If you can't write, don't post

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

By Austin Bates

Recently, I stumbled across a small blog post that reminded me of one of my greatest pet peeves: incorrectly spelled, edited, punctuated, or otherwise written comments, forum, or blog posts. Of course, this also extends to news media and print media in general.

I'm a bit of an amateur blogger, as in I constantly post to discussion forums and group walls on Facebook. Some very contentious topics are brought up on occasion with some of the discussions, and though I may completely disagree with them, I respect their contributions, thoughts and opinions. That is, unless they misspell everything, have improper grammar, and no or limited punctuation.

Some of these people bring up good points, and frankly, they could have the secret to the meaning of life, but as far as I'm concerned, if they're not even willing to take an extra minute or two to spellcheck, use punctuation, and make sure that sentences read correctly, than I have to assume they're also that unwilling to check their facts and make logical arguments. Besides, as much as I want to take two minutes to read a 30 second post, I have more important things to do, including reading and responding to the posts of people who care about presenting a proper argument and have the decency to write correctly.

The same goes for professional print media. I can understand a simple word misspelling every 200 words or so, or an incorrect word-swap (for example, "their" instead of "there"), but if the publication is routinely using incorrect sentence structures, fallacies in their arguments, have dozens of words misspelled, and generally make the publication harder to read than it should be, I begin seriously questioning the legitimacy of the publication.

In terms of a newspaper, one must consider that there are supposed to be a slew of people looking over and working on one article, and if ALL of those people missed something, that calls into question their dedication to accuracy and just how factual their facts are. And a book with major errors is even more suspect, because of any lack of urgency or deadlines that must be met (in most cases).

Words are things that, once said or written, cannot be withdrawn or redone or corrected. It seems only logical then that one take even more caution with what one says and writes before it gets sent to the public. Making an incorrect product of manufacturing is one thing, but spouting a bunch of non-sense and typographically filled sentences damages, or even destroys, your reputation, and a reputation is not something easily repaired or rebuilt.

Besides, with all this modern technology, including spell-check, you would think that people would be better than ever at writing. That seems not to be the case, though. In the end, all I ask is that if you're going to post a response to what I, or anyone else, has to say, do yourself a favor, and those reading your response, and take time to spell and write it correctly. Then I'll take what you have to say more seriously.


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