IT Employment

Five online behaviors that are overused and misapplied

Donovan Colbert talks about five online behaviors that are overused and misapplied, like claiming a person is a troll.

This is a guest post by Donovan Colbert, a regular contributor to TechRepublic.

Before words like flame-war and troll were really around, it became obvious that there was a clear point when online arguments "jumped the shark." In fact, that phrase is an example of how there is a tendency to take a discussion into the patently ridiculous. The end of any reasonable online discussion was when someone played "The Hitler Card." You don't see that happen too much anymore -- it seems like we've learned "if you want to destroy your credibility in any discussion, just compare your opponent to Hitler."

But for every one thing we learn, it seems that five more appear -- so here is my list of five online behaviors that are overused and misapplied:

1: Claiming a person is a troll.

Here is the problem with the designation of a "troll" -- too often it is applied to suggest, "You've come to this forum only to engage in a debate that you know will make the regulars angry." We already know that social networking and search engines track and weigh our opinions to better suit our interests and that this creates a "positive-feedback loop" where we hear only what affirms our beliefs. It is possible that trolls serve a pretty important service to society. Without "trolls," we're approaching a point where we might never even realize that not everyone agrees with us. There are exceptions. Going into an Apple forum to pick fights over Android is trolling. Debating the two on a technology forum probably isn't. Know the difference.

2: Referring to unwanted attention as "creeping."

I responded on a coworker's Facebook wall to a post his girlfriend made. She replied to her boyfriend, "Who is this creeper, and what is he doing on my wall?" as if I were stalking her. I suppose it is understandable that women are cautious with strangers online, but there is something narcissistic in assuming that any man who posts a response has sinister intentions.

I put this together only after this same coworker ended up in an unrelated debate with a different woman and she called him a creeper, too. Since then I've seen this happen several times. We understand that there are creepers out there, ladies -- so don't throw this around lightly. Every time you get in an argument with some stranger over Pink Paste or GMO corn and resort to calling him a "creeper," you not only lose credibility, but you make us start to tune out when a real creeper is actually stalking your profile.

3: Accusing bloggers of being paid to write a positive article.

Write a positive story about anything to do with Apple and someone is going to accuse you of getting kickbacks. The same goes for Microsoft or Google.

The truth is that sometimes a writer will take a press release from a company and regurgitate its agenda without doing any research -- a thinly disguised PR piece masquerading as tech journalism. I've seen recent examples. But even in those examples, the journalist isn't getting any kind of kickback from the company. In fact, media outlets will immediately terminate a writer caught taking any sort of special consideration in return for running a story.

Writers have favorites, they have biases, they have opinions, but they're not going to jeopardize their career for a little extra cash, which leads to...

4: Accusing bloggers or articles of "linkbaiting."

There are a couple of things going on here.

First, if the headline doesn't really match the tone of the article, don't blame the author. The odds are very high that he or she didn't pick the headline, the editor did. It seems some sites intend you to read headlines with a grain of salt. It is a headline; it is designed to grab your attention. Try to focus on content.

Second, a piece on hot-button topics may generate tons of hits for months. If I write about other topics, I'm lucky to get a few thousand hits and the article may be dead after a week or two. I am paying attention to that, and to some degree it will influence what I write about. I don't want to write about things you don't want to read. So before you throw a stone at me, you might want to pelt yourself with a few, too. I'm still going to focus on things I am interested in and things I know, but I've learned that some of those aren't important to readers, so why waste our time? If you're unhappy that Windows Phone doesn't get more coverage, understand that I have a limited number of words and if most readers are interested in iOS and Android, Windows Phone will get cut.

5: Being "that guy."

You know the post where someone accuses a writer or forum poster of being wrong, not knowing how to do something, and then doesn't actually provide any information on what to do. Don't be that guy. If you're going to take the time to show your tech superiority by pointing out what a writer didn't tell the readers, take the time to explain yourself. If you don't have time or can't, don't post.

Agree or disagree? Any that I missed, let us hear your opinion in the forum.

About

Donovan Colbert has over 16 years of experience in the IT Industry. He's worked in help-desk, enterprise software support, systems administration and engineering, IT management, and is a regular contributor for TechRepublic. Currently, his profession...

210 comments
alexstriganov
alexstriganov

It is a good article from a MORAL point of view. However, such as the Internet is considered as morality-free-zone (i.e. it is not regulated) by the industry leaders - Google, other search engines, social networks, ISPs and so called "consumer complaint" websites, which are protected by Section 230 (C) of the CDA, it make no sense to set up the MORAL rules in an anarchist / immoral society, in my opinion. It is like teaching people to behave during the Wild Wild West period of time. You might have a lot of followers (and I am one of them), but who cares about such people and their beliefs?

dcolbert
dcolbert

After rereading my article - my point wasn't where the discussion on troll-calling led. What about the validity of the idea that we live in positive-affirmation bubbles because of the online communities we frequent and the way search engines filter our results? Apotheon and I once had a long running argument where I illustrated that HIS search results for a topic in Unix returned different results than MY search for the same keywords on Windows, and that I could further alter those results by Linux, by Firefox or by other browsers and platforms. Apotheon was at that time evidently unaware of this phenomenon. Since then, Michael Kassner has further expanded on that observation in the article I link to above. My thesis here was that the person we label "troll" may just be the alternate perspective in a bubble where we exist, "singing with the choir". I had a discussion with a conservative, pro-green individual on a social network 8 months or so ago, and I discussed the "climategate" "scandal" that was in the news at the time, where hacked letters between leading climate-change proponents seemed to indicate that there was rigging of the peer-review process in climate change science. Regardless of the politics of this issue, the other party was completely unaware of this. I illustrated to this gentleman how the filter-bubble on search might be preventing him from actually reaching this news. He was shocked, and it lent credibility to my argument. This is a real world example of a case where I was not *trolling*, I was an informed voice breaking through the wall of the filter-bubble to a person who had been isolated from all the available data. In that light - isn't it important that rather than dismiss people as trolls, we try to dig a little further to find out if maybe they're getting information that is being veiled from ourselves? Apotheon, please correct me if I've misstated anything above. This is how I recall the sequence of events, it may not be completely accurate.

LordLQQK
LordLQQK

I'm starting another blip because it doesn't really apply to the previous rant on emoticons and self-righteous Mods. Is anyone else fed up with people over the age of 20 responding to business emails, or ANY emails, in TXT talk? I know that people are using smart phones to review and answer emails, people can't be out of touch with their IV drip of their pseudo reality for one minute, but "b4 u ans mi em" take a step back and remember the English language that you worked so hard to get that GED vocabulary that you have. When you're responding to an email do you really want to come off as a 15 year old talking about your latest trip to the mall?

Slayer_
Slayer_

Damn, little late... lol

houskampdesign
houskampdesign

Thanks for explaining these terms. I've never seen them before, but of course, I live in a dark cave and try to minimize time wasted with my several computers. And I love to read stuff with correct sentence structures, correct spellings, etc. Good writing is indeed a lost art.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I'm on a 2 week vacation in Montana... and the nearest city where I can get a slow 3G connection is Butte. You all enjoy your workday. I'm gone fishing... THAT was trolling. :)

DJMorais
DJMorais

AND a creeper! :-) Just kidding... I've seen it far too many times. People can lose themselves and become anyone they want behind a keyboard. It's all just a game to them. I don't waste my time engaging in such antics. If a conversation is meaningful I may engage; if things start to crumble or if there is obvious button-pushing going on I'm out. And then there is the subtle art of being able to agree to disagree. When did that die? Too bad, it's a healthy thing, really.

andrew232006
andrew232006

The term exists for a reason and it isn't because they start conversations. They don't all want to start flame wars, some want to be popular make or just want to 'win'. I've seen persistent trolls destroy many un-moderated or poorly moderated forums. When a person relies on ad hominem attacks, ignores obvious logic or outright lies, the sooner you identify them and move on the better.

alphaa10
alphaa10

Like most veterans of forums, we tire of flame wars and people who have little respect for others. Building a better community means getting back to what a forum should be. More than any other venue, forums can focus on viewpoints as ideas. That exchange of ideas almost always helps the community, so how did forums become burdened with personal attacks and flame wars? Although no poster knows the identity and character of others, to judge by some of the comments, the forum has become an extension of the corner bar and occasional brawl. This is where unfailing courtesy comes in-- without courtesy in forum exchanges, the forum does not realize its potential, and loses members. When the dust settles on a flame war, most people will wonder how it started. There is no sense that one poster and his point of view "won", only that some posters seem quicker to sneer, hector and throw tantrums than others. We should participate in forums to contribute knowledge and create a better community. Yet, thriving interaction can take place only when there is mutual respect. If someone disagrees with an idea, that difference can be not only civil but actually beneficial-- provided there is courtesy.

sysop-dr
sysop-dr

I have read through all of the posts and I am impressed people. Everyone has either stayed on topic or gone off topic to try to prove a point. This is how the internet is supposed to work and I feel good being here. Now when people read a post about something and then immediately their answer is use something else or someone does a close comparison and then someone just goes off on that side track and the whole discussion goes off the rails it bugs me because I wanted to know what people thought of the topic we started with. Sometimes the discussion ends up being some perverted version of telephone and what comes out the other end is not at all like what went in. When that happens anyone who was interested has already left and no-one learns anything. But when you stay on topic we get to learn from the writer, then from each other and we all benefit so stay on topic and stay civil, and like they used to say, if you have nothing nice to say don't say anything. This doesn't mean if you disagree don't say anything but say it nicely, and remember it is your opinion and unless it's a law like say gravity, what is right for you may not be right for everyone. (Gravity, it's the Law!)

mjc5
mjc5

have critical thinking skills. Your descriptions of people''s over the top activities are no unlike the old AOL spam accusations. Send an email that someone didn't like, and they'd accuse you of spamming them, and tell AOL you were doing that. Especially today, when most everyone has ready and easy access to Facebook. Speaking of FaceBook, while some just find it wonderful, I find it a gathering place for the exact type of people that you are commenting about. Can't figure out why anyone would voluntarily belong to FB. Even in forums where people should know better, you get idiots. I belong to a RV forum. There was a post about GPS units. I noted that I use Streets and trips on a laptop. Someone got all spun up, complained to the moderators, and then publicly and privately complaining about and to me, because "This isn't about computers, so stop posting about them." I guess in some folks world, a GPS is a TomTom or a Garmin, and nothing else. The Visigoths are at the gates. And I think they are winning.

kitekrazy
kitekrazy

I find these annoyances on software manufacturer forums 1. There's always an "expert" whose technical solution to everything is buy a new computer or you have a crappy PC. Their limited knowledge doesn't expand beyond that. It's a wasted read, and those people are wasting oxygen. They post more than others. I also hate the "works fine on my system". 2. Any software problem, users assume you are using a pirated copy. 3. The "update all of your drivers" belief that fixes everything. I remember a lot of solutions people used for PC gaming problems was to roll back to earlier nVidia, ATi drivers. This is some truth to "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". That is a good rule when it comes to trusting Window Update for driver updates. 4. People treat software like religions. If you ever make criticisms on how to improve software, a flame suit is needed. This is when you get labeled a troll. I read there a person got torched because he decided not to use the software anymore because the GUI was too cluttered.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

#8. Those people who have nothing to contribute except a spelling and grammar check. Yes, the author of the original article should have run it through a check before submitting it, and the editors should have done so too. However, that doesn't mean the form takes precedence over the content, particularly regarding follow-up posts and comments. If the only thing you have to say concerns the mechanics of writing, stick to English Composition sites. #9. If you can't be bothered to read the article or post that spawned the discussion, don't post. The most recent example was Jason Hiner's request for questions regarding how to use and manage Windows 8. His stated goal was to determine what issues might drive future TR articles. Instead, the majority of the comments were the same rehashed W8 complaints as other articles. Few questions, fewer hints; just more frothing at the collective mouths.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Just because I observe that I think things *should* be a certain way, doesn't mean that I have any expectation that they *will* be. Still, using your analogy - if not for voices calling for civility during the frontier-era of the American West, would a more mannered culture ever have emerged?

apotheon
apotheon

I'm pretty sure I wasn't unaware of it; I just didn't get my results get tweaked the way you described, primarily (I think) because of the fact I tended to insulate myself against such echo-chambering effects in web searches. I don't much recall the specifics of the sub-discussion, though, so I'm not sure how the conversation progressed on that matter (and I'm far too busy/lazy to refresh my memory). From where I sit, by the way, I tend to give people chances to behave in an untrollish manner over and over again, at great length, much to the chagrin of others in the same discussion venues who wish I'd just call a troll a troll and drop the matter. I'm possessed by the urges of an intercessor, offering people opportunities to save themselves from their own flaws, but in short-term cases I can get a bit testy in the process of trying to communicate with someone who only wants to broadcast with others' commentary as an excuse to do so.

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

the sender saying I think they've got a virus sending out weird spam. They don't do it to me more than twice.

Slayer_
Slayer_

And feel insulted, that usually stops them.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Fly fishing, casting, or actual fishing-type trolling? Keeping any, or strictly catch and release? Some of my best teenage memories are trout fishing in southwestern Utah.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

"Now when people read a post about something and then immediately their answer is use something else or someone does a close comparison and then someone just goes off on that side track and the whole discussion goes off the rails it bugs me because I wanted to know what people thought of the topic we started with." Some forums and sites are strict about staying on topic; others aren't. TR is one of the others, at the long-standing request of the membership. The 'Water Cooler' atmosphere has long been one of the defining characteristics of the site. With that said, I can quite easily see how it can be annoying. Around here, the best approach is to just abandon individual 'branches' of a discussion. For example, in this current discussion: http://www.techrepublic.com/forum/discussions/102-392631 the original subject was the use of Linux by government agencies. The third top-level post by e.goglas compares security of Linux vs. Windows. Some would consider that off-topic. I do, and I wasn't interested in another rehash of that topic. I didn't read any other posts on that branch and skipped down to the next top-level post. TR's forum format makes it easier to skip over a wayward sidebar than some other forum layouts.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Are among the worst forums on the web. I can't stand one more old-timer telling me that I've got to balance my tongue weight, my GCVW, my towing capacity, my wheel base, and my total trailer length (while properly balancing my load, considering my passengers, and... one billion other factors) or I'm never going to be able to summit the Rockies, and providing me a link to a page with a formula that could be used to calculate a moon landing. I understand that these things are important - but you get a ton of misinformation in those discussions, too. You get the idea that anything over 19' requires a 3500 series pickup if you listen to a lot of the guys over there. (In fact, it isn't a good idea to tow a trailer designed for a quarter-ton truck with a heavy duty truck - it is bad for the trailer frame). A ton of good information and helpful information on those sites... but a tremendous signal to noise ratio, too. Sorry. /rant.

dcolbert
dcolbert

How dare you. We'll be sending you your excommunication papers shortly. Do you best describe yourself as a member of: The Temple of the Penguin The Cult of Jobs The Church of the WinTel Duopoly?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

IF they tell you what their system is, including the relevant hardware and / or software parts or the lack thereof. This is especially true of browser plug-ins. On the other hand, a blanket statement isn't of any benefit.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I ain't no English Lit major. My sentence structure is never grammatically correct. I abuse punctuation and special characters, especially in forum conversations. My favorite Grammar Police attack ever was when someone accused me of using an "embarrassment of ellipsis." He was right... I'm guilty of excessive run-ons and fractures. I echo words too frequently. I am not concise enough. I'm a horrible speller, too. But I have my pet peeves. I can't tolerate "alot". Your, You're and There, They're and Their bother me, too. When I trip up on something I *know*, like a "your" where it was supposed to be a "you're", I don't mind being corrected. When someone gets hung up on something more pedantic, like using a "-" where it should have been a period and new sentence or a colon or semi-colon, on a case-by-case basis that might irritate me or *might* teach me something new. Other rules, like "its" vs. "it's", I have to look up time and time again because my mind likes to trick me with uncertainty. When a silly one slips by me, my spell/grammar check, and my editor and THEIR spell/grammar check, that bothers me. When I go back and read an article and *I* can't figure out what I was trying to say, that bothers me. English are a hard language to right in.

dogknees
dogknees

The thing that people seem to forget is that incorrect grammar and spelling just makes a post harder to read. Surely if you want to get your message across, you want people to be able to understand your words with ease.

JamesRL
JamesRL

If your grammatical errors are not serious enough to obfuscate your meaning, then the grammar police should stand down. On the other hand if no one can understand what you are trying to say, the grammar police should be asking a clairfying question or two. Regarding number 9, there seem to be a certain number of netizens with hot buttons just waiting to be pushed, and if you even approach their favorite argument tangentially, they will leap in with both guns blaxing, regardless of the purpose of the original post.

apotheon
apotheon

I'm ambivalent about your proposed number eight, but I am 100% on-board with number nine. I haven't seen the Hiner article to which you refer to exemplify your point, so I am not in a position to personally endorse its use here, but the general case of people failing to read the article is certainly a big problem -- and has been a pretty specific problem for me when I have written articles for TR and participated in discussion following those articles.

apotheon
apotheon

It was not nearly as wild as people think -- and the Internet is not nearly as wild as people think, either. You're much more likely, for instance, to have your credit card information compromised by a bank accidentally exposing it to the world than by some "leet haxxor" type cracking security at the bank or on your personal computer. Most home computer compromises are just spambots -- problematic, but only as much as someone planting a political sign in the grassy verge in front of your house, or littering on your lawn. You're more likely to be killed by your swimming pool than you are to get driven to bankruptcy by online security crackers sneaking into your computer and abusing all your personal data. The biggest threats on the Web are not people who aren't being regulated by service providers; they're the service providers themselves, selling you to their advertisers and "helping" you "share" private information with "friends".

apotheon
apotheon

I hadn't thought of (or encountered) the practice of pretending you think you received a virus-sent email. That's as good an idea as just pretending to misunderstand. . . . though, technically, I don't so much pretend I misunderstand as just ask the person to clarify, asking whether some potential-misunderstanding interpretation is what was meant. I'd probably take the same approach with the virus thing: "Is your system infected by a spam email virus? I received a borderline-incomprehensible email. Its text is quoted here." Something like that. Asking a question that demonstrates where misunderstandings can occur (with the possible inference by the other party that I actually misunderstood) doesn't quite trip my internal "I'm being dishonest" alarms, but just directly responding as though I misunderstood without any question about my faux-misinterpretation would bug me.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

feigning ignorance of the terms used (on those occasions when I'm not actually behind the times again). I can half-tolerate it when I know the user is on a device with a cumbersome keyboard. I can't tolerate it when the user is sitting down at a desk with a full-size keyboard and no time pressure.

dcolbert
dcolbert

I fished once on the Ruby River, and caught a trout that elicited the response, "ooooh, it is such a tiny lil' thing..." from my Sister-in-Law. I didn't even bother measuring it. My 11 year old daughter caught a 20' and 22" rainbow. The total haul was about 20 fish between 6 or 7 of us that we kept (and probably twice that many caught and released)... Had some last night for dinner. Mostly casting spinners, although some of the more avid fishermen did some fly fishing. I'm not a big fisherman.

apotheon
apotheon

The emergent system of etiquette for TechRepublic seems to be to be on-topic with the immediately preceding comment to which you reply. If you can do that, you're not "off-topic" by the standards of TechRepublic, and as a result discussions evolve interestingly a lot of the time, leading to surprising but highly intriguing discussions from time to time. I've seen less of this recently than in years past, but then, I haven't been wandering around here looking for good discussion as much lately -- in part because of the interface issues.

apotheon
apotheon

If you say "a tremendous signal to noise ratio", meaning "a very high signal to noise ratio", that means the signal is high and the noise is low. I suspect you meant that the other way around.

pgit
pgit

The name implies WinTel, but the contents of the canon seem much more Penguin. Hard to tell, because they may or may not be serious.

apotheon
apotheon

What do these terms have in common? his hers its What do these terms have in common? he's she's it's No need to thank me. note: The same general principle, even if not strictly the same in terms of spelling, applies to "whose" and "who's".

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I agree regarding those posts that don't capitalize (or over capitalize), with run-on sentences stuffed with mangled tenses and devoid of punctuation. Harping on a couple of minor misspellings or a missing apostrophe without commenting on the actual content is putting form over function.

pgit
pgit

I give a lot of slack to people who don't use English as their primary language. Fortunately there are typical patterns to the way certain foreigners 'make mistakes' with their English usage. Makes odd lingual bumps easier to glide over.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

I'll skim it to see if it looks like the writer may be making a good point. If so, I'll work to parse it. If not, next...

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

English and not how we usually write it in an essay or assignment.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Is your system infected by a spam email virus? We received a borderline-incomprehensible post. :-) (apologies to Chad)

Deadly Ernest
Deadly Ernest

I derive nearly all of my disposable income from book sales of the many books I've written. I write in English, I understand English extremely well - well enough to write in the present tense vernacular in both first person and third person and get people who hate present tense tell me they liked the story anyway. Thus when I get something that looks a bit like English but is loaded with words NOT in any English dictionary and does NOT use English grammar or syntax I think it's a foreign language. If it can't be translated by an on-line translator, then it's obvious it's been garbled by a virus or is a virus with mixed up words to get past some of the filters. Well, that's my point of view on it.

apotheon
apotheon

I kinda enjoy giving people crap for using what we used to (derogatively, of course) call AOLspeek (and variations on that), often by responding as though something said was misunderstood. I have also had profiles on various websites that said something like: "U is not a word. Ur is a word, but probably not the word you think it is. It is the name of an ancient city that has come to be used as a hyphenated prefix to another term carrying a meaning similar to 'proto-'. It is not the possessive form of U."

apotheon
apotheon

I thought of that, but somehow didn't end up clarifying that thought in text. Thanks for making up for my shortcomings.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

Was that improvements in radio components over the years lowered the noise floor significantly.

NickNielsen
NickNielsen

In the context of the post, his meaning was immediately apparent, but terrible might have been a better choice than tremendous.

pgit
pgit

a bad ratio is a low ratio. Putting "low" and "noise" in the same sentence has the mind wanting to see "low noise," but the context nails it to the opposite side of the dial. The radio guys originally dealt with a fixed noise level, and worked to get their signal up over it as far as possible. (the noise is fixed, the signal is variable) Think 'low signal' or 'high signal' against that fixed base noise.

apotheon
apotheon

I think people just talk about "degrading the signal to noise ratio", "abysmal signal to noise ratio", and so on.

dcolbert
dcolbert

But who says, "noise to signal" ratio? That just didn't sound right. But once again... that "flipping minor things around" issue.

apotheon
apotheon

Nice idea, there, hippiekarl. I guess the apostrophe is the dot over the i, with the rest of the i missing.

dcolbert
dcolbert

It makes sense - although I think you're probably better at organizing your thoughts than I am in this sense. Learning music, language, and programming have all been huge challenges to me. Once I get an abstract, internal grasp of it, I tend to excel - but I don't learn these skills in the traditional manner that most people do, and I *start* much slower than the typical student. Typing was that way for me, also. I actually flunked it in school. Now I do this weird method with 3 fingers of my left hand and 4 fingers of my right and I routinely used to break 100 WPM when I was testing my speed. I was kidding... the pattern you point out... He's, She's (can't be possessive, must be a contraction of he is/she is) actually made a lot of sense. If I can just get "It's" to associate with he's and she's in my long term memory, it is a trick that *will* work.

apotheon
apotheon

I'm good at systems, which means I'm good at things like figuring out what various words have in common with each other in a manner that helps me internalize the rules for their use. I'm not so good at rote memorization stuff, which means that I still have to do arithmetic to remember how old I am, forget my own birthday, and wonder what day of the week it is. I thought perhaps the same set of circumstances applied to you -- being able to better internalize things once you see a pattern, even if the discrete memorization stuff doesn't take very well (and the days of the week thing is exacerbated by the fact I don't have a strictly linear perspective of time). That's why I offered my observation on the pattern that applies in this case. If it doesn't help, maybe some other approach will, some day.

dcolbert
dcolbert

Who's car is that? Its she's. I think I screwed that up. I seriously think I might have a very mild case of dyslexia or some other undiagnosed learning disability. Little rules bugger me... I've always flipped small details around... I still have to count through the months from January on and count out time in increments of fives on a traditional clock or watch... and constantly reverse my left and right when giving directions. I never know what day of the week it is. It exasperates my wife and I'm not just lazy or dumb... I sincerely struggle with these things. But as I get older, rules like this do help, if I really try to commit them to memory. Can't hurt.

apotheon
apotheon

Sometimes, even skimming can be too much work to bother. It's amazing that people resist the notion that grammar and spelling can be a good thing to receive a little attention so stubbornly. The longer it takes to make sense of what someone says, the less it's worth spending time reading it when there might be something much easier to read out there with a message at least as good.

Editor's Picks