Eats Shoots & Leaves

“I go online sometimes, but everyone’s spelling is really bad. It’s depressing.”
– – Tara

The internet can be a harsh environment for some of us. If you have strong feelings about the serial comma, talking to anyone in-game is a potentially traumatic experience.

We all adapt to misspellings, particularly in combat. If “teh” makes your eyes bleed, you are already dead. You forgive people who “duel wield” swords but still “loose” “there” fights. If we are already friends, I may not even feel the need to stab you for greeting your “m8s” when you log on.

I may someday learn to forgive non-ironic “how r u”s. Using “u” and “r” in a request or demand, however, will not get you far. When you are asking for anything, using abbreviations means, “I want something from you, but I cannot be bothered type whole words when I ask for it.” “y wont ne1 hlp me”; gee, I wonder. Also, after you get turned down, “I said plz” is not a winning argument (but at least I resisted the urge to boot you from the guild).

Am I just lucky that my early internet experiences mostly involved people who had heard of complete sentences? I have visited message boards where, to give the posters the benefit of the doubt, I consistently had to assume they were illiterate pre-adolescent housepets from foreign countries posting via damaged cell phones.

: Zubon

14 thoughts on “Eats Shoots & Leaves”

  1. r u sp3113r?

    I blame Aohell Instant Messenger. It allowed people who had no idea what a port *was* to instantly provide text without any actual meaning or communication. Add in lack of typing knowledge, or in some cases keyboard practice inherent to the previous ‘users’ (now considered powerusers), and you’ve got a recipe for punctuation torment.

    There are some places – often surprising ones – where good spelling and grammar does occur. They are a rarity, though. Even when you are lucky enough to find one of them, you’re still not assured to escape the curse of the giant wall of text.

    Oh, and as a “First!”, a link to the VGcats comic on the subject : VGCats 175

  2. Ohhh…don’t get me started! Very much a personal gripe which colours my perceptions of almost everyone I meet online. When you are just text, spelling and grammar becomes your ‘accent’.

    Trouble is, I see so many “r” (gah), “u” (hrrg) and “ur” (damnit!), that I start to think that it’s *my* problem, not theirs, and that I have borderline Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. I even capitalise sentences correctly!

    Pedants of the Internet, unite!

  3. That’s “…for greeting your “m8s” when…”. No ‘S’ involved!

    Six or seven years ago I was guilty of using a great number of jargon-esque acronyms. Since then, I’ve gotten out of the habit. There’s an interesting sense of camaraderie among people who will not only spell out their words, but also capitalize properly and, heavens forbid, punctuate.

    I’ve been fairly lucky in my experiences with chatterrorists, but I’d blame that on my habit of spending more time on MUDs than graphical MMO’s. People with that sense of anachronism have a tendency to be more distinguished. They also happen to be PvP-based, so if someone’s being particularly idiotic, one can always beat them into the floor, tie them up, gag them, and permamort.

    On a side note, does anyone else here function as a designated proofreader for their student friends?

  4. I actually blame cell phones. Text messaging has made the problem so much worse than instant messenger ever could. Everyone is trying to type things out as quickly as possible (I’m TERRIBLE at it), and it’s really hard to find where the letters are on the keypad.

    I think these darn kids are just too used to their texting.


  5. We have an instant messaging thing we use at work for most quick communication and I constantly get “r u buzy?” messages and the like. Or “thx”. I’ve actually gotten a departmental-wide email from the boss with “u” instead of “you” and signed “thx”. *boggle*

    Never understood why such a short word needs to be shortened further. I know my kids get screamed at (by me) if I catch them typing like that.

  6. Man, remember back when only smart people used the Internet?

    The fact that I started out as a kid posting among power nerds on Compuserve in the pre-Web days probably had a lot to do with why I never had a tardspeak phase, and am not utterly intolerant of the semi-literate. I figure that if you can’t be bothered to do something right, you should spare the rest of the world and just not do it at all.

    Hell, I use full words, punctuation, and capitalization even in cell phone text messages. And good luck trying to team with me MMORPG if your tell is something like “want team 4 sewer mish?”

    …Not like you ever see any tells that -don’t- look like that, of course. Is it any wonder I always play solo?

  7. People’s typing skills totally affect the way I imagine the voice of their character. The moment I see numbers substituted in for letters, unless I have prior context of that person to the contrary, the voice in my head for them becomes a whiney high-pitched 8 year old, usually with a slur due to the amount of uncontrollable drool streaming from the corner of their mouth. Like the kid who used to eat paste and sand back in elementary school, all while giggling and making chocolate in his shorts. But I digress…

    Someone made an AddOn for WoW that replaces and/or filters words, like ignoring any line that contains “Chuck Norris”. I wish someone would make a comprehensive “translator” AddOn that would fix bad spelling. At least then I could be forgiving people their “there, their, they’re” mistakes, all the while not seeing any of their “u, r, ur, thx, plz, ne1” garbage.

  8. I think Tara’s right – it’s not IM that’s necesarily to blame, it’s phone texting. And not even because of speed either. The limitations on message length meant that people started abbreviating so that they could write more.

    Unfortunately, while phones started permitting longer messages, users didn’t start using longer words again.

    When the revolution comes, txters and l337 spkrs will be put up against the wall and fragged.

  9. When I talk about MMORPGs or tabletop RPGs in real life I never expect people to understand what I’m saying. If I encounter an average person in real life I fully appreciate that they will be confused if I refer to what’s good today in graphic novels or genre TV.

    Similarly, when I go online, it’s the norm for other people to have sufficiently worse communication skills than I do. Why should Azeroth be any different from home?

  10. >Someone made an AddOn for WoW that replaces and/or filters words, like ignoring any line that contains “Chuck Norris”.

    I’ve got to get that if I ever want to roll a Horde character again. Every time I try to start a Tauren anything, I can’t make it past The Barrens.

  11. Representative quote from the first thread I saw on an Age of Empires III message board:

    Subject: rockets
    does any1 use rockets anymore.

    y r they gd

    y r they not so gd

    plz post ur thoughts

  12. Today’s winner:

    [Tell]Fire Flaster: can i join ur sg if u have one?

    At least he used the question mark.

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