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Torger
2008-01-28, 11:31 PM
Alright, this is going to be a little rant from me, because it's driving me nuts.

We're on a forum, here. Our only means of communication is the written word. The written word that has, for the better part of two hundred years, been standardized, codified, and taught to us since we were four years old.

This is the language, people. You're supposed to use it. This is the only means we have of interacting, here. So tonight, instead of reading my textbooks, like I should be, I went cruising the recruitment threads for a new PbP game, as several of the ones I was playing in died in quick succession. So I go, and I start reading through the initial flavour posts, and with most of them, I don't even get through the first paragraph.

The spelling and grammar are atrocious, and these are the people that want me to dedicate my time, effort, and mental faculties to helping them craft a neat little story, while they sit there and throw things like "thy art next, O King," "The region was known for its prosperiosity," "The tounament(sic) will begin with a preform(sic) check with the fighters waving their weapons for the people who are watching" at me. Honestly...

It's enough to make me want to weep bitter tears. Now, I know that the English language isn't perfect, and doesn't always make sense. I know it's one of those jerk languages that lurk down dark alleyways, beat up other languages, and rifle through their pockets for spare vocabulary. I know that there are no hard and fast rules for its usage, but come on, people. Give me a friggin' break, here.

So this is my request, my appeal, my plea for mercy -- if you are intent on running a game, or on playing in a game (at least, one that involves me) please, please, PLEASE come equipped with regular, grade-nine English or at least an electronic spell-check installed in your browser and the ability to form a cogent sentence. It will do us all a world of good, and will probably help attract more interested players.

Thank you.

Talya
2008-01-28, 11:53 PM
Everything you just said. http://www.giantitp.com/forums/images/icons/icon14.gif

horseboy
2008-01-28, 11:54 PM
Ditto
:roy:

Wooter
2008-01-28, 11:57 PM
*Uproarious applause*

Darkxarth
2008-01-28, 11:59 PM
As an obsessive English major I agree.

Everyone makes mistakes (I'll probably make one or two in this post even) but sometimes it's just too much. My primary pet peeve lies not with minor spelling and grammatical mistakes (abundant though they may be) but with the shortening of words through overuse of abbreviations and the like.

Now, this isn't to say that I myself don't type "lol" or "rofl" or "brb" while chatting to my friends through an instant messenger. However, in a forum, one has the time to type full words and complete thoughts without getting left behind in the conversation.

Unfortunately, ranting isn't necessarily helpful in the least, except to release all of that pent up annoyance at people on the internet.

EndgamerAzari
2008-01-29, 12:00 AM
*Slow clap*

Bravo, sirrah. (Oops.) As an English major, I have trouble not screaming when I see some of the atrocities committed against the language, even in such a... cultured establishment as a roleplaying forum.

wadledo
2008-01-29, 12:02 AM
In defense of those who DM these games, I have to say that some times you miss a couple problems. I know I've missed grammatical errors for days

In agreement, yes as spell check should be used by everyone, including players.
How would you feel if the only good character power wise was a player who
posts like this all the time!!?

Which wasn't in agreement, but you do raise very good points.
I'm going to have to bookmark this.

The_Snark
2008-01-29, 12:08 AM
Agreed.

I will point out, as a possible, partial mitigation, that English isn't necessarily everyone's first language here, and given how annoying grammar can be even for us, it's probably far more difficult for them. To a lesser extent, the same goes for spelling. They are, very probably, doing the best they can. It only applies to a few of the people doing it, but it's still worth keeping in mind.

Capitalization, on the other hand... there is no excuse for not capitalizing.

Torger
2008-01-29, 12:10 AM
I don't mean to come off as an elitist (Which I probably am. I'm an English minor, tested out of Freshman English, and definitely judge people when they use poor grammar), but this is getting intolerable.

I'm not talking about people who make little errors (my W key is spotty, and I often think faster than I can type, leading to errors), but these are the initial, pre-generated flavour posts setting the tone, timbre, and character for the world. "Thy art doomed?" Please! I can hear Marlow and Shakespeare spinning in their graves like a pair of out-of-control auto-tillers.

This is meant to be catharsis for me, yes, and if it scares people away from me because they don't know the difference between there, their, and they're, all the better. This is a hole in our social education, and as a literocentric society that's supposed to pride itself on its literacy rates and ability to communicate (Even going so far as spearheading the attempts to communicate extra-terrestrially), we really need to fix this.

North
2008-01-29, 12:11 AM
Typos happen. I dont mind. But muder genocide of word after word hurts my eyes.

Voyager_I
2008-01-29, 12:25 AM
Save the Kobolds!

mikeejimbo
2008-01-29, 12:33 AM
"thy art next, O King."

Now now, 'thou' and its forms, and 'art' have fallen out of use, you can't really blame people for not knowing the proper way to use them. And he did use 'art' correctly, he just should have said "Thou art next, O King", if I'm not mistaken.

Icewalker
2008-01-29, 12:41 AM
Yeah, this is a very good point which bothers me quite a bit. But I can spell, and I just run my own game! :smallbiggrin:

Of course, one of the people in one of my groups keeps writing Dwarf as Drawf no matter what I try to say...:smallsigh:

Rutee
2008-01-29, 12:43 AM
Alright, this is going to be a little rant from me, because it's driving me nuts.

We're on a forum, here. Our only means of communication is the written word. The written word that has, for the better part of two hundred years, been standardized, codified, and taught to us since we were four years old.

This is the language, people. You're supposed to use it. This is the only means we have of interacting, here. So tonight, instead of reading my textbooks, like I should be, I went cruising the recruitment threads for a new PbP game, as several of the ones I was playing in died in quick succession. So I go, and I start reading through the initial flavour posts, and with most of them, I don't even get through the first paragraph.

The spelling and grammar are atrocious, and these are the people that want me to dedicate my time, effort, and mental faculties to helping them craft a neat little story, while they sit there and throw things like "thy art next, O King," "The region was known for its prosperiosity," "The tounament(sic) will begin with a preform(sic) check with the fighters waving their weapons for the people who are watching" at me. Honestly...

It's enough to make me want to weep bitter tears. Now, I know that the English language isn't perfect, and doesn't always make sense. I know it's one of those jerk languages that lurk down dark alleyways, beat up other languages, and rifle through their pockets for spare vocabulary. I know that there are no hard and fast rules for its usage, but come on, people. Give me a friggin' break, here.

So this is my request, my appeal, my plea for mercy -- if you are intent on running a game, or on playing in a game (at least, one that involves me) please, please, PLEASE come equipped with regular, grade-nine English or at least an electronic spell-check installed in your browser and the ability to form a cogent sentence. It will do us all a world of good, and will probably help attract more interested players.

Thank you.

Incidentally, Firefox comes with spellchecker now. It's quite handy, and you (The generic you, not anyone specific) should upgrade to it! Yeah, though, while I'm not a nazi about it, I do have some minimal standards about what people's grammar 'should' look like.

Zincorium
2008-01-29, 12:47 AM
Incidentally, Firefox comes with spellchecker now. It's quite handy, and you (The generic you, not anyone specific) should upgrade to it! Yeah, though, while I'm not a nazi about it, I do have some minimal standards about what people's grammar 'should' look like.

Right on.

It's actually one of the reasons bad spelling ticks me off. We live in a world where, with an internet connection (and c'mon, all of us have one if we're on the board), a nearly illiterate person can get help spelling every single word in a sentence, and go back and fix any errors with the 'edit' button.

Seffbasilisk
2008-01-29, 12:49 AM
It's something that irks me as well, but at least most folks who start out doing such end up improving.

cogent? Powerfully persuasive sentances?

Ascension
2008-01-29, 12:51 AM
Now now, 'thou' and its forms, and 'art' have fallen out of use, you can't really blame people for not knowing the proper way to use them. And he did use 'art' correctly, he just should have said "Thou art next, O King", if I'm not mistaken.

Stuff like that is why, though I know how tempting it can be, I tend to discourage the use of "King James" English in fantasy roleplaying. The occasional archaic word or phrase adds a nice bit of flavor, and I certainly encourage fantasy roleplayers to abstain from using modern slang, but any attempt to fully adopt an outmoded form of the language for roleplaying purposes stands about as much chance of success as an attempt to RP in Chinese (Well, unless you're a native speaker. If you are a native speaker of Chinese, think French or something instead.). It's just not practical.

mikeejimbo
2008-01-29, 12:55 AM
Stuff like that is why, though I know how tempting it can be, I tend to discourage the use of "King James" English in fantasy roleplaying. The occasional archaic word or phrase adds a nice bit of flavor, and I certainly encourage fantasy roleplayers to abstain from using modern slang, but any attempt to fully adopt an outmoded form of the language for roleplaying purposes stands about as much chance of success as an attempt to RP in Chinese (Well, unless you're a native speaker. If you are a native speaker of Chinese, think French or something instead.). It's just not practical.

With a basic grasp of grammar though, and a link to the Oxford English Dictionary, I think you can even get the older modern English forms down.

Of course, I didn't know grammar very well until I took Latin.

tbarrie
2008-01-29, 01:06 AM
Now now, 'thou' and its forms, and 'art' have fallen out of use, you can't really blame people for not knowing the proper way to use them.

Then they shouldn't try to use them.

Faithdreamer
2008-01-29, 01:11 AM
Someone may have been hurt. Pretty please try to be considerate of feelings. Sensitivity isnít a bad thing. This is your friendly tap on the shoulder:

TRY TO BE GENTLE AND POLITE!

Have a nice Evening GitP Forum.

:smallsigh:

Talic
2008-01-29, 01:17 AM
As an obsessive English major I agree.

Everyone makes mistakes (I'll probably make one or two in this post even) <add a comma> but sometimes it's just too much. My primary pet peeve lies not with minor spelling and grammatical mistakes (abundant though they may be) <add a comma> but with the shortening of words through overuse of abbreviations and the like.

Now, this isn't to say that I myself don't type "lol" <remove or, add a comma> or "rofl" or "brb" while chatting to my friends through an instant messenger. However, in a forum, one has the time to type full words and complete thoughts without getting left behind in the conversation.

Unfortunately, ranting isn't necessarily helpful in the least, except to release all of that pent up annoyance at people on the internet.

Done to prove the gentleman's point in the first sentence of his second paragraph. :smallbiggrin:

Quietus
2008-01-29, 01:23 AM
This is where, as a DM, you have to be reasonable about who you accept to play. I try and get a feel for whether players are able to type coherently when accepting their characters - I'm hardly elitist, and I've been known to accept those whose English skills are less than perfect, but I DO make it known as necessary that they'll need to improve in order to keep going, and I try and support that.

Darkxarth
2008-01-29, 01:24 AM
Done to prove the gentleman's point in the first sentence of his second paragraph. :smallbiggrin:

... darn. I thought I had done a good job of ensuring I didn't actually make any mistakes in that post. Parentheses and quotation marks tend to screw with my comma placement.

However, I do want to thank you for proving my point. :smallamused:

Bosh
2008-01-29, 01:25 AM
Now now, 'thou' and its forms, and 'art' have fallen out of use, you can't really blame people for not knowing the proper way to use them. And he did use 'art' correctly, he just should have said "Thou art next, O King", if I'm not mistaken.

Also it would be HORRIBLY rude to refer to a King as "thou." Thou is only for your social inferiors, for your equals and superiors you should say you.

mikeejimbo
2008-01-29, 01:31 AM
Also it would be HORRIBLY rude to refer to a King as "thou." Thou is only for your social inferiors, for your equals and superiors you should say you.

It is, however, not grammatically incorrect. :smalltongue: I suppose that this is true, however, isn't "you" plural?

Moral Wiz
2008-01-29, 01:33 AM
And the sentence sound like it's being said by some sort of king killer. Rudeness is fine.:smallbiggrin:

Talic
2008-01-29, 01:40 AM
... darn. I thought I had done a good job of ensuring I didn't actually make any mistakes in that post. Parentheses and quotation marks tend to screw with my comma placement.

However, I do want to thank you for proving my point. :smallamused:

Yes, grammatical errors do abound. The point is to not riddle a post so severely with them that the reader spends more time interpreting than reading, and you are among the many who succeed quite well at that.

Swordguy
2008-01-29, 02:10 AM
Alright, this is going to be a little rant from me, because it's driving me nuts.
...


http://i115.photobucket.com/albums/n294/wolffe42/applause-1.gif

I simply consider the language used by a given poster to be living proof of the bell curve of intelligence scores.

Voyager_I
2008-01-29, 02:16 AM
I simply consider the language used by a given poster to be living proof of the bell curve of intelligence scores.

What about elegantly written, carefully structured, entirely moronic arguments?

Emperor Tippy
2008-01-29, 02:20 AM
I'm dyslexic and can't spell at all, I have an excellent vocabulary though, but I agree 100%.

As has been said, Firefox comes with a built in spell check that will catch most things and a few errors are no problem (we all make them), but you know its bad when someone has to translate your posts so that others can read them (and I have had to translate other's posts on these boards before).

tyckspoon
2008-01-29, 02:23 AM
What about elegantly written, carefully structured, entirely moronic arguments?

I love those. They present a challenge- is this person making a joke? Attempting to present an argument by absurdity? Really that dumb and just had really strict composition teachers? It's an excellent riddle.

Solo
2008-01-29, 02:32 AM
May I suggest an addition to your signature, Torger?

http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v422/toddsun/antitxtbanner-1.gif

Swordguy
2008-01-29, 02:35 AM
I love those. They present a challenge- is this person making a joke? Attempting to present an argument by absurdity? Really that dumb and just had really strict composition teachers? It's an excellent riddle.

Exactly. And while the person may be making a moronic argument, there's (to me at least) the slim hope that we may correct their misconception and they make go on to be a better human being. The language determines the potential of this happening - though, of course, it's not always true (reminisces about BWL...).

North
2008-01-29, 02:38 AM
Incidentally, Firefox comes with spellchecker now. It's quite handy, and you (The generic you, not anyone specific) should upgrade to it! Yeah, though, while I'm not a nazi about it, I do have some minimal standards about what people's grammar 'should' look like.

You mean theres people who dont use firefox *gasp* sad people :smallwink:

Voyager_I
2008-01-29, 02:39 AM
I love those. They present a challenge- is this person making a joke? Attempting to present an argument by absurdity? Really that dumb and just had really strict composition teachers? It's an excellent riddle.

Hmm, see, that also involves Godwin's Law of Internet Sarcasm: The more obviously sarcastic or satirical a statement made online is, the longer the wall of text will be when inevitably inevitably dissect it and and angrily refutes each point individually.

Torger
2008-01-29, 02:39 AM
It's something that irks me as well, but at least most folks who start out doing such end up improving.

cogent? Powerfully persuasive sentances?


Cogent. Adj. Appealing to the intellect or powers of reasoning.

Hzurr
2008-01-29, 03:48 AM
You mean theres people who dont use firefox *gasp* sad people :smallwink:

Opera browser for the win :smallsmile:

Occational spelling typos are one thing, but not taking the time to read what you've written before you post it is something else entirely. Even after you post, you should always do a quick re-read of what you've written, and do quick editing. Really people, it's not very hard.

On a side note, does it bother anyone else when people confuse their-they're-there or your-you're? I saw this on a posted sign in real life today, and it made me sad inside. =(

Lord Lorac Silvanos
2008-01-29, 03:55 AM
What about elegantly written, carefully structured, entirely moronic arguments?

Sophism rules supreme. :smallsigh:

DementedFellow
2008-01-29, 06:02 AM
I would just like to point out an easy typo that I make frequently that makes me look not-so-smart. When I sometimes try to type "if it", my fingers sometimes don't listen, and it comes out "it it" or "if if". You can mangle the language and still spell correctly.

And hey, I'm not even sure of my proper comma usage. :smallsmile:

Charity
2008-01-29, 06:39 AM
Hmmm I get a scent from the distant past...


They don't. intellectual snobbery is practiced on internet message boards all too frequently. I know a number of people in the world who never graduated from high school, who don't have basic writing skills that some take for granted, that have opinions and messages that I value.

Too many people get so caught up in the skillfulness of a post that they miss the message. And intelligent people with abosolutely nothing to say get given credibility because they know how to follow all the rules.

If you read on through the thread I think Rawbear makes some excellent points that apply here.


V@ We forgave you before you even arrived *bows*

Lady Tialait
2008-01-29, 06:39 AM
Heck, my spelling is really bad, I'm sorry if I offend you. But, My eyes are weak, my computer crashes if i use a spellchecker, and I have to deal with mind-dulling peaple all day long. when I post something I do the best I can. Anyway, I don't have a spellchecker, nor can my computer handle one. but, I take no offense to being told if my spelling and/or grammer sucks. After all, if I can help make other peaple happy at the expense of my own sanity and/or computer life. Why not?

Oh and the Firefox I use, is older and does not have a spellchecker, so no luck there. (If i try to install the newer one it crashes the computer)

BlackStaticWolf
2008-01-29, 07:00 AM
Now, I know that the English language isn't perfect, and doesn't always make sense. I know it's one of those jerk languages that lurk down dark alleyways, beat up other languages, and rifle through their pockets for spare vocabulary. I know that there are no hard and fast rules for its usage, but come on, people. Give me a friggin' break, here.

I... think I might love you.

Talic
2008-01-29, 07:04 AM
Heck, my spelling is really bad, I'm sorry if I offend you. But, My eyes are weak, my computer crashes if i use a spellchecker, and I have to deal with mind-dulling peaple all day long. when I post something I do the best I can. Anyway, I don't have a spellchecker, nor can my computer handle one. but, I take no offense to being told if my spelling and/or grammer sucks. After all, if I can help make other peaple happy at the expense of my own sanity and/or computer life. Why not?

Oh and the Firefox I use, is older and does not have a spellchecker, so no luck there. (If i try to install the newer one it crashes the computer)

Ah, but reading your posts does not make our heads hurt. I think that the consensus here, inasmuch as there is one, is that perfect grammar is largely unattainable. For example, the vast majority of people (myself included) have difficulty with comma placement, especially when combined with parentheses and quotation marks.

The question I use to determine whether or not to dismiss a poster, is, simply, "Does this take me more time to figure out what you said, or whether I agree with it?" If it's the latter, no worries. You're good. If it's the former, you might be a bit unclear.

Charity
2008-01-29, 08:07 AM
Poor pearls cast before swine... I am using an old proverb here, as is my way, try not to take offence.
You're right, if Haley were, in her present condition, to come here and post, only a few people would be able to understand what she was saying. There is a level below which understanding is possible. But too often, that level isn't reached. I think it's on us, as readers, to make our best efforts to understand without discounting poster because they practice &quot;lazy grammar and spelling&quot;. And too often, people get so caught up on grammar and spelling mistakes, and paragraphs and run on sentences that they miss golden nuggets of wisdom.

My entire point is, cut people a break. Do your best to be a part of a conversation, rather than deciding against someone because the standards set are higher than they need to be to get the point across.

kamikasei
2008-01-29, 08:36 AM
A lot of these responses seem to be about people's spelling and grammar as encountered in discussion threads. There, yes, you have to expect that people will slip up and make the occasional typo, and cut them some slack rather than dismissing what they're saying because they've made a small error in saying it. Equally, if you hav something worth saying you should be trying to say it in an intelligible manner. If your errors are such that your meaning is lost, it's not the reader's fault he can't understand you.

...But all of that aside, the OP was talking about PbP games. Which are not discussions, but are in fact in large part exercises in writing. You're not making an argument in a PbP thread, you're setting a scene, establishing a character, creating a mood... and you are, especially in the recruitment threads he references, doing this with no time pressures, taking whatever time is needed to craft a post that will convince people that you will be a good DM and your game will be worth playing in. In that context, poor grammar or spelling is much more of a black mark against you.

Saph
2008-01-29, 08:53 AM
Yup. A PbP game is different from a discussion. In a way, the writing quality is the game. If the writing quality is terrible, then . . .

As for this post:


I think it's on us, as readers, to make our best efforts to understand without discounting poster because they practice &quot;lazy grammar and spelling&quot;. And too often, people get so caught up on grammar and spelling mistakes, and paragraphs and run on sentences that they miss golden nuggets of wisdom.

My entire point is, cut people a break. Do your best to be a part of a conversation, rather than deciding against someone because the standards set are higher than they need to be to get the point across.

People with bad grammar and spelling are not, in my experience, particularly wiser or smarter than people with good grammar and spelling. There are lots of people on the Internet. Odds are, there's someone out there who can communicate the same thing without doing it in a format that makes your eyes water.

I'll read a horrible-looking post if I think that what the writer's saying is good, but it's a tradeoff - it has to be good enough that it's worth the amount of squinting that it'll take to wade through the poorly formatted mess.

And I'd note that Rawbear wrote all his posts in that thread with good grammar and spelling. :P

- Saph

Tormsskull
2008-01-29, 09:14 AM
People with bad grammar and spelling are not, in my experience, particularly wiser or smarter than people with good grammar and spelling. There are lots of people on the Internet. Odds are, there's someone out there who can communicate the same thing without doing it in a format that makes your eyes water.


As usual, Saph makes an excellent post that aptly reflects my thoughts on the subject.

In addition, the more difficult a poster makes it for a reader to extract their nuggets of wisdom, the more likely a reader is to miss and or discount said wisdom.

The onus is on the poster to write their post in such a way that it is easy to read, not on the reader to do the writer's work for them.

fendrin
2008-01-29, 09:27 AM
Yeah, Torger, I know exactly what you mean. Every single game I'm playing in has mangled horrible opening posts. It's a travesty. :smalltongue:

Uh, no.

I just refuse to play in games like that. Unfortunately it seems that they are the majority.

KIDS
2008-01-29, 09:41 AM
Dyslexia I have olol...

Just kidding! You bring up a very good point; though I have not been in many games and thus haven't been personally in those situations you describe, I know how annoying to read it can be...

Charity
2008-01-29, 09:44 AM
I am playing the devils advocate to a certain degree here, as you no doubt read my responses to RawB were quite akin to your own. However.

kamikasei I don't agree, I do not think it matters what forum one is in. The point stands the same, as long as the intent and meaning of the post is descernable then over interest in its poor grammar or spelling is just snobbery.

Saph, surely as we are discussing a creative enterprise there should be more leeway given not less.
You wouldn't fault a characters speech if it were deliberately written to show a dialect or lack of skill with the language, why be so down on the poor so and so's that have poor language skills or indeed are writing in a second language.

Tormsskull, in this instance, you decide to play a PbP, you go in with your eyes open, if the DM or other has a writing style that irritates you, don't play.

In general if you don't wish to read a post, due to it's poor grammar... don't nobody will hold a gun to your head... well most folk won't.

I was heavily swayed by Raws posts, which was why I brought them up.
There is enough bad feeling and antagonism around no need to pick up folk on every misword or misused comma.

Tengu
2008-01-29, 09:59 AM
You mean theres people who dont use firefox *gasp* sad people :smallwink:

Not only that - I know someone who prefers to opens new pages in his browser in new windows, instead of new tabs! How barbaric! And he posts on these forums!

Saph
2008-01-29, 10:17 AM
Saph, surely as we are discussing a creative enterprise there should be more leeway given not less.
You wouldn't fault a characters speech if it were deliberately written to show a dialect or lack of skill with the language, why be so down on the poor so and so's that have poor language skills or indeed are writing in a second language.

It's not that I hate them or anything. It's just that if a post is written with bad spelling, bad grammar, bad paragraphing, weird punctuation, and long confusing run-on sentences, then reading it is not fun. It's work. I don't mind doing work, but I'm generally not going to do it without some kind of reason. On the other hand, if something's written well, I'll read it just for the sake of reading it.

There's also the issue that bad grammar actually hurts communication. If a PbP post is sufficiently badly written, it's often quite difficult to work out what the writer's trying to say. And if I have to stop and take five minutes to comprehend someone's posts, then it's really tempting after a while to just start skipping past them . . .

- Saph

Torger
2008-01-29, 10:18 AM
I am playing the devils advocate to a certain degree here, as you no doubt read my responses to RawB were quite akin to your own. However.

Saph, surely as we are discussing a creative enterprise there should be more leeway given not less.
You wouldn't fault a characters speech if it were deliberately written to show a dialect or lack of skill with the language, why be so down on the poor so and so's that have poor language skills or indeed are writing in a second language.

See, now you're putting words in my mouth. I did not mention comma fault. I don't expect everyone in the world to aptly apply the semi-colon and dash to every literary composition, but we are on an English-Speaking forum wherein our communication is through the written language. As such, there are expectations about how the language is supposed to be used. However blasť or uncommon the written word might become, it is still the most powerful media available for communication.

Things that are written down gain more credence than the transient mentefacts that result from the spoken word. You can call and complain all you want, but a letter is worth a thousand phone calls. The written word is powerful, it is necessary, and it's supposed to be wide-spread. If your intent is to create an epic-ground-shaking story arch involving the cast of characters designed to save the world, or if you'd like to speak out against euthanasia, or if you'd like to commission a photograph from someone, the written word is the most powerful and compelling way to do it, and, quite frankly, I have no interest in wading through waste-deep illiterate gobbeldygook on the off chance of finding a single pearl of wisdom.

If you, on this forum composed entirely of the written word, want your voice to be heard, and your concerns to be taken seriously, you need to present them in a clear, rational manner that is easily understandable.

So go ahead and let the flames begin. I said it. There are a vast number of people in the world, and on this forum, who will fail to get their point across, to effect change, or to, really, be taken seriously, due to an inability or an unwillingness to use the language, not even to its fullest potential, but adequately.

quick_comment
2008-01-29, 10:59 AM
Surely it can't be too hard to simply stay away from games and players that don't meet your linguistic standards?

Many of the people who use truly atrocious spelling and grammar on these boards are probably either dyslexic, non-native English speakers, or very young. Others have less severe troubles with the language that have other causes, though I doubt very much that there are many people who could turn around on a whim and write flawlessly who are currently mangling English in all their posts out of sheer laziness. Writing "proper English" may require a prohibitive amount of effort that would make roleplaying significantly less fun for them, or it may even be practically impossible, depending on the nature and extent of their problem.

It seems unreasonable to demand that these people should be barred from roleplaying on these boards, so wouldn't it be better if everyone just stayed away from threads and posts that annoyed them? (Language, of course, isn't the only thing that can be annoying about a written work. While I don't think I follow any games with sub-par spelling or grammar at the moment, in principle I personally have far less tolerance for the bad writer, who is unable to craft their part of an entertaining and engaging story, than for the bad speller.)

Threads like this seem to have a tendency to devolve into self-celebratory affairs in which those who have a background(consisting of age, education, nationality, and many other factors) that allows them to write grammatically and ortographically correct English can boost their self-esteem at the expense of those who do not. That's a pretty pointless exercise, so let's try not to go there.

Charity
2008-01-29, 11:03 AM
Edit ^@ Thank you for your beautifully crafted words, which I wholeheartedly agree with.


It's not that I hate them or anything. It's just that if a post is written with bad spelling, bad grammar, bad paragraphing, weird punctuation, and long confusing run-on sentences, then reading it is not fun. It's work. I don't mind doing work, but I'm generally not going to do it without some kind of reason. On the other hand, if something's written well, I'll read it just for the sake of reading it.

There's also the issue that bad grammar actually hurts communication. If a PbP post is sufficiently badly written, it's often quite difficult to work out what the writer's trying to say. And if I have to stop and take five minutes to comprehend someone's posts, then it's really tempting after a while to just start skipping past them . . .

- Saph

I meet you at this point here Saph.
As you rightly point out, there has to be a limit, as in the extreme, communication suffers.

The main point I was attempting to say (not to anyone in particular) was that very often (especially on forums) folk make too exacting demands on an individuals language skills.
Not everyone wishes to interrupt their train of thought to insert the correct grammar. Not everyone is able to, many forumites come from non English speaking backgrounds and should not be put off posting by overly critical grammar fetishists. (I am not implying for a second that this is you Saph btw)



See, now you're putting words in my mouth. I did not mention comma fault. I don't expect everyone in the world to aptly apply the semi-colon and dash to every literary composition, but we are on an English-Speaking forum wherein our communication is through the written language. As such, there are expectations about how the language is supposed to be used. However blasť or uncommon the written word might become, it is still the most powerful media available for communication.

You are I imagine aware of the term hyperbole (http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/hyperbole).
I would also argue that an image is the most powerful media available for communication.

I have no interest in wading through waste-deep illiterate gobbeldygook on the off chance of finding a single pearl of wisdom.
See aforementioned break limit. Also, even though you have no interest, does not mean that you have any right condemn those that communicate poorly (for whatever reason)


So go ahead and let the flames begin. I said it. There are a vast number of people in the world, and on this forum, who will fail to get their point across, to effect change, or to, really, be taken seriously, due to an inability or an unwillingness to use the language, not even to its fullest potential, but adequately.

No lets not get all flamey, I have diverged from the original posters intent to a small degree and wouldn't like to get the thread locked from my performing an exercise in encouraging tolerance... I fear the irony would be too great.
Anywho, if the intent can be descerned, then the language used is adequate.
Judging folks on the strength of their grammar alone is foolish IMHO.

Tormsskull
2008-01-29, 11:09 AM
Tormsskull, in this instance, you decide to play a PbP, you go in with your eyes open, if the DM or other has a writing style that irritates you, don't play.


This is true, and I see that you are gearing you point towards the opening post, as the OP used an entire paragraph to highlight just that. However, I was aiming more towards:



So this is my request, my appeal, my plea for mercy -- if you are intent on running a game, or on playing in a game (at least, one that involves me) please, please, PLEASE come equipped with regular, grade-nine English or at least an electronic spell-check installed in your browser and the ability to form a cogent sentence. It will do us all a world of good, and will probably help attract more interested players.


If you put in a character trying to make it in a PbP game, you probably have little to no control over who the DM selects as the accepted players. While it seems logical that a DM would pick those players that use proper English, it doesn't always happen that way.

My point was to say that it is up to each person individually, regardless if they are the DM or they are a potential player, to make their posts as legible and concise as possible, and not the responsibility of the reader to translate/interpret the writer's meaning.

Edit:



It seems unreasonable to demand that these people should be barred from roleplaying on these boards, so wouldn't it be better if everyone just stayed away from threads and posts that annoyed them?


Maybe. Maybe politely bringing it to the offender's attention privately so as to avoid embarassing them, and asking them to try to do a better job at constructing their thoughts would work best. Maybe even just this thread in its self will cause some people to self-evaluate their own writings and realise they are more deficient than they thought they were, which in turn results in a general improvement in the written word on the boards?

Charity
2008-01-29, 11:26 AM
Although I think it is commendable when people go to the extra effort to ensure their post is as well structured as possible, I do not however think it is required.
Often folk do not have the tools available to meet the (often) exacting standerds of their fellow players. If they're an imaginative interesting player does it really matter if their punctuation sucks?
Obviously there is always going to be limits that, once crossed make a passage of text indeciferable, but those limits are quite extreme.
Oh I also think that if somebody wishes to communicate they should participate, and as such do not agree that the entire onus should fall upon the shoulders of the writer. If you have read Feersum Endjinn, Iain M. Banks or George Orwell's novel Nineteen Eighty-Four you will have joyfully wrestled with the text to get what you want from it.

spotmarkedx
2008-01-29, 11:31 AM
I think someone has been spending too much time in the...
http://i21.photobucket.com/albums/b251/kenouki/grammar-crisis-room.jpg
I wouldn't mind if everyone took a little more care when crafting posts for the forum. However, I also this rant, taken at face value, is a bit over the top.

Torger
2008-01-29, 11:33 AM
The main point I was attempting to say (not to anyone in particular) was that very often (especially on forums) folk make too exacting demands on an individuals language skills.
Not everyone wishes to interrupt their train of thought to insert the correct grammar. Not everyone is able to, many forumites come from non English speaking backgrounds and should not be put off posting by overly critical grammar fetishists. (I am not implying for a second that this is you Saph btw)


We're on a forum in which we type our comments. How hard is it to type out what you ant to say, and then re-read it to make sure it actually makes sense and conveys your message? If anything, it's simply good planning and prevents misunderstandings.

And, frankly, I don't care what your age group or background is. The lay of the land is such that we're on an English-speaking forum. As such, we need to make an effort to communicate clearly and effectively in that language. You can go ahead and preach tolerance until the mountains fall, and tar me with the brush of the "Grammatical Fetishist" if it lends credence to your (in my opinion, dubious) points, but the fact remains that we are communicating through the English language, which was, at the very least, guidelines for spelling and usage. ESL speakers aside, people should have a basic understanding of the language. Period. Otherwise, what did we all go to grammar school for and take English in High School?



See aforementioned break limit. Also, even though you have no interest, does not mean that you have any right condemn those that communicate poorly (for whatever reason)

So you suggest that we should all sit back and cluck our tongues over the fact that even native English speakers can't form a coherent sentence on paper (virtual or otherwise)? I think that we, as a society, have every right to make comment on this, and to take steps to correct this, before "lol omg u r teh hotness" becomes the standard.



No lets not get all flamey, I have diverged from the original posters intent to a small degree and wouldn't like to get the thread locked from my performing an exercise in encouraging tolerance... I fear the irony would be too great.
Anywho, if the intent can be descerned, then the language used is adequate.
Judging folks on the strength of their grammar alone is foolish IMHO.

Tolerance is not the same as ignoring the issue. Tolerance is "Hey, I see what you were trying to say, but here's a more effective manner to communicate." You can't just ignore an issue, hope it goes away, and call it tolerance. That's blind indifference.

quick_comment
2008-01-29, 11:57 AM
Maybe. Maybe politely bringing it to the offender's attention privately so as to avoid embarassing them, and asking them to try to do a better job at constructing their thoughts would work best.
Tact and discretion of course make everything better. I would nevertheless be wary of using even this method unless there's really a problem with communication(or with aesthetics if you're DMing or playing in the game in question). As Charity has pointed out, there are many cases where a few misspellings don't actually impede communication at all.



Maybe even just this thread in its self will cause some people to self-evaluate their own writings and realise they are more deficient than they thought they were, which in turn results in a general improvement in the written word on the boards?

Perhaps, but I found this thread(the original post, as well as a few of the posts expressing agreement with it) far too aggressive and confrontational. It could just as well cause a good storyteller to evaluate their own writings and conclude that they're not "good enough" for this forum, even if they're actually far above the norm in their ability to tell stories.

Edit:



Tolerance is "Hey, I see what you were trying to say, but here's a more effective manner to communicate."

If you consider that statement to be tolerant, I am curious to hear what you think would be an intolerant response to the same situation. I read that sentence as an assertion that your way of communicating is the One True Way(or at least A Strictly Better Way), which seems incompatible with tolerance for the point of view of the person you're communicating with.

Charity
2008-01-29, 11:58 AM
It would be churlish of me to point out your typo I guess. I shall just gaze upon it in secret glee

How hard somthing is depends heavily on who you are, grammar and spelling may be second nature to you, but for others it is a real struggle. To set oneself above such individuals because of ones education is (in my opinion) a pretty poor show.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-01-29, 12:04 PM
My point was to say that it is up to each person individually, regardless if they are the DM or they are a potential player, to make their posts as legible and concise as possible, and not the responsibility of the reader to translate/interpret the writer's meaning.
Communication is a two-way street. Yes, it is the responsibility of the speaker/writer to make the message clear. But it is also the responsibility of the listener/reader to take whatever steps necessary to understand the message.

While this concept is especially important when one or more parties has a particular problem with the way they process language—be it the use of an unfamiliar language, an affliction with a language disorder, or any similar complication, it's also important in "normal" situations. Everybody communicates in their own way. I'd be totally lost, for instance, if I didn't take the time to realize that Charity is ten times the cheeky jokester I'll ever be (though that side of him isn't on display in this thread). Otherwise, I could mistake many of his comments for a rude and inconsiderate insult. In order to avoid this, I have to put forth the effort to read the many hints that indicate a particular comment is a joke.

Now, you have to realize that when recieving a message, be it written, spoken, signed, or what have you, you do put up a certain level of effort in reading such signs. Now under most "normal" circumstances, the effort on the part of the reciever is so small as to be almost unnoticeable. But as difficulties and complications arise, it is unfairly one-sided to expect only the sender of the message to put forth any extra effort, is it not?

Yes, there is a breaking point. There is a point where bothe the sender and recievers have to say, "The message is not worth the effort." With a bit of good fortune, there may be other methods of communication available to the parties involved. If not, there is a total communication breakdown. But it is usually in the best interest of all parties, sender and reciever alike, to avoid such a breakdown. Otherwise everyone just winds up disgruntled or worse.

Leicontis
2008-01-29, 12:05 PM
The occasional spelling and/or grammar error is unavoidable. I also agree that those who are not native speakers of English should be given added leeway. However, in many cases the typed English of non-native speakers is actually much better than that of native speakers, perhaps due to the fact that the non-native speaker is concentrating hard on making their post proper English. Generally, the errors in their posts are errors of translation, which do impede understanding somewhat, but which are also quite expected and forgivable.

My biggest pet peeves, honestly, are the following:
their/they're/there
your/you're
too/two/to
alot
missing words (you know I mean)
forgetting about the existence of the "Shift" key

These are the written equivalent of "nukyuler".

Seriously, folks, when you adult native speakers of English write posts that would shame one of my mother's 3rd-grade (~9 y.o.) students, unless you have a learning disability, I will not take you seriously. I don't ask everyone to write like graduate-level English majors, but from those who don't have a major obstacle (lack of age, non-native speaker, learning disability), I do expect posts that are up to some basic standards.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-01-29, 12:11 PM
I don't ask everyone to write like graduate-level English majors, but from those who don't have a major obstacle (lack of age, non-native speaker, learning disability), I do expect posts that are up to some basic standards.
Question is: How do you tell if one has a major obstacle? Should they be forced to bring it up in every single one of their posts?

Scathach
2008-01-29, 12:16 PM
Ive never minded the minor sort of mistakes. Thiy happen from time too time and its generally not worth getting upset over. Some peoples have a little bit of trouble with English and there not always going to post perfectly. it happens. Some folks just too fast type but most times you can still read their posts without having WTF moments.


0th3r people sem 2 bee almost deliberately 0btuse wen it comes to writing lol. 1 wonders if thy bothered ever 2 go two class. reading posts buy such l33t peeps can a 4real hedach. its you thinking they be just 2 lazy two both3r too try. a 3ffort shuld b put in 2 make a post cohirint enough so their sum folks who can reed it.

Tormsskull
2008-01-29, 12:28 PM
But as difficulties and complications arise, it is unfairly one-sided to expect only the sender of the message to put forth any extra effort, is it not?


No, I don't think that it is. Silence is a grand alternative. If you wish to send a message (especially in a venue like a message board where you turn on your computer, connect to a website, log in to your individual account, read all posts in a thread, and then decide to post a reply), it would seem quite obvious that your message has some kind of merit (or at least, you believe it does).

Maybe you want to communicate your thoughts on a subject because you want to put those thoughts up for criticism, maybe you think your thoughts will help someone else out, maybe you think your thoughts will cause someone to chuckle, whatever the reason, your attempt at communication has a purpose.

In order to achieve that purpose, it is inherently your responsibility to transmit those thoughts in a manner that is understandable to your target audience.

Or, in other words, if you truly believe your thoughts/idea/message that you are trying to transmit have value to them and as such are going to enrich the lives of the readers to some degree, it is incumbent upon you to communicate them clearly.



But it is usually in the best interest of all parties, sender and reciever alike, to avoid such a breakdown. Otherwise everyone just winds up disgruntled or worse.

I don't know. Maybe you have a specific example that you're thinking of that would highlight your point?

When I'm reading communications between people, it might go something like this:

Poster A: I think D&D 3.5 is the best edition of D&D so far as it is the most streamlined and well thought out system to date. I believe it has many positives in its mechanics as opposed to previous editions.
Poster B: I have to disagree. While I believe that 3.5 is pretty good, and I'll agree that it is simple to learn, I believe something important was lost when the rules were simplified from 2nd edition.
Poster C: I thnk 3.x rulz cuz I can make a powrful char by using that on splat book about psions to take assume feats that combine with the core stuff to get a powerful guy.

See, Poster A and Poster B both have specific messages they are trying to get across, and both explain their thoughts in understandable words. Now, even though I wrote Poster C's "post", it is difficult for me to read. Instead of reading it quickly and absorbing what it means, I have to translate it into understandable words.

If I had my choice, I would just eliminate Poster C's entry, rather than translate it and try to figure out what he was saying.

Shhalahr Windrider
2008-01-29, 12:47 PM
As I said, the responsibility is on all parties involved. If the only complication is that the sender is not taking his or her responsibility seriously, the recievers are justified in ceasing their efforts at understanding the sender until such a time that the sender behaves more responsibly.

In other words, the reciever of a message shares with the sender the responsibility for more effective communciation, but that doesn't mean the sender is ever with out his or her own responsibility.

The trick is figuring out when a complication is due to irresponsibility on either the part of the sender or the recievers or if that complication is due to something else that can be overcome through mutual effort on all parties. Sometimes this task is easy. Other times it's not.

Tokiko Mima
2008-01-29, 01:06 PM
What I think both sides are saying on this, but somehow not agreeing is that there is a minimum level of English proficiency required to really be understood, and it's usually not very hard to reach via spell check or saying your post out loud before clicking 'Submit Reply.' You do not need to speak perfectly, just intelligibly (and yes I did have to double check my spelling on that.)

To do otherwise is not unacceptable, but will result in your post going unread by some despite the effort and wit contained therein. Writing well does not make one smarter, only more likely to be understood.

Or in D&D-speak, you need to have at least a 2 skill ranks in Read/write Language: English, a free +2 Firefox spellchecker, or the English Proficiency Feat to qualify for the Competent Writer PrC. Anything less and you will need to find some other way to gain the same class features, which requires some creative multiclassing in the Map Artist/Illustrator, Dynamic Idealist, and/or Scenario Planner PrC's. :smallsmile: