Look, I've been reading this board for something like 2 years. I've been a member for less time, and, in fact, this is my first thread. I've read the
crazyass ramblings about exopolitics and the reasoned debates about witness credibility. I've seen smart people say stupid things and stupid people
say smart things (MUCH more rarely). I've argued with atheists and the faithful; angered the old-hands and the n00bs. I've seen some folks in the
"Bigfoot stole my budgie's UFO spaceship with the help of fairies" camp that have made sense and "skeptics" who are so transparently dissembling as to
make their neat shoes, mirrored sun-glasses, earpiece, and NSA ID cards practically a part of their avatars ("Well, OBVIOUSLY it was a Chinese
lantern, reflected through a thermal inversion of swamp gas, conflated with Venus, and you're an idiot for thinking otherwise. FAKE!!1!"). And I think
that I can safely say that there's one element -- one textual feature -- that seems nigh-on universal to every discussion:
DAMNED NEAR NONE OF YOU KNOW HOW TO USE THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE, GOD DAMMIT!
I'm not a grammar nazi. I'm not gonna complain if you end a sentence with a preposition ("That is the sort of grammar, up with which, I will not put!"
sigh.) or split an infinitive ("... to go boldly where no man has gone before!") or even misspell a word ("I NEVER make mistooks!"). English is the
great slut-language that borrows from others with feckless abandon, leading to possibly the most-difficult-to-spell language on the planet. But
there's a few things that are just... I was going to say "wrong" but it's much more apt is to describe them as being "just plain _STUPID_".
There's a bunch of quirks that have become common on the internet in general that are the textual equivalent of picking-your-nose-and-eating-it as a
If you don't know the difference between 'accept' and 'except', STFU!
If you don't know the difference between 'to', 'too', and 'two', STFU!
If you don't know the difference between 'It's' and 'Its', STFU!
If you don't know the difference between 'they're', 'there', and 'their', STFU!
If you don't know the difference between 'you're' and 'your', STFU!
If you don't know the difference between 'affect' and 'effect', THEN S.T.F.U.!
Start your sentences with capital letters. Put a space (or even two, depending on how you were raised) after a period. Don't randomly capitalize whole
words because you think they're important (that may play in some versions of the Christian Bible ("the LORD sayeth "Bring unto me the CHILDREN for to
hump") but it just makes you look like a stupid yokel with nothing worth listening to, here). Emphasis, sure, (see above), but when you do it _every_
time one of your pet theory's keywords crops up, then STFU!
And that's another thing: apostrophes! Apostrophes denote either 1) a contraction of the words 'is', 'was', or 'has' or 2) possession (or, for the
truly pedantic, 3) an apostrophe is a dramatic device wherein a character addresses the non-sentient aspects of reality as though they were
concscious, eg 'Oh, stars, why do you curse me so?' but that's not especially relevant here.). It is NOT 'the punctuation you put in front of an 's'
when you want to add emphasis'. That is NOT what it means. Jesus KEE-RIST!
It doesn't _matter_ whether your ideas are right -- when your online persona is the equivalent of a mongoloid dwarf farting into a microphone and
calling it 'debate', your ideas will be rejected reflexively. That is, _if_ you think your ideas are right, you'd damned-well better make sure you are
presenting them in such a fashion as to maximize your credibility, not minimize it. If you truly _do_ know 'The Truth' about something, you have a
_responsibility_ to communicate it effectively, not to perform the modern equivalent of filling out a job application in crayon.
The ability to speak precisely is intimately entangled with the ability to _think_ precisely. I have NEVER met or talked with someone who could think
with precision and accuracy (and if you don't know the difference between the two, then... well... you know what to do...) who didn't also have the
ability to communicate precisely and accurately. Yes, often, the language of choice has been 'math' or 'C++' and not English, but still, such folk
generally know enough to ask someone else to help them express themselves in natural language when needed. And if you can't think precisely, you have
abrogated the responsibilities inherent to the possession of a mind -- you do NOT have the right to an opinion anymore. You are simply not GOOD ENOUGH
at _thinking_ to form an opinion. Just tell yourself "I am too stupid to judge that" and be done with it. (If you can't think of at least 5 subjects
in one minute on which you are not qualified to hold an opinion, then you have virtually no chance of ever becoming less of a cosmic jackass.)
Here's a tip: read your post word by word. If you can't answer the question "What's the definition of THAT word?", then DON'T FRACKIN' USE IT! If the
best you can do is "Well, it's like when you... y'know.... do that thing that's like that other thing? It's like that." then either pick a different
word or, *GASP!*, LOOK IT UP. Generally, ctrl-k will shift focus to the search bar in Firefox. Type in "define:somewordIdon'treallyunderstand" and hit
enter on the google search. Read the results, underSTAND them, and THEN use the right word.
And really, there isn't much excuse for misspellings, either. Most modern browsers have a built-in spell-check that will, in firefox, for example,
underline any suspect words in red. Just right-click on the word and pick the right spelling from the suggestions provided.
Look, folks, you could have the most interesting ideas in the word -- the concepts that could unlock the universe for anyone who reads them -- and you
will be blown off as a crank if you don't know how to freakin' EXPRESS them! I can't even count the number of times when I've had to ask "Is English
their second language or are they just stupid?". Most of the time? Most of the time I end up concluding "Stupid" and for good reason.
Oh, and fer Pete's sake, learn how to use adverbs, you clods! YEESH!
edit on 27-2-2011 by Stunspot because: Left out an apostrophe.