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Author Topic:   General Discussion Of Moderation Procedures (aka 'The Whine List')
Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 31 of 1028 (595298)
12-07-2010 9:23 PM
Reply to: Message 28 by arachnophilia
12-07-2010 5:29 PM


The "It could be worse" defense
You are defending your sans capitals writing style/formatting by, directly or indirectly, comparing it to examples that are equally bad or even worse? By comparing it to archaic (eg. King James Bible) style/formatting?

I should be commending you because it's conceivable that your writing style/formatting could be even worse?

I'm comparing your writing style/formatting to the modern English standard of having capital letters at sentence beginnings and at proper noun beginnings.

Adminnemooseus


This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by arachnophilia, posted 12-07-2010 5:29 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 32 by arachnophilia, posted 12-07-2010 9:58 PM Adminnemooseus has not yet responded

    
arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 32 of 1028 (595304)
12-07-2010 9:58 PM
Reply to: Message 31 by Adminnemooseus
12-07-2010 9:23 PM


Re: The "It could be worse" defense
Adminnemooseus writes:

I'm comparing your writing style/formatting to the modern English standard of having capital letters at sentence beginnings and at proper noun beginnings.

i think it's important to understand that english is a fluid and changing language, that capitalization is one such factor that has changed and will continue to change. english also lacks a formal board of any type that determines the rules for the language; these decisions are based mostly on common practices.

for instance, there are several grammatical rules that have changed drastically very recently. it's now almost entirely acceptable to end sentences with prepositions, and it's become common practice in the UK to leave periods outside of quotes when the period is not part of the quote.

By comparing it to archaic (eg. King James Bible) style/formatting?

the KJV is not archaic in any way. it's only 400 years olds, and represents perhaps the most popular work in modern english. the english spoken at the time of shakespeare and king james is, for all intents and purposes, modern. archaic english looks like this:

note the use of capitals.

Edited by arachnophilia, : centered image


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 31 by Adminnemooseus, posted 12-07-2010 9:23 PM Adminnemooseus has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 34 by Rrhain, posted 12-08-2010 3:10 AM arachnophilia has responded
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subbie
Member
Posts: 3509
Joined: 02-26-2006


Message 33 of 1028 (595315)
12-08-2010 1:00 AM


My two cents worth
Whatever the merits or demerits of proper caps versus all lowercase, this question pales to insignificance to me compared to the actual content of certain posters, Dawn Bertot to name perhaps the worst offender. At least arach knows the correct meaning, usage and spelling of the words he uses. It's infinitely easier to read and understand someone who speaks English and uses the wrong capitalization than someone who butchers the language but puts caps where they belong.

Some have suggested that Dawn is a non-native English speaker. If he has confirmed this, I've missed it. While my experience with non-native English speakers is not vast, I do not get the impression that Dawn is one. I get the impression that Dawn has heard a lot of big words and leaped to erroneous conclusions about what they mean. (His history here of leaping to unwarranted conclusions supports my impression.) Either way, there is no doubt whatsoever that he cannot clearly say what he means, unless he actually means to write nonsense, a proposition I cannot reject out of hand.

All this is by way of commenting that the brouhaha about capitalization seems to elevate form over substance. If we're going to suspend arach for mis-capitalization, I would ask that serious consideration be given to suspending those who choose to abuse the language. Even if Dawn is a non-native English speaker, I would argue that his continued misuse of vocabulary after several have pointed out his errors rises to the level of deliberate, or at least intentional disregard. Since I have yet to see him offer anything that advances any discussion in any meaningful way, his presence would not be missed.


Ridicule is the only weapon which can be used against unintelligible propositions. -- Thomas Jefferson

We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat

It has always struck me as odd that fundies devote so much time and effort into trying to find a naturalistic explanation for their mythical flood, while looking for magical explanations for things that actually happened. -- Dr. Adequate

...creationists have a great way to detect fraud and it doesn't take 8 or 40 years or even a scientific degree to spot the fraud--'if it disagrees with the bible then it is wrong'.... -- archaeologist


  
Rrhain
Member (Idle past 38 days)
Posts: 6349
From: San Diego, CA, USA
Joined: 05-03-2003


(1)
Message 34 of 1028 (595330)
12-08-2010 3:10 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by arachnophilia
12-07-2010 9:58 PM


arachnophilia writes:

quote:
the KJV is not archaic in any way. it's only 400 years olds, and represents perhaps the most popular work in modern english. the english spoken at the time of shakespeare and king james is, for all intents and purposes, modern.

But just barely. Have you not actually seen a copy of the original Shakespeare texts? There is no consistency in spelling. Some of it is because as a dramatic work, he used spellings that would assist the actor in their presentation ("sweet" spelled with three e's to indicate that it is an important word and the actor should hold that vowel sound out), but the English of the 1600s was just coming around to standardization. It's why the classic old-tyme sign reads, "Ye Olde Shoppe." That's not pronounced "yee." It's pronounced, "the." That "y" is pronounced as "th." The "y" is actually a poorly written version of the Scandanavian letter commonly called "thorn" (). The graphology stuck and since type from Germany and Italy didn't have the thorn character (not being Scandanavian), English typesetters substituted the letter "y." If you look at 1611 copies of the KJV, you will see it (such as Job 1:9).

But it has been many centuries since modern English was first solidified and it has adapted and changed since then. Every passing year makes it more and more difficult to understand what Shakespeare was writing. Not necessarily because of the topical references and turns of phrase but simply because the words don't mean the same thing anymore. They aren't pronounced the same way.

And the whine that language is "fluid and changing" is just that: A whine. You aren't being hip or modern or arty or whatever sort of emotional tinge you have attached to your need to deviate from common usage. I'm sure it means something to you.

It doesn't mean that to anybody else. Conventional forms exist in order to improve communication. Of course, conventions change, but the specific ones you are flaunting aren't among them.

I'm reminded of a common refrain from Miss Manners against those who claim that etiquette is a burden. Everybody has etiquette. Those who flaunt it and deny it simply don't seem to recognize it in themselves. But etiquette is designed to allow social interactions to flow smoothly without having to constantly re-examine every single detail and nuance in every new interaction. By having conventions, we allow ourselves the ability to concentrate on more important aspects of our interactions.

It's the same thing with grammar and syntax: You follow them so that we don't have to constantly wonder what on earth you're talking about. Rather than having to examine absolutely everything, we can concentrate on the actual meaning you are trying to convey.

Here's a good example: A poem where the conventions of line breaks and punctuation have been removed:

The deep red rose I see its thorn I just ignore the scent that's borne to me it's nothing I deplore those scratches that I got before I just complain about the pain a lot I think of beauty's gain.

Well, what's that poem mean? Is it this?

The deep red rose I see
Its thorn I just ignore
The scent that's borne to me
It's nothing I deplore
Those scratches that I got
Before I just complain
About the pain a lot
I think of beauty's gain

Or is it this:

The deep red rose, I see its thorn
I just ignore the scent that's borne
To me, it's nothing. I deplore
Those scratches that I got before
I just complain about the pain
A lot I think of beauty's gain

There's a reason you use convention. This is an extreme case, yes, but it makes the point.

Edited by Rrhain, : Gave concrete example

Edited by Rrhain, : Why I wrote "implore" rather than "deplore," I don't know. And yes, it's "usage."


Rrhain

Thank you for your submission to Science. Your paper was reviewed by a jury of seventh graders so that they could look for balance and to allow them to make up their own minds. We are sorry to say that they found your paper "bogus," specifically describing the section on the laboratory work "boring." We regret that we will be unable to publish your work at this time.

Minds are like parachutes. Just because you've lost yours doesn't mean you can use mine.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by arachnophilia, posted 12-07-2010 9:58 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 36 by Omnivorous, posted 12-08-2010 8:38 AM Rrhain has not yet responded
 Message 39 by Jon, posted 12-08-2010 9:48 AM Rrhain has responded
 Message 41 by ringo, posted 12-08-2010 11:04 AM Rrhain has not yet responded
 Message 42 by arachnophilia, posted 12-08-2010 8:23 PM Rrhain has not yet responded

    
bluegenes
Member (Idle past 643 days)
Posts: 3119
From: U.K.
Joined: 01-24-2007


Message 35 of 1028 (595345)
12-08-2010 6:44 AM
Reply to: Message 32 by arachnophilia
12-07-2010 9:58 PM


Natural selection
arachnophilia writes:

i think it's important to understand that english is a fluid and changing language, that capitalization is one such factor that has changed and will continue to change. english also lacks a formal board of any type that determines the rules for the language; these decisions are based mostly on common practices.

Of course all languages evolve, but where I disagree with you is on your predictions of the future of capitalization. Let's examine where capitalization is now, and what natural selection might protect for practical purposes.

Firstly, the pronoun "I". Its capitalization is random, and we could easily capitalize all pronouns or none without significant loss or gain in communication. So, I see no practical conservation from natural selection for that one, although it shows no signs of going.

Secondly, the proper nouns. Here, I can see a slight advantage of economy, because we can completely change the meaning of identical spellings with the capital. It's not just uncle Jack (to be Frank) but I see no practical reason for Moose to Don his heavy judges wig, and Sue you if you choose to ignore them, as confusion would be rare. My guess is that they'll probably stay in the language in the foreseeable future.

Thirdly, the initial letters of sentences. I predict that natural selection will conserve this, because it definitely helps in highlighting the beginnings and ends of sentences. It could only be threatened by the changing of the period symbol into something more visible. At present, we're stuck with the least visible punctuation symbol in one of the most important roles.

So, that's the one that detracts from your otherwise excellent posts, IMO.

As I said to Mr Jack further up the thread (and subbie makes the same point) I agree that there are far more serious abuses of the language going on from a few EvC posters. But faults from the rest of us don't help in discouraging this.

Analysing the early uses of capitalization as pretty random makes no difference. It's practical reasons for selection on what's there now that I'm talking about.


This message is a reply to:
 Message 32 by arachnophilia, posted 12-07-2010 9:58 PM arachnophilia has not yet responded

  
Omnivorous
Member (Idle past 1133 days)
Posts: 3808
From: Adirondackia
Joined: 07-21-2005


Message 36 of 1028 (595357)
12-08-2010 8:38 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain
12-08-2010 3:10 AM


Could you step away from the page, sir?
Rrhain writes:

And the whine that language is "fluid and changing" is just that: A whine. You aren't being hip or modern or arty or whatever sort of emotional tinge you have attached to your need to deviate from common useage.

The word is "usage".

Misspell it again, and I'll lobby for your suspension.


Dost thou prate, rogue?
-Cassio

Real things always push back.
-William James


This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Rrhain, posted 12-08-2010 3:10 AM Rrhain has not yet responded

    
Coyote
Member (Idle past 272 days)
Posts: 6117
Joined: 01-12-2008


Message 37 of 1028 (595372)
12-08-2010 9:24 AM


Off-Topic
What are we doing with threads on wikileaks and Obama?

Those are so far off-topic for this board that they should be dumped!


Replies to this message:
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Jon
Inactive Member


Message 38 of 1028 (595373)
12-08-2010 9:37 AM
Reply to: Message 28 by arachnophilia
12-07-2010 5:29 PM


Re: Whine & Cheese
I do not think taking action against a member solely on account of their (mis)use of English writing conventions is appropriate. That said, I am not convinced of the argument that all lowercase is easier to read for the simple fact that most members here have been brought up and are literate in the English capitalization convention tradition, and so are more comfortable reading within that tradition.

I feel that capitalization, like punctuation, is a reading cue that helps us find and keep our place in a text by marking certain references and transitions (important names and beginnings of sentences). Some conventions are merely arbitrary, I agree (capitalized first person singular pronoun I, for example), but many do have a legitimate purpose. In fact, I find that the text you quoted is easiest to read using English capitalization conventions, an example you didn't provide.

A 'properly-capped' post, unlike a properly-capped well, flows more easily for me. Content being equal, I'd find a post using English capitalization conventions more easy to understand than one which did not. However, I'd rather a good-content, no-cap post than a poor-content, capped post, so banning a brilliant person like yourself on account of not using capitals is just silly. You're worth reading regardless.

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!
Ignorance is temporary; you should be able to overcome it. - nwr

This message is a reply to:
 Message 28 by arachnophilia, posted 12-07-2010 5:29 PM arachnophilia has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 43 by arachnophilia, posted 12-08-2010 8:27 PM Jon has not yet responded

  
Jon
Inactive Member


Message 39 of 1028 (595374)
12-08-2010 9:48 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain
12-08-2010 3:10 AM


The deep red rose I see its thorn I just ignore the scent that's borne to me it's nothing I implore those scratches that I got before I just complain about the pain a lot I think of beauty's gain.

Well, what's that poem mean? Is it this?

The deep red rose I see
Its thorn I just ignore
The scent that's borne to me
It's nothing I deplore
Those scratches that I got
Before I just complain
About the pain a lot
I think of beauty's gain

Or is it this:

The deep red rose, I see its thorn
I just ignore the scent that's borne
To me, it's nothing. I implore
Those scratches that I got before
I just complain about the pain
A lot I think of beauty's gain

There's a reason you use convention. This is an extreme case, yes, but it makes the point.

Poetry is an oral art; its understanding should not depend on how it is written on the page. If it does, then it just isn't that good of poetry. (By the way, line 4 of your first rendition has an error.)

Jon


Check out Apollo's Temple!
Ignorance is temporary; you should be able to overcome it. - nwr

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Rrhain, posted 12-08-2010 3:10 AM Rrhain has responded

Replies to this message:
 Message 47 by Rrhain, posted 12-09-2010 12:27 AM Jon has acknowledged this reply

  
Panda
Member (Idle past 1878 days)
Posts: 2688
From: UK
Joined: 10-04-2010


Message 40 of 1028 (595375)
12-08-2010 9:48 AM
Reply to: Message 37 by Coyote
12-08-2010 9:24 AM


Re: Off-Topic
Coyote writes:

What are we doing with threads on wikileaks and Obama?


*nods*
Talk about politicians is boring.
This message is a reply to:
 Message 37 by Coyote, posted 12-08-2010 9:24 AM Coyote has not yet responded

  
ringo
Member
Posts: 16637
From: frozen wasteland
Joined: 03-23-2005
Member Rating: 2.9


Message 41 of 1028 (595401)
12-08-2010 11:04 AM
Reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain
12-08-2010 3:10 AM


Rrhain writes:

("sweet" spelled with three e's to indicate that it is an important word and the actor should hold that vowel sound out)


I love it.

Rrhain writes:

Of course, conventions change, but the specific ones you are flaunting aren't among them.

I'm reminded of a common refrain from Miss Manners against those who claim that etiquette is a burden. Everybody has etiquette. Those who flaunt it and deny it simply don't seem to recognize it in themselves.


I hesitate to be pedantic, with you of all people, but your usage of "flaunt" is nonstandard and technically incorrect. For maximum communicative power, you should use "flout".

Ban him, Moose!


"I'm Rory Bellows, I tell you! And I got a lot of corroborating evidence... over here... by the throttle!"
This message is a reply to:
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 42 of 1028 (595481)
12-08-2010 8:23 PM
Reply to: Message 34 by Rrhain
12-08-2010 3:10 AM


Rrhain writes:

But just barely. Have you not actually seen a copy of the original Shakespeare texts?

yes!

There is no consistency in spelling. Some of it is because as a dramatic work, he used spellings that would assist the actor in their presentation ("sweet" spelled with three e's to indicate that it is an important word and the actor should hold that vowel sound out), but the English of the 1600s was just coming around to standardization.

i think you will find that a wealth of alternative spellings still exist in english. for instance, i have a habit of typing "neighour" and "colour" and i use "theatre" to mean "a place where you see plays" and "theater" to mean "a place where you see films". i'm sure you can think of a myriad other examples if you really tried.

The "y" is actually a poorly written version of the Scandanavian letter commonly called "thorn" (). The graphology stuck and since type from Germany and Italy didn't have the thorn character (not being Scandanavian), English typesetters substituted the letter "y." If you look at 1611 copies of the KJV, you will see it (such as Job 1:9).

indeed. although not typset, you will see it in the above example i posted of old english, a manuscript of beowulf.

But it has been many centuries since modern English was first solidified and it has adapted and changed since then.

i agree. and it will continue to change. however, what we speak is significantly closer to shakespeare than it is to chaucer (middle english), or beowulf (old). and it has yet to change enough to warrant arbitrarily calling it anything else.

Every passing year makes it more and more difficult to understand what Shakespeare was writing. Not necessarily because of the topical references and turns of phrase but simply because the words don't mean the same thing anymore. They aren't pronounced the same way.

this is a whine of poor students of shakespeare (and the bible). shakespeare (and the kjv bible) are much easier to understand than most people expect. and for shakespeare, especially when performed. it's modern english, just with some different vocabulary here and there, an alternate spelling or two, and some slightly different usages. you get more significant differences going from one colloquial dialect to another. compare "rubber" as used in america, canada, and england.

You aren't being hip or modern or arty or whatever sort of emotional tinge you have attached to your need to deviate from common useage. I'm sure it means something to you.

no, it's just significantly easier to type, and for me to read.

It doesn't mean that to anybody else. Conventional forms exist in order to improve communication. Of course, conventions change, but the specific ones you are flaunting aren't among them.

you might be surprised. the internet (especially twitter) is quickly changing the grammatical norms. perhaps this, to you, represents a perversion of the language -- but the invention of case usages was quite similar. note that the above old english example does not capitalize the first letter of a sentence, but does capitalize the entire first line, which happens to break in the middle of a word. capitalization here was strictly a stylistic concern, and not a grammatical one.

Here's a good example: A poem where the conventions of line breaks and punctuation have been removed:

i understand the need for line breaks and punctuation, i assure you. it comes up rather frequently in the biblical debates, as the original hebrew bible was written without either, or spaces between words. meaning is sometimes confused in translations here.

i am not arguing for doing away with that. or even capitalization. just that it's a bit silly to enforce something that is so historically subjective.


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 34 by Rrhain, posted 12-08-2010 3:10 AM Rrhain has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 43 of 1028 (595482)
12-08-2010 8:27 PM
Reply to: Message 38 by Jon
12-08-2010 9:37 AM


Re: Whine & Cheese
Jon writes:

I feel that capitalization, like punctuation, is a reading cue that helps us find and keep our place in a text by marking certain references and transitions (important names and beginnings of sentences).

interestingly, i find paragraph spacing much more important. mostly the space between paragraphs (which, ahem, if we're going to get all MLA here is also incorrect), but also the paragraph indents which this board does not allow. i find poorly spaced posts, especially those of the copy-pasta creationist convention, exceptionally difficult to read. but that's just me.

A 'properly-capped' post, unlike a properly-capped well, flows more easily for me. Content being equal, I'd find a post using English capitalization conventions more easy to understand than one which did not. However, I'd rather a good-content, no-cap post than a poor-content, capped post, so banning a brilliant person like yourself on account of not using capitals is just silly. You're worth reading regardless.

thank you!


אָרַח

This message is a reply to:
 Message 38 by Jon, posted 12-08-2010 9:37 AM Jon has not yet responded

Replies to this message:
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arachnophilia
Member (Idle past 143 days)
Posts: 9069
From: god's waiting room
Joined: 05-21-2004


Message 44 of 1028 (595483)
12-08-2010 8:31 PM
Reply to: Message 41 by ringo
12-08-2010 11:04 AM


Omnivorous writes:

The word is "usage".

Misspell it again, and I'll lobby for your suspension.

ringo writes:

I hesitate to be pedantic, with you of all people, but your usage of "flaunt" is nonstandard and technically incorrect. For maximum communicative power, you should use "flout".

alright, alright guys, let's not get picky. i understood him perfectly fine -- which is just my point. we don't have to be perfect to communicate ideas sufficiently.

and frankly, when dealing with issues like religion, i'd rather emphasize the imperfect in my own posts.

Edited by arachnophilia, : double vision


אָרַח

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Adminnemooseus
Director
Posts: 3883
Joined: 09-26-2002


Message 45 of 1028 (595489)
12-08-2010 9:35 PM


Side note - Possible new topic?
I have received a PM from a member:

The side conversation about language usage that sprung from Arachnophilias mild protest has become a fascinating topic of its own! Can we move a bunch of those posts into a separate topic of the general Whine list?

Or do we have the technology?

We don't have the technology. If someone, however, wishes to start such a Coffee House topic, they are welcome.

The discussion certainly has shot off on a tangent that's getting rather remote from the moderation issue in question. Personally, I can't get too offended by that since I am seeing the various viewpoints as largely supporting my stance on the issue - As I see it, arachnophilia's arguments are pretty damn lame.

Adminnemooseus


Replies to this message:
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