• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
programming forums Java Mobile Certification Databases Caching Books Engineering Micro Controllers OS Languages Paradigms IDEs Build Tools Frameworks Application Servers Open Source This Site Careers Other all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
Marshals:
  • Campbell Ritchie
  • Paul Clapham
  • Ron McLeod
  • Bear Bibeault
  • Liutauras Vilda
Sheriffs:
  • Jeanne Boyarsky
  • Junilu Lacar
  • Henry Wong
Saloon Keepers:
  • Tim Moores
  • Stephan van Hulst
  • Jj Roberts
  • Tim Holloway
  • Piet Souris
Bartenders:
  • Himai Minh
  • Carey Brown
  • salvin francis

Quality of postings

 
Author & Gold Digger
Posts: 7617
6
IntelliJ IDE Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I don't want to disappoint you guys but this discussion is really not related to the SCBCD exam. It is legitimate, though I really much adhere to what Keith is advocating for.
We once had a similar discussion ("Y do u do this 2 ur posts") which I really don't want to wake up again.
I'm moving this thread to the Javaranch forum as it is of general interest to the whole community. Please continue the discussion there. Thank you
 
Trailboss
Posts: 23244
IntelliJ IDE Firefox Browser Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
So now it's in my forum ... I read through all of this and I think most of the stuff I want to say has been said. But, what the hell ....
I think the desire for better use of the english language is a valid desire. Just as the desire for a million dollars is a valid desire. Folks that might have trouble expressing themselves could take a class, but if they're gonna take a class, it would probably be something java related. Granted, something communication related might do more for their career, but I think that needs to be their own personal call.
I think that if a person wants this, and they encounter a post that they are having trouble understanding, they could say "Do you mean ... or do you mean ..." I think this is a non-offensive way to help improve understanding and the origiginal poster will probably be a little clearer in the future.
OTOH: I really hate the grammar/spelling police. Personally, my problem is the word "believe" (or is it "beleive"). I'm so bad at remembering how to spell it, that I backspace over it and type "think". Too many times the spelling police have pointed out that I'm a poor speller. Publicly. That just seems goofy. And it hijacks the thread.
Finally, I want to emphasize what Bert said about "u r gr8" - I prefer to not see this sort of thing. Oh sure, the first time it's cute. And I thought it was cute when it was on bottle caps. But I'm sick of it. And I'm sick of the word "urgent" too.
The key is that most of us are just a bunch of clods talking shop about Java. Make the best of it. And be thankful that we don't have to sit down and have a talk about mints and deodorant.
 
author and iconoclast
Posts: 24203
43
Mac OS X Eclipse IDE Chrome
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Yeah, I feel like Rod Serling, walking in at the end of the story to say "For your consideration..." I missed this thread while it was ongoing, and now most things have already been said.
I don't care much about spelling errors or typos. Those are easy to ignore, and I make plenty of 'em myself. And although I don't enjoy seeing the "i m 1337" language that the younguns often use, it's generally comprehensible. But I do heartily agree with Michael Ernest's contribution to this thread -- there are far too many posts like this:


Urgetn -- my pgrame is borken -- please HURRY!!!
[ 250 lines of uncommented, unformatted, nonidiomatic, barely-better-than-line-noise Java code mercifully deleted ]


Now, my reaction to this is that if it's so urgent that the person can't even take the time to formulate an actual question, and type it with some small bit of care, then the time at which help would have been needed is now long past. If your assignment is due in half an hour, but you don't understand it well enough to describe where it's gone wrong, then in the grand scheme of things, your problem is not urgent at all -- you're going to fail the class whether I reply to your question or not.
Unfortunately, there's not much we can do to avoid having posts like this, because they're usually the first post a member ever makes -- and often the last one, too.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 1392
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
What I have noticed is that the more often non-English speaking people speak and write English, the better they get. They need to practice in real situations, not take classes.
Instead of asking them to be better, you should ask those of us who are English speakers to be better. We are presenting them with examples. We should try to express ourselves clearly and concisely, using the best grammar, spelling, syntax and logic.
When you read code that is well-written, you pick up the style and the technique. It is the same with learning English. If they read well-written English, they will learn and they will become better.
[ December 11, 2003: Message edited by: Marlene Miller ]
 
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
EFH: I don't care much about spelling errors or typos. Those are easy to ignore, and I make plenty of 'em myself.
And this is cool. I did not care about my spelling either (why would I? ), but then I learnt some people use automatic translation programs to read our posts! And how do you think these programs work on misspelled words - they just do not. And I am myself used to be a victim of this, when misspelling is trivial, I can guess which word was intended, but when it's a little harder than trivial, I am just lost. I mean I cannot confidently say if the word is being misspelled or this is some rare word I do not know!
 
arch rival
Posts: 2813
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It's not about English its about communication, and for good communication you need standards. For example I have seen the abbreviation used "funda" which after a while I realised was an abbreviation of "fundamentals". Now this is a perfectly reasonable abbreviation that is occasionally understandable in context. However if you want to be understood by the widest number of people don't use non standard abbreviations.
Why do anything to limit the understanding of your writing, why not run it through a spell/grammar checker, no harm done and possibly some good. If you don't want to ensure you are understood by the widest number of people, who do you want to be understood by?
Marcus
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello all:
The point I was trying to make when I started this thread is that we should all strive to improve our communications. We need to stop being LAZY. This means writing complete English sentences. Not using shorthand like u or r instead of you or are. Capitilizing words that should be capitalized like I. But even more important is not making assumptions when you write. Provide enough context when asking or answering a question that the reader doesn't have to guess at your meaning. Limit you use of pronouns like it, that, them, etc. Be more explicit. Take the time to proof read your post. Remember that when you post to this site someone is going to read it and try and make sense of it. If they can't, they will just ignore it and move on or just provide an incorrect response.
One of the posters to this thread made the following comment:

Also don't forget that developers writing in forums are often red eyed vampires who don't eat, only drink beer and sit next to computer till 3-5 am. Developer is not a job it's a way of life!


We all need to stop hiding behind excuses like this. There are no valid excuses. I personally don't drink and compute and I get 8 hour of sleep every night.
I understand that our society is becoming increasingly heterogeneous. People from all over the world, many non-english speaking contribute to this site. I wholeheartedly agree with Marlene when she wrote:

Instead of asking them to be better, you should ask those of us who are English speakers to be better. We are presenting them with examples. We should try to express ourselves clearly and concisely, using the best grammar, spelling, syntax and logic.


If we all put in the effort we can raise the bar. We are PROFESSIONALS, so let's start acting professional.
[ December 12, 2003: Message edited by: Keith Rosenfield ]
[ December 12, 2003: Message edited by: Keith Rosenfield ]
 
paul wheaton
Trailboss
Posts: 23244
IntelliJ IDE Firefox Browser Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

We need to stop being LAZY.


I think you are implying that we are currently being lazy.

We all need to stop hiding behind excuses like this. There are no valid excuses.


I think you are implying that we are all hiding behind excuses.

We are PROFESSIONALS, so let's start acting professional.


I think you are implying that we are not acting professional.
I think that whatever labels we stick on the foreheads of the people here, we have a damn good community. Oh sure, once in a while somebody posts something that says "urgent" and then there's code dump and then they expect us to read their minds and impart wisdom, but I think they'll get plenty frustrated when people respond "I wanna help you, but I'm not sure what you're looking for."
Sure, the world would be a wonderful place if everybody attended five years of charm school. Or is that "the world would be a boring place." Well, whatever it is, the key is that we have a large transient population. Wanting to force people through charm school before posting here seems like a good way to eliminate a lot of traffic.
I think telling people "stop being lazy" or "start acting professional" en masse isn't gonna help your cause. Even one at a time probably isn't going to help. I think what is going to help your cause is to (as has been already mentioned) demonstrate what you think is good stuff. The more you talk, the more JavaRanch becomes that which you seek. When new people arrive, they get an idea of what the atmosphere is like and when they post, they attempt to emulate the posts they have already read here.
I know that several of the sheriffs and bartenders have already started chipping away at the word "urgent". Maybe it would help if we also started to chip away at the "u r gr8" stuff. We could explain to these posters that some people struggle enough with the english language without having to solve these little puzzles. Maybe if we eliminate enough of it, people will stop using it.
And as for the confusing posts, I think just asking for clarity usually results in the author trying to be a little more clear in the future.
 
Bartender
Posts: 1872
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Paul, your last post was just plenty of wisdom.
I'd like to put here my two cents in a more serious tone than what I wrote in my previous posts in this thread.
As English is the third language I learned at school (after French as my mother tongue and Dutch as second language - that's the way it goes in Brussels, Belgium), I know what's posting ones first post here when you didn't practice English for a while.
I fully agree with what Marlene wrote above :

What I have noticed is that the more often non-English speaking people speak and write English, the better they get. They need to practice in real situations, not take classes.


When I registered here in June 2003, each time I had to write a post, I had to consult my English/French dictionary at least 10 times. I guess that I improved my English since then, because after having written 784 posts here (meaning that I - at least - read 7840 posts ), I use my dictionary only one time per post on average. I just write this as an encouragement for foreign English-speakers to dare writing here despite the mistakes they/we/I do in English.
I disagreed with Ken's main ideas because the risk of such a thread (and it would be a shame IMO) is that it could lead some people to avoid to post. Non native english speakers of course are aware of their English leaks.
JavaRanch is a lovely place where World Citizens share a common passion : Java. Their common language for communicating is English. Some of them master it better than others, it's an obvious fact, as on all international web sites. But JR probably would be less interesting without such an international scope.
Best,
Phil.
[ December 12, 2003: Message edited by: Philippe Maquet ]
 
Keith Rosenfield
Ranch Hand
Posts: 277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Phillipe:
Before I respond to your post, congratulations on successfully passing the SCBCD. I hope I can do as well as you.
Let me start by saying, my intention in starting this thread was not to offend. I guess my main motivation was frustration. I have been finding it increasingly difficult to communicate with others because of language barriers, not just on the site, but also in the course of every day life. When I go to the store or restaurant often I have difficulty communicating with the employees because they speak very poor English. I suppose it was inevitable because of how heterogeneous America has become. I'm not blaming anyone, that's just how things are.
My goal in starting this thread was to spotlight the issue, to get a better understanding of the problem and to try to come up with solutions. As this thread has progressed, I have gained a better understanding of why there is such a language barrier. There are many non-English speaking contributors to this site, like you, who do their best to communicate in a language that's not native to them. From your posts, it is evident that you put a lot of effort in using "proper" English and for that you should be commended. If I were contributing to a French site I would strive to use the best French possible.
My main complaint is that some individuals do not make this same effort. As I pointed out in my previous post, in SOME cases it's due to a combination of laziness, making excuses and unprofessionalism. To respond to Paul Wheaton: yes I am implying that we are all, including myself, guilty at times of all three of these.
My hope is that we can all strive to improve our communications. I never meant to suggest that anyone should not contribute for fear of making a mistake. We all make mistakes, MYSELF INCLUDED. If everyone would put forth the effort to improve their English, and more importantly, their communication skills, the quality of the exchange on this site would be even better than it already is.
JavaRanch is a great place to meet and communicate with others that share similar interests and goals. With a little effort we can make it greater.
Merci beaucoup.
[ December 13, 2003: Message edited by: Keith Rosenfield ]
 
Philippe Maquet
Bartender
Posts: 1872
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 435
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Why is English the laungage of Javaranch Keith? Maybe someday it will be Hindi or Urdu, how will you feel when an Indian tells you to improve your Hindi/Urdu.
Tony
 
Keith Rosenfield
Ranch Hand
Posts: 277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hey Tony:
You can ask hypotheticals till the cows come home, but the fact remains that the medium of communication on this site is English. If this site were conducted in Hindi I would strive to improve my Hindi skills and would be appreciative of any constructive critism, depending on the intent of the individual providing the critism. For example, if someone said "your Hindi really sucks, you shouldn't post to this site", I would be offended but if someone said "I have a suggestion that will improve your Hindi and it is X, Y and Z", I would be very responsive.
I am not telling anyone what to do but just spotlighting an issue and looking for constructive solutions. I truly believe that if those who have difficulty with English put forth an effort to improve, the dividends would be great not only to them, but the entire JavaRanch community. Even people for which English is their native language, like myself, should put forth an effort to provide the best English they can so that non-English speaking indviduals can follow their example.
 
Ranch Hand
Posts: 112
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm not sure if I should find this post amusing or disturbing. As I see it, Keith is having difficulties understanding post on here due to the limited English vocabulary of others and is making a claim that it is the responsibility of these others to improve their English and take classes to do so as opposed to the converse, Keith improving his vocabulary in other languages. However since this idea is nothing novel and I'm sure shared by many others I do find it more disturbing then amusing.
What I would recommend to Keith is that if he is having problems understanding the post of others, that he filter out those and move on to ones that he can understand. Additionally, if it is a post he starts, he can state that non-native English speakers need not respond. Simply because he cannot understand a post does not mean it is not understood by others. Perhaps the same mitigating factors that make it difficult for him to decipher, misspelling and/or bad grammar, are the cues that do make it understandable to someone with the same background as the poster.
While I agree that when making post we should be as succinct and clear as possible, inherently that is not possible. If we are looking for language to resolve this then we are naive. Language is much too imprecise to be used with any reliability. When we have discussions we make certain leaps based upon our understanding of a word and its meaning, often-based on personal criterion. At best we can empathize with what someone else is saying, however we can never truly understand. An extreme example of this is how much money was spent on a trial to define what "is" is!
Essentially this comes down to a question of cultural imperialism. Let's not forget that for many cultures, English was stuffed down their throats often at the expense of their own language, some of which died along the way. Considering such, I cannot find fault with anyone using English begrudgingly or not wishing to learn English better. In JavaRanch, I feel blessed to have such an informative resource which just happens to be in English. Not everyone can afford such luxury. Perhpas if such a resource was available in their native toungue they wouldn't have to post here to the annoyance of the purist. And in such situations, recognizing my lack of eloquence, I turn to much more wise individuals then myself:


That? said Stephen. Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish?
What is a tundish?
That. The . . . funnel.
Is that called a tundish in Ireland, asked the dean. I never heard the word in my life.
It is called a tundish in Lower Drumcondra, said Stephen, laughing, where they speak the best English.
A tundish, said the dean reflectively. That is a most interesting word. I must look that word up. Upon my word I must . . .
The little word seemed to have turned a rapier point of his sensitiveness against this courteous and vigilant foe. He felt with a smart of dejection that the man to whom he was speaking was a countryman of Ben Jonson. He thought:
- The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language . . .
That tundish has been on my mind for a long time. I looked it up and find it English and good old blunt English too. Damn the dean of studies and his funnel! What did he come here for to teach us his own language or to learn it from us. Damn him one way or the other!


James Joyce, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man (1916) ch. 5


You saw their face in firelight, father�s and mother�s and the neighbours� . . . you wanted the words they�d known and used . . . Scots words to tell to your heart how they wrung it and held it . . . And the next minute that passed from you, you were English, back to the English words so sharp and clean and true . . . till they slid so smooth from your throat you knew they could never say anything that was worth the saying at all.


Lewis Grassic Gibbon, Sunset Song (1932)


Lacking the reins of the maternal tongue, the foreigner who learns a new language is capable of the most unforeseen audacities when using it . . . since he belongs to nothing the foreigner can feel as pertaining to everything, to the entire tradition, and that weightlessness in the infinity of cultures and legacies gives him the extravagant ease to innovate.


Julia Kristeva, Strangers to Ourselves (Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1991), pp.31-2
 
Mapraputa Is
Leverager of our synergies
Posts: 10065
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Julia Kristeva is being quoted on the JavaRanch! I'll be damned.
 
Keith Rosenfield
Ranch Hand
Posts: 277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hello Michael,

Originally posted by michael bradly:
making a claim that it is the responsibility of these others to improve their English and take classes to do so as opposed to the converse, Keith improving his vocabulary in other languages


Yes, if someone is going to communicate in a particular language, it is their responsibility to learn that language to the best of their ability. I have studied other languages at length, but that will not benefit me in the use of this site. What language do you propose I learn? Remember that it has to be a common language that most every visitors to this site could understand. I also work to improve my English, as I've mentioned in previous posts.

Originally posted by michael bradly:
While I agree that when making post we should be as succinct and clear as possible, inherently that is not possible. If we are looking for language to resolve this then we are naive. Language is much too imprecise to be used with any reliability. When we have discussions we make certain leaps based upon our understanding of a word and its meaning, often-based on personal criterion. At best we can empathize with what someone else is saying, however we can never truly understand. An extreme example of this is how much money was spent on a trial to define what "is" is!


Here is one of the excuses that I was referring to earlier. The message is "since English is imprecise and there is a risk of misunderstanding we should not bother even making an attempt." Yes we can make a post as clear and concise as possible. Usually the meaning of a word or phrase can be accurately be inferred from the context. The trial was not to determine the definition of "is" but that was a smokescreen thrown up by Clinton to take the focus away from his infidelity.

Originally posted by michael bradly:
Essentially this comes down to a question of cultural imperialism. Let's not forget that for many cultures, English was stuffed down their throats often at the expense of their own language, some of which died along the way. Considering such, I cannot find fault with anyone using English begrudgingly or not wishing to learn English better. In JavaRanch, I feel blessed to have such an informative resource which just happens to be in English. Not everyone can afford such luxury. Perhpas if such a resource was available in their native toungue they wouldn't have to post here to the annoyance of the purist


Another excuse. So what you are saying is that not learning better English is the way that some individuals take a stand against cultural imperialism. It almost sounds like an act of defiance. So you should expect some frustration by English speaking contributors.
I've said all I want to say on the subject. Please forgive me if I have offended anyone. It was not my intention.

[ December 14, 2003: Message edited by: Keith Rosenfield ]
[ December 14, 2003: Message edited by: Keith Rosenfield ]
 
paul wheaton
Trailboss
Posts: 23244
IntelliJ IDE Firefox Browser Java
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Suppose a person does a lame job of asking a question.
A charming person reading the lame question might respond "I don't understand." Then the questioner might take a bit more care in presenting their question. Perhaps the same care they should have used in the first pass.
Others, such as me, would just skip it. If enough people are like me, I guess the question might never be answered.
The moral of the story is that one would be wise to have a little care when posting a question.
I like to think that this wraps up this discussion. At least for this forum. This forum is to talk about how JavaRanch could be improved. I think this thread is starting to move into some areas of philosophy that are better suited for the "Meaningless Drivel" forum.
I prefer to not close threads in this forum. If you have something further that you would like the management of JavaRanch to consider, by all means continue. If you want to pose the question "what if it rains?" - please start a new thread in MD.
 
Keith Rosenfield
Ranch Hand
Posts: 277
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Paul,
As the initiater of this thread, I would like to request that it be closed. At this point, nothing more needs to be said.
Thanks
 
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic