July 28, 2011

To Spell, or Not to Spell

I was poking around CNN.com when I ran across this article:


I'll admit, the title and the subject of the article made me curious.  So, I read it.  Then, because I was either bored or felt masochistic, I read a few of the comments.  Ow.  Pass the Advil?

First off, my initial reactions are this: For someone who "isn't trying to scare people away from casual sex" the tone tells a different story.  Guarding against STIs is important, and so is being regularly tested.  However, of all the avenues to take when discussing the joys and pitfalls of getting your rocks off, this one is pretty judgmental.  There's nothing like having some e-reporter call people who aren't afraid of their sexuality dirty disease magnets who also participate in other seedy activities such as drinking, sex without protection, and wearing white after labor day.

Ok, I'll admit.  I threw in the white after labor day thing for a laugh.  But here's my point.  You may say that's not the case, and I'm just reacting to some truth within myself.  However, if you look, there are no statistics about homosexual sex to compare to in the article.  All data provided was for heterosexual encounters, and that's biased if you ask me.

My second reaction that I feel is worth noting is that this is presented as a research piece.  So, like a resume, you'd think that the author would want it to be typo free and grammatically correct.  Well, I would.  Now, before we go calling me a pot and this a kettle topic, I know.  I have a $5.00 vocab and a $0.25 spelling budget and a mind that tends to like to take the scenic route.  But, I write for my own amusement.  I am not being associated with a news outlet, or presenting myself as a scientist.  Just an armchair smartass with an opinion and the ability to type 80 words per minute.  So, as I'm reading the comments, I see several people throwing out the entire article because the author can't spell "abstain".  Then, there are people defending the piece because we should listen to the intent and not care about the details.  Well, somewhere in the middle there I think is the truth.

Here's my thing.  If you want to be taken seriously (and this applies to every written communication; email, resumes, articles, etc) you really need to make sure it's correct if you want to be taken at face value.  A very good example that's top of mind for me is the Paizo Pathfinder core rulebook.  It is absolutely riddled with typos, and as such, is hard to read/use.  It seems amateurish and hard to become immersed in when all you're doing is mentally correcting the author's homework.  I know that it was one typo in the above article that was raked over the coals, but given the nature of the topic, that's something to be aware of before you publish.  Once it's on the internet, it's there forever (says the woman who posts about the passing of her vibrator).

I raise this issue because I've recently been conversing with a professional gentleman that I have only virtually met online through my infamous dating profile on OKCupid.  He seems to have a respectable, white collar job that requires some passion and education to perform.  However, because I have only met him using a text/voice medium, my impression is that he...  How do I put this.  Well, his texts and emails read like something I would expect to see a high schooler to send.  I can accept the occasional typo, lack of grammar, and shortcut (using ur instead of your, etc.  It makes my teeth hurt, but now and again, I can abide.).  However, if I have to reread your correspondence twice to just understand the words you're going for and a third time to know what you're trying to say and you don't work a job with your name on your shirt, then you need to take a look at an option like this. </run on sentence>

My point is...  Well, perhaps it's less of a well defined point as it is a vaguely sharpened opinion.  Regardless, what I'm getting at is if you're going to rely on how and what you say to represent you outside of your corporeal self, make sure you're sending the message you want to send.  There's a whole lot of talking going on between the lines.

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