Episode CCLV: Lack of affect »« An archaeologist watches the History Channel

Comments

  1. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Don’t get me started on smilies.

    Let me.

    I absolutely hate when people pepper their emails with smilies. No, a smiley after every fucking sentence is not sweet or funny, it’s bloody annoying.
    Yes, I have noticed that gmail has a wide assortment of smilies, you don’t have to use every fucking one in a two sentence mail.
    A smiley after an insulting comment is not going to soften the blow. Especially not the one that happens when I imagine taking a bat to your head.
    A smiley after a stupid or insulting comment is not indicating that you’re joking, it’s indicating that you know exactly what you have written but reserve the right to play the “I was just joking” card. No one is falling for that one, asshole.

  2. Hercules Grytpype-Thynne says

    I don’t mind LOL so much when it means “what you just wrote is so funny that I laughed out loud”. I mind it a lot when it means “what I just wrote is so funny that I laughed out loud”.

  3. Heidi says

    Please blame the sarcastically impaired for the overuse of LOLs and smileys. What they really mean is “I am using this as a disclaimer so you don’t bitch me out when you misunderstand me.”

  4. chigau (...---...) says

    What’s so bad about similes?
    .
    pardon?
    oh.
    never mind.
    —–
    It is not possible to convey irony in text-only.

  5. PaulG says

    FWIW (that is, IMHO) this is so true I am ROFL and PMSL :-)

    YMMV.

    I remember as a kid, before cell phones and texting, our schoolyard loves would receive Valentine’s Day cards in an envelope marked S.W.A.L.K (sealed with a loving kiss). Also, it’s widely known/rumored in Britain that during WWII soldiers would sign their letters to sweethearts “NORWICH” (the name of an English city). The acronym stood for “kNickers Off Ready When I Come Home”.

  6. ManOutOfTime says

    I don’t think you’re a liar, I think you’re hopelessly confused. :-)
    – Sam Harris in his open letter to Eagleton regarding the latter’s TEDx warmed over NOMA talk

    Why would brilliant PhD’s feel the need to communicate in the vernacular of a middle school girl? Can you imagine Einstein writing to Fermi “I think what you’re doing with The Bomb is an atrocity. ;-)” … ?

    Still, Dr. Harris was serving up some of that honey Atheists like him are accused of not using to attract bees. What good did it do? If anything, it makes it worse – making it look like he thinks Eagleman is a delicate wuss or something. He already made clear he wasn’t calling the other guy a liar; how much more sweetening does a comment need?!

  7. says

    I’m actually fine with anything that aids in communication. And I’m not averse to saving a few keystrokes in the process. Not a big fan of angry overreaction to other people’s choices in this regard, however.

    Please note that I’m not angrily overreacting. I know it’s all in fun.

  8. Rey Fox says

    IKR

    FTW

    It’s the reflexive placing of “lol” at the end of every sentence that annoys me. It’s like the internet equivalent of upspeak.

  9. David Marjanović, OM says

    A smiley after an insulting comment is not going to soften the blow.

    Bless your heart :-)

    *duck & cover*

    I don’t mind LOL so much when it means “what you just wrote is so funny that I laughed out loud”. I mind it a lot when it means “what I just wrote is so funny that I laughed out loud”.

    QFT!

    Also, I think “LOL,” is preferable to “hahaha,” which is just awful.

    Seconded.

    I don’t think you’re a liar, I think you’re hopelessly confused. :-)
    – Sam Harris in his open letter to Eagleton regarding the latter’s TEDx warmed over NOMA talk

    I read that as “you’re so hopelessly confused it’s funny”. In other words, as ridicule.

  10. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Brother Og.
    We are waiting.
    *foot tapping*

    I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Really.

  11. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Brother Og.
    We are waiting.
    *foot tapping*

    I have no idea what the fuck you are talking about. Really.

    This one is worth cracking a :)

  12. says

    I don’t even really lol when I type lol, most of the time. There’s a niche for a monosyllable that connotes something is mildly funny, and lol fills it. It would be the genetic fallacy to oppose lol just because it is used in a broader set of circumstances than the ones in which people are actually laughing out loud.

  13. PaulG says

    #26:

    Hey – boygenius commented! Where’s he been?

    I’m missing some backstory methinks. Why the (seemingly to a naif) personal hatred in such an innocent thread?

  14. says

    I don’t mind LOL so much when it means “what you just wrote is so funny that I laughed out loud”. I mind it a lot when it means “what I just wrote is so funny that I laughed out loud”.

    *cough* Rorschach ca. 2008 *cough*

    ***

    I don’t even really lol when I type lol, most of the time.

    I’m scrupulously honest with LOL. I LOL often, and say so on occasion. I never ROFL, though.

  15. says

    I’m missing some backstory methinks. Why the (seemingly to a naif) personal hatred in such an innocent thread?

    LOL! No, boygenius is a commenter from here who commented on Chas’s thread that he linked to @ #5. I haven’t seen any comments from boygenius for a long time, was concerned about him, and am happy to see him around and commenting.

  16. Nerd of Redhead, Dances OM Trolls says

    I haven’t seen any comments from boygenius for a long time, was concerned about him, and am happy to see him around and commenting.

    My recollection is that he was moving to a new town to find work. I believe he did so, and doesn’t have time for posting here. I wish he would post though.

  17. David Marjanović, OM says

    Aren’t you a funny one? ;)

    Touché. *holding chest in melodramatic gesture while sinking to the floor*

  18. Therrin says

    Also, I think “LOL,” is preferable to “hahaha,” which is just awful.

    Disagree, at least in contexts like chatrooms and gaming. I would use hehe or hah (heh is reserved for sarcasm) in response to a comment I found funny, but I wouldn’t say I laughed out loud unless I actually did.

    The worst are people that actually say “lol” in vent, I want to smack them.

    It’s the reflexive placing of “lol” at the end of every sentence that annoys me.

    I’ve been known to yell at those who use lol as punctuation marks.

    I don’t even really lol when I type lol, most of the time.

    Grrrr!

  19. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    I do not think I have ever used ‘lol’ or ‘LOL’ in any communication.

    So for all you acronymists? IFIYGD!

  20. says

    PaulG:

    Why the (seemingly to a naif) personal hatred in such an innocent thread?

    Personal hatred? Aren’t you dramatic. Boygenius was a regular here and has been much missed by a lot of us.

  21. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    Touché. *holding chest in melodramatic gesture while sinking to the floor*

    Don’t make me do this…
    ….
    Damn you
    :))

  22. Ray Fowler says

    I disagree, PZ. Smilies are great because they provide a non-verbal component to ASCII-based communication, which goes a long way towards preventing the misinterpretation of intent.

    “lol” is great for the same reason (it is essentially a written emote). I do agree, however, that there are far too many “laughing” acronyms. One is sufficient, and “lol” is the simplest and most recognizable.

  23. PaulG says

    Salty Current: thanks for the explan. As I understand it, “boy genius” is generally an alternative term for a smartass. I’d never heard of a poster called that.

    #37 Caine du Mal:

    Personal hatred? Aren’t you dramatic. Boygenius was a regular here and has been much missed by a lot of us.

    Please, I am so sorry I do not know the entire history of this website that I am going to send you flowers and chocolates and whiskey as an apology. Please send notification of your mailing address to idontgiveagn[at]spiss.com

    Now, if you would kindly vacate the couch as soon as the vapors pass, I feel the need for a swoon of my own.

  24. 'Tis Himself, OM says

    I think “LOL,” is preferable to “hahaha,” which is just awful.

    There’s also Whaaa…ka…ka…ka! as used by the banned Solomon.

  25. says

    My recollection is that he was moving to a new town to find work. I believe he did so, and doesn’t have time for posting here. I wish he would post though.

    But it seems like that was quite a while ago. Did he stop by to say that he’d found work and was too busy to comment? That would put me at some ease.

    ***

    What?

    Rorschach’s posts from that era (under his previous nym) were generously peppered with the self-referential lols.

    IIRC. :P

  26. Pteryxx says

    …I use LOL not only on voice-internet, but IRL. (More specifically, “lawl”.) I picked it up from a friend of mine who’s blind, so we use that to punctuate a huge grin that she can’t necessarily pick up on… and I only just now realized that. Huh. Social interactions are funny things.

  27. jose says

    Smileys are necessary on the internet, or at least we need a special, friendly exclamation mark. Something to connote intent.

  28. Dr. Audley Z. Darkheart OM, purveyor of candy and lies says

    I use smilies and I like my smilies, dammit. Hell, on of my best days at work (recently) was when I received an email from the owner of my company that said:

    Good job on [X], Audley. :)

    I also stand by my use of “I’m in it for the lulz.”

  29. Wowbagger, Madman of Insleyfarne says

    Echoing Dodecalypse at #10 – though he did get one thing wrong, which I’ll get to later – an acronym isn’t an acronym unless what the letters spell out is pronouncable word.

    Because that’s the cold, hard truth. SCUBA is an acronym. LOL – despite the fact I hate it with the heat of a thousand suns – is an acronym. MRA, for example, is not an acronym but an initialisation (or intialization for the USAnians) – not an initial-ism.

    Well, unless you’re pronouncing it ‘mra’ and not ‘emaraye’…

    /pedantmode>

  30. Beatrice, anormalement indécente says

    I don’t really hate smilies. I just find their overuse annoying and even then my contempt is mostly reserved for those yellow, bouncy smilies.

  31. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    Wowbagger:

    I sit corrected. But, still, IFIYGD!

  32. says

    SC:

    But it seems like that was quite a while ago. Did he stop by to say that he’d found work and was too busy to comment? That would put me at some ease.

    I remember talking with him about internet options, because he was going to be deep rural like I am. The options aren’t great (we didn’t have enough local towers to go wireless until last year and sat connections are outrageously expensive), and I remember him saying he didn’t have a lot of money to spend on an internet connection.

    I hope that’s the problem and he’ll be back one of these days. I miss him.

  33. Rumtopf says

    I’m terrible for both(sudden realisation, I’ve been online for half my life)… …

    (┛◉Д◉)┛︵┻━┻

  34. says

    I don’t get violent urges until someone uses an internet acronym in real conversation. Then I want to tell them “Don’t say “LOL” just do it, fucker!” And punctuate it with a punch in the face after each word. But, then, I have anger issues.

  35. marella says

    These things are just a tool and if used judiciously can be both useful and fun. Like other tools if they’re over used or misused, they are a problem. Blame the user not the poor tool, IMNSHO. ;-)

  36. Aquaria says

    For some reason, all the long-ass acronyms make me think of is:

    TANTDURL4

    These are not the droids you are looking for.

    I don’t know why that popped into my head. I guess I’m more of a hopeless Star Wars geek than I thought.

    Le sigh…

  37. PlayMp1 says

    I tend to overuse :P. It’s basically my sarcasm tag. Otherwise, I hardly ever use smileys, and internet acronyms are unseen in my writing.

  38. azkyroth says

    You could have just written “DKHGOML” you know.

    Overuse of smilies does rub me the wrong way, though. And people who insist on couching tyrannical, unreasonable douchebaggery in stepford-smiler terms are an affront to everything worthwhile in the universe, and such people invariably pepper said pronouncements with context-inappropriate smiley-faces. The particular variant “:o)” is practically a berserk button for precisely this reason. >.>

  39. azkyroth says

    Also, I tend to use “Heh,” “*snerk*,” and “LOL” in an ascending scale. I don’t use “lol” that much usually. I say “Double-you tee eff” out loud in real life on occasion, especially around children.

    Also, I have yet to hear complaints about my entering “OMGWTFBBQ AM” in the “time” box for assignments for shoved-sideways-alongside-a-decaying-porcupine-up-the-crack-of-dawn classes. >.>

  40. azkyroth says

    And I’m still waiting in vain for someone to not need “Upsilon Upsilon Tau Phi” explained to them. :( You’d think with all the sweatshirts and t-shirts for “Tau Nu Alpha,” “Delta Upsilon Iota,” and “Alpha Sigma Sigma” and other “Greek” organizations on campus people would pick it up. :/

  41. Michael Swanson says

    I spent years and years avoiding smilies like the plague, but since I’m an incurably sarcastic person, and emails, forums and blogs open lines of communication outside of my normal social circles, I’ve had to adapt. There have been too many times when I’ve pissed someone off because we didn’t “get” each other, and I’ve wrongly assumed that my tone would be clear through text only. I very rarely have this problem in real life, where my charm are wit abundantly self-evident. So I use them occasionally. I never use acronyms (or initialisms). The difference between “BRB” and “be right back” is about a full second, and, I think, shows a disdain for the written language.

    And it drives me nuts to actually watch someone sitting silent and stone-faced as they type “LOL” in a response!

  42. Jem says

    As a smily-user (don’t kill me!) I have two main defenses of them:
    1. They can help convey sarcasm and other tones which are difficult to pick up over the internet.
    2. it’s an age-group and situation dependent…thing. I’m nineteen, my friends use them, it’s not like it hinders communication, so why not in the right context?

  43. Birger Johansson says

    PHTAGN!
    (Adds keystroke symbols to convey expression of victim having his soul sucked out)

    PS Greek letters are only to be used to designate the star system you come from. Zeta Reticuli, anyone?

  44. Moggie says

    I’d like to update Shakespeare with LOLs and smileys, to make his work more accessible to Kids Today. Example:

    Maria: Fare you well, gentlement.
    Sir Toby Belch: An thou let part so, Sir Andrew, would thou mightst
    never draw sword again.
    Sir Andrew: An you part so, mistress, I would I might never
    draw sword again. Fair lady, do you think you have
    fools in hand?
    Maria: Sir, I have not you by the hand. ;-)
    Sir Toby Belch: LOL!

    I think everyone can agree that this is a big improvement.

  45. Minnie The Finn, avec de cèpes de Bordeaux says

    Apparently Nokia has stopped hiring TLA managers, and is now looking for the next generation FLAM professionals.

    An acronym that is used often in our household: EVO (pronounced ev-oh). Comes from the Finnish words Et Vaan Osaa – “you just don’t know how to do that”. I hear it from the spawn frequently in all matters connected to computers.

    Oh, nearly forgot: :D

  46. says

    “IITYWYBMAD” was a sign over a bar in Vietnam. I was looking at it while a solder, a stranger to me, was trying to find out if I would be interested in trading a staff car for a helicopter. I was trying to figure out if he was kidding or not while not taking my eyes off that sign. Finally, I asked another solder what the sign meant, and he said ‘If I tell you, will you buy me a drink?’ I said ‘Sure. What does it mean? He said ‘If I tell you, will you buy me a drink’.

  47. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    ohnhai@71: They weren’t related, but I think you’re thinking of

    SACAJAWEA. I think that one stands for:
    Sturdy Aboriginal Citizen And Junior Accompany White Exploring Americans.

  48. says

    What I really hate, are smilies that aren’t — the sender has some sort of smiley picker on hir end, and all I see is {{smiley1}} or whatever. Smilies are supposed to be readable by tilting your head, bogdammit!

    I also hate LOL, especially the ego-LOL as described by Hercules in #4. And whenever someone who’s within earshot uses LOL (we used to use MSN Messenger to communicate at the office, not so much any more), I usually reply with “I didn’t hear you”.

  49. Moggie says

    I have a co-worker (or possibly cow-orker) who always appends a smiley when he emails me a request to perform some piece of IT drudgery. Why? You wouldn’t expect me to do my job any faster if you came to my desk and grinned at me, so why expect punctuation to achieve this? Its only effect is to make me want to come to your cubicle and adjust your facial expression with a cricket bat.

  50. Brother Ogvorbis, Fully Defenestrated Emperor of Steam, Fire and Absurdity says

    And don’t forget the most evil 4-letter acro: HTML

    It has created more alcoholics and caffeine addicts than any other four letter abbreviation.

    Well, other than THB (the Holy Bible), that is.

  51. McCthulhu awaits the return of the 2000 foot Frank Zappa says

    You know, it could be worse. Someone could send you smileys in comic-sans.

  52. Quodlibet says

    *delurks to confess a moment of obtuseness*
    *or an obsessision with words and language
    *or perhaps just a temporary but alarming period of undercaffeination*

    .

    Sigh.

    I couldn’t figure out what PZ had against similies. I scanned* the thread closely looking for any discussion of figures of speech, to no avail. So I went back to the original post…. Oh.

    Smilies. Not similies.

    Sigh.

    Oh, and thanks to those who pointed out the difference between acronyms and initialisms. As I understand it, acronyms may be pronounced as words, initialisms may not.

    *One of my little obsessive concerns: autoantonyms, words that can have opposite meaings. Scan and scan. Sanction and sanction. Weather and weather. Etc. When I hear a news report that uses the word “sanction,” I have to think carefully – do they mean “approve” or “punish”? And since both meanings are in common use, one needs to be a careful writer, and a careful listener. Fascinating info at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auto-antonym.

    —-

    *sanctions self for quality of scanning*
    *makes more strong tea*
    *goes back to research project*

  53. chigau (***) says

    Quodlibet @85
    simile / smilie
    I already did this shtick @8.
    But I spelled simile correctly :)
    (teeheehee the Librarian made a spelling mistake teeheehee)

  54. Quodlibet says

    Re: spelling error: Mea culpa. As I implied, I didn’t “see” the word correctly even though I had read every post. I had read, and not *noticed* your reference in #8. See what I’m saying? The mind sees what it wants to see.

    I find it interesting that people sometimes assume that all librarians are superior at spelling, grammar, etc. Are you confusing librarians with stereotypical English majors? I’m not annoyed (flattered, rather, that anyone here remembers who I am, since I comment so rarely), just noticing. Interesting.

    Being on the receiving end of stereotyping comments reminds me to be more careful in my own thought and speech.

  55. greame says

    I remember reading somewhere that a conversation on text messages went something like this:

    Mom: your great aunt just died. LOL
    Son: Mom, do you know what lol means?
    Mom: Lots of love, of course!

  56. StevoR says

    Yikes!

    I use such acronymns – occassionally spelling them out to refresh folks memories esp. on my own customised versions & I love & (gulp, yeah probably over-use sometimes) emoticons (&, also ‘like’ similes as well as the odd metaphor here and there)

    “It’s my own particular .. idiom” To quote the greats.
    (Monty Python)

    I didn’t realise – & still don’t really understand why folks seem to hate them so much.

    If they’re aiding communication and adding another level to things – & I think they often are – then what’s the problem with them?

    Human communication is frequently non-verbal, and plain unadorned text frequently fails to have the conversational nuances that emoticons and such acronymns as LOL for Laugh Out Loud (meaning I usually percieve it : “I found that funny in a good way. Liked what you wrote there.”) and In My Humble Opinion Naturally (IMHON) convey.

    Wow. [Pauses swigs beer again.] Sheesh.

    Is it .. am I .. really that bad?

    Don’t these things have their place and isn’t online the correct context where emoticons and acronymns are the correct lingo for the environment?

    Aren’t they a form of labour saying literary device like shorthand and abbreivations and didn’t Shakespeare also alter words such using o’ for ‘of’ and ‘betwixt’ for ‘between’ and .. but I fear I’m already ..

    Too long / didn’t read. :-(

    —–

    PS. would the same people who hate internet acronymns refuse to use mathematical symbols and write out :

    “three plus two equals five” rather than use 3 + 2 = 5?

  57. Quodlibet says

    SQB, yes, I am an actual librarian. In Real Life. :-)

    However, I no longer work in an actual library. I run my own consultig business, providing technical/business research and writing services to commercial clients (mostly in the areas of safety/health, risk management, commercial insurance, etc.)

  58. StevoR says

    @93. greame :

    I remember reading somewhere that a conversation on text messages went something like this:
    Mom: your great aunt just died. LOL
    Son: Mom, do you know what lol means?
    Mom: Lots of love, of course!

    Yup. Good one.

    I also similarly recall a promo for some comedy – think it was Modern families (?) where someone thought WTF stood for Why The Face.

    [Struggles to resist adding a ;-) emoticon.]

    I must admit in some ways I’m a bit of a Luddite and don’t always understand what an online acronmyn means which is when I’ll resort to that most basic of human communications methods : Asking the question.

    I must admit I find emoticons (or if you wish to call’em “smileys” – although a lot of them aren’t smile-related.) clever and useful. I like them and perhaps I do get carried away sometimes by overusing them but, well, easier to recognise that after the fact than at the time, esp. when drunk. Emoticons are good for adding clarity and conveying emotion to avoid misunderstandings such as making it plain when someone is joking or serious.

    Still stunned that some don’t see them the same way & seem to despise them so much although I know everyone’s different and folks vary in their individual styles & preferences.

    *****

    Brian : “You’re all individuals.”
    Crowd : [Chanting loudly as one.] YES, WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS.
    Lone voice from crowd : “I’m not!”
    – Monty Python, The Life of Brian’, still my all time favourite comedy.

  59. Anonymosity says

    @StevoR

    Brian : “You’re all individuals.”
    Crowd : [Chanting loudly as one.] YES, WE’RE ALL INDIVIDUALS.
    Lone voice from crowd : “I’m not!”
    – Monty Python, The Life of Brian’, still my all time favourite comedy.

    I found out recently that the line was an ad-lib by an extra.
    He was upgraded to a speaking pay rate.

  60. khms says

    People always claim smilies enhance understanding. In my experience, however, that’s often not true.

    Take just the standard smiley. OK, so we’re to imagine the author is smiling.

    Is he smiling because he said something funny?
    Or because he thinks you’re ridiculous?
    Or is this supposed to be a deprecating smile so you’ll not slap him for insulting you?
    Or does he just mean hes friendly?

    Mind you, I’ve actually seen all of those. Which means that I’m rather often left to guess what he (or she) might have meant, with at best a 50% success rate.

    Yes, sometimes it helps. But before you decide so, try to figure out if it could be misunderstood just as much as the text it’s supposed to clarify.

  61. fastlane says

    “The worst are people that actually say “lol” in vent, I want to smack them.”

    This!! The first time I actually heard someone say L O L, I about throttled them.

    ‘lulz’ is another beast altogether, IMO (SWIDT)? At least it’s pronounceable, and ‘doing it for the lulz’ maps to ‘doing it for the laughs’ pretty well directly.

  62. Vicki says

    I mostly don’t mind smilies, but sometimes people are asking too much of time, or of me.

    I posted a blog entry a few weeks ago, and got a comment that consisted entirely of a single emoticon. My reply was “I don’t speak emoticon.”

    Apparently, despite expecting me to know what she meant by a smilie, my friend didn’t realize that I was asking for an English translation, because all I got in reply was “Sorry.”

    OK, great, two messages at the end of which I still had no idea of what she’d meant. French would have been simpler (I don’t speak French, but Google Translate almost does).

    Fortunately, my girlfriend made a good guess at the message. But that’s not exactly a robust or efficient communications channel.

  63. Vicki says

    Sorry. “Asking too much of them” not “of time.”

    (We may ask too much of time, also, but that’s a separate topic.)