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spellchecker

OJ

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#2
I agree. DutchDaemon is something else, and one of the reasons I really like this forum.

Bad spelling and grammar really irritates me - especially from North Americans. However, English is difficult and illogical and I can certainly understand the difficulty if you're from Latvia, in which case I don't mind quite a few errors. And graudeejs, you are really a great contributor and resource.

PS: Yes, I'm not very active here and still somewhat lost with BSD, but it is resources like this which make me "hang in there".
 

jrm@

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#3
OJ said:
Bad spelling and grammar really irritates me
Bad spelling and grammar really irritate me.

The subject is plural, so you conjugated the verb wrong. :p
 

graudeejs

Son of Beastie

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#5
jrm said:
I'm generally glad the history of changes to a post aren't visible, but in this case it would be nice to see what you're talking about. :)
I knew someone will miss it (the red dot at the end of sentence).
 

wblock@

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#6
The history is visible. Click on "Last edited by" and you can see diffs.
 

fonz

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#7
wblock@ said:
The history is visible.
To the user in question (and mods/admins, presumably), yes, but not to others. And that's probably for good reasons. In other words, @jrm can't see what @DutchDaemon changed in @graudeejs' post unless DD highlighted the changes. And that one red dot was a wee bit inconspicuous ;)
 
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OJ

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#8
jrm said:
Bad spelling and grammar really irritate me.
That was not an error. :) By choosing the singular I am using "spelling and grammar" as one concept, there being an implied "the use of" at the beginning, since that is really the subject in this case. Such is the "conversational voice." English writing is a minefield - especially for those who might think of grammar as being black and white.

The subject is plural, so you conjugated the verb wrong. :p
Indeed, and please don't think of this as a challenge (I'm not wishing to be argumentative) but your use of an adjective instead of an adverb is also "conversational", and grammatically incorrect if considered otherwise. "Wrong" as an adverb should be "wrongly".

Honestly, I don't think matters of style are a big issue here. My objections are when a writer is unclear or incomprehensible when they actually do have better ability were they to be more considerate.
 

jrm@

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#9
OJ said:
By choosing the singular I am using "spelling and grammar" as one concept, there being an implied "the use of" at the beginning, since that is really the subject in this case. Such is the "conversational voice."
OK. I guess I hastily reached for my red pen.

OJ said:
...your use of an adjective instead of an adverb is also "conversational", and grammatically incorrect if considered otherwise. "Wrong" as an adverb should be "wrongly".
Wrong is an adverb. Although I initially was going to concede I was wrong in this case, my native English inner voice (it's nearly pure; I went to school in French) suggested the sentence was correct.

OJ said:
Indeed, and please don't think of this as a challenge (I'm not wishing to be argumentative)...
Not at all. We're nerds. We're supposed to split hairs. I'm going to stop talking now, to reduce the chances of making a grammatical error.
 

OJ

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#10
jrm said:
Doesn't, "You conjugated the verb wrongly" sound odd?
It certainly does - although I'm old enough that it would fit in with the way I was taught (50's and 60's).

I saw this recently: "certain adverbial forms are among the hottest locutions in contemporary prose", and I would agree, but he was talking about slightly more linguistically juicy material. In this case of "conjugated wrong", the sentence is probably not worth rewriting because common usage is exactly what you wrote. :) The problem seems to be that in order to write "good English", one often has to break, or at least interpret, the rules.
 

fonz

Son of Beastie

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#11
jrm said:
Doesn't, "You conjugated the verb wrongly" sound odd?
For what it's worth (which probably isn't much, since I'm not a native speaker), I think it does. I know that it's actually correct, i.e. "wrongly" can indeed be used to mean "incorrectly". But "wrongly" can also mean "unfairly" or "unjustified" (e.g. when referring to allegations) and because that's the meaning I usually think about[red]of[/red] first, it does sound/look a bit odd to me, as if one meant to say: "You were wrong to conjugate the verb altogether."

And now my head hurts. ;)
 

jrm@

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#12
D'oh. @OJ, you weren't supposed to respond so fast and @fonz you're supposed to be in bed, it's 4:50 in the Netherlands.

I changed my last post.
 
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Carpetsmoker

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#14
I've given this a lot of thought the last week orso, and here are my observations on the subject.

First of all, I would like to thank *anyone* for investing their free time in the FreeBSD project, no matter how small or trivial, many small changes add up to large (and often important) ones.
That being said, this of course doesn't mean that a contribution is free from criticism. And at the risk of being perceived a curmudgeon, here's mine.

According to http://forums.freebsd.org/showthread.php?t=8816 the reasons for tags are:

Using them may greatly enhance the readability of your posts. Using them will also make the moderators' and fellow readers' lives easier. Not using them will make your posts look cluttered, clumsy and uninteresting.

[...]

Without using formatting, people tend to stumble over words they do not immediately recognize as 'non-words', forcing them to read back.

[...]

Compare the readability:
"I used sysinstall and looked at dmesg afterwards. I noticed that cron showed up in ps, but not in top."
"I used sysinstall and looked at dmesg afterwards. I noticed that cron showed up in ps, but not in top."
There is certainly truth in this, but almost any concept implemented wrongly or pushed to extremes or quickly breaks down, in this case, both happen.

Emphasis inflates quickly (in whatever form, bold, colours, underlined, etc), the more it's used, the less actual `emphasis' is conveyed upon a single emphasized word/sentence, the eyeball gets attracted to one or two {bold,green,blue,..} word(s) quickly, but not so much to 10 {bold,green,blue,..} words.
Thus adding emphasis to things that don't deserve emphasis as such only serves to distract from things that *really* do need emphasis.
The quoted sentence above is an excellent example of this.

Note that there is a difference between emphasis and typographical distinction (such as a different font, mono font, italics, etc.), typographical distinction is very useful and should pretty much always be used when possible, the problem is that all tags also add emphasis, and don't just use a typographical distinction (I am at least partly to blame in this, since I created the first set of tags :-/). This is getting worse quickly with the addition of the user tag (there is almost never a reason that a username is truly important to the content of the post, and it's emphasized a whopping four times: mono, color, bold, italics).

Here's an example of adding typographical distinction instead of emphasis (as image, since it's difficult to do with the current bbcode):


This does add clear distinction between normal text and system commands while *not* drawing immediate attention to the commands (because, as such, they're not deserving of the special attention).
Note this is also how most technical books and manpages work. Even though it's possible for them to have colors, they usually choose not to. [1]


Why this typography primer? Well, for these reasons (& also aesthetic reasons, I must admit) I *choose* not to add a tag to *every* file/command/variable/whatever else is `supposed' to get one.
I don't have a choice in the matter though, since my posts get edited anyway[1]. Just to be clear, I sometimes spend a significant amount of time on my posts, 15 minutes or (significantly) more is not unusual, I try to be as correct as I can, test commands, re-read my post for spelling/grammar errors, etc. (This doesn't mean I don't goof up or that I am correct, I just want to make it clear I don't just type down the first thing that comes to mind without paying attention to detail).


So, the situation is:
- I spend quite time on making a post.
- A mod edits this
- My reasons for *not* using the style guidelines are pretty solid (IMHO ofcourse, but it's *my* post), so I change it back.
- It gets changed back.
- I get frustrated.
- I'm pretty sure the mod gets frustrated.


So, what can we do?

Well, first of all, I'm not sure if anyone else perceives this as I problem, I certainly do to the point I frequent these forums less often or none at all, unless there are people who really dislikes me, I'm fairly certain no one wants this (I certainly don't).

Proposed solutions might be any combination of:
1) Better tags, as outlined above.
2) Less editing of posts (there are certainly cases this *is* okay).
3) Make it visible what has been edited.

In general, I don't have a particular preference, although I find bbcode awkward to use. markdown seems available for vBulletin and would be awesome.

Thank you for reading and sorry for the long post, if my writing skills would be better, I would make it shorter :-(



[1]: Some may argue that it's technically difficult or expensive to have colors in a book, this was the case 20 years ago, but these days the cost difference is small. In addition, you can also create a wide range of grayscale colors, many books do in images, but never in text (I checked my programming books). One book does have color (ppk on Javascript), but only sparingly (images or warning labels, where it is appropriate).

[2]: To make matters worse, there's no diff or even a note, thus there is no accountability! I'm pretty sure there have been a number of mistakes of various in the editing of my posts (I would also make them if I would have to edit a zillion posts), but I can never be sure if the mistake was mine or someone else's.
 

wblock@

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#15
I say again, diffs for edited messages are available. Click on "Last edited by" and choose.

As far as too many tags, I agree. When too many things are highlighted, they are less clear. In particular, the number of tags is becoming a fairly large hurdle for new forum users.
 

Carpetsmoker

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#16
I say again, diffs for edited messages are available. Click on "Last edited by" and choose.
It's not. Mods see more than regular users. *You* may see this message, *everyone else* does not (just as mods also see deleted messages).
There are complicated rules for who sees which `edited by message'. I don't remember them, I think it was some usergroup settting or somesuch.
 

fonz

Son of Beastie

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#17
For starters, if I'm not mistaken the original post was about the forum staff correcting poor spelling and/or grammar. I for one appreciate that a whole lot. In practice considerable leeway is given to people whose first language isn't English (it isn't mine either, by the way) but when people just cannot be bothered to start a sentence with a capital letter, write "I" instead of "i", properly spell FreeBSD, use proper interpunction etc., well, to quote Paul Teutul Sr., "it just aggravates me."

If I understand your post correctly, your biggest beef is with the way tags are typeset. To some extent I can relate. For example, the recently invented [user][user][/user] tag could probably do without the [b]bold[/b] part. However, I do like it when certain items stand out at least a little bit. Which brings me to your example. Merely using things like bold, italic and fixed width is in my opinion a bit too much dependent on the fonts that we users have set in our browsers and in the example you provided I can actually hardly make out the difference.

Just my two (euro)cents, please don't hate me for it.
 

Carpetsmoker

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#18
For starters, if I'm not mistaken the original post was about the forum staff correcting poor spelling and/or grammar. I for one appreciate that a whole lot
Ok, I spent quite some time composing/(re)-editing my post, and the part I started with actually got left out :eek:

In brief:
1) Correcting obvious errors: Super!
2) Not able to view what has been edited: Meh. (as outlined above).
3) Extra emphasis added on corrections: Boo! (even *more* non-emphasizing emphasis!)

These corrections should be `silent', instead of adding bold or strike-through tags where something has been fixed. With point 2. it's still possible to view what has been modified and *greatly* improves readability.

If I understand your post correctly, your biggest beef is with the way tags are typeset.
It's a bit more involved, but that's a good chunk the core. The syntax is also awkward, for example `[cmd=][/cmd]' is just silly.

Merely using things like bold, italic and fixed width is in my opinion a bit too much dependent on the fonts that we users have set in our browsers and in the example you provided I can actually hardly make out the difference.
This is just something I quickly whipped up, not a definite proposal on how it should be (which I could make if there's interest).
 

fonz

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#19
Carpetsmoker said:
These corrections should be `silent', instead of adding bold or strike-through tags where something has been fixed.
Fair enough. In fact, when I returned from my last hiatus I initially thought something was wrong with my browser because so many I's and sometimes other characters were bold, until I realised that @DutchDaemon was highlighting corrections. I have to admit that when I quote someone who hasn't yet been corrected by the forum staff I tend to use [sic] as a subtle hint or [del] and [red][red][/red] inside the quote as a somewhat less subtle hint, but I also get the impression that whether or not corrections are highlighted differs between mods/admins and even then between how many times the user in question has been corrected before. If correction highlighting really annoys you I suggest that you try to convince the forum staff in general and @DutchDaemon in particular that they should cease doing that. On the one hand I think it would indeed be easier on the eye but on the other hand I can imagine that sometimes the forum staff need some way of hammering the point home to the offending user.
 
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fonz

Son of Beastie

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#20
Carpetsmoker said:
There are complicated rules for who sees which `edited by message'.
I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect that everybody can see "Last edited by..." messages, but they are only clickable (thusly revealing the diffs) for the mods/admins and for the user who posted that particular message.
 

wblock@

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#21
I don't highlight user errors, but fix them and send the user a PM with pointers to the articles about using tags and proper capitalization and punctuation. This seems to work fairly well. One user told me he was disappointed to realize that the highlights were not being put in by some amazingly smart auto-formatting routine.
 

fonz

Son of Beastie

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#22
wblock@ said:
I don't highlight user errors
It has advantages and disadvantages. Perhaps you staff folks ought to sit down (figuratively speaking), discuss this between yourselves and see if you can establish a common policy.

wblock@ said:
One user told me he was disappointed to realize that the highlights were not being put in by some amazingly smart auto-formatting routine.
That's priceless :)
 

wblock@

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#23
fonz said:
I'm not entirely sure, but I suspect that everybody can see "Last edited by..." messages, but they are only clickable (thusly revealing the diffs) for the mods/admins and for the user who posted that particular message.
Let's find out. Post a message with an obvious error and I'll edit it.
 

fonz

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#24
wblock@ said:
Let's find out. Post a message with an obvious error and I'll edit it.
Why would I make obvious errors?

Edit: @wblock edited this post. I can click on "Last edited..." and see the diffs. If anyone else (besides forum staff, obviously) can (or can't), please report.
 
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