top posting (off-topic)

Chad Perrin perrin at
Sun Nov 25 17:55:41 PST 2007

On Fri, Nov 23, 2007 at 10:48:38AM -0800, David Benfell wrote:
> On Fri, 23 Nov 2007 11:31:51 -0500, Bart Silverstrim wrote:
> > 
> > We have adults who can't be bothered to tell the difference 
> > between lose and loose in writing. Wonderful things encouraged by people 
> > justifying their lazy writing styles.
> > 
> This might be slightly unfair.
> A large proportion of the population has *never* been able to spell correctly
> or to use proper grammar.  A difference between now, and a few years ago, is
> that we are more often encountering their expressions in a written form, as
> they, too, gain access to the Internet.

I think it's kind of a chicken-and-egg problem: we don't really know for
sure whether TOFU[1] posting spurred much of the rise of illiteracy or
the increase of relative illiteracy on the Internet led to an increase in
TOFU posting.  Which came first?

Ultimately, I think greater frequency of TOFU posting and a reduced
average ability to order one's thoughts to compose meaningful discourse
each contribute to the other.

> And an insistence on grammatical and spelling correctness is its own form of
> elitism.

Is it?  In my case, it tends to be a couple of things, neither of which
is particularly elitist as far as I can tell:

  1. an attempt to help others learn how to think more clearly and
  express themselves more precisely

  2. an easy way to filter those who do not think very clearly so I can
  spend more of my time on those who do, since better grammar and
  spelling (along with certain other communication skills) tends to be
  indicative of clearer thought

I won't ignore someone who displays appalling lack of writing capabilities
just because of poor spelling or grammar.  I sometimes need to cut down
on how much stuff gets read in a given day, so I have time to do
something with the information I get from my reading, and when the need
is great enough it's usually the people who don't communicate worth a
damn that get cut first.

CCD CopyWrite Chad Perrin [ ]
Kent Beck: "I always knew that one day Smalltalk would replace Java.  I
just didn't know it would be called Ruby."

More information about the freebsd-questions mailing list