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Ziggy587
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by Ziggy587 Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:32 pm

Exhuminator wrote:And even when people do write large letters, the sub-par syntax and parsing is what usually gets me. It's one thing to be able to write huge paragraphs of stream of conscious thoughts. It's another thing entirely to format that blurb of words into comfortably readable blocks of information for others. Not to mention keeping a consistent theme of intent, while reaching a conclusive point with actual purpose. I have no problem reading large posts, when they are formatted with other people's ability to comprehend them in mind.


+1

Exhuminator wrote:Ack is a good example of someone who does this consistently well.


I'm a good example of someone who strives to but sometimes fails. :lol:

I'm not sure how many people pick up on but are too polite to mention my flaws in writing, but I know they exist. For example, I have trouble staying in the same tense when I write. On a long winded post, I sometimes have a "scatter brain" when trying to hit multiple points. Of the posts of mine that are longer and a good read, I bet you it took me much longer to write it than you think.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by ElkinFencer10 Fri Aug 26, 2016 2:32 pm

If it's someone to whom I haven't spoken in a long time, then I would definitely prefer either lengthy e-mail correspondence, but with social media and text messaging, there aren't that many people to whom I want to talk but haven't in a while.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by isiolia Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:09 pm

o.pwuaioc wrote:Yes, but are they wrong? "Everyone says it" isn't an argument against anything if it's actually correct.

When's the last time you wrote a letter in pen to a dear friend? Now, when's the last time you texted somebody a sentence or two?


I think the point of the XKCD comic (and similar collections, I think there are ones with similar quotes going back to ancient Greece) isn't about right or wrong. It's simply that the criticisms aren't new. Our generation was criticized for it, our parent's generation, our grandparent's, and so on.

Figure though, alongside that you had the development of communication methods that have gotten cheaper and faster. The messages contained adapted alongside them - the origins of texting language are more in telegraph and shorthand from centuries back, if not further.

While I don't disagree that a lot of subpar communication gets out there, I think it's possible that the root cause is far more people being expected or encouraged to write. A lot of communication out there is from people who, a couple generations ago, probably wouldn't have written it down. At least not for the public eye. Now, they've got a computer in front of them and are expected to send email, rate their Amazon purchases, post on Facebook, and so on.

I'm not saying standards couldn't be better, of course, just that maybe writing has never been as common a skill as we'd like to think.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by Exhuminator Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:18 pm

The important contrasting elements to keep in mind here, is that the internet, email, cellular texting, and social media are relatively new things affecting our culture. These factors encourage instantaneous and brief conversation, and thereby perhaps subconsciously condition people to choose communicating that way by default. And while the quotes from centuries past were amusing, they don't serve as proper analogs for our modern society's technological pressures. That is to say, our techno-communicative aspects which simply didn't exist during that time.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by isiolia Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:31 pm

True, though they would have had their own advancements to adapt to, like expanding mail services and stamp systems, faster travel, telegraph, telephone, and so on. Obviously, they don't compare to the always-connected nature of today's world. However, I do think that time period would have experienced the world getting "smaller", and maybe communication becoming more frequent as a result.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by Ziggy587 Fri Aug 26, 2016 3:43 pm

isiolia wrote:Figure though, alongside that you had the development of communication methods that have gotten cheaper and faster. The messages contained adapted alongside them - the origins of texting language are more in telegraph and shorthand from centuries back, if not further.


That's why I said the style of writing on social media can be excused to a degree. The difference is telegraphers kept that type of communication for telegraphs only, and any kind of shorthand didn't become the norm. A lot of the younger generation talk in person as they do on social media or text messaging. Not just the shorthand, grammatical errors and overall butchering of the language, but the tone and feeling as well. "No, you're wrong. [funny meme] k thx bye!" When that's 100% (or approaching) the tone of the reading/writing you do, that will be the only way you know how to communicate. The way arguments go over on most social media is more akin to juvenile bickering. You can not use that style of communication in the professional world. You cannot try to persuade your colleagues to go with your idea, or convince your boss why you deserve that raise, etc, using that style of communication.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by J T Fri Aug 26, 2016 5:59 pm

I don't know that this is a generational problem. While the young have more readily been early adopters of things like Snap Chat/Twitter/etc, I have seen no shortage of short and stupid online communications from Baby Boomers and Gen X'ers.

Isiola makes a great point about cell phones. I certainly say less when browsing from that device. I'm sure some people wish I would only post on political topics from my cell. :lol: The cell phone is an interesting case of the technology mostly forcing you into shorter communications, if you are going to use it at all. I guess you could say Twitter does that too, but a person can easily get by without Twitter, but it's hard to get by without a cell phone. These technologies change how we communicate.

Oddly though, people do seem to forget that the cell phone is more than a texting device and can actually be used to make a telephone call. When you try to call someone today, they think a.) You are having an emergency, b.) You are being waaay too intimate with them, or c.) You are an old person that doesn't realize phone calling is wrong now. But I digress (as the long winded poster that I am).

Another important factor that people are not discussing is the reinforcement that one gets for shorter communications. If you make a really long post, people may not read it, and if they do read it, there is still a good chance that they won't respond, and they especially are not likely to respond with the same level of detail because it is time-consuming to do so. The lack of response to longer, thought-out posts can easily extinguish them. I often feel frustrated that I put a lot of effort into things that just seem to go unnoticed, save for an increased view count.

If you make shorter posts, however, people have a back-and-forth with you, and they "lol" at your snark and mini-witticisms. It's fun to make small talk like that (literally small). It's just easy to think that this is the communication that matters most because it gets the most response, when often it's a lot of people saying a lot of nothing.

Ultimately, I see it as a breadth VS depth problem. Many of our digital technologies overemphasize breadth, and therefore brevity. It is a chicken-and-the-egg argument as to whether these technologies make us stupid, or if our stupidity is what creates the demand for them. They aren't entirely stupid though because breadth of knowledge IS important. The trick is really learning how to transition from 'breadth' down into 'depth' when it's appropriate. Of course, the opposite can be true as well. Mark Twain once famously wrote that he would have written a shorter letter if only he had more time. We all could stand to better think about how our time is spent in reading and communicating and whether we could stand to spend more time on a subject to fully understand it or commuicate it, or if we could benefit from a more concise formulation of our points.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by MrPopo Fri Aug 26, 2016 6:11 pm

I think there's another aspect. Modern communications are effectively always on and have a very low barrier of entry to talk to people. Marching through time, initially it's all face to face conversations. Then writing is invented, and so we have letters. Since even the modern postal system requires you to take the time to write something down, package it up, and entered into the delivery system, you were incentivized to cover as much as you could in one letter. Then the telephone comes about, where now it's as simple as entering someone's identification code. So you can call someone more often then you'd write them a letter, so you can be briefer because you'll be able talk to them again soon. But it still requires you to be near the phone to make or receive the call. Then we transition to text over mobile devices, where we are always reachable. So brevity prevails, as at this point you're able to communicate with people at any time and in any place, and have a reasonable expectation of a timely response. These days if you lose touch with someone it's because one of the two of you didn't care enough to make the modicum of effort to stay in touch.

That said, I'm 100% behind the frustration on people who can't compose sentences while at a keyboard.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by Xeogred Fri Aug 26, 2016 7:12 pm

Exhuminator wrote:
Tanooki wrote:Are peoples attention spans so shot and coached by shitty social media it's impacting classic sites and even long standing classic users too?
Also something MrPopo said a while back has stuck with me for a while. He said something to the effect that younger people aren't interested in developing online communities. I think they just want to spat random blurbs across a splintered echo chamber hoping to be validated and nothing else.

Makes sense. Kids will tell you from what I've heard that Facebook is the parents social network. Can anyone argue against that? Not at all. Kids are into instagram, twitter, and probably other random stuff too underground for us to know. I figure I was probably the last generation that grew up on the evolving internet (AOL dial up!) and forum usage of the late 90's and early 2000's. It's a dead thing thesedays.

I don't see any of these issues here on the forums though.
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Re: Shift in forum posting style over time

by marurun Fri Aug 26, 2016 9:22 pm

Cell phone texting has been with us for easily over a decade now and has been somewhat well-studied. A friend gifted me the book Txtng: The Gr8 Db8. I read it, and the authors argue that the average texting teen (at the time of the book) can actually spell well. The classic texting shorthand requires a certain understanding of the traditional forms and spellings, otherwise the shorthand itself doesn't make sense. And in fact, other sources have also argued the problem isn't with communication abilities themselves, but rather with the crossing of contexts.

Prior to portable devices, when one intended to write, one typically settled in, because writing takes a bit of time. Even if you carry a pencil and a compact journal, if you intend to do anything other than make a grocery list, you're probably going to settle yourself into a particular environment and mindset and get to work with at least some dedication. But now we check the forums on our phones and want to weigh in on a point before the topic gets lost two or three pages back and before we lose our thought. So we peck away with our thumbs, and between auto-correct, the need to be brief despite the slow tool, and "fat finger syndrome", well, shit happens.

But some of you are also speaking to a kind of messaging that is so haphazard that it's barely intelligible. That comes of the democratization of communication. There are people communicating on-line who, in times past, would never have bothered to write much down with intent to communicate any kind of complex idea, and in times even further past would have lacked literacy altogether due to lack of access to education. What we see on-line now is simply the written language developing into the kind of spoken language many people communicate with and have communicated with for years. Twitter and forums simply expose us to those people we used to see on the news being interviewed after the disaster who never had anything interesting to say and always said it in the most stereotyped way possible. Like the people who think "could've" is "could of". They've always existed, but now they're on Twitter.

As someone who, at times, types a lot of words, I'd also like to address the "wall of text". I don't think the wall of text is a problem if it's well-written and flows. It's when it's a janky mess that jumps from one idea to the next and then back again, or lacks any kind of transitions, or is just boring as hell that it becomes a problem. If the words and ideas are good, it doesn't matter if there are more of them. People will read if they are getting something out of it. If you give them garbage to read of course they're going to be annoyed with you for giving them a lot of it. A shit sandwich doesn't suck less if it's 3 times as big. And if I regularly write shit sandwiches, someone had better tell me.
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