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12:59 AM
hai
I have some time for me today
 
1:48 AM
So I'm moving my blog to an ec2 instance\
 
 
6 hours later…
7:29 AM
@NeilFein: Hmmm. I'm with @RegDwightB8 about the parentheses question being non-constructive. I bow before the previously stated opinion, but I'd like to go on record: I don't see the point in migrating a question that seems plain-out poor. I don't think it creates useful content, and I don't want to be a dumping ground for vague questions on EL&U.
In other news,
I really like semicolons.
Do you think semicolons make your writing more clear, or less clear?
:P
As for the critique question, I think it's not unreasonable - he's asking for a critique of his worldbuilding process.
I did a little cleanup appropriately.
This edges kind of close to the "we don't critique content" guideline, but it's not too bad, historical value, yadda yadda yadda.
 
 
2 hours later…
10:02 AM
@Standback - Semicolons are an ain't-I-smart punctuation mark. Are you smart enough to use semicolons?
I think the parentheses question isn't EL&U's trash left on our doorstep. IMO, it's about using parens as a writer, and not the theory of how they should be used.
So how about this: If two mods disagree on whether to close a question, we always err on the side of closing it unless it's me that wants it open. :)
Seriously, if you want to close it, I won't object. But maybe we need to define our terms a little better?
 
 
2 hours later…
11:51 AM
@NeilFein: I wasn't going to close it unless it gets close votes, given your support.
I don't see "do parentheses make writing more or less clear?" as an answerable question. Sometimes more, sometimes less. It's not a matter of the punctuation mark - it's a question of whether a semi-related digression in the middle of your text makes writing more and less clear.
And I don't know what to say to that except, "Well, if it clarifies what's going on it makes it more clear, and if it confuses or goes off tangent it makes things less clear, however if the writer has any self-awareness the digression won't be distracting and will be easy to gloss over (unless the author is deliberately aiming for a meandering style)."
The idea of a punctuation mark making things clear is odd,
and the request to "render judgement" on "is this punctuation mark good or bad?" to be non-constructive.
 
 
4 hours later…
3:44 PM
@Standback - Maybe you can look at it as an unclear question that is eliciting focused answers?
@standback @justkt - I won't be able to make tomorrow's chat, more likely than not. I have two band rehearsals tomorrow as well as an additional meeting. I'll try to pop in for a few minutes if I can.
As a suggested topic, how about an improv poetry competition? Winner gets to win the chat.
 
 
1 hour later…
5:02 PM
Wow. That parentheses question will teach me never to express my point of view again. That's the first question I actually ended up worse off for answering ... and that includes the edit. [sighs] I'm just going to go sit in the corner, curl up and rock back and forth for a while now.
 
 
1 hour later…
6:15 PM
@JedOliver: Oh, I hope not. Trust me - a couple of downvotes is nothing; you're not gonna feel it a week from now. Expressing your opinion's way more awesome, Also, having a community that really expresses its opinions by upvoting and downvoting? Even awesomer.
A much more interesting question is grokking why that particular question got some downvotes. Learned anything interesting? Care to hazard a guess? :P
@NeilFein: Sorry, I'm not here tomorrow either... I've been shanghaied into a play, and my evenings are about to turn CUH-RAZY.
If you want to reschedule the chat to, say, some hour that isn't established on the whim of the elusive Israeli moderator,
I'd say go for it.
 
Darn it
cannot undelete
 
6:30 PM
I can. you want me to?
 
No. I retype.
@Standback Well, If I could hazard could guess it could be a variety of reasons. 1) They just didn't like it, b) It was seen as "wrong" or III) it was stating a personal preference as a proper style option. Either way, my "Kill ALL the parentheses" style guide won't be flying off the shelves anytime soon.
 
(Hmmm, maybe I can't either. )
Interesting case, because the comments you got weren't very specific.
But looking over it, I see an interesting issue -
 
Which I don't get. I got 1 upvote + 3 downvotes and one snarky remark.
 
take a look at your answer (now back at m-- never mind...)
You touch on three things:
* What you do,
* What OP (and readers) should do,
* Justification for both the above.
Take a glance and see how much of your answer dwells on each of those three.
(For the record, you're at 2 down and 0 up. I'm not sure if that cheers you up or not :P )
(If you're really interested, you can usually tell by looking at how much your rep has changed per post. Since up and down are for different values of rep, it's usually pretty easy.)
 
Let see: 25% parenthesis have a use and how I use them, 25% Writing is more clear without them, 25% Blanket statement with explanation and 25% blatant insult
Looks about right
Oh and I was 1 up, 2 down and 1 upvote redacted for a garnd total of -4, and the +2 for the edit. Makes my grand total -2. Shoulda never touched it. Oh well.
Next time...
 
6:40 PM
So, this is just an observation, yes? My own kinda-humble point of view (and no, neither of the downvotes were from me :P)
 
Oh, I don't care about that.
 
The explanation of why is usually more valuable than the flat-out judgement of what or do it this way
 
Mods should probably downvote bad answers with prejudice
 
More to the point, the latter without the former is unconvincing.
Mods do it with prejudice. I'll print up a t-shirt :P
 
Well, it's a comment. Not an argument paper.
 
6:42 PM
Looking through your answer, you have very little explicit explanation.
you say, for example,
> If the parenthetical thought you have is important it needs to be integrated into the text. If the parenthetical thought you have is unimportant it needs to be excised like an ugly wart on an otherwise beautiful face.
 
Okay, so the simile is overkill. Still like those sentences.
 
Consider a rephrasing such as:
 
It's the crux of my argument and should be better presented. You're right.
And expounded upon
 
> Parentheses are an easy way to work in a minor point that isn't entirely related. But you don't want to write with a lot of minor unrelated points.
...and then added on your original two sentences.
 
Then I can still have the snarky insult at then end. (Or not. probably not)
 
6:46 PM
The difference I'm trying to point to is that this line explains your core principle, not just gives directions how to follow it.
Now, this is kind of funny,
because we are looking for direct advice, and even judgement :)
But my own experience is,
the better you can justify what your saying,
 
Yeah but that argument is the same as everyone else's: Properly used parentheses are fine if used sparingly
 
the clearer it is that your opinion is well-founded; the easier it is to follow your reasoning; the easier it is to say, "hey, nice answer."
 
(Which is the correct answer after all...)
 
No, that's not what I'm saying.
I mean, that's not what you're saying :P
You said something very interesting:
The problem with parentheses isn't poor punctuation,
it's poor composition.
 
yes
 
6:48 PM
If I dig into your answer, figure out what's behind it,
 
They are too often the tool of a lazy writer, IMHO
 
I find that. And that's kinda cool :)
But, most people won't do that.
They'll just see you describing it as a "lazy tool,"
and immediately they'll think of all the great ways parens have been used,
missing your core point: if you don't have a good reason to use them, then they indicate a flaw in your writing; you should check that out.
 
They're fine if you can use them, like the Gore Vidal excerpt that @NeilFein used. That was [finger smoochy thing] perfect.
 
Yup.
 
But if you're not Gore Vidal ... rewrite.
 
6:51 PM
So that's my advice - be sure to state your central premise. Be sure to explain the reasoning.
Or as (everybody in the world) says,
 
For like 90% of the parentheses I see out there, they're just bad writing.
 
"Tell them what you're going to say, then say it, then tell them what you've said."
Anyhoo, I've got to scoot off on an errand.
Ciao :)
 
You have no idea how many English students I've said that to...
Arrivederci
 

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