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Sun, May. 15th, 2005, 07:26 pm
nataschadragon: The Internet is filled with children who can't spell.

So, I finally found some time and motivation to sort through some of my unread email. I'm a member of multiple mailing lists/groups so, on average, I usually have several hundred unread emails waiting for me to get to them. And after sorting through about 50 or so, just from one group, I have been forcibly reminded that the internet is filled with children.  Therefore, I have several suggestions to make to them:
  1. Proper spelling and grammar aren't just used by adults.  They are useful tools that help you communicate clearly.  Not to mention, that mastering those tools now sets you up for success later in life.
  2. Email is not the same as chatting in AIM or MSN Messenger.  An IM is just that, an instant message.  In an IM, it's perfectly acceptable to use shortcuts, such as net speak and sentence fragments.  Email, on the other hand, is the 21st century's equivalent of a letter.  Complete sentences are appreciated, as is proper capitalization, spelling out complete words, avoiding net speak whenever possible, and using punctuation where necessary.  It takes no longer to type out 'the' than 'teh'.  It's only one extra keystroke to capitalize 'I'.  Commas and periods are your friends.  Don't try and get around capitalization by using caps lock.  All caps on the net means shouting.  Use it sparingly, for emphasis. 
  3. Mailing lists and groups are focused on topics.  Therefore, if you send a message to the group about anything that is NOT that topic, then it is, by definition, OFF topic.  (Some of you might have seen OT in subject lines.  That shows others that the post is off topic without having to read it.)  Simple concept, right?  Forwards, chain letters, even that little email with the dogs and cats that you thought was cute do NOT belong on a mailing list or group.  If in doubt, don't send it.
  4. The internet is a VERY poor place to do schoolwork.  While anything 'published' is only as accurate as the person who wrote it, the internet is generally far less accurate than hard copy sources.  Now, by all means, ask a group for advice about paper topics or how you should do a presentation, if the general topic relates to the group.    Do NOT ask for help if it's not even remotely related to the group's topic.  You can ask an anime group about something relating to Japan or Japanese culture, as they are related.   Asking your anime group for help with the paper you have to write about Shakespeare is NOT related.  Do NOT ask members of the group to do your research for you or help you write your paper.
  5. Keep your signatures short.  This means all of the bits and pieces you add to the end of every email.  In general, your list doesn't care if your initials spell out something cute or find that quoted poetry moving.  If you have more than one alias/nickname/pen-name that your group might know you by, then by all means, use it.  A few small quotations are fine, especially if they relate to the group.  Links to your webpage are also fine.  A 5 stanza poem or an image that more than doubles the size of your email are definitely over the top.  As a rule, less is more.
  6. Final words of wisdom.  Pull out your common sense, dust it off, and put it to use.  Odds are, if you're 13 pretending to be 30, members of your group will see through it.  (Since some of them likely ARE 30.)  Just because you think something is cute doesn't mean others will find it cute.  Excessive use of ANYTHING gets very old, very fast.  My advice, apply this old adage to your time on the net: It's better to keep silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and confirm it. 
(Deleted comment)

Mon, May. 16th, 2005 04:17 pm (UTC)

If I ever ran one, it would be. Unfortunately, I have neither the time nor the patience for something like that.
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Mon, May. 16th, 2005 05:12 pm (UTC)

That makes it harder to follow threads, but I've been on lists where that was how the admins preferred it, in order to cut down on one-liner emails. I prefer replying to one thread at a time, since some threads don't interest me and I simply delete them without reading them. If you reply to multiple threads in one email, you're kind of forced to read it.

My latest gripe is having to wade through all of the crap to get at the kinds of messages that are the reason I signed up for the list in the first place. (Motivation for the post, obviously.) One list has some really good traffic, but I have to put up with not being able to find a way to consistently filter it (I filter each list into it's own folder) AND having the owner of the list plug her books, which are pretty much epic fanfiction with the names changed to protect her from getting sued. *sigh* Everything has it's price, I suppose.