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Rules, Conventions, And Sharing C.net


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#1 JimLucas

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:29 PM

Dick Miles had some interesting questions and comments regarding the convention of interpreting all caps as shouting. Since I think there may be others besides myself and Dick with views on the issues involved, I thought I should give them their own Topic.

I'll start it by repeating and extending parts of my earlier post, then reply to Dick's response in a second post:

the interpretation of SHOUTING, is subjective its only shouting if you already know this convention,

Quite true, but the convention predates the invention of the PC. It was developed by the early users of email and of what is now called the internet,...

why is it more rude to use capital letters than to underline something, or to use italics,....

Because that has become the accepted convention. And because it was felt that a convention was needed for the purpose.

On thinking about it further, I suspect a couple of additional reasons for associating all caps with "shouting".
... 1) Italics, boldface, and underlining already had long histories of being used for non-"shouting" emphasis in print media.
... 2) Use of all caps for emphasis was much rarer, so it was a form of highlighting that was, in a sense, "available".
... 3) Possibly one reason that all caps was less used in print was because it was considered irritating. (In this post, David Barnert suggests that it's simply difficult to read, which I would certainly find irritating.) Shouting is also generally considered to be irritating, so associating the two should make sense, at least to some people (especially the computer jocks of the day?).
... 4) I think there may even have been some use of all caps to indicate shouting in standard print media (books and magazines), though I can't think of any specific instances, and I'm not claiming that it was a widely accepted convention there.

#2 JimLucas

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 04:45 PM

well jim alot of people here in ireland drive in the middle of the road,...

Probably not in downtown Dublin, though. The importance of different rules and conventions can vary with the context.

likewise it was a convention when i was aboy growing up in england to stand for god save the queen,but we refused to do so.

In fact, you who refused to stand created your own convention, which was to defy the other convention.

some conventions need to be challenged...

Indeed! As I recall, it was just such a challenge that led to the separate country now known as The United States of America. :)

The difficult thing is judging which conventions should be challenged, which followed, and which possibly just ignored. Of course, at least some conventions will be judged to belong in different of those three categories depending on who is doing the judging... or simply on the context.

here in west cork people use the roads for playing bowls on,now this wouldnt be very sensible on the m 25 in england

I dare say the West Cork Irish would observe a no-bowls convention on the M25 if they found themselves there.

...just because some eejit in early computer days...

One of my own rules is to never insult a person unless I know enough about them to know whether the insult is appropriate.

...invented this rule about SHOUTING...

Actually, it is unlikely that one person or even a small group of people were responsible for establishing the all-caps-equals-shouting convention. The usual procedure was/is that someone would make a suggestion, those interested would discuss it, and then it would be either adopted or rejected by general consensus. (Back then there were few enough people involved in the process that that could work for this sort of convention. Even today a similar process is used to develop protocols for email, HTML, and other widely used internet communications procedures.)

...do we have to slavishly follow it.

No we don't. But most of us do follow it (not "slavishly"), because it provides a way to avoid unintended offense and ill-feeling as we communicate on the internet. It is a convention which allows one to add additional meaning to a typed message. After all, the real value of this convention is not that it discourages people from using all caps, but that it makes it possible to "shout" if and when one feels that shouting is appropriate.

Look at all thes e c rules about donkeys having to have passports,no one asked the donkeys,if people can fake ordinary passports they will have no problem faking donkey pasports .the law is an ass,and so are most of these rules.

I don't agree with you. There are many good rules and good laws, as well as many bad ones. A rule requiring that donkeys have passports may be one of the bad ones, though it's not one that directly affects me personally. But the important thing is to be able to intelligently decide which laws, rules, and conventions to honor and which to ignore or fight against. Breaking rules simply because they are rules is a good way to cause harm to both yourself and others.

Just like correct spelling, capitalization, and punctuation, I observe the caps-equals-shouting convention because I think it conveys useful information and thereby promotes understanding and (usually) harmony among the C.net members. Of course, that only works if other members also know and obsesrve that convention, but it seems to me that most do.

There are lots of usually-unspoken conventions that are generally observed here on Concertina.net, because they help keep it a friendly place. Some of these conventions are about things we avoid in order to not offend each other unnecessarily, e.g., insults, belittling, pomposity, partisan politics and religion. Another convention is that one should not assume that apparent offense is intended, but should check with the poster for clarification. Deliberate offense is rare here, and anyone who practices it is likely to be severely criticized by the other members.

I wonder what additional rules or conventions others think we have here, and the reasons they think we have them. Anyone?

#3 Boney

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Posted 20 June 2006 - 06:47 PM

I also find all-caps typing as annoying to read, for several reasons. I know many others do too. If you don't mind annoying some people, go right ahead and use them. People will attribute whatever reasons they feel like to it, and form opinions of your writing (and by extension your opinions, and even you) accordingly.

#4 JimLucas

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 01:13 AM

Edited to add the indented bit that follows:

My thanks to Dick for making the correction I requested below.

Ordinarily I would have then edited this post to delete my text that made the request, since it would no longer be necessary. In this case I'm letting it stay, but adding this comment, because I think that the combination of my request and Dick's response forms an example of the usefulness of conventions, and is therefore still relevant to this discussion.

firstly conventions can change, eg the convention for men to hold open the door for women,with the arrival of feminism there was an attitude change the reaction was no longer good ,people stopped doing it.

...

Dick, among the conventions which help keep the C.net Forum interesting, informative, and civil are those conventions governing the attribution of text, i.e., quoting.

In what I have just quoted above, you have made it appear as if I made the statement, when in truth it is your statement. In fact, there is nothing in that post which I have written. Therefore I ask you to edit your post to remove my name.

Completely removing the quoting tags would be the most appropriate way to do that, since your post actually includes no quotes at all, i.e., nothing composed by anyone except yourself.

Edited by JimLucas, 21 June 2006 - 03:21 AM.


#5 Cream-T

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 01:26 AM

The set of conventions for communication in internet communications, also known as "Netiquette" are summarised in one of the internet standards, or "RFC": ftp://ftp.rfc-editor.org/in-notes/rfc1855.txt

I must say that a show of complete lack of Netiquette to me is as inacceptable as rudeness, bad manners and bad body odour in face-to-face communication. It shows an inherent disregard for the people one converses with and my response is that I refuse to engage in contact with these persons.

In an online context, this means that I will simply not read any badly written, confusingly formatted, unpunctuated, uncapitalised, SHOUT-riddled posts or emails. To me, these very clearly say "I don't give a toss about the people I deal with" and ignoring them is the most polite way I can deal with them. If I miss out on interesting information of viewpoints, I can live with it. It's certainly better for everyone involved than following my gut reaction of pulling the offenders over the table and telling them much more clearly and in simpler words what I really think of their bad manners.

Luckily, there is an "Ignore" function in this web forum software...

Tally-ho,
T.

#6 Mark Evans

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 05:44 AM

firstly conventions can change, eg the convention for men to hold open the door for women,with the arrival of feminism there was an attitude change the reaction was no longer good ,people stopped doing it.


:unsure: What? I didn't get the memo? Poor ole Roly-Poly never stopped opening doors for women. Just my Southern upbringing I guess. Note to liberated males: I always get smiles for showing this outmoded form of respect ;) . A gentleman can follow age old convention as long as he reminds himself that males no longer stride the globe as lords and masters by right of their plumbing <_< .

Edited by Mark Evans, 21 June 2006 - 02:35 PM.


#7 Cream-T

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 02:49 PM

Again you and I are diametrically opposed ,from your post you prefer form to content,Iprefer content to form

Saying I prefer form to content is assuming rather a lot and is quite an insult, Dick.

Having something, my it be pure genius, thrown at one in a jumbled mess - and as was discussed before in this forum, with the existence of spellcheckers there is really no need to do this - is comparable to mumbling or speaking with one's mouth full. In spoken language, this would lead to a lot of "pardon?" and "could you please repeat this", until the intended recipient turns his back and wanders off.

In music, form and content are equally important, I find. The greatest tune is easily spoiled by playing it badly, don't you agree? As you say, all the right notes may be there (content), but played boringly, or rushed, or without feeling (form). Reading back through your post, I think your and my understanding of what represents "content" and what "form" in music are indeed diametric.

Interesting, isn't it?

Off to play a little now, too.

Squeeze on... :)


(Edited for sellping)

Edited by Cream-T, 21 June 2006 - 02:50 PM.


#8 Theodore Kloba

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 05:35 PM

As he got on in years, my great-uncle lost some of his hearing and had a tendency to SHOUT, since he couldn't correctly perceive the volume of his voice. As long as you understood that he meant no harm in shouting and didn't take it personally, everything was fine.

...not quite the same thing, but maybe you know where I'm headed...

I used to have a coworker who was a good engineer, but couldn't manage to write legibly; it made him seem careless. Truth is, if he took the care it required to write neatly, he'd never get anything done.

I guess my point is: Yes, have conventions. Request that people follow them. If it doesn't quite work out, then point it out (once) and hope for the best. Understand that people usually do their best about these things and don't mean it as disrespect.

#9 greenferry

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Posted 21 June 2006 - 07:43 PM

I have to admit, I really like it when a juicy-looking hunk holds the door open for me. I think it's just a nice gesture, and not demeaning at all, and perhaps kind of flirty, which isn't dangerous, disgusting, or humiliating in any way. I do not like shouting, but it has occurred to me that sometimes people use capital letters because it's easier to read. I know now that it's a nettiquette convention to avoid capital letters for fear of shouting at people. There are so many new rules to learn these days, it's sometimes hard to keep track of all of them. Sometimes I think we get lost in the rules and forget there are real people at the end of messages, whether they're in italics or capitals or some font that is different from the one we are accustomed to. I find all the differences rather interesting, and hope we don't all become slaves of the System. ;)

#10 Woody

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 02:52 AM

A lot of the functioning of the Internet relies on "protocols" both at the software level and at the human level. As in diplomacy, these "protocols" exist to help to avoid misunderstandings between separate systems (Countries, Computers, People etc). The "protocols" themselves may be arbitrary and often apparently non-sensical but they have been arrived at through concensus to solve a particular problem. There is no law to enforce adherence to the "protocols", but deciding to depart from them runs the risk of falling foul of the problems that the "protocols" have been created to solve.

In Internet terms Netiquette is the set of protocols that aims to help communication between people in an environment where a lot of the normal information that aids understanding (tones of voice, facial expressions, gestures etc) is unavailable, and to help set out some definitions of acceptable behaviour in an attempt to avoid annoying other Internet users.

When somebody fails to adhere to some element of Netiquette, Internet users aware of this issue should politely point this out. The Wiki entry for Netiquette has a good definition of how to behave in this situation (I've added some additional quotation marks for clarity)...

If you believe someone has violated netiquette, send him or her a message by private e-mail; do not post a follow-up to the offending post. Be polite. The author may not have realized his or her mistake, may be a beginner, or may not even have been responsible for the "crime" his or her account may have been used by someone else, or the address may have been forged.

Furthermore, a person who breaks netiquette over and over may be doing it intentionally to disrupt the group (see "Internet troll"), in which case public "flaming" over the violation would amount to what is termed "feeding the troll".


Nobody should blame another for not being aware of some element of Netiquette, and nobody can stop another continually breaching such an element - however, as in any community, somebody that continually ignores the generally accepted rules for behaviour is likely to be considered no longer a part of the said community.

- W

#11 Peter Brook

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Posted 26 June 2006 - 04:19 AM

[/quote]

Nobody should blame another for not being aware of some element of Netiquette, and nobody can stop another continually breaching such an element - however, as in any community, somebody that continually ignores the generally accepted rules for behaviour is likely to be considered no longer a part of the said community.

- W
[/quote]

Woody - I agree entirely with your post in particular this quote.

Peter

#12 greenferry

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 07:35 PM

somebody that continually ignores the generally accepted rules for behaviour is likely to be considered no longer a part of the said community.

Dick Miles is a valuable member of this community. There are "ideal norms" ("rules") and then there are the "real norms." People are continually breaking the norms in every facet of society. If you drive down the Mass Pike, a sign on the side of the road will tell you that the Norm is 65 Miles an Hour. Hardly anybody goes 65 miles an hour. Stop and think about it. Nearly everybody is breaking the norm. And that's the way it is for just about every single type of behavior in society. Norms exist, and people are always breaking the norms.

The people who are especially adept at breaking the norms are often those who are highly intelligent, and these are the ones who come up with novel ideas and new approaches to things. Scientists, artists and musicians are often the ones who break the norms and show us interesting new paths, and creative new ways of communicating with one another.

Librarians and preachers follow the rules. Totalitarians ostracize people who deviate from obediance to conformity.

Edited by greenferry, 07 July 2006 - 07:36 PM.


#13 Daniel Hersh

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Posted 07 July 2006 - 11:37 PM

The people who are especially adept at breaking the norms are often those who are highly intelligent, and these are the ones who come up with novel ideas and new approaches to things. Scientists, artists and musicians are often the ones who break the norms and show us interesting new paths, and creative new ways of communicating with one another.

Librarians and preachers follow the rules. Totalitarians ostracize people who deviate from obediance to conformity.


Well, that's quite a collection of sterotypes there! I personally am both a librarian and a musician...some sort of walking paradox, I guess.

Daniel

#14 greenferry

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Posted 08 July 2006 - 04:30 AM

I personally am both a librarian and a musician...some sort of walking paradox, I guess.

Paradoxes make life interesting.

#15 Woody

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:17 PM

somebody that continually ignores the generally accepted rules for behaviour is likely to be considered no longer a part of the said community.

Dick Miles is a valuable member of this community.


Who suggested he isn't?

My observations were just general and dealing with how people interact on the internet and the function of protocols in this environment. The statement you quote was not in any way directed at Dick. I hope (and, by his reply, believe) that Dick didn't think that I was saying that this applied to him.


There are "ideal norms" ("rules") and then there are the "real norms." People are continually breaking the norms in every facet of society. If you drive down the Mass Pike, a sign on the side of the road will tell you that the Norm is 65 Miles an Hour. Hardly anybody goes 65 miles an hour. Stop and think about it. Nearly everybody is breaking the norm. And that's the way it is for just about every single type of behavior in society. Norms exist, and people are always breaking the norms.


Surely then in this case the "generally accepted rule for behaviour" is driving faster than 65?


- W

#16 JimLucas

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 12:34 PM

Paradoxes make life interesting.

And a pair o' dogs? :D

#17 greenferry

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 02:59 PM

Paradoxes make life interesting.

And a pair o' dogs? :D

Dogs, eh? Now, which individuals might you be thinking of for that distinction?

#18 greenferry

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Posted 10 July 2006 - 03:17 PM

There are "ideal norms" ("rules") and then there are the "real norms." People are continually breaking the norms in every facet of society. If you drive down the Mass Pike, a sign on the side of the road will tell you that the Norm is 65 Miles an Hour. Hardly anybody goes 65 miles an hour. Stop and think about it. Nearly everybody is breaking the norm. And that's the way it is for just about every single type of behavior in society. Norms exist, and people are always breaking the norms.

Surely then in this case the "generally accepted rule for behaviour" is driving faster than 65?
- W

Well, if you're driving down the Mass Pike hauling boxes of concertina CDs, melodeons, guitars, mandolins, and fiddles in the back of your car, with your Morse Albion concertina shifting around on top of the stuff in back, and your camping gear is beginning to hang off the roof rack, chances are you'd be doing 30-40 in the right lane. Or if you're headed to Northeast Squeeze-In on Friday night and you're running late for the free beer at the social hour*, chances are you'd be doing 80-90 in the left lane. However, if the State Trooper with his Smokey the Bear hat suddenly appeared in your rear view mirror bumpered up behind to clock you, you'd put on your turn signal and slow down to 72 in the middle lane, knowing full well that they don't usually stop people for going as much as 7 miles an hour over the speed limit. Context can make a difference.

* Can anybody verify this?




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