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Spinel's avatar

How important is proper form (e.g. spelling, grammar, neatness, formatting) on Fluther?

Asked by Spinel (3220 points ) January 4th, 2010

Will horrible spelling turn you away from a question? Will an answer so unbearably formatted turn away your reading eyes? Will the absence of periods, commas, question marks etc. cause you to retreat?

Does a well formatted question catch your eye? Does grammar and the like affect your GA ratings?

On an individual level, how important is form to you?

Observing members: 0 Composing members: 0

44 Answers

Jude's avatar

It brings on an eye twitch or two, yes. Poor grammar/spelling, that is.

tinyfaery's avatar

Not as important as searching before you ask a question.

eeveegurl's avatar

“On an indivudal level, how important is form to you?” Only important if I can’t understand what they’re saying and it’s difficult for me to get through a question.

Typos are understandable and forgivable ;)

gailcalled's avatar

@Spinel:Speaking of turning, turn your eyes to the right for the Siblings, already asked.

Why is every error of usage, spelling, punctuation, idiom and neologisms always blamed on typos? (Individual)

Spinel's avatar

An ironic mistake no more. Thank God for edit buttons…

jrpowell's avatar

@gailcalled :: Maybe it would be helpful if you could see the siblings before it actually posts your question.

And the search here sucks. It used to suck more but it still sucks. I can’t blame anyone for not using it.

phil196662's avatar

Most browsers like Mozilla Firefox put a little red line under your Boo Boo so you can right click to correct before Embarrassing yourself!

tinyfaery's avatar

I searched “grammar”. Loads of threads popped up.

Spinel's avatar

@tinyfaery. Lots of threads yes, and many different questions designed for different responses. I am asking how important grammar is to people, and how they react to good or bad grammar. The question is not simply a repeat of ‘does bad grammar bother you?’ Or ‘should I use this or this?’ Nor is it a rant.

gailcalled's avatar

@johnpowell: Good Point. I had forgotten. Sometimes I can’t even find questions that I wrote.

Tink's avatar

I don’t mind when it’s a small mistake. What kills me is when someone points it out to them and they keep on doing it. Then they suggest you to leave the thread if you don’t like seeing how they are writing stuff.
Oh yes, I’ve seen it many times!

Austinlad's avatar

I come from a family of scribblers and word-lovers, and I’ve earned my living writing since Roget was an infant. It has pained me over the past two decades to see the decline of the kind of writing I learned in school and practiced at a newspaper, a magazine, and at large ad agencies. Email, IM, Twitter, etc. have speeded communication but made correct spelling and punctuation all but obsolete. Yes, I’ve gotten sloppy over the years, too, having traded a pen for a typewriter, and that for a computer. But I continue to maintain that good and proper writing facilitates communication, not to mention the pleasure of reading – and by golly, I’m making it one of my resolutions in 2010 to practice what I’m preaching.

tinyfaery's avatar

If you actually read through the threads you will find your answers.

Spinel's avatar

@tinyfaery Read through over 300 threads? For the sake of one question? You first.

DominicX's avatar

Oh God, you guys, who cares if the question has been asked already. So have a ton of other questions. People are answering it, so either answer it or don’t.

My answer: It bothers me when it makes it difficult to read. But lack of capitalization or something, no, I don’t care. If anything it makes me look better by comparison because I always try to use proper grammar. :)

fireinthepriory's avatar

Horrible spelling/grammar/punctuation etc. won’t necessarily turn me away from a question, but I sure as hell will dumb down my answer.

And I do find it to be annoying. I wouldn’t call myself a grammar/spelling nazi, but it grates my nerves when you don’t even try. Aside from being common courtesy, it aides us in being able to understand each other, especially important since not every Jelly’s first language is English!

smashbox's avatar

It only matters to me, if I can’t understand the question.

gemiwing's avatar

If the details of a question are a wall of text I try to battle through it. It doesn’t always work. If I simply can’t finish it then I’ll skip it.

I agree with @fireinthepriory that I will dumb down my answer if the wording/phrasing is truly horrid. I tend to think people who type like that are all young anyway so I keep my answers simple.

A typo or two doesn’t bother me or change how I view the question/asker.

gailcalled's avatar

Can we Ask, as an ancillary question, about the Difference between a proper noun that takes a capital letter and the common noun that Does Not?

DominicX's avatar

@gailcalled

Seriously. What do People think we’re speaking here, German? You don’t capitalize every Singlenoun or join Adjectives mit Nouns. :P

Blondesjon's avatar

@gailcalled . . . Are you Picking on Me?

Spinel's avatar

@DominicX Using the language errors of others for you own advantage…interesting strategy. :)

gemiwing's avatar

@gailcalled Personally, I use it to make a joke. If I were speaking I would use my announcer voice and make it sound official. Oh, sorry. I meant, My Announcer Voice Of Doom And Awe.

judochop's avatar

I rely dont see teh big deel. Unles yuo cant git threw the qustion its not a problm. Yet thier are nazis thatll tel yuo difrently.

Man, it almost hurts to write like that.

Zen_Again's avatar

There are two exceptions: Brilliance, like in the case of JP, Daloon, PD, Matt and the various ladies a la Jeruba, are allowed their typos and mistakes, which they often make. ~

Me, I am an idiot – so I have to constantly spellcheck and make sure my grammar is par for the course, or I will be deemed irrelevant and no one will read my questions and answers.

Grisaille's avatar

It only bothers me if I can’t comprehend the post.

Otherwise, I couldn’t care less.

ItalianPrincess1217's avatar

I appreciate good grammar, spelling, format, etc. Posts that are hard to understand and look sloppy turn me off.

anguilla's avatar

It matters if the reader can’t understand what you are asking, because then you can’t get a good answer. It doesn’t have to be perfect. Everyone can’t spell well. But it’s worth reading what you wrote to see if it makes sense.

Glow's avatar

It’s very important to me… but if the person is being sincere in their question and are honestly asking something, I wouldn’t mind to answer them. I wouldn’t correct grammar or anything. If they don’t want to use proper form, so be it. It is only a website after all.

thriftymaid's avatar

I prefer reading proper English with no text talk.

VohuManah's avatar

@judochop like omg ite!? :)
If there happens to be a ‘gram ar’ so of errors, I usually don’t care. It’s when the poster expects me to figure out their intent when they post a message consisting of a cross between pig Latin and Vogon Poetry that I get annoyed.

ratboy's avatar

It’s my understanding that the rules are quite stringent. At least one miscreant was banned from the site for omitting an Oxford comma. Beware.

FlipFlap's avatar

When I see bad language skills, I try to be patient, but sometimes I am unable to resist immediately moving on to another question.

Trillian's avatar

I’ve felt for a long time that no one but me cares about proper grammar, spelling, syntax and form. Here’s one I don’t get at all, and I see it more and more; People don’t use the whole word. Or the wrong form..As in “How do he thin he still my boyfren?” I have a third job for kgb_ and the spelling and rampant stupidity are enough to make me curl up in a ball, gibbering and raving. And like @fireinthepriory my answer is dumbed WAY down. It’s like we’ve stopped evolving and are now de-volving. I picture filthy, scabby humanoid like creatures who lack the power of speech, grouped around the object, hitting at it with the backs of their knuckles, grunting and screeching..
I don’t try to hold others to my own standards, but it distresses me greatly to see how far the standards have declined. I gave up years ago trying to get people to speak properly. I knew a girl that would say “sim-u-ler” instead of similar. She kept saying it and when I finally said something, she shrugged and said “This is how I like to say it.” That’s pretty much when I gave up. Willful ignorance seems to be the order of the day. Does that make me a nazi? That I NOTICE errors constantly? I don’t correct them, but I do grit my teeth.

Trillian's avatar

@VohuManah Hehehehehe – Oh freddled gruntbuggly?thy micturations are to me/As plurdled gabbleblotchis on a lurgid bee. Groop I implore thee, my foonting turlingdromes. And hooptiously drangle me with crinkly bindlewurdles,/ Or I will rend thee in the gobberwarts with my blurglecruncheon, see if I don’t!”
Now how, I wonder, could we translate this into ig-pay atin-lay? I may have to take some time off just to see if I can do it! Have a great day, you foonting turlingdrome, you’ve certainly made mine. I plan to laugh all day! ;-)

prasad's avatar

I like personally right spelled questions and answers; and it helps me sometimes to help understand it.
Long sentences without punctuation do confuse me.
In spite of this, I think it’s okay. We make mistakes; and often in hurry. However, I think it is their posts that win them lurves, not only right spelled and neat posts. I will, however, like to suggest Fluther to add it in awards; awards like neatness award, etc.
I got this mail, try to read this:

Cna yuo raed tihs? if yuo cna raed tihs, yuo hvae a sgtrane mnid, too.

I cdnuolt blveiee taht I cluod aulatcly uesdnatnrd waht I was rdanieg. The phaonmneal pweor of the hmuan mnid, aoccdrnig to a rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it dseno’t mtaetr in waht oerdr the ltteres in a wrod are, the olny iproamtnt tihng is taht the frsit and lsat ltteer be in the rghit pclae.

The rset can be a taotl mses and you can sitll raed it whotuit a pboerlm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.

Azanmig huh? Yaeh, and I awlyas tghuhot slpeling was ipmorantt!

HGl3ee's avatar

VERY. (twitches)

gailcalled's avatar

One can plow through any kind of gibberish with enough effort; I choose not to and, besides, my eyes cross.

Why would I waste my time?

@Blondesjon: I really like people who love llamas and name them “Spot” and “Oreo.”

wundayatta's avatar

For me, it’s a problem when I can’t understand it. I don’t know what word is meant, nor where a sentence begins or ends, and worst: I can’t figure out where I am because there are no paragraph breaks to indicate a new unit of meaning.

Poorly spelled words are not much of a problem, but mangled grammar is. My definition of mangled, I believe, is a little less stringent than others. I don’t mind people writing in the form of standard (or emerging) dialects, including txt speak. But if the grammar hinders me from understanding what the author means, I give up.

@prasad That’s a cute example, which I’ve seen countless times. However I don’t think it’s such a fair test since each word contains all the correct letters. It would be a better test if there could be more or fewer letters, and the letters are not ones usually found in the word.

stranger_in_a_strange_land's avatar

I’m more interested in the subject of the question, as long as I can comprehend what is being asked I’ll answer if it interests me. I can sympathize with the mistakes others make since I am a poor typist and have fingers that are too large for a standard keyboard. Most of the errors I make are due to the fact that I must look at the keys while typing. The mistakes wouldn’t occur if I was using pen and paper. I’m a dinsaur and can readily sympathize with other such antiquities. In the schools I attended, typing was not taught but penmanship was mandatory.

CyanoticWasp's avatar

@Zen_Again, I love that hopeful attitude: ”will be considered irrelevant”. Keep your hopes up there, Bud.

@Austinlad, Hear, hear!

It helps me to read a well phrased and correctly worded question, because I know then that the asker is thoughtful and intelligent enough to ask properly, and that s/he cared enough to do that. I appreciate a question that demonstrates that kind of care and attention, and I’m more apt to respond to that question than I would to a slipshod, carelessly or ambiguously worded query.

On the other hand, I try to recognize and make allowance when the speaker is using English as a second (or third, fourth, etc.) language (and I respect the hell out of those who can use English as their non-primary language well enough that I barely even notice that).

And on the other other hand, sometimes a poorly worded, confusing or horribly mangled question attracts my attention—but probably not in the way that the questioner intended. (And that’s where I thank the fluther that there’s no possibility of downrating a response. I used to lose a lot of points on GarbageBag for responses that at worst lie flat here.)

filmfann's avatar

Let’s not forget the value of a well worded question, and the number of GQ’s it can get!

philosopher's avatar

What matters to me most is that I can understand someones written words. I often can not understand some people’s spoken words. Some of them are in college. They articulate poorly and say things like ” are yea’s going ? It sounds like their owe language.
When I go to our local Mall people ask me for directions in broken English? People from Russia, Mexico and other countries . I attempt to help. The only other language I ever took was Spanish .
I think everyone in America must speak English. I do not think we can all learn every language.
I use spell check and the dictionary. I can forgive spelling errors as long as I understand the message. What is important is our ability to communicate with each other.

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