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surewhynot
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!
Quoth(The Raven)
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?
Mata
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.
elphaba2
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
Novander
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.
surewhynot
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.
Mata
Yes, it definitely does get easier with practice!
depressed lonely crazy person
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.
surewhynot
Ok, new question. Do you, Mata, give people warnings before you block them?
Greeneyes
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?
Mata
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.
surewhynot
Ok. Thanks, see what happened was that i couldn't login one day. Not saying anything so I made sure I wasen't banned!
surewhynot
You know the little dots under your avatar? Well the thing that says things like guppy well how do you change what it says?
Quoth(The Raven)
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
voices_in_my_head
I don't think you can change it until you reach 100 post, though.
Mata
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!
Ashbless
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?
Mata
Yep. That's the time I was fiddling around with the settings, so if I did change it then that was when it happened.
surewhynot
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....
Mata
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.
surewhynot
Im still just trying to figure out all the things you can do!
surewhynot
Seems like i am the only one knows bout this thread! Ok new question, the thing below the member title what does that mean?
Mata
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.
Ashbless
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
Mata
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...
eleraama
Mata--
Is there a trick to using the amazon links? I tried to do it the other day, but I'm not sure you got credit for what I bought... Or does amazon just refuse to notify the buyer?

PS-
I was reading the blog entry about the marine biologist named haddock, and I suddenly remembered when I was little I too wanted to be a marine biologist (who didn't, really?), and I wanted to change my name to Airon Fishe. (yes, Airon is pronounced like Aaron. I realised then, as now, that it's ridiculous to spell it that way.)
Mata
There's no trick to it, I think it just records the link source at the start of a session and gives me 5% if you make a purchase. I highly doubt that there is any way for you to directly find out if I got the money, but there have been a few sales this week so it's likely I did get creditted. What did you buy? I get a list of things people have been buying (for obvious privacy reasons I don't know who buys what though) so I can check on that that your items appeared.

I was rather tickled by the occupation/name combination. It would be a bit like me having the surname 'Qwerty'!
eleraama
I bought Garth Nix's Sabriel in hardcover.
Mata
Yes, I saw that one. Thank you! Sues loves those books, so I remember seeing that and approving of the buyer's taste in books smile.gif

There haven't been a lot of sales, but there have been some good ones. I think we all have fantastic taste!
Ashbless
QUOTE (Mata @ Jul 17 2005, 07:59 AM)
I was rather tickled by the occupation/name combination. It would be a bit like me having the surname 'Qwerty'!
*


My favourite combination is a dentist who is now teaching the profession. Dr. David Sweet.

/spam
pgrmdave
Is it just me, or is there a limit of ten total quotes, including nested, on any single post? If so, why?
Mata
I can't remember if that is a setting, but I might have that turned on, yes. If it is a board setting, the reason why is simply that if you have more quotes than that then people will spend their whole time scrolling through quotes they've already seen than reading your opinions.
eleraama
Not really a question, but I'd like to point out the irony:
I just clicked on a banner (my second today) that asked Hate Spam? Get Rid of it! or something ot that effect, and when I clicked tried to download something onto my computer without asking. Would've been more appropriate if it had been about spyware, but still... A banner ad for anti-spam that tried to spyware?
voices_in_my_head
I keep getting pop ups that say "Hate Pop-ups? So do we! Come to our site to get rid of all your pop-up problems!"

Hypocrites. dry.gif
Jatopian
Why, when quoting a post, do I see [ snapback ] (without spaces) and then a number at the end of the quote?
Mata
Pop-ups things: well, I don't know what's in the software they're trying to install. They might really be good bits of software, but like you I've decided that I don't want to take the risk.

Snapback: the snapback tag is a link to the post that you're quoting from. It generates a small icon that people can click if they want to see the post that you're replying to.
voices_in_my_head
You'd think that if someone was smart enough to create a decent program for blocking pop-ups, they wouldn't be so stupid to advertise it through a pop-up.

Maybe not, though.
Quoth(The Raven)
Alright, without saying too much (I'm a bit superstitious, and don't want to jinx it...), I expect to come into some money soon, and being the generous (*cough, Cough!*) type that I am, I figured I'd share some with Mata. Being American, though, and relatively new to the internet, I'm not sure how to go about this... Rates of exchange, and all that...

Seriously, though, the Matazone has given me some of the best times I ever had (Sad as that may sound), and I don't know when I'll ever be able to contribute again, so I'd like to contribute, while I can...

Any ideas, people?
Mata
The main method is through PayPal, but they take a few percent so if you're sending a lot then it might be better to send a money order to me which you can get drawn up in banks for about $8 (I think).

As always, I don't want donations from people who can't afford to send them, but if people can then any support is greatly appreciated.
Quoth(The Raven)
QUOTE (Mata @ Aug 12 2005, 06:07 AM)
The main method is through PayPal, but they take a few percent so if you're sending a lot then it might be better to send a money order to me which you can get drawn up in banks for about $8 (I think).

As always, I don't want donations from people who can't afford to send them, but if people can then any support is greatly appreciated.
*


Well, hey, I really feel I owe you. Not only has the Matazone given me a great deal of entertainment, but my writing skills have improved, enormously... primarily, my ability to invent fiction on the fly. It's all about practice, apparently, and these forums have made it virtually painless to do so...

So, if ever you get down, and sad, please remember how many lives you've touched, just by establishing and maintaining this digital lunatic asylum, and if there's anything I can do, including adding a few dollars to the kitty when I can afford it, then I'll do so, gladly.

Again, thanks for everything you do.
JimiJimi
Hi there. I was just wondering what the differences between Mr. SB's head and the IPB logo in the blue box on the main forum index was.

Thanks,
Jimi.
Quoth(The Raven)
QUOTE (Quoth(The Raven) @ Aug 13 2005, 10:48 PM)
QUOTE (Mata @ Aug 12 2005, 06:07 AM)
The main method is through PayPal, but they take a few percent so if you're sending a lot then it might be better to send a money order to me which you can get drawn up in banks for about $8 (I think).

As always, I don't want donations from people who can't afford to send them, but if people can then any support is greatly appreciated.
*


Well, hey, I really feel I owe you. Not only has the Matazone given me a great deal of entertainment, but my writing skills have improved, enormously... primarily, my ability to invent fiction on the fly. It's all about practice, apparently, and these forums have made it virtually painless to do so...

So, if ever you get down, and sad, please remember how many lives you've touched, just by establishing and maintaining this digital lunatic asylum, and if there's anything I can do, including adding a few dollars to the kitty when I can afford it, then I'll do so, gladly.

Again, thanks for everything you do.
*



Eh, a bit sweet, and not really a question, but whaddaya want...
And the check'll be in the mail when mine is.... *Sigh* I've waited three years... why is the last month the hardest? smile.gif
Mata
QUOTE (JimiJimi @ Aug 24 2005, 08:58 PM)
Hi there. I was just wondering what the differences between Mr. SB's head and the IPB logo in the blue box on the main forum index was.

Thanks,
Jimi.
*

The head means that there's no new posts in that forum since you last visited. I'll get around to changing the default graphics someday.
voices_in_my_head
Strange thing just happend: I was reading through a thread, when I noticed a cursor flashing in front of someone's screenname.... So I started typing, and It was just typing whatever I wanted, and even letting me erase their screen name!



I guess it really won't effect the boards any, but I'm just curious as to what might have caused it.
Mata
How strange.

The page probably loaded incorrectly. Usually you'd get an error, but I guess it was in a particularly random spot that made the page still function but allowed you to type over content.
CommieBastard
I vote we rename SPS accordingly.
Mata
Well, he has said that in retrospect he would have chosen a different name...
Jatopian
I keep seeing posts that have "user posted image" where an image should be. Just that text. I have 'view pictures' enabled in my profile, so what should I do?
Mata
I'm not sure, I see those occasionally too. I assumed that it's usually old images that no longer exist at the URL. Are you getting it for recent images too?
CommieBastard
I get it for recent images sometimes...
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