Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 20:16:46 -0500
From: "Albert E. Krahn" krahna[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]MILWAUKEE.TEC.WI.US
Subject: Sea change on the Internet
From: Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU
Subject: a taste of mla
I am interested in the issue of the increased demand for standards of
behavior (linguistic, social, digital) on email, listservs, and
newsgroups--in fact I'm doing a paper on it at the ADS MLA in a session.
I can't get to the session you're presenting this at, Dennis, but I can put
down a few lines for your database.
I certainly see some changes in online (on-line Online On-line OL on line On
line) behavior since I logged on in mid-1993. I recall that there was a
greater rift between the oldies (who had logged on a few months earlier) and
the newbies. They seemed to fall into two piles, the Crankshaft (cf. the
comic strip) types, who joyed in insulting newbies and would tell them to
rtfm and flame them in myriad manners, and the Marian the Librarian types,
who would spend endless electrons helping others over tiny barriers in a
very polite way.
Certainly, the electronic culture is wide and varied. I was on one list
until recently which was about as "no nonsense" as you can get. It was like
entering an all-male machine shop with girlie calendars on the walls. It was
all business, and the rhetoric was plain and to the point, with a touch of
"we are special because we are more experienced and know something that a
lot of others on line don't know" about it.
Indeed, every list I'm on has a different flavor. It seems to derive from a
combination of the topic, the time the participants have been on line, how
much they have interacted in person as well as virtually, and how they have
been educated. Add some more of your own observations into the formula.
I spent some time on a moderated list and felt stifled, despite the generous
benevolence of the list owner, and finally unsubbed. On most lists I have
been on in the last year I have not seen an emoticon. They seem to have lost
their cachet on serious lists peopled by oldies.
I've seen less of FAQs and netiquettes lately though certain lists could
benefit from them still. Also, lists seem to have certain behaviors because
of their relative permanence while newsgroups seem to be more hit and run
and tolerate a greater quantity of less-than-perfect behavior.
That's enough for now. Maybe more later.
For discussions of those finer details of punctuation, see below.
Al Krahn Milwaukee Area Technical College 700 W. State St. Milwaukee WI 53233
414 /W297-6519/F297-7990/H476-4025 Owner PUNCT-L : a mailing list for
discussing punctuation. Send for subscription instructions.
krahna[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]milwaukee.tec.wi.us