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Discussion in 'General Topics' started by merci, Sep 12, 2003.

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  1. merci

    merci Registered Member

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    Guys
    My first sight of the Board and first post - unfortunately has to be a criticism. Don't get me wrong : as an admin on another Board I know the amount of time and unpaid effort that goes into these things, and I can see there's a host of goodies here. However in common with many others I find bad English, typos and spelling mistakes highly irritating - sloppy presentation if you want it from the hip. I am referring to the reviews of the range of software recommended at the wilders.org site. You cannot maintain proper credibility if you, as a particularly glaring example, mis-spell the name of a package. AVG is a freeware app (version 6 is anyway) and in one place you call it AGV. Sorry if this ruffles feathers and you think I'm an arrogant soab, but there it is. I hesitate to suggest this, but if you'd like to have your prose in an educated style and without mistakes, I'd be quite willing to proof-read it for you.

    Click My Sig
     
  2. DolfTraanberg

    DolfTraanberg Registered Member

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    hi merci and welcome to Wilders,
    I do agree there is a lot of bad English on this board, however for many people English is not their native language (me included).
    Please do keep in mind that this board is about security and not about proper language.
    Enjoy your stay and keep your system safe
    Dolf
     
  3. Paul Wilders

    Paul Wilders Administrator

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    Welcome merci.

    We'll look into the www.wilders.org site as for spelling is concerned - thanks for the advice ;)

    Nevertheless: in regard to credibility we do not worry: x millions unique visitors a year, many requests to advertise and (re)sell software each month: we are doing rather well actually ;)

    regards.

    paul
     
  4. spydespiser

    spydespiser Registered Member

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    Hi Merci
    This is not a criticism of your critisicm but a view of one that could quite easily have lost his system to the predators

    I myself as a new user of the web thought after 12mths PC experience i had my system pretty much sorted(offline) and was just short of a couple of updates,but, boy was i well off the mark

    when i connected last week, luckily i already had spybot,adaware and a few other small free progs(outdated) and had bought a firewall(also outdated by over a year even though Mcafee boxed it as new for 2003) prior to connecting but they were barely enough to maintain possesion of the PC that "I" paid and went into debt for, for the hour or so that i needed to update them all, and then i met HJT logs and startuplists and these are the guys that help cleanse our pc's so we can sleep at night

    We even need answers to simple,old/outdated topics as we are new/inexperienced and these are the guys that are there for us

    As mush as i would like to see everything in perfect english i am much happier that these good folk spend as much time as they do answering queries and sorting peoples systems out/Developing than proofreading fast responses. But thats only my view

    Keep up the good work guys, its a scary place out there and we need you!

    And thanks to all the people on the other forums i have visited who have helped, your wisdom is much appreciated. Thanx Everyone :)
     
  5. merci

    merci Registered Member

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    Hi Spydespiser
    Your point of view is as valid as anyone else's - no question. However, you have slightly misunderstood : my comment was not really about the Forums. My only objection to less than perfect English here would be if it interfered with the sense of what someone was trying to say, and as this often is the case elsewhere it can be irritating. There are messages posted here that are a bit like that, but they are not what I'm banging on about. So you see, it was never a matter of my suggesting anyone should spend time ensuring proper English at the expense of offering solutions to security issues. In any case, I have far from completely follwed up even a small fraction of the threads and I certainly would not consider asking if I could edit everyone's mail! Life's too short, that's not how forums work, and I have my usual board to help administer.
    What I was really referring to were the software reviews on the Wilders Org front pages. (btw I have followed up every one of these where possible, and could have plenty more to say, but I get the impression people think I've said too much already on that score). My expertise (if any there be) is in freeware and security issues (hence the title of my website) and being also a native English speaker I offered to amend any inadvertent lapse in the language. The owner of the site politely declined, as is his prerogative, and did so in a pleasant manner, which was nice of him. That being the case I dropped the issue.
    I'm glad to see you got the peace of mind you wanted. I only hope you didn't pay for it...

    Rgds

    MerC
     
  6. spydespiser

    spydespiser Registered Member

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    Hi back again Merci :)

    Thanks for the reply, the more i read it again the harsher it seems to read and get off topic a bit(apologies) it was never originally typed like that(its just the way it sounds) being new to the ways of the web((not very good at posting at the moment)still trying to learn quoting and stuff) i had to keep jumping from reply box to preview and back again to check things,(must of proof-read mine about 20 times by then(limping along on my sloooow 56k) and it still dont look right)that was why i included that it wasnt a criticism of a criticism.

    I'm a native englishman as well,but i cant speak a word of it :)

    Anyway thanx for reply and i'm glad of your initial posting as i didnt know of your Security forum(think i,ll register in a different name) :)
    Edit-security site(sorry only just got back,damn this modem)
    P.S. sorry again if it read a bit blunt. Take care :)
     
  7. beetlejuice

    beetlejuice Registered Member

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    I agree with Dollefie. This site is about security. Who cares if a word here and there is misspelled? If a persons credibility was solely determined on spelling, then I think all of us would be trouble from time to time. Besides, there are so many wonderful and intriguing things in the world to discover if you look. Like the way the Human brain works. It's truly remarkable and amazing.
    The following is from an e-mail I received.

    Aoccdrnig to rscheearch at Cmabrigde Uinervtisy, it deosn't mttaer in waht oredr the ltteers in a wrod are, the olny iprmoetnt tihng is taht the frist and lsat ltteer be at the rghit pclae. The rset can be a total mses and you can sitll raed it wouthit porbelm. Tihs is bcuseae the huamn mnid deos not raed ervey lteter by istlef, but the wrod as a wlohe.
    amzanig huh? :eek:
     
  8. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    Hi beetlejuice,

    Very good! ;)

    That reminds me of all the times that some person might have made a typo in posting or a chat, and no one notices it until they stop and actually point it out... (Well, unless it's a very funny one, of course. :D ) Often our minds can compensate for things like that. A lot of the times we know what the person means inspite of what is written.
     
  9. merci

    merci Registered Member

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    Thanks Beetlejuice for quoting that piece of Cambridge research. Whether you've read the original paper or just the emailed press reports may be significant, but I suggest you might like to find out exactly what 'it doesn't matter' actually means in this context. It is likely they were talking about the way the brain perceives words - a much lower-level skill than communicating sound sense in an efficient manner. Quoting out of context is highly invidious, and requires critical appraisal to avoid its traps. (I've seen this time and time again in another debate I'm involved with about the Atkins Diet). In any case, the Cambridge text has been very carefully selected. We both could come up with innumerable examples of words with the same initial and final letters but with different centres that have totally different meanings. (I never did like soft-centres). Surely you'd rather not have to solve a puzzle every time you pick up a book? I contend that no technical writer (and this site is about technical matters) in his right mind would agree with your Cambridge researchers. After all, E=MC^2 and not CM^2 - it's a very minor typo, and all the letters stand for English words, but only one represents the route to nuclear fusion. 'Enthalpy' and 'Entropy' would cause thermodynamic chaos if they were confused. Similarly in the context of this forum, so would 'software' and 'scumware', 'Adaware and 'adware' and so on. Chew on this : you know a typo when you see one and so do I. What about the chap not very familiar with English but struggling to understand it? Do you want him to waste his time on a new 'word' that doesn't exist? My instinct is to avoid that situation where possible. Not wishing to sound sanctimonious (and probably failing) but I like to think I care about the people reading my arguments.
    I'd lay a small wager that if I'd typed all the above in the style of your quote you'd have given up by now - it wouldn't have made much sense anyway. I don't know about you, but when I first saw it, it took me three to four times longer to make sure I'd got the right sense than it would in straight text. And I make the same point about posts where the poster has his/her own way of spelling words (eg. phonetically) or hasn't used the Shift key at all. It takes longer to extract the meaning than it needs to. OK, I suppose, if you've time on your hands, but frankly if they can't be bothered to abide by a perfectly reasonable convention, I can't be bothered to grapple with what they're trying to say. I like to think I'm in touch with someone in approximately the same Universe of endeavour as me.

    In any case, as I keep trying to point out, my original comment had very little to do with 'accurate typing and expression in English' vs 'accurate security information'. In spite of protestations to the contrary, I believe that with a bit of care you can have both, but occasional misprints, idiosyncrasies of expression and different spellings are not what I'm arguing about. They're perfectly understandable and do not detract in any way from the sense of the piece. It does not irritate me when editing HTML code to have to type <center> instead of 'centre' - that's part and parcel of the convention. When I finish typing this I'll spend a few more minutes going through it checking for typos etc. and whether I've made the point I thought I was making. And why? Because I'm writing in a medium which allows me time to do this - ie. not, for instance texting on a mobile phone. I owe it to the people I'm communicating with as without face-to-face contact or speech there is far more room for misunderstanding.
    Having said that, however, now imagine you're a total novice : try to find a freeware virus scanner called AGV. How long will it take you to realise it should have been AVG? That's an actual example and it should have been avoided.
    Try using less than 100% accuracy in path names, or URLs that are less than perfect. They are, as you know, quite useless. If you use one in a post, a moderator will correct it for you to avoid the inevitable protests. You see, sometimes it matters that your language be spot on, and sometimes it doesn't. It's not always easy to tell which is which.

    MerC's Law #212 : spelling is not necessary.

    Rgds
     
  10. merci

    merci Registered Member

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    I'm on dodgy ground disagreeing profoundly with an admin but I could not disagree more with those remarks. Minds compensate alright, but more often than not come up with a sense different from that which was originally intended. In technical writing this can be very significant. It may be that a lot of times we think we know what was meant, but to be sure we'd be obliged to check. Many times, I maintain, (with misplaced punctuation for example) the error detracts from the accurate sense. We may not know for sure what the writer meant, unless we are party to an implicit body of shared knowledge. It's why you won't find commas in legal documents. This surely is a fundamental problem of written, as distinct from verbal, communication. Why increase the risk? "I've had enough of this" has enormous variation of meaning when spoken - rather less when written.

    MerC's Law #12 : smile when you write that.

    Rgds
     
  11. LowWaterMark

    LowWaterMark Administrator

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    You're not on dodgy ground at all, merci. ;)

    I don't think anyone here is saying that spelling errors and typos are a good thing. Certainly for published works such as our main security website, it would be preferable not to have any such errors. However, that does not mean that the things pointed out above aren't at least interesting.

    I have seen the phenomenon that I mentioned above occur frequently in real-time online chats, but, I will also admit that I've seen people misunderstand a statement because of a similar typo or misspelling. So, my comments above are directed more towards the wonders of the human brain and how such things are possible.
     
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