Can't well all just get along? September 9, 2002 12:27 PM   Subscribe

Can't well all just get along? To an extent I can accept the 14k+ crowd misbehaving for awhile — at least till they pick-up on 'Metaquette' — but others should know better than to feed the trolls or fan flamebait.
posted by nathan_teske to Etiquette/Policy at 12:27 PM (74 comments total)

Furthermore, tho spelling and obvious grammatical errors on the front page are a faux pas, the place to call people on it is here, not in the thread. Metatalk, talk-about-the-talk.
posted by nathan_teske at 12:28 PM on September 9, 2002


As one of the people who responded, I have to say nathan is absolutely right. But boy howdy, Hoopy's comment pissed me off. Here's a tagline:

Metafilter:Being Pissed Off is No Excuse
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 12:43 PM on September 9, 2002


Furthermore, tho spelling and obvious grammatical errors on the front page are a faux pas, the place to call people on it is here, not in the thread.

I'm not so sure about that. I mean, if a person makes a buttload of spelling or grammatical errors, what's wrong with a gentle nudging, a little "hey dude, you misspelled that," or such? Why would that require a MetaTalk thread? Calling out someone's spelling is a topic here. I've said it before: I see no harm in calling attention to one's spelling or grammatical errors, just don't be nasty about it (which dejah wasn't.)

Now, was that period supposed to go outside of the parentheses? Please hope me!
posted by adampsyche at 12:48 PM on September 9, 2002


Yes, outside the parentheses, damn your eyes!
posted by mookieproof at 12:49 PM on September 9, 2002


Damn, you're right. Quotes outside the punctuation, parentheses inside. What a loser English major I am....
posted by adampsyche at 12:51 PM on September 9, 2002


My question is: what exactly does calling someone out in MeTa do, besides moving some of the conversation to MeTa? I mean, I'm curious as to how many of these new users actually check MeTa on a regular basis. Plus, is there actually any reprimanding in place besides yelling at people. This kind of stuff happens all the time (that's not to say its OK, but seems like every thread I check out has some kind of ad hominem attacks).
posted by jmd82 at 12:52 PM on September 9, 2002


Here was the escalation, for those who don't feel like skimming the entire thread.

Initial post by Hoopyfrood: "Is Miranda warning enugh?? An amitted child molester may walk because he wasn't allowed to contact his consulate, why isnt this added to miranda?"

dejah420 (seventh comment): [First commented on the linked material, and then added:] "Hoopyfrood dude, the spell checker is there for a reason. Nobody wants to see that many misspellings on the front page of MeF. It costs you nothing to use...makes us all look a little better, ya know?"

Hoopyfrood (next two comments): "dejah420....my firewall dosn't allow the checker to work and I WONT turn it off to make assholes like you happy ... that many spelling errors I count 3 I can see, I forget everyone here is a PHD and beyond spelling errors."

You can debate whether dejah42's reaction to the spelling belonged in the thread (I think it was fine, and I'm a habitual misspeller myself), but H.F.'s overrereaction is certainly out-of-line in my eyes. That was about as constructive a criticism as you're likely to get around here, and H.F. went berserk.
posted by Shadowkeeper at 1:03 PM on September 9, 2002


Furthermore, tho spelling and obvious grammatical errors on the front page are a faux pas, the place to call people on it is here, not in the thread.

Well, the thing is, if it had been brought up in MeTa, I'll bet you money the poster would instantly have been chided for taking up MeTa space with trivialities, "pushing another post off the front page." This is something I'm having trouble with. Obviously Matt wants MeTa reserved for reasonably serious issues, and that's fine, but then what do you do if you have a question that doesn't seem to meet that high standard? In a thread last week, MrBaliHai and I were wondering about the exact parameters of self-linking, but neither of us wanted to risk posting about it in MeTa and getting taken to task for it. (And please spare me the "what are you afraid of, you sissy" responses -- I don't mind pissing off your average MeFi cop, but I have no desire to piss off Matt.)
posted by languagehat at 1:26 PM on September 9, 2002


Yes, outside the parentheses, damn your eyes!

Damn, you're right. Quotes outside the punctuation, parentheses inside. What a loser English major I am....

Damn, you're both right. What kind of picky grammar asshole am I ? I read somewhere that in/out was optional, and I've been using 'in.'

(There are exceptions, but can you think of one?)

posted by Shane at 1:32 PM on September 9, 2002


...has some kind of ad hominem attacks.

I'm not sure if you're referring to my original nudge about his spelling, but respectfully, what I said was not an ad hominem attack. An ad hominem attack is an argument, usually considered fallacious logic, which, according to the dictionary is "Appealing to personal considerations rather than to logic or reason".

What I said was that the spell checker existed, and that in the case of front page posts, it should be used, so that the posts reflect better on us as a community. I don't remember ever calling anyone out over spelling in a thread comment...heck, I use the spell checker too...those silly i's and e's can sneak up on a girl.

In return, I was called an asshole. See...the asshole comment, that could be considered ad hominem. Pointing out that tools exist for the user, that can not.

Should I have instead started a metatalk thread to mention that a member of our community didn't spell check? Perhaps. And then linked that metatalk thread to the original thread instead of using a throwaway paragraph after my original point about the thread topic? Also, quite possibly.

I didn't because spelling and grammatical errors - while somewhat annoying to those of us who like to present an educated and reasonable MeFi to the world - didn't seem important enough to raise on the grey...for fear of it becoming another "dogpile on the newbie" thread.

(Although, my personal opinion is that after calling me an asshole, the rough and tumble defenders may dogpile upon him with great and wild passionate abandon if they so desire. One does like to see the boys get exercise.)

I didn't go back to the thread and derail it more, it wasn't intended to derail the thread in the first place. Nor was it intended to flame, bait or otherwise antagonize someone who apparently was *so* excited to be able to post something on the front page, that he forgot his mother tongue and his ability to proofread his own words.

One can see by his responses, that the more excited he got, the more of the language he forgot...gods forbid I should work him into a true froth by responding to his anatomical references.

I leave it to the community to decide if all infractions of Strunk and White should be dragged to MeTa, of if reminding a first time poster that the "spell check" button exists is reasonable. I thought, especially in the way that I said it, that my response was reasonable, but if the community disagrees, I shall avoid it in the future.

My intentions were good...but we all know that the road to perdition is paved thusly.
posted by dejah420 at 1:35 PM on September 9, 2002


My question is: what exactly does calling someone out in MeTa do, besides moving some of the conversation to MeTa?

For the folks whom no longer read the blue, so they can come here to read the drama of Meta in the grey.
posted by thomcatspike at 1:36 PM on September 9, 2002


This norm pisses me off, and I think it was brought up here once. Which is correct:

"Are you going to watch "Diff'rent Strokes?"

Now, the question mark is not part of the title of the television show, so why should I put the damned thing inside the parentheses?
posted by adampsyche at 1:39 PM on September 9, 2002


Oops, that should have read, "Why is this correct:"
posted by adampsyche at 1:40 PM on September 9, 2002


Can't well all just get along?

Aye aye, here here!

Can't we all chill, maybe take a valium if necessary? Can we avoid overreaction? And, yes, can we all take time to check our spelling in posts?

While we're at it (to sum up other recent MetaTalk threads), can we avoid belittling and humiliating people who make etiquette mistakes or make factual errors in comments?

Can we avoid comments that involve more reasoned, well-tempered debate and less comments that insinuate the other person has Wits of Fuck or is just spouting Liberal or Conservative propaganda?

Can we all just act mature and intelligent, thus reflecting well on MeFi in general?
posted by Shane at 1:42 PM on September 9, 2002


Damn, you're both right. What kind of picky grammar asshole am I ? I read somewhere that in/out was optional, and I've been using 'in.'

(There are exceptions, but can you think of one?)


Punctuation goes inside parentheses if they contain their own separate sentence, outside if the parentheses are within a sentence. Commas and periods always go inside quotation marks (in America), but exclamation points and question marks depend on whether they go with the quote or the whole sentence.
posted by hyperizer at 1:44 PM on September 9, 2002


(There are exceptions, but can you think of one?)

Um, it was a lame joke. The sentence above was a correct exception.

posted by Shane at 1:46 PM on September 9, 2002


I am getting conflicting signals about how to use MetaTalk.

On the one hand, this is the place to call somebody out.

On the other hand, this is a place where we should only post a topic if we have something of pressing importance, since every time we post a topic it pushes one of the five into the archives.

I think the latter is preferred, but I could be wrong.
posted by Joey Michaels at 1:47 PM on September 9, 2002


But thanks, Hyperizer, you answered Adampsyche's question with:

...but exclamation points and question marks depend on whether they go with the quote or the whole sentence.


posted by Shane at 1:50 PM on September 9, 2002


If you have problems with a firewall, here is my suggestion...
I still don't rely on the MeFi Spell Checker, I usually compose my post in Outlook or Word, then spell check in there and copy and paste to the MeFi Comment box.

You can be a PhD, but if you can't spell, then the world thinks you're a moron. Spell check is your friend.
posted by mkelley at 1:51 PM on September 9, 2002


Can we avoid comments that involve more reasoned, well-tempered debate...

Oops, typo -- That should have been "use," not "avoid"!
posted by Shane at 1:53 PM on September 9, 2002


Although, my personal opinion is that after calling me an asshole, the rough and tumble defenders may dogpile upon him with great and wild passionate abandon if they so desire.

Yes ma'am. Richard's a fine name for a boy by the way. Or Karl.
posted by PinkStainlessTail at 1:54 PM on September 9, 2002


Punctuation outside quotation marks when the quotation is contained within a sentence - in trad UK usage, although some magazines/papers don't do it anymore. It's the most logical way when you think about it.
posted by Summer at 1:55 PM on September 9, 2002


I"d just like to point out that firewalls are not just "on" or "off." If someone needs help configuring their firewall, they should consult their manual. Remember: You don't have to keep your door locked all the time, you are allowed to go in and out through it.
posted by hob at 2:00 PM on September 9, 2002


"Are you going to watch "Diff'rent Strokes?"

It's wrong because you open a nested quote but don't close it, and because it's redundant to put the title in quotes if you're italicizing it (my rule of thumb: program titles italicized, episode titles in quotes). There's also the question of whether to italicize punctuation immediately following an italic word (I say yes, for aesthetic reasons). So: "Are you going to watch Diff'rent Strokes?" or (if italics are unavailable) "Are you going to watch 'Diff'rent Strokes'?"
posted by hilker at 2:15 PM on September 9, 2002


As someone who doesn't give one whit about spelling or proper English in a discussion forum, I'm rather intrigued by this idea (getting fairly wide support) that we, the users/members/entranced slaves of Mefi should somehow feel responsible for what the world-at large thinks. A simple question: why should we care? I'm not saying that we shouldn't, though I believe that. Does MeFi get brownie points if someone reads the site and says, "Damn, those folk sure can spell goodly". If I impress somebody with an idea and they use it in a news article, then they've probably slighted me by not crediting (and even if they did, they only credited a rather anonymous username). I gain nothing; the site gains little but a mention that someone else takes credit for. If I impress someone by my fab form and diction, then I've still gained nothing.

So, simply put again, why is it important that we paint on a scholarly face for the rest of the reading world?

Upon review, I'd best add a little context to my questions. If the goal is to "get along", and many are concerned with appearance, and many aren't, then isn't the goal defeated right from the start? I've been informed that MeFi isn't a pissing match, but if we're concerned about how we look (present ourselves to the world) then obviously it is a pissing match, full of style and grace, regardless of content. It just seems that a little consistency might help the communal harmony along.
posted by Wulfgar! at 2:34 PM on September 9, 2002


As someone who doesn't give one whit about spelling or proper English in a discussion forum, I'm rather intrigued by this idea (getting fairly wide support) that we, the users/members/entranced slaves of Mefi should somehow feel responsible for what the world-at large thinks.

well, i might not give a damn for what the world at large thinks, but i sure care about punctuation, and spelling, and think they are goodly things to be used and abused.

but properly.

and with plenty of obscenities.

and it makes you look SMRT, and means that maybe i'll give you that extra slack that you deserve since you're a beautiful quiet song of a person, even if i can't tell being way out here at the end of a long long long cable streaming ones and zeros.

also: hey, one would think if it's important enough to post, there'd be reason to take some pride in its crafting. if the opinion/link/etc is important enough to be heard, why sully it with poor spelling?

(btw: as a serial abuser of proper grammatical usage and punctuation, i've been hugely enjoying the discussion that's overtaken this thread. thanks, all.)


also: to pre-empt everyone,

POT: MR.FISHCXKDUCKER, YOU ARE BLACK.
FISHFUCKER: NO, I AM A KETTLE.


posted by fishfucker at 3:01 PM on September 9, 2002


Proper grammar and spelling, in an online context, is the equivalent of proper hygiene in real life. Using it shows a measure of respect for the people with whom you interact. They shouldn't have to struggle to figure out what you mean and, in addition, in so far as the quality of prose matters in written discourse (and it really really should), obvious grammar and spelling errors make posts ugly and detract from the sensual pleasure of MeFi.
posted by fluffy1984 at 3:08 PM on September 9, 2002


Metafilter: Nearly 16,000 users separated by a common language.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:12 PM on September 9, 2002


Uhhmmm, I'd just like to point out that proper hygiene should have more to do with personal health than one's concern for the thoughts of others. I'm just saying ... (I don't believe that equivalence at all).
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:14 PM on September 9, 2002


"Spell check is your friend."

This is not exactly correct. It would be more accurate to say that spelling nazis are your enemy.

It will be a happy day when these anal retentive, condescending gits are regularly shouted down by people (the vast majority IMHO) who don't expect the posts on a public discussion board to meet their own personal editorial standards.

Not only do I find the constant thread hijacking to be annoying, I also find it disingenuous to claim that one person's obsessiveness should be construed as something that is bad for "the community". Dude. It's not bad for Metafilter. It's just bad for you. Metafilter is not in trouble. Spelling, good or bad, will have no effect on Metafilter. Please get over it.
posted by y6y6y6 at 3:23 PM on September 9, 2002


Uhhmmm, I'd just like to point out that proper hygiene should have more to do with personal health than one's concern for the thoughts of others. I'm just saying ... (I don't believe that equivalence at all).

There's nothing inherently unhealthy about smelling awful. It is irritating to be forced to sit in a meeting with someone who does, however. Think of it as a form of drag or method acting: if I take the time, care and effort to spell and punctuate correctly maybe I'll be more likely to post something thoughtful. It's the same principle as making people wear suits (which I don't and don't like doing) - i.e., that looking professional may help you act professionally.
posted by fluffy1984 at 3:30 PM on September 9, 2002


if I take the time, care and effort to spell and punctuate correctly maybe I'll be more likely to post something thoughtful. It's the same principle as making people wear suits (which I don't and don't like doing) - i.e., that looking professional may help you act professionally.

Yet you admit you don't like it. I would surmise, because it doesn't work. If I take the time to spell everything correctly and punctuate properly, than that's all I've done. The message is lost in the style. I'd rather take the time to be correct in my thinking, (even if I am often wrong) than I would to make it look pretty for everyone else. Satan is supposed to be beautiful; do you get my meaning?
posted by Wulfgar! at 3:41 PM on September 9, 2002


Everyone is going to have a thread showing from time to time, or a little stain. It's unavoidable, especially when you're more than a smidgen active. What's more important? Consistent perfection in one's wardrobe, smell, and whatnot, or living? Is it OK for orchestra musicians to sometimes make mistakes, etc. You want a life without mistakes, errors or imperfect hygiene? Fine. Sit on your ass. Never leave the house. (Pause.) So ends my taking the contrary view for the day. Also, on a non-contarian note, don't be so quick to judge posts in a hostile way. Try to understand where the other person is coming from, etc. We all make (as suggested above) errors in judgement here from time to time, but the hostility bit is getting ridiculous around here.
posted by raysmj at 3:46 PM on September 9, 2002


Look, I'm not saying that poor grammar is on a par with aggravated assault. I do think it makes posts easier to read and more pleasant. The fact that enough other people agree to make 'you had a bunch of spelling errors' posts a regular thing should indicate that this is something that does matter to many people. Choose not to respect that if you want, and they will no doubt choose to continue to nitpick.

Of course people make mistakes, and it shouldn't be a big deal. But I don't see how pointing it out is some horrible crime and could possibly offend anyone.

Yet you admit you don't like it. I would surmise, because it doesn't work.

Actually, it works very well. I just don't always like to be professional. Remember it's not either/or here: it can't possibly take so much time to spellcheck or read over your post that you don't have time to think about what you want to say.
posted by fluffy1984 at 3:57 PM on September 9, 2002


fluffy1984: Methinks it's proper only if someone has gone completely over a certain, well-defined line, and in the majority of cases should be handled with a bit of humor. Oh, and for the record: "Definitely" is not spelled with an "a" after the "t." That had nothing to do with you, but the use of same has been bothering me lately. Thanks for listening.

Oh! One more thing: The grammar and semantics attack isn't consistent. An FPP-linked editorial without transition and with choppy paragraphs won plenty of defenders here last week, for instance, and my pointing it out was termed "inappropriate." This, even though I didn't make fun of a member, exactly. (Long pause.) Yeah, I'm over it.
posted by raysmj at 4:06 PM on September 9, 2002


I'm rather intrigued by this idea (getting fairly wide support) that we, the users/members/entranced slaves of Mefi should somehow feel responsible for what the world-at large thinks.

Everyone makes mistakes. Occasional typo = no biggy. But I'm all for a certain level of correct grammar and respect for language, and a certain level of maturity, politeness and respect in the way we deal with each other. This will attract other people who post and comment intelligently, informatively and entertainingly -- while the opposite will degenerate MeFi to worthless angry banter.
posted by Shane at 4:10 PM on September 9, 2002


Remember it's not either/or here: it can't possibly take so much time to spellcheck or read over your post that you don't have time to think about what you want to say.


I would agree. Its a matter of focus. So I return to my original point: Why is it important that we worry about what image we portray to the world?

By the way, "spellcheck" doesn't pass the spell check. Don't you find that amusing?

Upon review: Shane, I'm certain that we have enough people who post and comment intelligently, regardless of spelling or grammar (clavdivs?). I'm not advocating turning off sign-ups, but why are any concerned with attracting the outside here? That's the question; not whether or not we will. Why should we care?
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:15 PM on September 9, 2002


...but why are any concerned with attracting the outside here?

Isn't it natural? People come, people go? People will always be attracted to MeFi, whether MeFites actively try to attract them or not. Otherwise, stagnation sets in, anyway. But, who is attracted to MeFi?

Also, doesn't degeneration of the site just = people go..?
Sometimes = good people go?

I'll agree that mature conduct is more important than proper grammar. No one expects constant English proficiency from everyone, and nearly every non-native English speaker speaks English waaay better than I speak their native language, regardless of their grammar goofs.

I'm not absolutely anal about anyone's written grammar but my own. That's my handy neurosis.

MeFi has a great community, though, despite the usual ups and downs. I'm sure these issues come and go constantly. Matt must have seen it all by now...
posted by Shane at 4:28 PM on September 9, 2002


I am getting conflicting signals about how to use MetaTalk.

You're not alone. I call upon the Great One to clarify 1) if it's ever appropriate to post quick and gentle reminders to spellcheck to MeFi, 2) if it's appropriate to post quick and gentle reminders to spellcheck to MeTa or 3) if it's appropriate to post quick and gentle reminders to spellcheck at all.
posted by mediareport at 4:34 PM on September 9, 2002


Why is it important that we worry about what image we portray to the world?

Do you worry about this in RL?

IMO, it's easy to spellcheck (you can use a word processor if you can't use the built-in checker) and I don't really understand how someone can care enough to comment or post, but not care enough to check their spelling and grammar in order to ensure that their ideas are received as intended.
posted by biscotti at 4:54 PM on September 9, 2002


Okay, since the responding consensus seems to be that your ideas will not be understood if you don't spell correctly or use exact grammar, I would appreciate examples. I know, I'm kinda' slow. But hey, we're working a thesis here.

2 points: The spell checker doesn't always work (there =/ they're), and there is no grammar checker. And still, no one has answered (with the possible exception of Shane) why any should care beyond the world of MeFi. And, if an idea is carried forth, regardless or style, why should the frame matter, (except to those who can't argue the point, so choose instead the pointer)?

Do you worry about this in RL?

Quite honestly, no. People are concerned if I can fix the network (I can), or build the computer (I do), or handle the print drivers (all the time). I'm not unattractive, and I dress better than my job deserves. I'm actually quite eloquent IRL. None of that matters if I can get the point across (fix the broken thingy). Are you concerned with the style, or the substance? That's the question, my friends. Is this a society of English majors, or a community of thoughtful users?

posted by Wulfgar! at 5:18 PM on September 9, 2002


What's worse? Gently reminding someone that there are easier ways to spell than making it all up as they write, or being a shit to someone because they dared to give you a little constructive criticism. I vote that being a shit is always worse. Dejah wasn't being a spelling nazi and she wasn't being obnoxious. There's no reason for that kind of immediate hostility. If Hoopyfrood felt that strongly about his spelling, why not just ignore Dejah? Is this some kind of macho thing where you can't let anyone diss you?

Everyone misspells now and then. Big deal. Everyone's ungrammatical now and then, too. Double big deal. But personally, this semi-anal retentive newbie thinks it's more fun to read a well written post or comment than one that looks like it was sent in by an infinite number of monkeys. As far as style or substance goes: the two are inextricable. Might as well try to write software with a shotgun approach to code.
posted by octobersurprise at 6:30 PM on September 9, 2002


Another comment or two regarding Wulfgar's questions (You did raise them--I'm not trying to be pushy or snarky.)

Spellchecking: I always keep google open in another window and if I'm uncertain of a word, I google it. Presto. Instant dictionary. Yes, google doesn't have every word; maybe it doesn't even have many words frequently used here, but it's convenient and better than guessing, oh, at least 75% of the time.

Clavdivs and other creative spellers: Poetic license. Wanna convey a particular kind of voice with nonstandard prose? Sure, go ahead. What Clavdivs does works, more or less; and I used to laugh like hell at Settle. But as the cliche goes, why not know the rules before you bend them?
posted by octobersurprise at 7:03 PM on September 9, 2002


why is it important that we paint on a scholarly face for the rest of the reading world?

Because if you think so little of yourself that you can't bother to at least fake being literate, why should anyone else think any more of you than you yourself do?
posted by kindall at 7:31 PM on September 9, 2002


Does MeFi get brownie points if someone reads the site and says, "Damn, those folk sure can spell goodly".

I would like to think that if someone is going to make a post to the front page, at least make sure it is spelled correctly. We all seem to take a certain pride in the fact that MeFi is somewhat more intelligent than the average chat room, so why not act like it? I am not talking about obvuios typus...I'm talking about a gentle nudging when something has gone horribly wrong, and people taking an extra minute to at least make sure your front page post is spelled right. Sheesh.

Taking an argument to extremes as an attempt to disprove it is ridiculously disingenuous. No one is asking anyone to be a Ph.D., and there are no spelling nazis. There are those of us, though, who feel that if you are going to take the time to post, at least make it spelled right? I mean, it's not like anyone's asking you to do anything a middle schooler isn't expected to do.

And, the use of spell check caught no less than four spelling errors (read: not typos) that I made in this post. See how easy that is?
posted by adampsyche at 7:58 PM on September 9, 2002


Talk about mountains and molehills - the post was very poorly spelled and that does matter to most people to varying degrees - it indicates laziness on the part of the poster in my eyes. dejah420 very gently suggested a way to avoid the errors in future and was jumped on with a great deal of aggressiveness. Now here we all are again on MeTa arguing over nothing.

Sheesh.

... as far as style or substance goes: the two are inextricable.

Bravo
posted by dg at 7:59 PM on September 9, 2002


MetaTalk: Arguing over nothing.
posted by thatweirdguy2 at 8:14 PM on September 9, 2002


octobersurprise, I, for one greatly apreciate your thoughtful response. 'Not sure I agree, given the insular venue, but a potent response nonetheless.

kindall, that's assumptive crap. Just because a poster doesn't live up to your specific standard of spelling doesn't mean they think any less of themselves or the community. "Fake being literate"; what a presumptive insult. But we're about reason here, right?

adampsyche, I agree that people within the community wish spelling to be exact, though it is still questionable why. But the quote you use from me, in context, is explicitly asking why we should care what people outside the community think. The truth is, I'm not sure "we" do pride ourselves justly on being somewhat more intelligent than your average chatroom, though obviously "we" pride ourselves on being more verbose and exact in spelling. That doesn't prove a thing about the quality of our arguments or even our educations. If I take your example for given, it proves we're better at using a software tool. The question remains open, however: why do we care about our presentation at large (unless we take kindall's words to heart and actually do believe that good spelling makes good peoples)?
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:31 PM on September 9, 2002


Whoops, I misspelled "appreciate". I was gonna' post some smartass comment about my feelings of self worth, but it really isn't worth the trouble.

MetaTalk: Arguing over nothing, indeed.
posted by Wulfgar! at 8:35 PM on September 9, 2002


If someone can't take care to express themselves (in their native language) clearly and with at least a modicum of grace, I'm not interested in trying to figure out what they have to say. If this is elitist, so be it. I don't have the time or the energy to try and prise out someone's point from a badly written morass of words. In this sense I agree completely with kindall - if you won't express yourself with a modicum of clarity and grace, you are showing the world how little you care about what you have to say. How can you expect anyone else to give a crap? If you can't express yourself clearly, the community is willing to help (as shown by the gentle way that thomcatspike was dealt with (although my poin is weakened by the fact he turned out, disappointingly, to be a gimmick poster, mostly, and now is quite comprehensible)).

Here in the aether, we are our words.

I don't care very much about what the community looks like to 'the outside world', although I do feel some small pride at being a part of a community that has standards and is willing to make communal attempts to uphold them.

I suspect Wulfgar! is just playing devil's advocate here, which is fine. It amuses me that (s)he is arguing for the acceptance of creative spelling in reasonably well-crafted, spelling mistake-free prose, though.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:45 PM on September 9, 2002


...err, make that almost mistake free. Heh.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 8:46 PM on September 9, 2002


Dammit, stavros, how can I be the resident boogie-man if you blow my cover? (Though I admit that I really am intrigued by this "we must look good to the world" meme.)
posted by Wulfgar! at 9:13 PM on September 9, 2002


stavrosthewonderchicken: Can we agree as to what the standards are, though? Also, who enforces them, and how? Is it all just about spelling? Clarity and grace are about more than spelling, and to a large extent subjective in character. If clavdivs is being parodic or obscure on purpose, and you know that in advance (or not, frankly), what's the problem? Is a little Zen-like joke not OK? How about high irony? Burlesque? Is a lack of grace (or respect for intelligence, etc.) OK if you agree with what the author of a post (or link) says?


posted by raysmj at 9:36 PM on September 9, 2002


kindall, that's assumptive crap. Just because a poster doesn't live up to your specific standard of spelling doesn't mean they think any less of themselves or the community. "Fake being literate"; what a presumptive insult. But we're about reason here, right?

If they can't live up to my standards, which are actually pretty reasonable, that's one thing. Some people have very real learning disabilities, and others learned English after their peak language-sponge years were over. Some, sadly, never had the opportunity to attend school at all. I will cut these classes of people reams of slack.

But if you got to go to school and had the chance to learn to write well, and yet you refrain from writing well when you are perfectly capable of doing so, especially with technological assistance, because you simply don't want to take the time, it is not only a slap in the face to everyone who gave you that opportunity, but a mark of disrespect for your audience. I strive to communicate clearly and well, and if you are not willing to even make the attempt to do the same, you show me, and everyone else, no small measure of disrespect. I have done my best to avoid wasting your time, and I expect the same courtesy in return. In short, posting crap when you have the ability to do better is, as far as I'm concerned, ruder than anything you might actually say. You save a few moments of your time at the expense of wasting cumulative hours of everyone else's, and we're all supposed to be okay with that?

All I expect of anyone is that they do the best they can. I'll even go so far as to assume people are doing so, or are perhaps having an off day, unless I find some evidence otherwise -- like, for example, when someone calls someone else a vulgar name for daring to suggest that they use the tools at their disposal to improve their writing. Or when someone suggests it's okay to be lazy because, well, who are we trying to impress anyway? But it's not about impressing anyone; writing is thinking, and clarity of word is clarity of thought. If you can't explain an idea clearly, you don't really understand it.

When you engage someone in serious discussion or debate, as often happens here, you owe others your very best thinking and writing. Not because it will impress anyone, but simply because it is your very best. Now I'll admit I don't always live up to my own ideals, but I do try to do my best to always do my best.
posted by kindall at 10:03 PM on September 9, 2002


Is this a society of English majors, or a community of thoughtful users?

IMO, people who are truly thoughtful care about ensuring that their peerless wisdom is transmitted as clearly as possible (which includes intentional misusage, of course). And the irony of your mentioning your appearance after saying that you don't concern yourself with how you appear to the outside world is not lost on me. ;>

If they can't live up to my standards, which are actually pretty reasonable, that's one thing.

My argument (from semi-Devil's Advocate mode, I must admit), is that we live in an age when even those with learning disabilities and those who were disadvantaged during their school years can use technology to overcome their difficulties. There are simple ways to avoid making some of the more common spelling and grammatical errors, if you can be bothered.
posted by biscotti at 11:07 PM on September 9, 2002


"I would surmise, because it doesn't work. " Speaking of errors, there's one.

I think if someone is making any sort of error in their post it is fair to call them on it in the resulting discussion thread. Who's to say they will see the metatalk discussion? It only needs a few people to point it out and explain why, though. It doesn't really require a barrage of insults, does it? I suppose if that really needs to happen then metatalk is the place. Perhaps we need a new section? metaridicule? metabitch? metapissonhisbonfire?

posted by nthdegx at 11:25 PM on September 9, 2002


MetaTalk: Arguing over nothing.

No, that's MetaFilter - MetaTalk is arguing about arguing over nothing.
posted by dg at 11:37 PM on September 9, 2002


Great tagline dg --- MetaTalk: arguing about arguing over nothing
posted by nathan_teske at 11:59 PM on September 9, 2002


With threads like this, I don't need MeFi.

posted by mischief at 4:34 AM on September 10, 2002


Should I have instead started a metatalk thread to mention that a member of our community didn't spell check?

I never spellcheck, and I never will. Bite me ...
posted by walrus at 4:41 AM on September 10, 2002


More people are concerned here about spelling & grammar than about the vitriol poured upon a helpful hint from an old hand...hmmm.

There is less concern generally with spelling in the virtual world for cultural reasons, perhaps tied in with competition for time on machines in the early networking days. Hardly anyone would blink at comments which aren't consistent in the capitalisation in sentences which - if replicated in RL - would show the writer as ill-educated; ditto, use of hyphens, apostrophes, speech marks, and other non-essential aids to understanding (which is all that these conventions are. I mean, "you say potato...").

When it comes to deliberate carelessness in your expressions, it's a case of shooting yourself in the foot: the idea is to communicate, and when the conventions are not observed, then that has been made avoidably more difficult.

The English will never forgive the compilers of american dictionaries for their unnecessary simplification of certain spellings, it gives us scope for humour...(",)

As for thomcatspike, he clearly is paying more attention to what & how he comments these days, I personally don't think he was a "gimmick poster". However, he posts a lot less than before, so the S/N ratio has improved.

It shorely cums dahn too this ditch anal gramaticle rools wear thay ar not needed aksept a litle asistens wen fowk ofer it withawt taykin offens afta awl thay ar ownli triing tu help.

o and ceep findin interestin linx.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:38 AM on September 10, 2002


you know, that last post would have been more comprehensible if.... o, forget it.
posted by dash_slot- at 5:38 AM on September 10, 2002


Metaridicule...

LOL! That's great.

I've got the solution. Make a spelling mistake? I gonna hunt you down where you live and bitch slap you. That's right -- I da GrammaCop. Run away, bad spellas! MeFi got muscle, now!

By the way, "I've got" is bad grammar. The preferred phrase is simply "I have." You've got mail. Damn you AOHell!


posted by Shane at 6:19 AM on September 10, 2002


More people are concerned here about spelling & grammar than about the vitriol poured upon a helpful hint from an old hand...hmmm

Not necessarily. I think it's just that the thread evolved into a discussion of why some people care about spelling and grammar and others don't. I don't think many people thought that the way HF handled him/herself was appropriate, but after it's been said more than once, I don't think it necessarily needs repeating (unless there's an argument about it).

posted by biscotti at 7:21 AM on September 10, 2002


Do you worry about this in RL?

I would extend that thought further by proposing we not use abbreviations which are, at best, vague. RL?
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 8:59 AM on September 10, 2002


RL?

Russian Likursk. It's a little province close to Kiev, a gulag where people with bad grammar are sent to do hard labor and learn never to end sentences with prepositions.
posted by Shane at 9:13 AM on September 10, 2002


Oh crap. Time to send the striped uniform to the cleaners then. My grammar will give me 5 to 10 of seriously hard labor.
posted by KevinSkomsvold at 9:56 AM on September 10, 2002


RL?

Sorry, I thought that was in common usage. Real Life.
posted by biscotti at 10:25 AM on September 10, 2002


Nothing wrong with ending sentences with prepositions, I say. Nothing at all. The whole ban is either based on an urban myth or it's just some outdated and barbaric practice, but we shouldn't propagate it. Better to end a sentence with a proposition that to mangle it into something else.

"What is he talking about?"
"About what is he talking?"

See?
posted by fluffy1984 at 10:30 AM on September 10, 2002


Erm. Preposition I meant.
posted by fluffy1984 at 10:31 AM on September 10, 2002


RL = Real Life.

At first I thought Reality Land (which I like better), then I figured out it was Real Life. Not everyone is up on the chatroom abbreviations. I still have trouble with all the variants of "LOL" (EG "ROFLMAO")

...end sentence with a proposition...

/Barry White voice/: "Hey, baby..."
posted by Shane at 10:36 AM on September 10, 2002


"What is he talking about?"
"About what is he talking?"


Easily remedied.

"Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?"

Voila.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:55 AM on September 10, 2002


This is all very funny (but what are we to do about "What's Happening?"?)!
posted by DenOfSizer at 12:05 PM on September 10, 2002


As for thomcatspike, he clearly is paying more attention to what & how he comments these days, I personally don't think he was a "gimmick poster". However, he posts a lot less than before, so the S/N ratio has improved.

Hu huff..I'm just all out of air from pedaling this cycle as my wheels seem to just spin here, going nowhere. S/N ratio to improve, ok dash_slot I'll pedal faster......... ;P
posted by thomcatspike at 2:05 PM on September 10, 2002


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