The passive aggressive period
Posted: 10 December 2015 08:35 PM   [ Ignore ]
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http://www.salon.com/2015/12/09/stop_texting_like_this_how_1_extra_character_turns_a_plain_message_into_a_passive_aggressive_dig/?utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=socialflow

Stop texting like this: How 1 extra character turns a plain message into a passive-aggressive dig

If you’re a stickler for proper punctuation, it might be hurting your texting relationships

ERIN COULEHAN

One of the best things about modern technology is seeing your phone flash with a text message. The rapid-fire form of communication allows us to engage in conversation almost as fluidly as we would face-to-face. Some of the worst messages to receive are shorter messages that are made curt by a period.

“K.”

“That’s fine.”

“Yeah.”

Ugh. It’s hard to argue for terse texting as anything other than a form of passive aggressiveness. More often than not, a period doesn’t make sense grammatically because the upsetting statements are rarely complete sentences. The use of periods in this way signals the sudden end of a conversation, like slamming the brakes at full speed.

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Posted: 11 December 2015 03:48 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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My first reaction was that this was one serious peever. But then I read that the Salon article is based on a journal article. Unfortunately, U of T doesn’t yet provide access to this issue of Computers in Society (I suspect I will get access in the next few days) I have two questions: What is the sample size? What is the size of the effect Coulehan is writing about?

How many people and what kinds did they survey to determine that period use was aggressive? Is the number sufficient to generalize to the population as a whole? Often in studies like this, those surveyed are university students (they’re easy to round up and willing to do stuff for the small sums of money researchers pay), but students are not representative.

The second question about effect size is one that reporters almost always fail to ask. There is a difference between “statistical significance” and, what in the medical field is called, “clinical significance.” An effect may be real and measurable (statistically significant) but so small that it has no practical effect (clinical significance).

And the article flies in the face of the, admittedly unscientific, findings of dating sites like OKCupid that have determined good grammar is a turn-on.

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Posted: 11 December 2015 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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My first reaction was that the whole thing was barmy and that if you are okay with “Fine” but think “Fine.” is passive aggressive then you probably need some kind of professional help.

But yeah, it will be interesting to know the survey parameters.

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Posted: 11 December 2015 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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OK, I’m just going to toss this out there:  I scrolled back through my text thread with my wife, and I found a “Yep.” and an “OK.” Both were sent by me at a time when we were annoyed with each other over some foible.  Other examples of “OK” sent by me at other times didn’t have any punctuation.  I’ll venture to say I probably consciously added the period to convey annoyance. So I’ll throw in with Ms. Coulehan.

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Posted: 11 December 2015 07:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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I’ve seen this stated often enough to realize that it is A Thing among those who are not (like your humble servant) looking forward to their first Social Security check in the not-too-distant future, but you’ll pry my periods out of my cold dead iPhone.  If young whippersnappers want to think I’m being passive aggressive, let them.

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Posted: 11 December 2015 04:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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I seem to remember that at one time, text messages were rather expensive and the number of characters you sent affected your bill, so I can see how adding (and paying for) that extra character was possibly more of a statement, for the cognoscenti.

By the time I got on the bandwagon, unlimited text messaging was part of my basic plan.

FWIW, I doubt I would even notice if people were using periods or not.

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Posted: 12 December 2015 03:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Certainly a period can be a useful thing for separating sentences but it is not necessary for ending a final sentence when you do the same thing by hitting Send.

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Posted: 12 December 2015 07:10 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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Do you also omit capital letters, which are equally useless in practical terms?

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Posted: 12 December 2015 02:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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I know some who do.

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Posted: 13 December 2015 03:27 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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i do bcoz i cant type w my thums

Texting from me irritates my offspring intensely. They insist on capitals and punctuation, even apostrophes.

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Posted: 13 December 2015 06:30 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I like your offspring!

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Posted: 13 December 2015 02:22 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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Faldage - 12 December 2015 02:35 PM

I know some who do.

E.E. Cummings for example?

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Posted: 13 December 2015 04:12 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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Oecolampadius - 13 December 2015 02:22 PM

Faldage - 12 December 2015 02:35 PM
I know some who do.

E.E. Cummings for example?

And, Faulkner, Joyce, Proust, Beckett, Stein et al.

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Posted: 13 December 2015 04:39 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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I’m not an aficionado of texting; the practice annoys me. I understand its functionality, and sometimes it can be useful in business meetings, where one cannot make a phone call, but needs to urgently communicate.

What annoys me is when people text back and forth to arrange a social gathering or anything that can be concluded far more expeditiously with a phone call. I have people who text me, ad infinitum, to arrange a tennis match wasting 5-10 minutes when a one-minute phone call would have been a speedier, and more logical, method.

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Posted: 14 December 2015 04:28 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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The idea that “those kids these days” who ignore grammar and punctuation in texts and fill them with a lot of ephemeral abbreviations is not representative of actual practice, a case of confirmation bias where the most egregious examples are touted as the norm. Those who text heavily tend to use capitals and punctuation, and abbreviations, which never appeared in more than about 10% of texts, are disappearing.

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