM on September 27, 2011


O_o

What's wrong with emoticons?
posted by kmz at 4:23 PM on September 27, 2011


I think there has been an increase and I suspect that it's due to an increasing understanding that people may not take your incredibly witty commentary in the humorous way you intended it. The addition of a ;-) can make all the difference in understanding the intent of a comment. Anyway, FWIW, I think it's a positive for people to care enough that their comments are taken in the spirit intended. As long as the unironic use of LOL doesn't start creeping in, because them I will explode in a white-hot fire of rage. If I wanted to see that shit, I'd just hang out on Facebook.
posted by dg at 4:25 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


(x°□°)
posted by The Whelk at 4:31 PM on September 27, 2011


What's wrong with emoticons?

I don't flat-out hate them. On boards with image emoticons they tend to be in-joke type stuff. I think they can used in a funny way, like Mr. Table Flip.

I dislike them in the context of MetaFilter, where someone writes out an otherwise serious post, and then ends it with some sly comment and a ;), or a :) to show that they're being an asshole, but it's OK because they're being nice about it . I think that if you have to use an emoticon to convey what you mean then it isn't very well written. It always strikes me as a sign of a weak position, or insincerity.

I acknowledge that it's fussy - that's why I didn't frame it as a suggestion of policy.
posted by codacorolla at 4:32 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Never considered this bit, of people new to this site hanging in AskMe; anything backing this up?

I don't have an actual cite, but it's been repeatedly mentioned that AskMe is the fastest-growing segment of the site and gets a ton more usage than other portions. That, and that people new to the site go there first is just something I've seen said in MeTa quite a bit.
posted by LionIndex at 4:35 PM on September 27, 2011


It always strikes me as a sign of a weak position, or insincerity.

Sure, but I'm positive there a quite a few comments here that are purposefully written from a position of insincerity. I might have one in this very thread.
posted by LionIndex at 4:37 PM on September 27, 2011


a ;), or a :) to show that they're being an asshole, but it's OK because they're being nice about it

Those mean "nice asshole"? Damn! Grandma has some explaining to do!
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:39 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Sure, but I'm positive there a quite a few comments here that are purposefully written from a position of insincerity. I might have one in this very thread.

Yeah, I know. I'm sure there's some thing in the darkest depths of TVTropes that gives a name to the idea that if you write a post complaining about something, then people will do that thing as a reply.
posted by codacorolla at 4:40 PM on September 27, 2011


I like emoticons. They're friendly. :)

I tried to stop using awhile back when I realized that some people find them... ah... less than entirely smart-seeming, but I found that I missed them and that sometimes text communications seem dry without a smiley dropped in now and again. So I said fuck it, I'ma be me. I'm a friendly chick, what can I say? :P
posted by Serene Empress Dork at 4:41 PM on September 27, 2011 [21 favorites]


Before the internet, few people wrote to a large crowd of people using direct speech. The only ones were newspaper columnists. Now that millions have public conversations online which are read by hundreds and thousands of people, punctuation indicating mood is extremely useful. Emoticons serve a useful purpose.
posted by Kattullus at 4:42 PM on September 27, 2011 [12 favorites]


In general, I like emoticons, at least in personal correspondence. Talking in text, without facial or voice cues, it can be *extremely* easy for people to take things the wrong way, and letting them know explicitly you mean something in a friendly way goes a long way towards diffusing tension.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:45 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


I really try not to use them, but did so in a comment yesterday or today if I remember... Are you calling me out?

In any event. Meh.
posted by jbenben at 4:45 PM on September 27, 2011


a name to the idea that if you write a post complaining about something, then people will do that thing as a reply

Pavlovdenfreude
posted by It's Raining Florence Henderson at 4:46 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Also, I like using chat abbreviations, but to show I'm hip and ironic and above using chat abbreviations, I spell them out.

Elle Oh Elle.
posted by drjimmy11 at 4:47 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


¯\(o_0)/¯
posted by klangklangston at 4:50 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


This war was lost when I heard tweens on the bus pronouncing "Lol."
posted by klangklangston at 4:51 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


I disliked them for a while, and then found there are two things about them (as others have said):

They're an excellent, easy way to reduce the likelihood of misunderstandings.

They're friendly. They indicate a casual level of discourse that often reads to me as a gesture of friendship. I work at a university, and the faculty who throw an occasional smiley face in their emails are also the most pleasant to be around, and I don't think that's a coincidence.

There's a difference between the occasional emoticon and text chat.
posted by neuromodulator at 4:54 PM on September 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


\( ˆ ˆ)/      9
posted by fleacircus at 4:54 PM on September 27, 2011 [11 favorites]


I dislike them in the context of MetaFilter, where someone writes out an otherwise serious post, and then ends it with some sly comment and a ;), or a :) to show that they're being an asshole, but it's OK because they're being nice about it .

It seems to me that you are assuming that, without emoticons faces, people would choose to delete the asshole comment to avoid being misinterpreted. I don't agree with this assumption.

If someone writes something that they don't intend to be taken seriously, I greatly appreciate when that's signaled in advance. Otherwise, I take it seriously, and then they are all, "Why so serious? I was j/k! You are humorless." And then I get angry.
posted by muddgirl at 4:56 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


NOT TAKEN SERIOUSLY ALL MY LIFE.
posted by box at 4:58 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter is truly the last bastion of the Earthtone Coalition on the internet.
posted by fleacircus at 5:01 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


(This is a bad parenthetical use of an emoticon :)
(This is a good parenthetical use of an emoticon :))

Ok, people? Stop combining your face with my parenthesis. They are distinct. If your closing parenthesis has eyes, it's no longer punctuation; it's an abomination.
posted by troll at 5:02 PM on September 27, 2011 [16 favorites]


Earthtone Coalition? I saw them open for Phish once.
posted by box at 5:02 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


The truth is emotionally and spiritually I'm always on the edge of a very sheer precipice, and emoticons are the only thing keeping me from sliding into an abyss of utter bleakness :) :) :) :) :)
posted by naju at 5:06 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


@codacorolla: are you possibly saying that people are doing things because they aren't familar with the conventions of the site?

See also.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:07 PM on September 27, 2011


A wise man once said you can honor God by shining a shoe if you shine it well. Same goes for emoticons, I believe.

¯\_(ツ)_/¯
posted by villanelles at dawn at 5:07 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Final results are in!
posted by maudlin at 5:09 PM on September 27, 2011


8======> ( {0} )
posted by nathancaswell at 5:17 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


or

8====> ((

if you prefer
posted by nathancaswell at 5:19 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


: )) looks like a happy person with a double chin.
posted by jb at 5:21 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


Can we maybe have a metatalk about how annoying it is when people take their pet peeves to meta? Few pet peeves are legitimate complaints by their very nature, so to make a call out on one is disingenuous.
posted by cjorgensen at 5:27 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


Ok, people? Stop combining your face with my parenthesis. They are distinct. If your closing parenthesis has eyes, it's no longer punctuation; it's an abomination.

Sorry, dude, but at a purely syntactic level, parentheses have to balance. (And don't talk to me about tokens, I'd like to see your regular expression for every variety of smiley face. It'd probably make the Ghaddafi one look trivial.)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 5:29 PM on September 27, 2011


Emoticons are usually included as part of lazy responses splattered onto Metafilter without much thought. Other members of the same class include but are not limited to "FTFY" and "This a thousand times! This! This!". All of them contribute nothing to the conversation and the site would be better off without them.

It seems strange to me that people can be so unwilling to actually use their words when conversing in a medium which is nothing but words.
posted by Justinian at 5:32 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Can we maybe have a metatalk about how annoying it is when people take their pet peeves to meta? Few pet peeves are legitimate complaints by their very nature, so to make a call out on one is disingenuous.

That's an interesting concern that you have there. It's a good thing that this is just a question that's informed by a pet peeve, rather than a call for people to stop doing something, or a change in site policy.

Would you say that pet peeves in MetaTalk are a... personal thing that tends to annoy you?
posted by codacorolla at 5:32 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


MetaFilter: I don't even know if it's actually happening, or just me being a grump.
posted by hippybear at 5:32 PM on September 27, 2011 [6 favorites]


Can we maybe have a metatalk about how annoying it is when people take their pet peeves to meta?

I think some things go beyond pet peeves to become legitimately bad for intelligent discourse. No, the occasional emoticon doesn't rise to that level. But they are part of a real problem.
posted by Justinian at 5:33 PM on September 27, 2011


I like emoticons. They can help to differentiate if somebody is joking or being serious.

What I don't like about emoticons? People that make the smiley face like this (: that's just the wrong way to do it.
posted by lilkeith07 at 5:36 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Son, you got a panty on your head.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 5:41 PM on September 27, 2011 [14 favorites]


I read this and was all like "I'm sorry! I'm new here! I use emoticons! should I stop?" And once I clicked through to the comments I felt a bit better.

:) ?
posted by titanium_geek at 5:42 PM on September 27, 2011


Metafilter Gold™ members have access to a whole suite of emoji characters. However, only other Metafilter Gold members can see them. In addition to other features like subject filtering, user blacklists and the ability to edit your posts/comments, Metafilter Gold members can filter out ascii emoticons from the plebes' comments.
posted by birdherder at 5:43 PM on September 27, 2011


I know that when people smile they are being insincere. HAMBURGER.
posted by IvoShandor at 5:46 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Platinum (It's Cabaltastic!)™ invents emoticons for all of those feelings you wanted to express, and even some that you didn't. In the private Platinum chat channel we only speak in emoticon shorthand.
posted by eyeballkid at 5:46 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Tl:dr 8 (
posted by Ideefixe at 5:49 PM on September 27, 2011


I use them sometimes, especially when it's an asker who seems to be newer to the site/having a hard time and maybe could use a happy face or two. Permaban me, whatever.
posted by the young rope-rider at 5:55 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


                    ˙ןןǝʍ ʎɹǝʌ ʞɹoʍ ʇ,upıp ʇı os 'ʎzɐɹɔ ɹǝsɹɐd ʇxǝʇ ɐ sǝʌıɹp ʇɐɥʇ buıɥʇ ɟo ʇɹos ǝɥʇ ǝɹɐ suoɔıʇoɯǝ ʇnq 'ɥɔɹɐǝs
                    ǝןboob puɐ ǝʇıs ɐ op oʇ pǝıɹʇ ı ¿ɟןɐɥǝq ʎɯ uo sɐıq uoıʇɐɯɹıɟuoɔ sı ɹo 'sıɥʇ pǝɔıʇou ǝsןǝ ǝuoʎuɐ sɐɥ

                    ˙ʇsɐd ǝɥʇ uı pǝɔıʇou ǝʌ,ı uɐɥʇ sǝןıɯs puɐ sʞuıʍ ııɔsɐ ǝɹoɯ ǝɹɐ ǝɹǝɥʇ ǝʞıן ɯǝǝs sǝop ʇı ʇnq '(noʎ oʇ ɥʇɹoʍ
                    s,ʇɐɥʇ ɹǝʌǝʇɐɥʍ ɹoɟ 'ʇsod ɹnoʎ ɟo ssǝן ʞuıɥʇ ǝɯ ǝʞɐɯ ןןıʍ ʇı ɥbnoɥʇןɐ) ʇı buıop doʇs pןnoɥs ǝןdoǝd ʇɐɥʇ
                    buıʎɐs ʇou ɯ,ı puɐ 'ʇı ʇsuıɐbɐ ǝןnɹ ɐ ǝq pןnoɥs ǝɹǝɥʇ buıʎɐs ʇou ɯ,ı ˙ǝuıɯ ɟo ǝʌǝǝd ʇǝd ןɐuosɹǝd ɐ sı
                    ǝbɐsn uoɔıʇoɯǝ

(╯°□°)╯︵ ¿obɐ os ɹo ɹɐǝʎ ɐ uɐɥʇ sʇuǝɯɯoɔ uı suoɔıʇoɯǝ buısn ǝןdoǝd ǝɹoɯ ǝɹɐ ɹo 'ǝɯ ʇsnظ ʇı sı
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 5:55 PM on September 27, 2011 [15 favorites]


orz


8oD
^That is the official elmoticon invented by DanFromSesameStreet. Feel free to use it in place of all other emoticons.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2011


This war was lost when I heard tweens on the bus pronouncing "Lol."

I have students who say "Oh Em Gee" incessantly. This thing is much bigger than us, oh yes.
posted by BinGregory at 5:59 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I refuse to get off your lawn.
posted by MexicanYenta at 6:09 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have students who say "Oh Em Gee" incessantly.

You have my permission to smack them. Repeatedly.
posted by jonmc at 6:10 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


MetaFilter is truly the last bastion of the Earthtone Coalition on the internet.

wow, it all makes so much sense.
posted by Ad hominem at 6:11 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


When I was a young and (more) pretentious git, I eschewed emoticons and instead wrote out facial expressions, like "smile" and "smirk."

It was kind of my thing, on the AOL message boards.

I was so much older then, I'm younger than that now.
posted by klangklangston at 6:12 PM on September 27, 2011 [8 favorites]


Wait, Jonmc has students? Rather than disciples?
posted by klangklangston at 6:13 PM on September 27, 2011


oyez oyez, this favorite is for bookmarking useful emoticons, not a sign of agreement.
posted by a robot made out of meat at 6:16 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


it seems like the jerky use of emoticons (trying to cover being an asshole - lazy commenting/not using your words) is the sort of thing you could flag with or without an emoticon present.

otherwise, i think people spend too much time worrying about how other people type/express themselves.
posted by nadawi at 6:18 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


I use them occasionally and don't mind too much when others do, sparingly, if it seems necessary to clarify tone.

What gets my goat is unironic use of 'LOL'. IT STEAMS ME UP.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 6:20 PM on September 27, 2011


villanelles at dawn: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

Walk like an Egyptian....
posted by IndigoRain at 6:21 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


I'm OK with restrained use of emoticons, but the LOL bus needs to keep right on rolling past my lawn. I have one colleague who starts off E V E R Y D A M N conversation with "LOL" even when it's a serious one. What ever happened to "Morning" or "Hello"?
posted by arcticseal at 6:23 PM on September 27, 2011


Wait, Jonmc has students? Rather than disciples?

much later understand
posted by jonmc at 6:23 PM on September 27, 2011


I can't smack them! they're college students
posted by BinGregory at 6:25 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Can you look at them witheringly at least?
posted by jonmc at 6:28 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm not a huge user of emoticons, but I can't really fathom being peeved by them. Are you also peeved by people that are highly expressive in face to face conversation? Perhaps someone that has expansive gestures, or varies their pitch a lot, or their volume, or whatever? People communicate differently. If you think someone is trying to use a :) to get out of being a dick, you can always just remark on that to them. "I think that was a pretty crap thing to say, and the happy face doesn't really fix that."

I haven't noticed any upticks, downticks, or other sorts of ticks (shudder) in smiley usage. I think you're (weirdly) annoyed by A Thing, so every time you notice Thing you remark upon it to yourself.

"What gets my goat is unironic use of 'LOL'. IT STEAMS ME UP."

I used to look down upon the use of lol, but then I realized I was flailing uselessly when something had actually made me laugh aloud. I pointed out to myself that there was a perfectly acceptable initialism for just this very purpose. And that's how I learned to love the lol.
posted by kavasa at 6:58 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


Ah. Misread the italics.
posted by klangklangston at 6:58 PM on September 27, 2011


I haven't noticed any upticks, downticks, or other sorts of ticks (shudder) in smiley usage. I think you're ... annoyed by A Thing, so every time you notice Thing you remark upon it to yourself.

Yeah, I think so too. Thanks to everyone who actually responded for perspective.
posted by codacorolla at 7:00 PM on September 27, 2011


I hate emoticons, but I like this one ^(;,,;)^
posted by GenjiandProust at 7:12 PM on September 27, 2011 [5 favorites]


Crabby Appleton: Sorry, dude, but at a purely syntactic level, parentheses have to balance.

If that were true, then my example of bad usage (seen here :) would be the only permissible form, because every parenthesis would require a counterpart.
posted by troll at 7:15 PM on September 27, 2011


I used to look down upon the use of lol, but then I realized I was flailing uselessly when something had actually made me laugh aloud. I pointed out to myself that there was a perfectly acceptable initialism for just this very purpose. And that's how I learned to love the lol.

When I'm feeling irritable, it makes me twitch when used as punctuation, basically, attached to statements that aren't even funny, let alone inspiring of laughter. 'I love rainy days LOL' is the kind of thing I'm thinking of.

Regardless:shrug. It doesn't happen much here. As I always say when discussions come up about how other people use language: we judge others by the words they choose and the onus is on us to manage our reactions to them, and there aren't many good arguments to support the idea that we should somehow force them to change.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 7:27 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


(I thought it was. :-)

Oh, OK, well, then, it's just a matter of efficiency. We have to conserve those parens, dammit. Down with redundancy! (Yeah, that's the ticket!)
posted by Crabby Appleton at 7:29 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was flailing uselessly when something had actually made me laugh aloud.

What's wrong with "Hah"? Lol is distancing, you're describing your reaction. Why not just react? I mean, I can halfway understand lol, but then you get LOLOLOL and it just becomes very strange. I prefer laughter.
posted by BinGregory at 7:30 PM on September 27, 2011


8====D~~ butts lol

in before cortex
posted by flabdablet at 7:32 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


[T]hen you get LOLOLOL and it just becomes very strange. I prefer laughter.

Anything above a chuckle doesn't convey well. You turn into Dr. Frakenstein. Hahahahahahah!

....six! six little hahs! {crack of thunder offstage}
posted by Diablevert at 7:35 PM on September 27, 2011 [4 favorites]


I have students who say "Oh Em Gee" incessantly.

You have my permission to smack them. Repeatedly.


But it's still okay to laugh at those Hebrew National hot dog ads with the voiceover of Adam West saying "And Oh Em Gee, they're kosher!," right? Right?

Fine, go ahead and smack me repeatedly. I regret nothing! Nothing!
posted by bakerina at 7:59 PM on September 27, 2011


....................................________........................
.................,.-‘”...................``~.,..................
...........................,.-”...................................“-.,............
.........................,/.........................................”:,...
.............,?....................................\,.....
.................../.......................................................,}....
........./..................................,:`^`..}....
............./.......................................,:”........./.....
..............?.....__.................................:`.........../.....
............./__.(.....“~-,_................,:`........../........
.........../(_....”~,_........“~,_....................,:`........_/...........
........{.._$;_......”=,_.......“-,_.......,.-~-,},.~”;/....}...........
...........((.....*~_.......”=-._......“;,,./`..../”............../.....
...,,,___.\`~,......“~.,....................`...}.........
............(....`=-,,.......`..............(......;_,,-”.............
............/.`~,......`-...........\....../\...................
.............\`~.*-,.....................................|,./.....\,__.......
,,_....}.>-._\........................|..............`=~-,....
.....`=~-,_\_......`\,......................\........................
...................`=~-,,.\,...............................\.......................
................................`:,,...........................`\..............__..
......................`=-,...................,%`>--==``.......
........................................_\..........._,-%.......`\...............
...............,<>
The above (^^) may have some distortion. How funny this is depends on your font's kerning.
posted by Riki tiki at 8:01 PM on September 27, 2011


On a somewhat related note, why does Unicode have a white smiling face (☺), a white frowning face (☹), and a black smiling face (☻) but no black frowning face?
posted by Riki tiki at 8:05 PM on September 27, 2011


8====D~~ butts lol

in before cortex
posted by flabdablet


That's what he said.
posted by 1000monkeys at 8:07 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Don't you hate it when a whole pack of crackers is fucked up, all broken in the same spot? And you're trying to dip them in some guacamole or something? God.
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:20 PM on September 27, 2011 [3 favorites]


but emoticons are the sort of thing that drives a text parser crazy

Dude, you just totally called yourself a text parser.
posted by BurnChao at 8:27 PM on September 27, 2011


I've always felt emoticons are a great help in informal 'net conversations. They're faster than plaintext at conveying a mood, and can help prevent misinterpretations.
posted by zarq at 8:28 PM on September 27, 2011


Riki tiki: On a somewhat related note, why does Unicode have a white smiling face (☺), a white frowning face (☹), and a black smiling face (☻) but no black frowning face?

I'm more interested in why Metafilter feels the need to remove the pigment from the black smiling face after you hit post.
posted by gman at 8:28 PM on September 27, 2011


Dude, you just totally called yourself a text parser.

Aren't we all?
posted by codacorolla at 8:29 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


Metafilter Gold™ members have access to a whole suite of emoji characters. However, only other Metafilter Gold members can see them. In addition to other features like subject filtering, user blacklists and the ability to edit your posts/comments, Metafilter Gold members can filter out ascii emoticons from the plebes' comments.

I can see that someone hasn't yet received an invite for Metafilter+
posted by vidur at 8:32 PM on September 27, 2011


The above (^^) may have some distortion. How funny this is depends on your font's kerning.

Hey, that's my favorite Joy Division record.
posted by mintcake! at 8:33 PM on September 27, 2011 [2 favorites]


today, thanks to this thread, i have learned that my mobile phone does not have the full unicode character set. :/
posted by davejay at 9:19 PM on September 27, 2011


But it's still OK to use the ROFLcopter because it's not an emoticon, right?

Right?!?
posted by mazola at 9:23 PM on September 27, 2011 [1 favorite]


I've always felt emoticons are a great help in informal 'net conversations. They're faster than plaintext at conveying a mood, and can help prevent misinterpretations.

More specifically, I think it takes a great deal of skill (and maybe time) to convey mood in plain text, and emoticons are decent shortcuts to achieve the same end.
posted by ZeusHumms at 9:36 PM on September 27, 2011


Mazola: you can always borrow the charming (predominantly?) Irish pmsl. Pissing myself laughing.
posted by Iteki at 10:39 PM on September 27, 2011


I belong to another community where :) has become known as "the passive aggressive smiley" and people only use it to be snarky bitches. Hence whenever I see it anywhere else I feel like the person is saying "fuck you" as politely as possible.
posted by katyggls at 11:01 PM on September 27, 2011


katyggls: "I belong to another community where :) has become known as "the passive aggressive smiley" and people only use it to be snarky bitches. Hence whenever I see it anywhere else I feel like the person is saying "fuck you" as politely as possible."

Oh hell, that means our administrator hates our whole team.
posted by arcticseal at 11:03 PM on September 27, 2011


I have not noticed the increased usage. But, I tend to ignore the ocassional emiticon thing especially since the only one I recognized in this entire thread is the basic smiley face and the wink thingy.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 11:44 PM on September 27, 2011


:-)
posted by Cranberry at 11:48 PM on September 27, 2011


If it weren't for the existence of the po-faced hair-trigger brigade here - you know, those offence addicts who can't tell an ironic comment from a punch in the nose - I'd be less inclined to drop the odd smiley to help them out.

Oh, and ;-).

Probably.
posted by Decani at 12:22 AM on September 28, 2011


Dude, you just totally called yourself a text parser.

Aren't we all?


You take that back RIGHT NOW!
posted by BurnChao at 12:46 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have one colleague who starts off E V E R Y D A M N conversation with "LOL" even when it's a serious one.

You think *that's* annoying?

I have a colleague who adds the dot.com suffix to words describing his psychic and emotional states.

eg. bored.com, tiresome.com, whatafuckingtosser.com
posted by PeterMcDermott at 2:00 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


8====D~~ butts lol

in before cortex


There's a family in my neighbourhood with the last name of Butt. I lol a little to myself every time I see it on their doorbell buzzer.
posted by cmonkey at 2:04 AM on September 28, 2011


Decani: "If it weren't for the existence of the po-faced hair-trigger brigade here - you know, those offence addicts who can't tell an ironic comment from a punch in the nose - I'd be less inclined to drop the odd smiley to help them out."

Alternate explanation: you suck at making yourself understood without emoticons.

:-P
posted by ArmyOfKittens at 2:28 AM on September 28, 2011


Huh. I have noticed a big uptick in emoticon usage. I was surprised to see so many people say that they haven't. Also, wasn't "@" kinda frowned on not so long ago?
posted by futz at 4:02 AM on September 28, 2011


:C
posted by drezdn at 5:51 AM on September 28, 2011


Can I just say that I understood humanity was doomed when I had students asking for writing help in a college environment bringing in papers where 'you' was rendered 'u?'

But you know what? Once you reach that stage where it is no more 'get off my lawn' but rather 'I don't care if you are on my lawn because I am busy fucking and eating cookies' it is my contention that one is closer to God.
posted by angrycat at 5:55 AM on September 28, 2011


you have to fuck a cookie to get closer to God?
posted by Think_Long at 6:07 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Only if it's a chocolate chip. Oreos don't count.
posted by Sailormom at 6:12 AM on September 28, 2011


I dislike them in the context of MetaFilter, where someone writes out an otherwise serious post, and then ends it with some sly comment and a ;), or a :) to show that they're being an asshole, but it's OK because they're being nice about it .

This is not an emoticon problem.
posted by desuetude at 6:20 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


you have to fuck a cookie to get closer to God?

That what that NIN song is about, right?
posted by aught at 6:20 AM on September 28, 2011


Why would one NOT go out of one's way to include emotional/body language cues in a text-only medium? When we read narrative, we find it hard to follow if the author eschews describing such things, and we complain about it being "clumsy" if the author uses adverbs to describe emotions. People rely on body language. Sure, you can take the time to write out, "I am smiling as I write this because I intend it in a friendly manner," but :-) is much faster and generally is a more immediate and visceral way to communicate that. Also, the whole sentence thing just sounds like sarcasm no matter how you read it.
posted by Scattercat at 6:25 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


:C

I'm not even sure why, but that just strikes me as very, very dirty.
posted by heyho at 6:40 AM on September 28, 2011


I have of late become a person that pronounces "lol" out loud, despite never having used it in written communication. And yes, I hate myself.

Decani: You mean we're seeing a toned-down, accommodating version of you here? I saw you make a non-inflammatory, non-cynical comment in that Dancing Guy thread and I thought your account had been cracked.
posted by pts at 6:56 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I have of late become a person that pronounces "lol" out loud

In Dutch, the word 'lol' means 'fun'. So there you go.
posted by mahershalal at 7:39 AM on September 28, 2011


:C

I'm not even sure why, but that just strikes me as very, very dirty.


Sanchez?
posted by quin at 7:48 AM on September 28, 2011


If you hate the things other people do, maybe you should spend less time on a site that has so many of them.
posted by rocket88 at 7:50 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Oh, quin. Nonononononono!
LALALALALALALALALALALALA!
posted by heyho at 8:02 AM on September 28, 2011


I'd be in favour of an instant account ban with no option of a Brand New Day for anyone who uses them.

As long as we include those fecking periods in obit threads, I'm willing to take a chance on it. :/

Oh fec*($$"$&*NO CARRIER
posted by sodium lights the horizon at 8:23 AM on September 28, 2011


I learned to love emoticons when I heard about the studies showing how bad humans are at guessing the tone of written communication. (Usually I would say "when I read the studies," but honestly, who gets past the abstract?)

Anyway, these studies: when you write something, you are likely to overestimate the clarity of your tone (friendly/unfriendly, sincere/sarcastic). When you read something, you are likely to think you know exactly how it was intended, even when you're totally wrong.

Here's one study about sarcasm detection in email, for example:

"Tappers estimated that approximately 50% of listeners would correctly identify the song, compared with an actual accuracy rate of 3%."

(The pull quote isn't a finding of the study, but is awesome.)

The result is, well, the arguments we see all the time on Mefi: one person is completely sure that their tone was friendly/lighthearted, and another is completely sure that it was unfriendly/serious, so the thread goes around in circles for a while until it's all sorted out (or fully combusts). You know those rare, awkward conversations that happen in person where you take a joke seriously and have to spend minutes sorting out the confusion? They happen constantly in text. I think it's because we can't see each other's faces, so we invent faces and emotions for each other without quite realizing we're doing it. Emoticons give those inventions a shove in the right direction.

So yes, I prefer elegant, carefully crafted prose that succeeds in conveying tone to emoticons. But I prefer emoticons to pointless fights. And since I'm probably not a great judge of my *own* carefully crafted prose, I often throw one in if I think my intent might go astray. I hope you'll read my comments anyway.
posted by Honorable John at 8:35 AM on September 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Well, one thing I can agree with in this thread: We really need to use (: in order to balance all of the :).
posted by kaibutsu at 8:36 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Why don't we see smilies with noses anymore? Is it because of texting and The Twitter's obsession with reducing character count? :-(
posted by Gordafarin at 8:39 AM on September 28, 2011


Gordafarin: Why don't we see smilies with noses anymore? Is it because of texting and The Twitter's obsession with reducing character count? :-(

There has always been a split, but you're right that we seem to be converging on non-nosed consensus. My own reason to switch, and possibly part of the larger reason, is that a nosed smiley looks good in variable-width fonts, nice and balanced, but looks very silly in fixed-width fonts. A non-nosed smiley looks better in fixed-width than in variable-width, but is at least acceptable in both. I think its versatility across fonts helped it win the day.
posted by gilrain at 8:45 AM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


This is just my personal opinion, not mod stuff, but, so:

I often find emoticons annoying not because I don't understand what they're for but because I feel like people don't really agree how they should be used and "reading tone on the internet" doesn't actually get substantially easier when you put all the interpretive pressure on a couple bits of line noise. You could as soon argue that every human smile means the same thing as that :) or ;) or :p communicates unambiguously.

I've gotten a :) attached to a kiss-off and had it mean "seriously, just kidding around, we're good right?" and had it mean "seriously, fuck you, I'm not even mad though because my life is awesome, whatever". Putting a sticker on the end of a comment only tells me that you like to put stickers on comments and that maybe you mean something by it that I'll still have to evaluate in context.

Which brings it around to my specific complaint about emoticon use: I feel like they're really only okay (as in, not being overloaded with communicative intent) on a close-reading site like Metafilter when they aren't actually accomplishing anything in a comment, at which point they're just dead weight anyway and can safely be discarded.

If what you want to communicate with your comment is a critical message tempered with a sense of levity, you pretty much have to accomplish that with the words you use or people aren't going to get it. If you nail it, you don't need a ;) to inflect things; if you don't get there, a ;) doesn't make it all better. If what you actually write ends up reading jerkish, a ;) tagged onto the end isn't neccesarily going to make folks around here think "oh, ha, it's all in good fun!" rather than "wait, you act like a jerk and then you wink at me? Jerk!"

If reading back what you've written makes you worry people won't get what you mean or how you mean it, rewrite. If you can't figure out a way to rewrite to make your tone clear, just be explicit about your concerns about how your comment reads: "I worry that this reads more angry than I am. That's not how I mean it." or something like that. That way you don't have people guessing what some anemic post-fixed smiley face is supposed to mean.

It's far preferable to, if very slightly more work than, letting yourself accept "I have failed so completely at conveying myself here that I am going to append a crude drawing of the shape of my face right now" as a communicative strategy.

As for "lol": people who on metafilter unironically use lol, or ironically use it in the absence of an actual argument, should be drug out in the street and shot. People who use it for the fixed string "butts lol", or who can provide documentation that they are in fact laughing out loud at something funny, have diplomatic immunity, but only if they don't push it.

The problem with lol is very much like the problem with emoticons: it's not that it's bad to laugh out loud at something anymore than it is to feel happy or sassy or sad or dismissive, it's that when every expression of mirth or hilarity or shock or scathing dismissiveness gets overloaded into one dumb little string of letters, discourse suffers and people get rightly annoyed. When you settle for "lol" as your expressive monolith, you're settling for the discursive company of Yahoo! Answers users.

I don't know if cortex would be both willing and able to run some kind of query on the comment text? Maybe just look for occurrences of the string ":)" and compare that to the number of comments, and see if the average-smilies-per-comment metric is increasing or not.

Working on it.
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:52 AM on September 28, 2011 [8 favorites]


you have to fuck a cookie to get closer to God?

I have fucked a cookie. Don't recommend it. Did not get close to God and I ruined a perfectly good goddamned cookie. And it was messy.
posted by Lutoslawski at 8:57 AM on September 28, 2011


I very rarely use emoticons in comments, because they really don't convey emotional tone better than I can by using more words. (I would love to figure out how to see how many I've ever used - I'd be surprised if I've never done it, but I don't think it has happened often.)

I will, however, use them in correspondence, just out of habit, and since coming on here I have caught myself quite a few times tacking a :P (my favorite) on to things and have made myself rewrite the email to avoid it. It works fine when I'm making a deadpan dirty joke in email to a good friend, but beyond that, words are cheap and I know a lot of them.
posted by restless_nomad (staff) at 9:02 AM on September 28, 2011


I use them a lot in IM, which as anyone who has IMed with me knows, is not a medium I take terribly seriously, though I do use it all the time. When I first met my boyfriend he'd sign off with little ASCII kisses :* which, because we're both basically cartoon characters of ourselves, I found adorable and endearing and now we're always finding new ASCII-cutie stuff to type back and forth. So to me the emoticon is schmoopy-talk and thus not quite right for MetaFilter. Again, not speaking as a mod here.
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 9:07 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


people who on metafilter unironically use lol ... should be drug out in the street and shot. People who ... can provide documentation that they are in fact laughing out loud at something funny, have diplomatic immunity

Wouldn't "using lol when they are in fact laughing out loud at something" be congruous with "unironically using lol"? I guess don't understand the non-intersection of these two concepts.
posted by muddgirl at 9:07 AM on September 28, 2011


Wouldn't "using lol when they are in fact laughing out loud at something" be congruous with "unironically using lol"? I guess don't understand the non-intersection of these two concepts.

The distinction I draw is between specifically literal use ("I want you to know that I actually responded to this with physical, audible laughter") and just unironic expressive use ("I want you to know that I thought this was kind of funny or shocking or something"). The former seems like a silly thing to drop into conversation in code—physical laughter loses a lot of it's paralinguistic communicative heft when no one can see/hear it happening—but at least it's a specific case, not an ambiguous "I may have found this somewhat funny, or maybe had a different reaction, but I'm not actually going to communicate any of that sufficiently so here's three letters" sort of thing.

I may be putting more effort into parsing and arguing this than is strictly necessary. But that's the distinction.
posted by cortex (staff) at 9:14 AM on September 28, 2011


9_9
posted by not_on_display at 10:35 AM on September 28, 2011


I learned to love emoticons when I heard about the studies showing how bad humans are at guessing the tone of written communication.

In fact, I sat on a dissertation committee last year on this very topic, and the student found, through several experiments, that strangers are quite bad at correctly guessing the emotional encoding in email. She actually studied emoticon usage as part of this, and did find that the use of cues (including emoticons, bold type, repeating punctuation, etc) did reduce the ambiguity of emails compared to when they were stripped out of the text.
posted by DiscourseMarker at 11:35 AM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Right, so, are emoticons getting used more than they used to be?

Short answer #1: maybe a little bit in absolute numbers; it's been pretty steady since 2006 but there was a touch more in 2010. But wait!

Short answer #2: definitely not, proportional to overall commenting behavior on the site. It's been close to steady, if anything very slowly declining, since 2002.

Look For Yourself answer: here's a public google spreadsheet with a couple of charts, based on data I've collected this morning with a a custom search against the database and existing data from the Metafilter Corpus project. All the data for 2011 is year-to-date, so the sharp decline in values across the board for this year is not surprising; we've got three months to go yet.

Long answer:

According to the script I through together this morning, it looks like emoticon use has held pretty steady, if anything declining slightly, for most of the site's lifetime as roughly proportional to overall wordcount of comments made on the site, at a rate of about one emoticon for every three or four thousand words.

So, for example, in 2009 people typed :) 6535 times, :( 1221, :p or :P 808, and ;) 10148, for a total of 18712 emoticons. That's across all comments on the three major subsites and Music, which comprised 77,005,891 words total for that year. That comes out to an emoticon every 4,115 words.

Which, honestly, feels high to me at a glance; if you'd asked me if there'd been 18,000 emoticons tossed into mefi comments in one year I'd have balked. That's like 50 a day! Harumph! But on site with on the order of thousands of comments a day that's actually a pretty small percentage of comment where the thing would show up. Between that, the fact that I only actually read some small portion of the site every day, and emoticons' relative ubiquity and hence reflexive ignorability in internet/text discourse in general, it comes around to seeming like pretty reasonable that I don't feel inundated by the things.

Put another way, this works out on average to roughly one emoticon per two threads on the site.

(As an aside, "lol" is less frequent still; it shows up at a rate of once per every 45,000 words used.)

I haven't done month-by-month analysis on 2011 so I can't tell you for sure that there's not a sudden uptick in very recent history, but there's no clear reason why there would be so I think I'll hold off bothering with that unless we find ourselves having a good reason to revisit this next year amid a sudden torrent of smileys.

Subsites: I haven't done the whole schmear on proportional emoticon use by subsite, but looking at rough raw numbers I can say that in absolute terms, emoticons show up about twice as often in Ask Metafilter than they do on Metafilter proper, and three times as much on Metafilter as on Metatalk. Which is roughly proportionally to commenting rates on the three sites, but not tightly so.

Some numbers, for 2010 and just the :) smiley:
            words    emoticons    words/emo
Mefi     37651193         2036        18492
Ask      42223510         4595         9189
Meta      6674513          804         8301
So folks used the traditional smiley about half as often, proportionally, on mefi vs. both askme and meta. Whether this holds across the other emoticons accounted for, I don't know. What I can say is that glancing at the raw subsite numbers for :) it seems like this proportion has roughly held for many years.

Notes:

- :p and :P are both counted and considered as a single class of emoticon.

- Obviously there are more emoticons than :), :(, :p, and ;)—nosed variants, mirror variants, additional expressions, elaborated variants, Japanese-style horizontal emoji, etc.—but as searching for these is a pretty db-heavy process and slow, I kept it to those four to simplify proceedings since they seem to be among the most common in use. Hence, total counts of emoticons used in this analysis necessarily underrepresent the actual value by some amount. I doubt that there's a significant misrepresentation of general usage patterns based on this omission, however, and don't have an immediate simple plan for fairly estimating overall use of all those variants in any case.

- The script does not take great care to avoid false positives, so it's possible that a string like "(my favorite punctuation mark is the final character in this parenthetical :)" would get counted incorrectly as a smiley rather than an unrelated paean to the noble colon. However, I can't think of any non-contrived situation in which any of these four emoticons would appear regularly enough to represent any significant counting skew.

- My method (for reasons of simplicity) counts up comments that contain a given emoticon, rather than counting actual emoticon occurrences themselves, so a comment containing more than one :) would be counted only once for that symbol. (A comment containing both :) and :p would be counted once for each.) I doubt this has a significant effect on the results, but it does imply some small degree of undercounting of individual smileys.

- I'm comparing against raw word count rather comment count or thread count; looking directly at proportionality in terms of emoticons-per-comment or emoticons-per-thread instead might be an interesting additional angle, but I don't really want to do that at the moment.

- No one used a :( anywhere on the site in 1999. Everyone was happy that year. We can now definitively point to 2000 as the year that it all went downhill.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:44 AM on September 28, 2011 [24 favorites]


Also, that spreadsheet is a little slow about loading the graphs, so if you want to look but don't care about fiddling with the numbers directly here's a flickr screenshot of that page.
posted by cortex (staff) at 11:53 AM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Neat!

So the answer to the question originally posed is no (it's not just you, some other people seem to think so too) and no (the numbers suggest it's not really happening).
posted by FishBike at 12:35 PM on September 28, 2011


The result is, well, the arguments we see all the time on Mefi: one person is completely sure that their tone was friendly/lighthearted, and another is completely sure that it was unfriendly/serious, so the thread goes around in circles for a while until it's all sorted out (or fully combusts).

I just had a friend blast me with the e-mail equivalent of Mrs. Weasley's howler because she took a Facebook post that I had written in a jokey and light-hearted mood to be a serious rant against a group of people we're both involved with, and she was very very angry with me. I have become a relatively heavy emoticon user because this kind of thing happens all too often. The alternative is to very ponderously explain your mood and tone.
posted by not that girl at 12:39 PM on September 28, 2011


Thanks Cortex. It's good to know that, while I am a grump, I'm not a crazy grump who's imagining things.


~(◕‿◕✿)~
posted by codacorolla at 12:41 PM on September 28, 2011


MetaFilter: an unrelated paean to the noble colon
posted by Clinging to the Wreckage at 12:42 PM on September 28, 2011


Well, not to give you a hard time, codacorolla, but there's not a whole lot in that data that suggests this is anything other than indeed being sort of annoyed by a thing and hence noticing it more because of that and mistaking that for the annoying thing actually ballooning. A slow creep upward in terms of absolute number of occurrences but no upward movement in proportional usage over the last several years is pretty much a complicated way of saying "no, it's been about the same" in practice.
posted by cortex (staff) at 12:54 PM on September 28, 2011


Putting a sticker on the end of a comment only tells me that you like to put stickers on comments and that maybe you mean something by it that I'll still have to evaluate in context. [...] When you settle for "lol" as your expressive monolith, you're settling for the discursive company of Yahoo! Answers users.

Cortex, I love you man. I know I've posted that before. I assure you I mean it platonically. Unless you're into it.
posted by Justinian at 12:58 PM on September 28, 2011


Well, not to give you a hard time, codacorolla, but there's not a whole lot in that data that suggests this is anything other than indeed being sort of annoyed by a thing and hence noticing it more because of that and mistaking that for the annoying thing actually ballooning. A slow creep upward in terms of absolute number of occurrences but no upward movement in proportional usage over the last several years is pretty much a complicated way of saying "no, it's been about the same" in practice.

Oh, yeah, I agree. It's just that there's more users than there have been, and the emoticon usage is remaining constant with that increase, right? So I'm not imagining things, so much as I'm misinterpreting data due to a personal annoyance, and attributing significance where there really isn't any.

Maybe that's just a more complicated way of saying "imagining things," though.
posted by codacorolla at 1:05 PM on September 28, 2011


I think what cortex is saying is that, if you read fewer comments per day, you will actually witness a decrease in the number of emoticons used on Metafilter. Your Metatalk post was effective! (I would use an emoticon here, but it seems insensitive).
posted by muddgirl at 1:19 PM on September 28, 2011


Heh. Fair.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:19 PM on September 28, 2011


To codacorolla. muddgirl is also fairly fair, in any case.
posted by cortex (staff) at 1:20 PM on September 28, 2011


OGC
posted by Pruitt-Igoe at 1:27 PM on September 28, 2011


I have of late become a person that pronounces "lol" out loud, despite never having used it in written communication. And yes, I hate myself.

Not so fast - do you pronounce it "el oh el" or simply "lawl" or "lole"?

Also:

( ゚∀゚)彡 えーりん!えーりん!
  ⊂彡
posted by Marisa Stole the Precious Thing at 2:04 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


My friends sometimes pronounce emotes as neologisms, like LOL as "lohwl" and ZOMG as "zhowmg".

I have friends! (•‿•)
posted by mindsound at 2:41 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The founder of the Oakland Mobile Food Group reportedly chose that name because its acronym is "a plausible expression of her frustration" with trying to get Oakland city bureaucracy to reevaluate the rules for mobile food vending.
posted by Lexica at 3:11 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


I do not see emoticons unless I am closely reading an e-mail which is addressed only to me. Also I do not use emoticons unless I am writing an e-mail to only one person. Therefore I don't know if we have an emoticon upsurge.

Is the Dio Heavy Metal ascii deal an emoticon? Also I assume it means something like "Fuck YEAH!" Do I have that part right?
posted by bukvich at 4:20 PM on September 28, 2011


:D
posted by drezdn at 4:25 PM on September 28, 2011


D:
posted by The Whelk at 4:32 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Icelanders have a special tongue-sticking-out emoticon all of their own that's very useful.



We also have another special emoticon, but it's a bit specialized. It's for, I've cut my face so bad it needed stitches.



Doesn't come in handy very often.
posted by Kattullus at 5:29 PM on September 28, 2011 [2 favorites]




clearly this is "You have some spinach on your face"
posted by The Whelk at 5:57 PM on September 28, 2011


I use these (esp lol [lol] ) because I want to express something simple. Often it's because I think the topic is silly. also I might misspell words on porpoise. Sometimes I fail at being funny, but that's what I'm going for when doing that, rather than writing all serius-like.

I'm really not sorry. The future belongs to the Forces of Brightness. Eat hot wiZard earthtone scum!
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:03 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


really it's probably because I'm getting older and older and see death/obsolescence coming for me like a Locness monster an pretending to talk like a teenager from 2004 is the closest I can get to feeling young, and free. Also, inappropriate, commas, do help
posted by Potomac Avenue at 7:07 PM on September 28, 2011


9_9

Oh no...Salad Fingers!
posted by tumid dahlia at 8:30 PM on September 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


U_U
posted by The Whelk at 10:11 PM on September 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


:9
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:29 AM on September 29, 2011


this seems like a good place to introduce my alltime favorite emoticon known as:
ALBERT

Drum roll please.....

....


...

...



c( '_>')


TA DA

it means: ALBERT
posted by Potomac Avenue at 6:34 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


(='.'=)
posted by Sailormom at 8:13 AM on September 29, 2011 [1 favorite]


before pregnancy
( * ) ( * )

during pregnancy

( @ ) ( @ )

after pregnancy

U U
posted by stormpooper at 9:22 AM on September 29, 2011


cortex, I am impressed with the spreadsheet, graph and data, but I did like the short answer better
posted by waviolet at 12:23 PM on September 29, 2011


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