Use of literature sources before posting
Posted: 21 June 2010 06:29 AM   [ Ignore ]
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Often questions in forum threads are ridiculed because the answers could have been found in the appropriate literature. However, the forum members’ access to specialized literature varies widely and I am sure that discussions of such topics can still be entertaining and useful, especially for passive members of this forum. By definition, any answer given here ultimately stems from a written source which could have been accessed directly with the necessary skill, which, however, many of us may lack in a given situation. Could we have some guidelines as to what is required of a legitimate, ridicule-proof post?

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Posted: 21 June 2010 07:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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I am often curious as to why persons on a forum sometime seem so quick to suggest looking elsewhere. I feel that persons participating on this forum are rather kind compared to some elsewhere.

By now someone, somewhere, must have done a study of how forums work and why we do the things we do on forums. A forum on forums seems to have been in order for some time.

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Posted: 21 June 2010 07:26 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Often questions in forum threads are ridiculed because the answers could have been found in the appropriate literature.

I cannot recall a single instance where this has been the case. Occasionally, a question is asked where the answer can be found in a generally available source (e.g., any decent English-language dictionary, or a fact that can be readily googled), and the poster is asked (usually politely, not “ridiculed") to exercise the courtesy of conducting a basic search before coming to the forum. I can’t think of a single case where someone has complained because the questioner did not first look to a specialized source. The opposite, in fact, is the case. Participants in the forum often happily look things up in the OED for those that do not have access to that dictionary, for example.

An exception to this is a person who is intent on doing extensive work in a particular field, asking a number of questions, yet persists in not consulting the basic sources for that field. (As opposed to the casual questioner, who simply is asking a one-off question.) For example, New Linguist has repeatedly been told that Wiktionary and other such dictionaries are inadequate for any serious work in Latin; yet he persists in his refusal to consult the well-regarded, basic Latin dictionaries.

But in general, the frustrations caused by your (and New Linguist’s) recent posts are not the questions posed or the sources consulted, but your refusal to listen to the answers and insistence on maintaining your preconceived notions of how the English language (Latin in the case of New Linguist) should be. There is no point in posing questions or engaging in discussion if you are not going to listen to the answers and adapt your arguments accordingly.

Personally, I really like your initial questions. They cause me to ponder questions of grammar I have always taken for granted. But your refusal to listen to the answers to those questions and the dogged insistence that your initial declarations and suppositions, in the face of evidence to the contrary, are right and everyone else is wrong is incredibly irritating and makes any discussion with you pointless.

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Posted: 21 June 2010 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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What Dave said.  I had actually been meaning to say in one of the threads that I felt a little bad about the piling-on you’re receiving, I originally welcomed your reappearance because you tend to ask interesting questions (as you’ve been doing), but you really need to be more receptive to people’s answers and less confident of your own preconceived notions.  That’s what’s responsible for the bad reactions you’re getting.

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Posted: 21 June 2010 11:09 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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While I consider the English language and language in general as an intriguing subject which can and should be discussed in a dispassionate manner, I am apparently up against people who regard the English language as something like the Holy Grail which must not be defiled by ignorant barbarians like me. As I have already mentioned in the respective threads, I do not want to offend anybody and will refrain from now on from posting and discussing controversial subjects.

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Posted: 21 June 2010 12:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Once again you are interpreting what others say in the most offensive and useless manner possible.  No one is calling you a barbarian; people are suggesting that you take seriously the answers you get rather than reflexively arguing with them.  Your base assumption seems to be that you are the only person who has a brain and understands logic and language.  This is not a helpful attitude.

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Posted: 21 June 2010 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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This reminds me of dalehileman’s insulting and self-pitying “apologies”.

I do not want to offend anybody

Really?  Too late.

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Posted: 22 June 2010 10:39 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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I am apparently up against people who regard the English language as something like the Holy Grail which must not be defiled by ignorant barbarians like me.

What Dr Techie said.  Your questions are stimulating but you don’t make life easy for yourself.

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