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 Post subject: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 3:13 am 
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I have noticed a decline in the writing standards by many forum members over time, and it seems this decline has accelerated lately in step with our rapidly growing membership. Very basic things like capitalization and punctuation seem too much trouble for many to bother.

These matter.

This forum is a nice place to be for many reasons, but one of them is the high quality content. I don't want to see our home reduced to chat room style stream-of-conciousness text messages, and I know many members who agree with me. And far too many members drift away because this erosion in standards makes it less of a place they want to stay. Here is an important point: Most of the people driven away by this are far more important to the community than those joining who have low standards. If I must choose who to keep, it isn't a hard choice.

I also don't want to be an English teacher. I don't want my job as administrator to be correcting people's text. I want people who care enough to correct themselves. I do, re-reading and editing multiple times before I post. The 'Preview' button is my best friend and gets pressed far more than 'Submit'. And I'm far from perfect, I routinely find myself editing my old posts when a link or search brings me back to them. For all my editing I still miss things. I do, however, care about the quality of my contributions and want others to as well.

I think we are all sensitive and forgiving to those who don't speak English as a first language when it comes to some spelling or grammar issues. I'm not talking about nit picking everything to death. But these days I can't read the forum without multiple posts having significant failures from people who can do better.

Let's all try to do better. It is a courtesy to the other readers of the forum. And if you aren't posting to give something to our community, perhaps you shouldn't be posting.

I'll end by noting the most egregious error I see on a daily basis is lack of capitalizing 'I'. Any amount of casual reading of this forum should make it clear to even non-English speakers that 'I' is capitalized. i cant tell you how much im troubled by sentences like this. It just screams out that the author just can't be bothered.

Do better. If you want to post here, have respect for the community and give your readers the courtesy of quality.

Dave :)

P.S. If you have problems with anyone's post quality it is best to use the report button (! in the lower right of each post) or a friendly PM rather than post about it. Corrections in public aren't very friendly and I certainly try to avoid them.

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:00 pm 
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I agree completely. Lazy typing in general just really bothers me and it can even cause the lazy typist to seem of lower intelligence if their typing is really bad enough. I can never take someone serious when their sentences resemble that of an 8 year old.
Another thing that really really bothers me is very very short replies. I see replies all the time that are just one to three words long. Especially on new puzzles where a response can resemble "Good" or "This is great" etc. It shows laziness and a real disinterest. I see this a lot from long time members as well as newcomers and anyone in between. People should really take the time to form useful, coherent replies.

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:38 pm 
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oBNoo wrote:
Another thing that really really bothers me is very very short replies. I see replies all the time that are just one to three words long. Especially on new puzzles where a response can resemble "Good" or "This is great" etc. It shows laziness and a real disinterest. I see this a lot from long time members as well as newcomers and anyone in between. People should really take the time to form useful, coherent replies.


I think a short sentence or single word is actually conveying more than you think. It's often a kind of "I am speechless, I don't know what to say, just.......wow! Some people even say "speechless". I find any reply like that highly flattering. I am not saying the whole thread should be a list of single words but I feel they are as valid as a long explanation.
I totally agree with Dave's post but lets not go further and turn the forum into an English exam where everyone is posting- "The reason I like this puzzle is because ........".
There is actually one thing I would love to see banned from the forum but I am probably in a minority of perhaps 2 and as Spock said "The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few".

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Wed Mar 28, 2012 12:48 pm 
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Aye aghree. thees is grate !

On a more serious note, I think this is very nice and can't wait to see results =)

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:07 am 
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oBNoo wrote:
I see replies all the time that are just one to three words long. Especially on new puzzles where a response can resemble "Good" or "This is great" etc. It shows laziness and a real disinterest. I see this a lot from long time members as well as newcomers and anyone in between.
I belong to those who frequently write very short answers. Therefore I want to use the chance to explain my behaviour:
When I write a three-word-answer in "New puzzles" I do it because I expect it from others as well. I post frequently new puzzles made by myself and many of them only get three or even less answers. As the inventor/builder I prefer an answer of three words over giving no answer all. I try to act consistent and give other inventors some feedback even when I have nothing useful to say or to ask.

I can't say anything about Dave's original point because english is a foreign language for me.


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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 11:37 am 
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I guess it's just a personal peeve. I've always been of the mindset that if you don't have anything useful to say, nothing should be said at all. And I never suggested to write anything like a formal essay. That would be dumb. A lack of words can suggest speechlessness but "great" does not. Guess I'm just used to old forum habits.

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 1:32 pm 
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I understand how a lot of people here don’t have English as their first language, therefore a few spelling/grammar mistakes are to be expected. But, when people don’t even appear to try (i.e. no capitalization, no punctuation, every word spelled wrong) it can become an annoying post, even if there is a good point.


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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Thu Mar 29, 2012 4:34 pm 
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I'm pretty sure a post to this effect has been on a lot of people's minds lately. When I started as a member here, I was 12 or 13. Unlike other forums I'd been a member of, page long posts were common occurrences. People put a lot of thought into the things they wrote and it definitely left an impression on me. I still see that a lot here, especially from the older members, but there's a bit more short, poor quality material.

I agree with Tony that short replies definitely have their place, but when there's a serious discussion (as there usually is on this forum) good grammar is essential. (As for foreign members, I've noticed that while their posts may lack perfect grammar, they are very well thought out and informative.) If I joined today as a 12 year old member, I think I would probably be more slack with my spelling and post quality, simply because there's more of it.

Also, Firefox has a spellchecker built into it, and I suspect other web browsers do, too. It's not *that* hard to have good grammar when there's big orange squiggly lines under everything that's spelled wrong.

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 12:01 am 
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Just an addendum, as this has come up a few times for some applicants who need help with some of these issues:

There are a number of online (and free) spell checkers that catch most if not all of the minor issues that drag quality down. If you find you have difficulty catching your errors, such tools can help and only require a few clicks (their suggestions are almost always correct). Here is a great one that catches far more than just spelling:
http://www.jspell.com/public-spell-checker.html

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 1:57 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
There are a number of online (and free) spell checkers [...]

While it's great to have third-party spell checkers available, since this forum is web-based, I think using a built in browser spell checker makes the most sense.

Firefox: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/kb/how-do-i-use-firefox-spell-checker
Chrome: https://support.google.com/chrome/answer/95604?hl=en
Internet Explorer: http://support.microsoft.com/kb/2764916 (I'm not sure if this applies to anything beyond IE 10 Release Preview)
Safari: https://discussions.apple.com/thread/4010686

Of course, spell check only helps with misspelled words. I have terrible trouble with finger memory typing one word when I meant a different one and then my brain auto-correcting the word visually so that even when I review my post several times I still don't spot the incorrect word.

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Fri Oct 25, 2013 2:22 am 
I'll be honest here, I'm not the greatest speller, and am not great at proper grammar. I went to school, I just don't care though. If you read my posts, you'll see that I try, but in the end, I just don't care at all if I use your or you're improperly. or leave out a capital letter from time to time at the beginning of a sentence that should have been part of the previous sentence, not a new one. I don't mean any disrespect by being a bit lazy, and to me typing on the internet just isn't a place where I want to proof read every single thing I write so somebody out there doesn't get offended by me. I think there are better things to worry about in life besides giving people the respect of a capital letter. I work in a forest, cutting trees down. Grammar just isn't really that important to me so if I misuse words, punctuation, spell words worng, don't capitalize something, please don't take it as disrespect because no disrespect intended. To somebody that is not well schooled in these areas, one could also say it's a bit disrespectful to ask me to learn English all over again just so somebody here doesn't get offended by it. However I don't take it as disrespect because I know it's not intended.

Or is it a forum rule that anybody that is English dominant is expected to abide by this? Honestly, I won't, but I won't mean it either.


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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 10:51 pm 
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David Treeman wrote:
I don't mean any disrespect by being a bit lazy, and to me typing on the internet just isn't a place where I want to proof read every single thing I write so somebody out there doesn't get offended by me.
As noted in my initial post of this topic we don't want to be a place like the rest of "the internet". Intended or not it is disrespectful (not offensive, that is quite different) not to bother to consider your readers.
David Treeman wrote:
Or is it a forum rule that anybody that is English dominant is expected to abide by this? Honestly, I won't, but I won't mean it either.
The writing of all your posts so far seem just fine so I'm not sure why you would think that.

I'm sure if you re-read the initial post and rule #12 (here) you will see we are not requiring university level English papers here just an attention to quality, something you pretty clearly have already demonstrated.

What we are talking about is obvious or repeated disregard of simple, basic concepts that even most non-native speakers have no trouble following.

Dave

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:07 pm 
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DLitwin wrote:
we are not requiring university level English papers here just an attention to quality,

... university-level English papers here, just an attention ...

FIFY :)


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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:35 pm 
DLitwin wrote:
Intended or not it is disrespectful (not offensive, that is quite different) not to bother to consider your readers.


I will have to politely disagree with you on this one Dave. This sentence is an opinion, not a fact. My opinion is that if somebody is not intending to disrespect somebody, and that person feels disrespected, then it's a matter of different people having different interpretations of the word respect. Thats the same as saying that every single person deserves the respect they want, no matter the definition. What may be respectful to one person might not matter to another. What may be disrespectful to one person might not be to another. If my level of respect is at a different level than somebody else's and they feel disrespected when I had absolutely no intention of giving disrespect, then it's the other persons problem, not mine. One could say it is disrespectful to tell another person to agree with how they want to be respected.

No disrespect intended, but I'm unsure why you would say this as you seem like a very logical person from what I've read, and being the authority figure you are on this site, it doesn't make sense to me why you would use this as in your argument, unless of course you feel I'm disrespecting the readers, as I've already stated I'm not intending to. By this quotes logic, I am. Is this correct?


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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Sun Oct 27, 2013 11:50 pm 
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David Treeman wrote:
DLitwin wrote:
Intended or not it is disrespectful (not offensive, that is quite different) not to bother to consider your readers.
I will have to politely disagree with you on this one Dave. This sentence is an opinion, not a fact.
This isn't a philosophy site, but fair enough. I suppose as Admin I would say it is the opinion of this site that those who acknowledge laziness (your word, not mine) to defend poor quality are being disrespectful of their audience.

This is clearly an abstract argument as it has been pointed out we're not talking about you or your writing, but a bit abstract for a sticky post in a puzzle thread so I'll ask that if you want to discuss it further we consider our readers and take it to PMs.

There is plenty of poor quality content on this site (and Bob made my point by confirming my claim that I am not immune) but multiple times I have noted it is effort we are expecting, not an absolute bar.

Dave :)

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 1:18 am 
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DLitwin wrote:
And I'm far from perfect, I routinely find myself editing my old posts when a link or search brings me back to them. For all my editing I still miss things.
Oh I'm in the same boat. I've gone back and edited post of mine that are several years old sometimes because I spot an error and it just nags at me till I fix it. I hate it when someone else has already quoted the portion with the error as I don't know how to fix that part.
bmenrigh wrote:
Of course, spell check only helps with misspelled words. I have terrible trouble with finger memory typing one word when I meant a different one and then my brain auto-correcting the word visually so that even when I review my post several times I still don't spot the incorrect word.
This is also the cause of 90% of my errors as well. My brain gets ahead of my hands and that leaves my hands simply using muscle memory much of the time so they type the first few letters of the word I was thinking of and then frequently finish typing a more common word which started with those letters. I try to read all my posts two or three times. But, I do have a habit of getting long winded and sometimes I get called away or forced to rush to finish a post so I know I have far more errors out there then most. For that I apologize but please know that I do care about quality. I really hate reading texting short hand and almost never use it myself even when texting. The only reason I would use it would be to show someone else that I do understand what they said, but that would be about it. I've never been offended by spelling errors or incorrect grammar but I do enjoy being able to understand the point the person was trying to make and that can be hard some of the time. Though I most confess I haven't noticed things getting "worse" lately. Maybe that is just me, as I tend to look past such things. Then again I have been posting more lately... so maybe I'm part of the problem. I hope not. And PLEASE feel free to PM me about errors in my posts. I'd be happy to correct them.

I'd once read about a famous author (which for the life of me, I can't remember at the moment) that would mail a $10 check to anyone that pointed out a spelling or grammar error in one of his works. As I recall, those that didn't cash the check would have something VERY valuable today as I believe the authors signature on these checks is now worth far more then $10. Anyways... I'd be tempted to try something like that, except I'd go broke far too fast.

Carl

P.S. Something else I've always tried to do... I always try to sign all of my posts. The internet affords people a lot of anonymity. I believe that isn't always a good thing. And I believe post quality is certainly something hurt by this. If one hides behind meaningless user IDs and believes that nothing they put on the internet can be traced back to them then what reason do they have to care about its quality? I'm not claiming anyone here has this attitude but it is an observation I've noticed on the internet as a whole.

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Last edited by wwwmwww on Mon Oct 28, 2013 9:34 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Post quality standards
PostPosted: Mon Oct 28, 2013 2:19 am 
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Point of etiquette: When an admin or moderator requests that you to continue in a PM, continued posting on an already explored topic won't likely show up.

Dave

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