|Web & Email Peril: the Strunkenwhite Virus|
Story originally posted in the Washington Post, in a column by Bob Hirschfeld:
|The virus is causing something akin to panic throughout corporate America, which has become used to the typos, misspellings, missing words and mangled syntax so acceptable in cyberspace. The CEO of LoseItAll.com, an Internet startup, said the virus has rendered him helpless. "Each time I tried to send one particular e-mail this morning, I got back this error message: |
'Your dependent clause preceding your independent clause must be set off by commas, but one must not precede the conjunction.'
Of course we all know better; it should be a semicolon, not a comma. ;)
Now, eight (or is it 8?) years after this first made the rounds in 1999, the issues raised are creating even more havoc, especially in some industries and communications venues that are particularly vulnerable. It seems that a good number of people are learning their grammer and punctuation from each other, including through activities such as reading message boards, where i am sure u r seeing a of it to.
Does it make your teeth hurt, like the sound of a fingernail scraping against a chalkboard? Does anyone really care whether web pages have "correct grammar" or use punctuation correctly? How about commercial websites? How about sentence and paragraph length? How much does it matter on those?
[edited by: Marcia at 10:32 pm (utc) on Aug. 31, 2007]
Errors erode trust.
I went hunting around to find this old thread, which is about forum posting:
There are some very good points made that also apply to web pages, but something I've seen martinibuster do (which I thought was mentioned in the thread), which is a tremendous help, is edit some posts to insert paragraph breaks where they're needed. That's going the second mile for effort as a mod, but when a whole post is done in one large chunk of text, it's practically impossible to read - so that kind of editing is helpful for everyone concerned.
Unfortunately, it's no easier to read content (or sales copy) on web pages that isn't broken down into logical, bite size paragraphs that make their point - with no more, and no less than what's needed.
Is it being a stickler to even notice, or do punctuation, sentence, paragraph and page structure really make a difference to most people, for usability and sales conversion?
|Is it being a stickler to even notice, or do punctuation, sentence, paragraph and page structure really make a difference to most people, for usability and sales conversion? |
Perhaps not, but it makes a huge difference in communications.
I'm a writer, so admittedly I'm biased. But breakdowns in communication are the root of many ills.
On a forum, miscommunication leads to arguments/fighting/loss of community.
On a sales site, miscommunication leads to dissatisfied customers - those who thought they were buying a green flying widget only to discover it's a chartreuse glider widget aren't going to be happy.
In the real world, miscommunication can lead to war.
The ability to communicate effectively and efficiently is vital, to my way of thinking, even on the web.
|Does anyone really care whether web pages have "correct grammar" or use punctuation correctly? How about commercial websites? |
I care, a lot, and especially on commercial websites. Poorly written ungrammatical copy suggests sloppiness and a lack of attention to detail and if someone treats their website in a sloppy manner I fully expect that they will approach other aspects of their business in a similarly careless way.
On forums it's much less of an issue, except when it descends into the total awfulness of text-speak, as people are often just shooting off their thoughts as they have them and mistakes are inevitable. It's more conversational.
|'i meetinged through the morning...' |
"meetinged"! Now that's just awful, there is NO excuse for something like that no matter what the means of communication!