After us, the flood

Medieval manuscript showing Noah’s ArcThe users of the internet seem to fall into two categories: the literate and the illiterate. I had hoped that the fact that most communication is by the written word would encourage literacy but it doesn’t seem to. Hopefully the increase in visible illiteracy is because the demographic is expanding to include people who can neither spell nor touch type, and not because we are in fact dumbing down.

I’ve been freecycling a lot of stuff recently, and I have to remind myself that just because someone replies to me thusly …

sorry its late but can pick up tomorrow or sunday evening many thanks shirley [phone number] if you ring me i will ring back to arrange pick up and address

… is no reason not to let them have my stuff.

I’ve been playing Travian for a couple of weeks, and browsing the forums. Travian starts off looking like a rural version of Sim City and ends up being an mmorpg war game. I’m not particularly interested in war games and will probably wander back here whimpering when my villages are destroyed by hormone-enraged 13 year olds who cannot spell.

I can’t work out whether the posters here intend to be as rude and arrogant as they seem:

I’m really confused!
I’m new to Travian so I need answers about this server restart business. I’m in server 4 so I don’t know if it affects me but when they restart the servers is everyone going to lose their cities and have to start all over again? Please help me!

wow, i’m in an answer stupid questions mood tonight….If server 5 restarts, it has nothing to do with server 4. server 4 just restarted like 3 or 4 months ago… if i’m not mistaken, the last game on server 5 probably already ended if its restarting at the end of the month

Today is stupid question night, but I guess we really shouldnt’ say anything about this guy because he is new… And it’s not in the manual or anything………

what about server 3?

wait.. nvm.. i see now.. server 3 won’t be affected ither..

Wow don’t get mad at me when you didn’t even answer my question… “when they restart the servers is everyone going to lose their cities and have to start all over again?”

I answered your question You asked:
I’m in server 4 so I don’t know if it affects me but when they restart the servers is everyone going to lose their cities and have to start all over again? Please help me!Ok. The server restart ONLY AFFECTS the restarted server. It doesn’t affect the other servers the tiniest bit! If the server is restarted, you lose everything on that server. But if your village is not on that server, then you don’t lose anything!

Alright thanks for your time.

wow, hot to not become mad when after a stupid question (that was answered few days ago and u can find it on the forum) you don’t mind even a little to read SirensMoon’s first post:Quote:
Today is stupid question night, but I guess we really shouldnt’ say anything about this guy because he is new… And it’s not in the manual or anything………Nothing will affect you. |
that’s an answer

What A Noob Question

There are pages and pages of that sort of exchange. I cannot tell if the posters are:

  1. badly served by their own illiteracy
  2. writing abruptly because they are writing in a foreign language, (Travian was developed in Germany and is “set” in the Gallic / Teutonic boarder at the “time” of the Roman empire), or
  3. 13 and hormones and peer-pressure are undermining their ability to socialise or think

It worries me that illiteracy is a fashion and that the posters could in fact type perfectly sensibly if they chose to.

Then it worries me that this is the highest level of their written communication skills, and they are going to be unleashed into an economy where the blue-collar jobs are all done in China.

I don’t which worries me more. Maybe it’s just a noob question.

13 responses to “After us, the flood

  1. Bad language concerns me.

    A slew of colourful words is fine.

    “Bad” language is more like the response I get from patients with severe depression or neurodenenerative changes causing poverty of content of speech. This doesn’t concern me when it’s found as psychopathology in a patient.

    It does concern me when it’s the natural speech of some random folk.

    Question : “How are you faring?”

    Answer : “Well, y’know it’s like, well, sort of like, y’know, stuff, yeah?”

    The right length of answer, p’raps, but no meaning, no content to what’s said at all.

    Now that is bad language that piques me!

  2. Grrr can’t edit.

    I justwanted to add that if you are obsessed by good language, I stumbled ‘pon this blog which curiously holds my attention rather more than it should 🙂

  3. I share your concerns.

    There does seems to be a ‘fashion’ amongst this teenage group for using the same language on paper/screen that they use with each other verbally/face-to-face. It seems to be a sort of slang; a language that excludes us boring oldies. Hasn’t it always been thus?

    I’ve noticed that my three nieces, all well-educated and competent communicators on paper, use a far less formal, less conventional way of communicating in places like MSN, Bebo, My Space, text-messaging etc – where they’re communicating with their own peers.
    My son uses informal language for most computer based communication but I’ve noticed he uses very correct English when playing WoW, a multi-player, role-playing game – partly because some of the other players have English as a second language but also, I suspect, because he uses it as a weapon to intimidate less intelligent/able players.

    My concern is not for people like them; they’re bi-lingual and know what language is appropriate for different circumstances. I’m more worried about the ones who have only one way of communicating, who don’t know the difference between slang and conventional written English, along with its spelling, grammar and punctuation that clarifies and refines communication.
    Apart from anything else, they’re missing out on a much wider world of books, words and ideas and their lives will be the poorer for it. I suspect they may be too busy watching Big Brother and other pap to realise.

  4. I tend to blame young people; but then I’m older. Old farts always blame young people.

    The problem with your game conversation is less the illiteracy than the lack of cilivity. A gamer is a particular subspecies (and they tend to stay that way in part by being so uncivil to noobs).

    I belong to a discussion group that has a socializing component. I visit it for the information; the socializing part seems lacks andy kind of real interaction. A new member will show up and introduce himself, with a little background story, and the thread will go to two pages of three word “hello and welcome” replies, with no comment on the person’s story or drawing him out or relating a similar personal experience. There will be a thread called “What’s the last movie you saw?” and people will jump on and post the name of the last movie they saw. No discussion of the movie, just a big, multi-person list.

    I’m explaining this badly, which is not something you want to do on a thread about online illiteracy. These people seem tolerably literate, but they are almost autistic in their ability to connect and make conversation.

  5. Pity you’ve nothing better to do. You must be both bored and lonely.

  6. Shrink, I do so agree; I have far more concerns about the inability think and express those thoughts than I do about what is usually called “bad” language. And thanks for the link. It’s a good site.

    Teuchter, interesting about your nieces and your son. And War of the Worlds does seem to attract a thinking class of gamer.

    S. Weasel, it is the unpleasantness of the tone that I dislike, but what I cannot tell is if they mean to be that unpleasant.

    Anticant, it takes very little of my time because there are time delays built into the game. I seem to be able to take about three actions per day and they don’t require much thought. You are right though, even the time I do spend could probably be better used elsehow, but I am genuinely interested in the gamer experience because it is changing how people behave and think and because it is slicing society horizontally. Technology in general and games and the internet in particular are separating generations from each other and joining like-minded people internationally; I find that interesting. However, I am unprepared to sacrifice hours of a day every day to experience gaming directly. This is a light-weight way of dabbling in the gamers’ worlds and it was recommended me by a friend who knows my interest. How else can I experience the netgeist?

    No defensiveness there then. 😉

    Thanks all for reading and commenting.


  7. I worry more about the hostility and rudeness of online communications than about the (admittedly horrific grammar and spelling). “u r stoopid” and “you are stupid” are all the same to me. Certainly, I’d prefer “you make an excellent point” to “u make a xcelent point,” but I’d prefer either to “you are stupid,” however well written.

  8. Any open forum that ‘kids’ can get onto just justifies the facts that not only exams are being dumbed down but that kids are also being dumbed down.

    Youtube is a haven for inadequate little toerags who, because, they can type a reasonably readable insult can put down anyone with any talent.

    It is the only bit of power these kids can get to try and purge their pubescent rages.

    Is it thier fault entirely or just the ravages of adolescence?

    It’s such an easy way of maiking oneself feel superior with little chance of any come back…yes…people can reply but it’s easily ignored.

    Though I spend much time on Youtube discovering great stuff the comments just depress me…are these really going to be useful adults…or should we just hunt them down and dispose of them?… 😉

  9. I have to say that I can’t find it in my to feel too upset about the lack of punctuation in casual internet communication.

    Personally slightly irritatind as it’s not something I find easy to read, but then I don’t often engage in casual internet communication.

    This doesn’t count. It’s not casual, it’s part of a reasoned discussion.

    It does bother me that people seem to be unable to grasp that there are times when they shouldn’t be using it though.

    As for the rudeness – it’s always easier to insult people if you aren’t actually forced to look them in the face when doing so.

  10. And the reason I don’t find it offensive is, as you can see, because I am rarely able to force myself to make sure I post error free comments first go, and so have a certain sneaking admiration for people who have clearly just given up entirely.

    ‘I do find it personally slightly irritating’ was how that was supposed to read. *Sigh*

  11. And quite probably I meant ‘_should_ be using it’ if we assume ‘it’ = ‘punctuation’ too…

  12. Ha! And you laughed when I explained the game to you and you nodded patronisingly down the phone at me (yes, I could hear you nodding patronisingly down a phone, you do it audibly) when I explained about how I’d made a spreadsheet to help me play more efficiently… OK now I do sound like a nerd again. Even to me.

    BUT! You’re playing! Ha!

    Which server? (I’m on server 1, and doing rather well for my local area, although to be honest it’s not that encouraging making progress from ranking 6000th to ranking 4200th. Still…)

  13. as far as literacy is concerned, is touch typing a prerequisite? a corona’s keys needed a good smack those days – can’t get rid of the two finger habit.

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