Disappointment with the grammar and spelling of some TA users

I've noticed that many of the forum discussions that TA has tweeted lately have contained glaring grammatical and spelling errors.  I find this disappointing and even personally embarrassing as it inevitably reflects not only on the original poster but on the forum as a whole and, by extension, the larger atheist community.  I know written communication isn't everything, and it certainly isn't a high priority among the public generally, but we should try to meet a higher standard.  Given the unlikelihood that individual posters will suddenly take more care when writing, I think the operators of the site's Twitter feed should consider not tweeting discussion titles with serious errors.

That's one poster's opinion, for whatever it's worth.

Tags: grammar, spelling

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I know from personal experience - and that's really the only perspective from which anyone can speak - that when I'm writing, every time I have to stop to consider which grammatical rule applies, is like throwing a speed bump into the flow of thought.

The phenomenon is reminiscent of a line I recall from years past, from the TV show, "Happy Days," in which "Fonzie" had quit the garage and had taken the job of driving, of all things, an ice-cream truck. He complained, "I just get it up to 60, and I gotta stop for some kid on a street corner, waving a dime!"

As for cursive writing, I like it, and I would vote to keep it - however, except for my signature, I print everything I write by hand, because my handwriting is atrocious, but having done design work, my printing skills are not. Yet I've seen some handwriting - mostly that of girls - that could well be considered works of art, and I would miss that.

I must ask, however, when (and what) was the last book you read that was written in cursive? Why do you suppose that is?

Even electronically, on my computer, I have fonts that would let me write posts all day in flowing cursive, yet TA's software, its HTML, will not recognize it and should I attempt to copy and paste it from a text program, will change it to a standard font that TA's software recognizes.

I don't have an answer, except that possibly cursive writing is dying. Though I never use it, I would still miss it, but then all generations tend to yearn for things past.

The argument is either valid, or it's not.

I understand the line of reasoning to which many of you subscribe, that content is more important than form and that posters who struggle with language are not likely to suddenly improve.  I tried to acknowledged such concerns in my original post.

A particular aspect of the issue that concerns me is the appearance of this site's Twitter feed, and I think a good solution to the problem of too many errors in thread titles would be for the tweeter(s) to edit such tweets.

I think there is a middle ground between spelling/grammar "Nazism" and complete disregard for spelling and grammar conventions, and I think editors are in a good position to occupy that middle ground.

@David - my comments were directed solely to what goes on here.

I have no idea what goes on, on Twitter, as I don't "tweet;" very few things of importance can be said within 140 characters or less. I'm sure I must have an account, as I continue to receive Richard Dawkins' "tweets," but even he doesn't have the space to say anything really significant. I'm really not sure why he bothers.

Some would argue that if you can't communicate your point in a sentence--or in, say, 140 characters--then you don't understand it yourself. :)

Are you aware, David, that you used 141 in that comment?

Yes, two of which constituted an emoticon so you (and other longwinded posters like Unseen) wouldn't take the sentiment too personally. :)

One of my favorite quotations, or should I say several of my favorite quotations, involve the notion that expressing oneself concisely and briefly is preferable to, and more difficult than, doing so at length.  A discussion of such quotations can be found here: http://quoteinvestigator.com/2012/04/28/shorter-letter/

Emoticon unnecessary, I never take anything personally, or seriously either - seriously --

But as your link itself made clear, sometimes, when commenting, we don't have time to be more concise.

Then we come to the part in your provided link, which cites a quotation by Spanish writer, Baltasar Gracian: “Good things, when short, are twice as good” - try telling THAT to a woman and see if you get a second date!

A couple of decades ago, the youth of the era were known collectively as "the MTV Generation," equating their short attention spans with the short, choppy scenes from the then TV show, MTV. I can't help wondering if the 140 character "tweets" weren't designed for today's youth who seem to have even shorter attention spans, or as I've come to call them, "the ADD Generation."

Personally I don't think so.  I don't usually by into theories of societal declension.  To begin with, I don't know how one would determine the average attention spans of previous generations.  As far as Twitter goes, plenty of non-youths find that Twitter is a convenient and enjoyable vehicle for communication.  And, as you have no doubt surmised, I don't believe a preference for brevity necessarily implies a short attention span.

"by"?   That will be a ten dollar spelling fine. *joke*

 

@Wesley - nice catch!

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