It's not about you

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I was surprised, yesterday, to get a thoughtful letter of resignation from a LLOG commenter. To preserve the anonymity of his pseudonymity, I'll call him 'X'. Mr. X's stated reason for leaving was that

LL is becoming far too centered on my babblings.  Defending my own crudity is becoming tiresome, time-consuming, and harmful to others – notably yourself and whoever else's good names are behind the board.  I prefer to do whatever is most helpful and appropriate – in this case I've missed that target pretty goddamned impressively.

I appreciate the letter. But I feel that it expresses a widespread misunderstanding, namely that Language Log is a "board" or "forum" for discussion, a sort of latter-day usenet or a small-time reddit. It's not — Language Log is a weblog, in which posting is limited to small circle of friends.

Over the years, we've gone back and forth about whether to allow comments. I mostly enjoy comments — though during periods when we didn't allow them, I got nearly the same benefits in email responses from readers. Geoff Pullum mostly doesn't like dealing with comments, as regular readers know well; and other Language Log posters have positions somewhere in between. But anywhere along the continuum of opinions about comments, it's a secondary question. Without comments, LL was LL without comments; with comments, it's LL with comments.

The thoughtful Mr. X continued:

I didn't like my reactions to being called a troll, and notably I didn't like my reactions a great deal more than I didn't like being called a troll in the first place.  This tells me something I don't like hearing.

The key problem with open discussion on the internet was expressed clearly in William Faulkner's letter resigning his position as postmaster of a Mississippi post office:

As long as I live under the capitalistic system, I expect to have my life influenced by the demands of moneyed people. But I will be damned if I propose to be at the beck and call of every itinerant scoundrel who has two cents to invest in a postage stamp.

It's the genius and the curse of the Internet that an investment of two cents is no longer required.

In any case, I've instructed Language Log's Customer Relations Department to refund double Mr. X's  subscription fees, in accordance with our long-standing policy.



48 Comments

  1. Daniel von Brighoff said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 1:40 pm

    I respect Geoff's preference (although I find it a bit tiresome to be constantly reminded of it), but the couple of times I tried to comment on one of his posts by e-mail I got no acknowledgment or response. Whatever the reason for that (and there are plenty of possibilities, most of which do not reflect poorly on either of us) it's put me off from making future attempts. I'm not complaining, but I just wanted to make the point that relying solely on e-mail does have the effect of reducing potentially positive contributions. You say you got "nearly the same benefits" without allowing comments, but you can't evaluate what you never saw so it's impossible to be sure.

  2. Fox said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    As a recreational reader of LL (I am not a linguist, author, or editor), I find the comments, whether inane or insightful, to greatly add to the entertainment value of a post, particularly the more controversial topics.

    I would suspect that some of them add to the educational value as well.

  3. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 1:52 pm

    @Mark,

    Ah! Those halcyon days when a 1st-class piece of mail cost a mere 2-cents.

    Clearly Will Faulkner moved along from his early postmaster duties, to make some name for himself as one of America's great men-of-letters. (No pun intended.)

    But on a more serious note: I must confess (if it isn't already glaringly apparent) that I have ofttimes been guilty of longwinded, off-topic, meandering, perhaps slightly pedestrian ramblings, and have taken much of the expressed, mostly valid criticism from other bloggers, for my 'transgressions', to heart.

    But some of the push-back critiques of my efforts have verged on the malicious, mean-spirited, insulting, and often hurtful. Yet I do realize, such are the potential risks in putting one's thoughts, opinions and feelings out there, i.e, criticism, be it good, bad, or just plain ugly comes w/ the online territory. (I have a thick skin, whilst some might argue I have a thick skull, as well.)

    Mark, I appreciate your clarification of the original prime intent of your weblog; more or less, that it wasn't initially meant to be an open forum, per se, but came about as more of a friendly discussion site for your "list of authors", w/ eventually comments from 'outsiders' being perhaps begrudgingly welcome.

    Going forward, in light of your explication, I guess I'll have to adjust my perspective here, and venture to make more of a concerted effort to be on topic, to the point, much more concise, and less rambling in my future postings.

    Frankly, I hope blogger "X" might reconsider his self-exile to 'Babel-on', and at some point return to LL.

    I haven't been called a "troll"…YET! But I won't give up hope.

  4. Peter said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 1:56 pm

    As another recreational reader of LL, my interest in the comments has varied greatly over time. There have been periods when the general level of discussion in the comments was close to the level of the posts themselves, but others (perhaps we’re going through one now) when many comment threads have devolved largely into comparatively uninformed pools of peevery (de- as well as pre-) and anecdotage.

    I haven’t, though, picked up any real impression of what factors influence this: in particular, does the general quality get temporarily reset to a higher level after periods without comments, or anything like that?

  5. Jak King said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 2:11 pm

    As another "recreational" reader of LL I have to admit to almost never reading comments. This is for reasons of time, usually. However, when I have taken the time to read comments I have generally enjoyed them. I suspect I would miss them if they stopped.

  6. Howard Oakley said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 2:21 pm

    I greatly value and often enjoy the postings to LL, and am sad that any of its contributors should feel sufficiently defensive that they are driven to discontinue.

    However some comments and commentators have significantly enhanced the original articles, and it would be a shame to turn all comments off. Perhaps – re-enthused by his boosted subscription fees – X would consider continuing to enrich us readers, but with comments turned off as a matter of course?

    Every lost posting leaves the world a poorer place…

  7. TonyK said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 2:29 pm

    @Daniel, in the few (two or three) instances when I have e-mailed Professor Pullum in lieu of posing a comment, he has been most courteous, answering by e-mail within 24 hours. Only he can shed any light on his criteria for responding…

  8. Aaron Toivo said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 2:34 pm

    On the problems that arise with comments, and particularly the sort of problems GKP has expressed before:
    Has LL considered picking a volunteer moderator or two from among the well-behaved regular readers who know the rules and expectations? Someone to go through the comments and nuke the ones that break them, to take that burden off scientists and scholars who surely have better things to do than weed out misbehavior and drivel? I'm sure there are people who would be happy to do it. I would, if I had more free time.

  9. DEP said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 2:55 pm

    I have a strict rule to never leave comments on a blog.

  10. Ken MacDougall said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 3:21 pm

    I'm interested to know if it was actually a letter that was sent.

  11. Rubrick said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 3:23 pm

    @Alex: '…but came about as more of a friendly discussion site for your "list of authors…"'

    I think this still misses the mark. It's not a discussion site; it's a blog, where a small set of entertaining experts get to post on the subject of their expertise, for the enjoyment of readers (who may or may not be experts themselves). Our job is, primarily, to say "Oooh, nifty!", and only secondarily (if comments are open and we feel so inclined) to contribute something relevant and interesting ourselves.

    Or, in my case, to contribute something nominally relevant and putatively amusing.

  12. bfwebster said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 3:36 pm

    I find the LL comments entertaining, informative, and frankly more civil and classy than those I find at most other websites. At the same time, I understand the impulse to close comments (and always look for Geoff's per-post quip as to why they are). I will keep reading the blog daily whether there are comments or not, but I hope they remain. ..bruce..

  13. Justin said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 4:15 pm

    Ah, the good old comment issue. I feel a need to comment on it. Now you may argue that for *you*, whether to allow comments or not you receive about the same benefit. However for *me*, without comments I am oftentimes deprived of this benefit, unless you feel inclined to update your posts with all relevant private comments. You are of course at liberty to deprive me of this, I just don't think it's nice.

  14. Mr Fnortner said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 5:07 pm

    I relish the liberty to post, though often I don't care to, and occasionally I write a comment only to discard it in favor of silence. Once in a while I write something obviously out of my depth and a kind reader lends a hand and skewers me for my efforts. That is, frankly, a welcome learning opportunity: sobering, grounding, challenging and always informative. I think the comments facility would be a bargain at twice the price.

  15. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 5:10 pm

    @Rubrick,

    Ah! Ha!…. I think I get your point.

    The LL "experts" in their chosen field of expertise don't generally "discuss", amongst themselves, the varied article topics brought to light on the site, but submit posts that reflect their own points of interest, or language usage curiosities, that they feel might be of interest to a wider online readership.

    In effect, the commentary, or reader comments aspect is kind of a secondary factor, i.e., the "experts" could more-or-less take them or leave them. Yet, it would appear that here is where one could view the ensuing dialogue between readers, sparked by the posted articles, as a legitimate "discussion forum", of sorts…. no?

    Minimal-to-no inter-expert dialogue, without reader commentary, seems to have been be the original intent of creating LL, to both hopefully inform and entertain an audience keen on all things lexicographic.

    The addition of the "comments" component apparently works for some of the "experts", or posting academics, and for others, not so much… Prof. Pullum, as a case in point, regarding the latter position.

    I currently enjoy the "Opinionator" section's "The Conversation" blog, in the New York Times—-a lively, fun, and educative discussion forum featuring staff political columnist David Brooks and Gail Collins. They usually home in on a burning issue of the day, conducting a back-and-forth, civil, often witty exchange of opinion on the topic at hand, which invariably generates quite a stir of commentary from readers, depending on the issue discussed.

    Now in this case, the blog has two so-called "experts" dialoguing w/ each other, and comments are seemingly encourage and welcomed. It's all good.

    Yet, compared to LL, this blog is an almost entirely different animal, format-wise. Mind you, it's the rare occasion when either Brooks or Collins respond directly to posted comments.

    Rubrick, at any rate, thanks for the LL clarification.

  16. Eric said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 5:31 pm

    Is that the origin of "my two cents" idioms, or are they much older?

  17. X said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 5:48 pm

    Hey, I'm X (and not "Mr. X"), and I resent being libelled in this way!

    OK, not really; hazards of the pseudonym, I guess.

    Like Mr Fnortner, I often spend time researching and writing comments only to delete them when I decide they're not really worth anybody else's time. (This comment just barely made the cut.) I like the comments, and I'm sad when no comments are allowed. Although many commenting blogs (virtually all newspapers and mass-media, for example) are truly awful reflections of the ignorance and hostility of the public, a site with a great commenting community can be a really valuable resource.

  18. aka Darrell said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 5:56 pm

    I Have been a recreational reader of LL daily since perhaps before 2006.

    I think the "It's not about you" column or whatever it is called is a symptom of twitter and Facebook taking over. The dotage of Weblogs, the genre, not necessarily LL itself, is beginning to show.

    [(myl) Long before the first web logs -- unless we give priority to Plato -- there were dial-up "bulletin boards", there was usenet, there were web forums... I'm sure it's true that most people who might have started a Live Journal or the like five or six years ago are using Facebook now. But blogs like this one are a somewhat different category, and I don't see Facebook pages taking over the space now occupied by blogs that get tens of thousands of page views a day.

    The big-time blogs, that get hundreds of thousands of page views a day, have generally become more professionalized. I guess it's possible that medium-sized sites like Language Log may get squeezed out, between Facebook on one side and the Daily Beast on the other side. We'll see...]

  19. a George said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 6:26 pm

    @bfwebster:
    — hadn’t you noticed? The reason for closing comments has not been given since 17 July 2012. This was a hint. In the installment of 13 September we almost get confirmation that Prof. Pullum’s contributions will end.
    SE&O

  20. Pharmamom said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 6:45 pm

    I think you guys do a great job. I love LL and find the comments to be of superior quality. I always look forward to Dr. Pullum's reason for not allowing comments. Sometimes I want to comment just to tell him how entertaining he is!

    LL reminds me of the Volokh Conspiracy–another one of my faves.

  21. D-AW said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 8:44 pm

    Comments also provide another (less controlled but not uncontrolled) way of making links between this blog and other related blogs that might be conducting related conversations, and so fosters a broader kind of conversation.

  22. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 8:55 pm

    @X,

    Glad to see you back on board the 'Good Ship LL', be it only for your brief, but most relevant commentary.

    Remember….. earlier I referred to you as "blogger X"— a tad less formal than "Mr. X", you must admit? HA!

    I echo your low opinion of the often base, bombastic, mean-spirited, and uninformed nature of bloggers on many commenting blogs, these days.

    It appears, just from my casual perusing of some of these much-trafficked, 'multi-hit' sites, that the pop-culture and sports-related* blog commenters can be some of the most vacuous, irate, disturbed, and obnoxious types, online.

    I call them the short-attention-span 'hit-and-runners', in that they make some usually terse, outlandish, off-the-wall claim, directly insult a few previous posters while they're at it, then split for a spell.

    If the bloggers that this 'hit-and-runner' insults takes his inflammatory, but tempting 'bait' and later respond to defend themselves, the possibility of a protracted back-and-forth, escalating petty feud could likely ensue.

    Although I'm an avid pro golf fan and check out the PGA and LPGA tourney results, and happenings on Yahoo! Sports fairly religiously, I rarely, if ever, comment on their golf blogs. Literally, too many yahoos, bozos, and malcontents on aboard.

    Racial slurs appear alive-and-well in the domain of sports blogging. Case in point: As if golfer Tiger Woods hasn't been maligned, shamed, and dissed enough over the past four years, the golf bigots in the blogosphere will not let up on him. It's so tiresome, tedious, and frankly, very disturbing.

    There's an entire hating, xenophobic, faction of bloggers out there who follow the U.S. LPGA tour and are all majorly ticked off, and frustrated that the South Korean, Chinese, Thai, and a handful of Japanese women have tended to dominant the ladies tour over the past five-to-ten years, or so. In fact currently, there are some 45 gals of South Korean origin playing in the pro ladies ranks.

    Yet epithets like "slant eyes", "kimchee babes", and "yellow peril" are rife on the LPGA comment blogs. I don't event visit them any more…. period.

    I do find the NPR comment blogs for the various call-in talk shows, (like my local KPPC affiliate here in L.A.), have a more intelligent, measured, civil, and informed caliber of commenter, than most blogs out there. Of course, it attracts a generally more educated, culturally in-tune, societally connected type listener, in-the-main. So accordingly, one might expect a more thoughtful, more articulate, more savvy level of blog commentary.

    Thankfully, at least a few cuts above those sports blogs. Just sayin'.

    *Don't get me wrong. There are some very articulate, knowledgeable folks out there who make very cogent, intelligent, and persuasive comments on sports-related blogs. Sadly, those are often the handful of exceptions.

    I think the emotional factor, and one's strong team affiliation often negatively colors many bloggers' clarity of thought, online. Some likely regret what they've written, after they've already clicked on that "Submit", "Send", or "Post" icon.

  23. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 9:00 pm

    Oops!

    That should have read "KPCC", not KPPC", referencing my local NPR affiliate broadcasting out of Pasadena, CA., in that last post. Oh well.

  24. jaypatrick said,

    October 10, 2012 @ 9:17 pm

    The Internet certainly seems to engender confused behavior and commentary from people who would, hopefully, be otherwise inclined to " do whatever is most helpful and appropriate." Though, I suppose "real life" offers such possibilities as well.

    I do fear for the day when someone's good name might be put at risk by affiliation with the confused Internet meanderings of a Mr. X.

  25. Reinhold {Rey} Aman said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 2:03 am

    @ ALEX "w/" MCCRAE:

    I must confess (if it isn't already glaringly apparent) that I have ofttimes been guilty of longwinded, off-topic, meandering, perhaps slightly pedestrian ramblings, and have taken much of the expressed, mostly valid criticism from other bloggers, for my 'transgressions', to heart.

    No, you haven't. You are still posting endless, longwinded, off-topic, meandering, and/or pedestrian ramblings.

    Please don't bother replying with another 500-word insincere mea culpa. Thank you.

  26. Barney said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 5:21 am

    Something that I'm not sure I ever see used on blogs is to have the comment form open but with a stated policy that only selected comments that an editor chooses will be displayed. It might bridge the gap somewhat between soliciting private emailed and having an open comments thread.

  27. Robert Coren said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 10:05 am

    @Barney: It's my (possibly mistaken) understanding that this is in fact how LL comments work (although I don't know if the screening has ever been "stated" as a "policy").

  28. Jeff Carney said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 10:39 am

    @Barney and Robert

    Here is my impression of the monitoring system. First, all comments go through a spam filter. I am under the impression that most get tossed this way, with great, though not perfect accuracy.

    When a new commenter appears (or perhaps just one who posts a URL; I'm not sure) Mark checks it out. WordPress has an option that lets someone post unmoderated comments once the first comment has been approved.

    Which means that most comments you see here are posted with no moderation.

    I'm not sure how Mark budgets his time, but he does watch over the comments to some greater or lesser extent as they come in. Sometimes he comments on a comment; that's the red text you see. Sometimes he deletes a comment that's beyond the pale. Sometimes a comment addresses a typo or some such in Mark's original post, and once Mark makes the correction, he often deletes the comment that made him aware of it (since it no longer serves a function).

    This is all time consuming, but the alternative would be worse. If Mark had to approve every comment before it was posted, he'd have endless work and little time for his day job. On our end, it would bring discussions to a halt, since (if he has any sense) Mark would be approving comments in batches, leaving large chunks of missing time in between.

  29. Eric W said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 12:06 pm

    Dear LL: Please continue to allow comments. "Circle of friends": Please encourage Dr. Pullum to open comments. He doesn't have to read them.
    I find most comments to be friendly and informative; vituperation is easy to spot and skip past.

  30. SCF said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 12:41 pm

    Hi,
    Most of the comments on this post seem to favor allowing comments without giving many specific reasons. The reason I greatly value comments is their ability to produce additional primary linguistic data that bear on the topic under discussion — this aspect of LL comments makes LL quite rare in the blogosphere. A recent example would be the discussion of "flied out" vs. "flew out" (Sept 23) — not only did this contain interesting discussion about "flew out" being incorrectly labeled unacceptable, but it revealed the fascinating, little-known fact that baseball teams were once regularly referred to as the Chicagos or the Detroits. Another example would be the Sept 30 discussion of "to/in the lab" vs. "to/in lab" — I had never heard the latter, but many commenters cited specific examples, including environments in which they heard each variant, and one commenter raided her stash of old email to produce data.
    Of course, "keep the comments" is easy for me to say since I don't feel pressured to read all comments. It must be extremely frustrating for authors of LL posts to see comments pouring in, interrupt their real work to glance at them, and realize they've pissed away precious time reading rants. While rants occasionally produce prescriptivist gold (e.g., the "flied out" commenter who proclaimed that the form was "an abomination…that ought not exist"), most clearly do not, and many reveal that the commenter has not read the original post. Maybe LL could incorporate some type of crude labeling system allowing a post's author to place flags atop comments that consist solely of rants; possible labels could include e.g., RANT, TIRADE, or HASN'T READ ORIGINAL POST.

  31. Acilius said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 1:24 pm

    I wonder if there is such a thing as the comments being too good. That is to say, does it ever happen that a blogger posts something substandard knowing that the commenters will produce remarks that are worth reading anyway? Admittedly, on this site the standard of the posts is extremely high, so it might be all right for the authors to relax a bit from time to time. But when the comments are at their best here, I wouldn't be surprised if an author were tempted to post something disposable simply to open a thread.

  32. Chandra said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 1:28 pm

    @ALEX MCCRAE – A general rule for comments on Internet forums and blogs is that the longer they are, the less likely people will be to read them. Unless you have highly relevant, informed and novel information to add to the discussion, carrying on for multiple paragraphs, as you do, will be viewed as irritating and intrusive by most readers. To be blunt, I've come to the point where I simply skip over a comment when I see your name at the head of it.

    I don't wish to criticize as I'm sure you're an entertaining individual to converse with in person, but it doesn't carry across well to contexts like this one.

  33. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 7:01 pm

    @Reinhold,

    No hollow, lengthly mea culpas here.

    I just reread the "Comments policy" for LL, which I must admit I only half breezed thru months ago; and in this more thorough perusal I realize that I've been blatantly abusing the privilege of contributing here w/ my long-winded, meandering…. well you know the list of negatives by heart.

    I just want to thank you for persisting, and continuing to get on my case, because it's finally dawned on me that my multi-paragraphed posts, as poster Chandra earlier alluded to, are often viewed as "irritating", and"intrusive" by many regular LL readers.

    Though actions should speak louder than words, and you are right that my posts were STILL long and windy, even after I kind of pledged to change may meandering ways.

    Old, engrained bad habits are hard to break. I think I might need a 12-step program for long-winded bloggers. I guess this is my 'making amends' step.

    Reinhold, thanks for the tough love. I know you mean well, and want the best for this very special language blog.

  34. Mr Fnortner said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 7:19 pm

    @Chandra, the common internet code for the phenomenon you describe is "TLDR" which means "too long didn't read," as in: "@Bonehead, sorry TLDR but your still a moran."

  35. Brett said,

    October 11, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

    @Mr Fnortner: I almost always see it as "tl;dr" (or a capitalized version thereof). I think this is linguistically interesting, because it preserves the semicolon. I can't think of any other similarly common electronic abbreviation in which punctuation is maintained in this way.

  36. Barney said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 5:42 am

    @Eric W: Someone does need to read the comments so that they can deal with anything the blog authors consider offensive, abusive, illegal, spammy, or otherwise unacceptable, and if Prof. Pullum doesn't want to do that there may not be anyone else willing and trusted by the LL team to take it on for his posts.

  37. Mr Fnortner said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 7:12 am

    @Brett, You're right; it does have a semicolon most often. And I've often seen it with a comma. As for linguistics, I'm afraid I can't recall another acronym that comes from a phrase with punctuation in the original, although I concur that the punctuation is a quite interesting.

  38. peter said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 7:13 am

    There's no doubt that having to deal with large numbers of trolling and spamming comments would be time-consuming and perhaps depressing. On the other hand, comments can be valuable, as this LL blogger remarked back in 2009:

    "[I say again: you Language Log readers teach me a lot. I spent well over a year in all residing in Queensland while working with Rodney Huddleston on The Cambridge Grammar of the English Language, and made notes on a lot of Australian English clippings (I wrote the first draft of the section on the topic in the grammar, Chapter 19, pages 1634 to 1636), but I didn't encounter tilly. Learning a language never really ceases, does it? —GKP]"

    http://languagelog.ldc.upenn.edu/nll/?p=1439

  39. pj said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 8:14 am

    @Alex, you're clearly not a troll, but I'm afraid I'm another that scrolls past your long comments. They thus do you out of the participation in the discussion that you seek.
    Is it wrong of me to me amused that the essence of your last 174 words would have been more convincingly rendered in 10?:
    "@Reinhold, Chandra: I get it, thanks. I'll strive for brevity."

    (Here ends my sole 'getting on your case' contribution: thread derailments into focussing on a particular commenter are themselves irritating. We return you to normal programming.)

  40. ALEX MCCRAE said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 11:10 am

    @pj,

    Thanks for your thoughtful advice. I much appreciate your point suggesting that I'm doing a disservice to myself w/ my long-winded posts (since they are often being scrolled past, or ignored), as well as perhaps doing an even greater disservice to other LL readers, many of whom find my post irritating, off-point, or just distracting.

    I WILL strive for brevity, and hopefully this post can initiate that intention.

  41. David Walker said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 5:32 pm

    What is Mr. X resigning FROM? From commenting on any future LL posts? Or from reading LL at all? I wonder why he feels the need to inform you.

  42. Daniel Barkalow said,

    October 12, 2012 @ 11:14 pm

    Those excerpts from Mr. X's letter do not suggest that he's resigning from reading LL, but rather that he's resigning from commenting. Surely, in that case, he should be required to return his royalties with interest, rather than having his subscription fee doubly refunded.

  43. DW said,

    October 13, 2012 @ 10:56 pm

    On some internet boards, TLDR has morphed into `teal deer.`

  44. DW said,

    October 13, 2012 @ 11:01 pm

    And I have never seen it with the semicolon. On a board I frequented for awhile, a whole lore had grown up around teal deer.

  45. Barbara Phillips Long said,

    October 14, 2012 @ 9:30 pm

    This site has a chart showing frequencies for tldr and tl;dr:

    http://knowyourmeme.com/memes/tldr
    = = = = =
    I find comments on Language Log to be unusually informative and more focused than on other blogs. I would miss them if they disappeared. I greatly enjoyed the comments when Prof. Liberman posted an entry about an issue I had raised.

    Sometimes I wish there was a general email bin to send ideas and references to Language Log for any of the bloggers to grab at if interested. I suspect the problem with this idea, as always, would be spam and volume.

  46. Chandra said,

    October 15, 2012 @ 1:37 pm

    I've mostly seen TL;DR (usually with the semi-colon) used self-referentially at the end of one's own long post, as a way to introduce a very brief summary of what they just wrote.

  47. Chandra said,

    October 15, 2012 @ 1:44 pm

    Eh, grammar fail. It's Monday and I'm tired.

  48. J. Goard said,

    October 16, 2012 @ 12:51 am

    The only thing that makes me sad here is how thoroughly the fine metaphor of "trolling" (i.e., trying to catch a "fish" by dragging a "lure" through a pool of people) has yielded to the uninspired noun form "troll" (an ugly monster) for any poster whom one dislikes, regardless of whether said person's motivation was to deliberately stir up controversy for amusement.

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