Date: Sat, 26 Oct 1996 20:16:46 -0500


Subject: Sea change on the Internet

Dennis said:

From: Dennis Baron debaron[AT SYMBOL GOES HERE]UIUC.EDU

Subject: a taste of mla

Dear ADSers:

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

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