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surewhynot
post May 18 2005, 03:53 AM
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I dont know were to put this. But I had a question for Mata and couldn't find a question site. But hopefully Mata will check this and respond.

My questions is: Why do we have to type in proper English? I mean, do we have to type, like, with quotations and things like that, or can we just type, like, periods, commas, and exclamations? Do we have to capitalise everything? Do we need to double space inbetween sentences? Sorry, I just thought about doing this!


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Quoth(The Raven)
post May 18 2005, 04:13 AM
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QUOTE (surewhynot @ May 17 2005, 10:53 PM)
I dont know were to put this.  But I had a question for Mata and couldnt find a question site.  But hopefully Mata will check this and respond.

My questions is=  Why do we have to type in proper english?  I mean do we have to type like with quotaions and things like that or can we just type like periods commas and exlamations?  Do we have to capilize everything?  Do we need to double spaces inbetween sentences?  Sorry I just thought about doing this!
*


Well, I can't speak for Mata, but many of us feel that "Computer speak" is deteriorating the English Language (Not that Society in general needs any help destroying English...). There is also the fact that English evolved over many centuries, and has developed many useful devices for making reading easier, faster, and more enjoyable. And, more importantly, more accurate.
Commas, for example, inform us when to pause in reading a sentence, so that we can keep the author's cadence. Quotation marks tell us when the thought being expressed is not an original thought, but is being 'Borrowed', because it expresses a thought better or more poetically than the Author has yet to do. Parenthesis tell us When a thougt is Germaine to one being expressed, but needs to be set apart. Correct spelling ensures that the author's word choice is respected. To, Too and Two, for example sound much the same, but are really very different words, with very different meanings. And there are a thousand other reasons correct English makes communicating more accurate, and a lot more fun...

Sorry for the lecture... laugh.gif

Now where were we?


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Mata
post May 18 2005, 03:34 PM
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From the rules:

QUOTE
This forum is for people who actually want to be able to read each-other's posts easily. This means using capital letters, punctuation in appropriate places, and the full spelling of words. A little abbreviation occasionally does no harm, but if yr psts lk lyk dis then it's harder work for everyone else to read. Forums are about communication and excessive abbreviation damages this for everyone. Learning to type in correct English (or foreign languages) is an incredibly useful skill and it's worth learning to do as soon as possible. It might seem like hard work to begin with but it does get a lot easier and you will benefit from it in the long run when you are capable of expressing yourself more clearly. We all make mistakes, and some of us have limited language skills for good reasons, but I do request that everyone makes the effort to the limit of their ability.


I request that people make their best efforts to punctuate and spell correctly for the ease of communication that this brings. Essentially it is a great deal easier to understand what a person means when they are carefully structured the sentence.

As Quoth says, commas are sometimes used to indicate a point for breathing in a sentence, but they also indicate clauses. In this sentence, like many that I write, there is a sub-clause that I felt was important to my meaning but not so essential to require a full sentence to itself. If I had removed those commas then the sentence would have run together and felt garbled. A garbled sentence removes clarity of communication.

When we are online in a forum like this words are all we have. Increasingly in the modern world words are the primary means of communicating with people from all aspects of our lives, from friends up to employers. If we do not use the words in their formal ways then we risk being misunderstood, which leads to many problems. I've had to stop a few arguments in the issues forum because people expressed themselves badly!

Using correct English is also about showing respect for other people. It demonstrates that you are willing to take the time to compose your thoughts into a coherent structure so that other people can engage with you. You'll find that we are very big on respect around here.

About a month ago a had to ban a person. He believed that the reason I had repeatedly given him warnings was simply that I disagreed with him. He couldn't understand that being disrespectful to other members of the forum wasn't a matter of opinion but a matter of civility. You can be extremely respectful towards others and still disagree with them on many issues. To give another example, there was a person who came on here with some quite strong conservative political views which sparked a very heated debate. I had several private requests that I should ban the person for troublemaking, but I refused to do so because the person at all times maintained a polite manner of talking about their views and was happy to explain why they felt that they were not offensive.

A few good words can change the world and put our lives into context. 'One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind' is a perfect example. It just doesn't carry the same weight when written as '1 sml stp fr man, 1 big jmp fr mankind'!

Good use of the English language is about clarity and communication. Why would you even bother typing something if you didn't want people to understand what you mean clearly? There is also the aspect that these forums have a very significant section about issues that matter to people, ranging from politics to suicide and many other things in-between. Without clarity of intent it would be easy for people to misunderstand each-other leading to some very emotional exchanges.

I don't ask for absolute formality in all things. Double-spacing after a full stop would be rather excessive (and also not likely to work due to a foible of HTML), but a good attempt at capitalisation, commas, apostrophes and spelling is expected. Note here that I do say 'a good attempt'. No-one expects perfect diction at all times, and you're more than welcome to use less formal language abbreviation such as 'you're'. There are also some relatively standard web phrases that can be used, but please do so sparingly. 'BTW' for 'by the way' is okay, but if you're in no hurry then type the whole thing. If you're going to type 'LOL' then please make it accurate: did you really laugh out loud, or do you just want to indicate that you found it amusing? If it's the latter then try and find a way of complimenting the person without resorting to an abbreviation of expression. Again, this is about clarity.

For the same reason, we generally don't have a problem with the use of similies. The written language can be hard to understand the tone of, especially when it's coming from a person that you might only know through online communication, so putting a wink wink.gif after something that you mean jokingly can save a lot of offense or confusion. If you found something has made you smile and you want to show this then by all means use a smiley.

I hope that answers your questions, but if you want to ask more questions then please feel free to do so. Have a look at the style used by other people on my forums and you'll soon see the way that they communicate. Many people have trouble to start off with and find it slow and hard-going, but they find that after a couple of weeks that there is no longer any speed difference and that they can express themselves more clearly.

I quite often get comments that say this forum is unlike others on the web. I think that the language rule is one of the reasons for this. It enforces a level of respect in the writing that means that people begin with the appearence of civility rather than disregard, and that can only be a good thing.


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elphaba2
post May 18 2005, 07:35 PM
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Also, some of us (well, really, just me) are easily panicked by improper English and have had serious, long-lasting and emotional discussions about the apostrophe.

Some of us are dorks, eh?wink.gif


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Novander
post May 18 2005, 09:34 PM
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Plus, there are the people to whom English is not a first language. It makes it a lot easier to translate if the spelling and grammar are correct.


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surewhynot
post May 18 2005, 09:45 PM
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Ok. I understand now. Thanks to all. Now that I understand a bit more i will use more proper english. I also remember somebody saying <I think Mata> that if you keep doing it it will become natural. So, thank you.


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Mata
post May 18 2005, 09:57 PM
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Yes, it definitely does get easier with practice!


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depressed lonely...
post May 20 2005, 12:18 AM
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This is as good of a board as it is because of the way people type coherantly.
It know it has helped me get more readable, if I look back on my first posts they look terrible compared to what I'm doing now and allthough it's far from perfect my spelling has got better for use of the internet.


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surewhynot
post May 25 2005, 09:08 PM
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Ok, new question. Do you, Mata, give people warnings before you block them?


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Greeneyes
post May 25 2005, 09:58 PM
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QUOTE (surewhynot @ May 25 2005, 09:08 PM)
Ok, new question.  Do you, Mata, give people warnings before you block them?
*


Have ye not noticed the 'warn' bar under your avatar on all your posts?


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Mata
post May 25 2005, 10:18 PM
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It depends. In the majority of cases yes I do, but there have been occasional breaches of etiquette that have been so severe that I have banned a person instantly.

I have a great team of mods who help me out. They will occasionally do a banning for me if there has been a very clear breach of the rules, but often they will give a warning and a suspension pending my decision.

The mods or I will generally give warnings for first offences. If a person then repeats the problem then, depending on the severity and the time elapsed between the first warning and the repeat, we will either give them another warning or ban them. Usually people only get two warnings, but it does depend greatly on the offence.

I tend to have a lot of patience, more so than is perhaps sometimes wise, but I do try to give people a chance to reform their behaviour. Often problems come from people not being very good at expressing themselves in a way that shows respect to the other members of the board. It's not a skill that is usually needed on the internet I guess! Communication has to be a two way thing, so people need to be prepared to listen to others as well as write what they think. Even a casual dismissal can sometimes be very offensive if misworded.

There have been probably more warnings in the past over people not be mindful of the feelings of others than for anything else. Thankfully the serious banning issues (the rule one 'hatred' topics and related sentiments) don't turn up on here often, so usually it's quite small things that are being blown out of proportion.

I've said it in other places but it doesn't do any harm to repeat it: if a post breaks the rules of the forum then don't start an argument just report it to the mods. However, if the post is simply unclear, or infuriating, try expressing your own response clearly and politely to engage with the person and try to get a better understanding of why they think like that. There are people on here that I disagree with, and I find myself very interested in their opinions because it's always good to gain a greater understanding of people who think differently to yourself!

So 'yes', in the majority of case we usually do give warnings before banning a person, and often we give more than one. Normally it's two warnings before the balance tips from 'wayward' to 'dull'. Usually people only get barred when the mod team or I gets very bored of running around after someone who's having a tantrum.


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surewhynot
post May 27 2005, 12:34 AM
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Ok. Thanks, see what happened was that i couldn't login one day. Not saying anything so I made sure I wasen't banned!


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surewhynot
post May 27 2005, 12:49 AM
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You know the little dots under your avatar? Well the thing that says things like guppy well how do you change what it says?


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Quoth(The Raven)
post May 27 2005, 01:36 AM
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Go to the "My controls" page. On the left hand side, click on "Edit profile info"... You'll get the page for entering/changing your personal info. The first line should read "Custom member title", with a space to type your quote (If it doesn't, you haven't posted enough, yet...). When you've entered your saying (Keep it clean!), click on "Amend my Profile" at the bottom of the page. Easy. smile.gif


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voices_in_my_hea...
post May 27 2005, 10:04 PM
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I don't think you can change it until you reach 100 post, though.


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Mata
post May 27 2005, 11:20 PM
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I might've reduced it to 50. I can't remember and I'm not about to go looking it up at the moment. It'll be a surprise!


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Ashbless
post May 28 2005, 06:21 PM
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I could have written a short novel by this point
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I think I noticed new guppy titles as a change. Mata, did you put those in when you may've changed from 100 to 50?


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Mata
post May 29 2005, 10:40 PM
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Yep. That's the time I was fiddling around with the settings, so if I did change it then that was when it happened.


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surewhynot
post Jul 3 2005, 03:34 AM
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QUOTE (Mata @ May 27 2005, 05:20 PM)
I might've reduced it to 50. I can't remember and I'm not about to go looking it up at the moment. It'll be a surprise!
*



I did it like at six or seven....


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Mata
post Jul 3 2005, 06:20 PM
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It could be down to ten then. *shrugs* It's not really a thing that needs to be held back from people so I don't see it as something that should take ages to get to.


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surewhynot
post Jul 4 2005, 04:07 AM
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Im still just trying to figure out all the things you can do!


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surewhynot
post Jul 4 2005, 04:12 AM
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Seems like i am the only one knows bout this thread! Ok new question, the thing below the member title what does that mean?


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Mata
post Jul 4 2005, 12:13 PM
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That's just a visual key to how many posts the person has made. I've got lots, you've got a few... Oo, you've made me notice I'm coming up for 5,000 posts.


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Ashbless
post Jul 4 2005, 03:05 PM
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I could have written a short novel by this point
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New question. smile.gif

I was curious about your new tendency towards looped animations. Is it something new you are trying out or have the animations just tended to 'feel right' in that format? Is it just something you like for misc. type animations?

(I'm thinking of Duckflaps, Hitler, and Tunafish Gopher Chicken. )


huh.gif smile.gif


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Mata
post Jul 4 2005, 05:29 PM
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Pretty much it's something that I'll do if I fancy it and if it seems a good choice for the material. If an animation is less than a minute long then it can be a fun thing to do.

Some things could be dragged out by padding it with slightly different repetitions, or using a longer peice of music, but I think that without new 'content', ie. actual stuff you've made, then it's just dull. I'd rather have a thirty second loop which works perfectly well than a three minute animation where nothing new is added to the mix after the first thirty seconds... Not thinking on any site in particular...


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