The Laladopi Wagon

Discussion in 'About the Members' started by phlogistician, Dec 29, 2008.

  1. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Lala, you talk rubbish, you know? It's incoherent, stream of consciousness rot.

    Try to decide what point you want to get across, and then try and explain that point as simply as possible. Don't just let the thoughts spill out, because your thoughts don't make much sense.

    Mod Note: Thread splintered from "Natural?". See #27 below.
    Last edited by a moderator: Jan 4, 2009
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  3. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    * * * * NOTE FROM A MODERATOR * * * *

    Please avoid personal insults like "rot" and "rubbish." This is a violation of the forum rules. We all get to be rude and joke around, but this was not said in jest so please keep it to a minimum.

    Stream of consciousness? Well okay. She could stand to be a little more focused and a lot more organized. But I said the same thing about James Joyce and my English-major wife slapped me with one of his books. Incoherent? That's a bit harsh but okay, her posts are not exactly the easiest ones to understand. But she's a kid, cut her some slack. She asks good questions and wants to learn.
    Now that's more like it. Good advice.

    I'm a professional writer and I still go back and edit everything to make it better. At this level of writing it should be edited exensively. My wife's rule is: You can remove 2/3 of the words from anything and it will become clearer without losing any important information. (Yes I know, I should let her edit my posts.

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    Abraham Lincoln once started a letter with: "I'm writing you a long letter, because I don't have enough time to write a short letter."
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  5. phlogistician Banned Banned

    It was not a personal insult, I was not indicating that she, herself personally was 'rot' or 'rubbish', but what she was saying was. I can manage to separate the person from their acts.

    As someone who professes to understand language Fraggle, you did a poor job of comprehending what I wrote. Shame on you.
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  7. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes, I understand. But put yourself in her shoes. It's one thing for a person to offer constructive criticism of your writing--which, to your credit, you eventually did. It's even bearable for someone to simply say, "I find your writing difficult to read." It's not as helpful, but still at least it lets you know that you have a problem worth solving. But for someone to call your writing "rubbish?"

    We can split hairs all day over whether that qualifies as a "personal" insult since it's not specifically about your hair color or body shape. But since members of our species often make their impression on each other exclusively through written language (for example in this virtual community), your writing style can be fairly construed as a fundamental aspect of your "person." If someone calls your writing "rot," I'll be surprised if you don't feel it as a personal insult instead of advice.

    Yes yes, we all exchange rude banter and feelings are sometimes hurt and we get over it; that's just the way the world is. But we work hard to maintain SciForums as a beacon of reason and scholarship for young people adrift in a world of proud ignorance, earnest crackpottery, atavistic tribal politics and clever manipulation by those who are both powerful and articulate. And we are successful. Last time I checked, the average age of our membership was sixteen.

    Those of us who have lived long enough to achieve the status of elders have a duty to those young people. And we don't fulfill that duty if we criticize them in ways that make them feel bad when they're just doing their best. They don't need to learn how rough the world is from us, they get that from their peers. Instead, let's give them the kind of lessons only we are qualified to give.
  8. phlogistician Banned Banned

    She writes rubbish. Incoherent rubbish. Run on sentences that change from a statement, to a question, and back again. I don't feel I have to dress up my criticism. If it's rubbish, I call it rubbish.

    We don't need to. In another thread, she asked why I was such a jerk. That's personal. I know what personal is. All I did there was criticise her prose and ask her to clarify her question.

    No I don't have any such duty. I'm not their parent, guardian, mentor, or teacher.

    Sorry, no. This place doesn't exist to hand out hugs. Now, I suggest you go look to some other threads if you want to look for real breaches of Sciforums rules, I've seen several more serious infractions myself today. I'm not going point them out, because I perhaps think the person receiving them deserved it however.
  9. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    And what is the purpose of that statement? It's not an effective way to bring about improvement. If you want to reduce the amount of "rubbish," as you call it, on SciForums, this is unlikely to accomplish that. You're not going to make either of you any happier.
    Well I'm sorry I missed that one, but this isn't even my board so I don't catch everything. The Moderators are all volunteers and some of these boards get so much traffic that we simply can't read it all. We rely on members using the "Report" button when they think they've seen a violation, rather than responding with a violation of their own in the next post or the next discussion. That way we can keep track of repeat offenders. This is supposed to be a place of science and scholarship, not a kindergarten playground where "It all started when he hit me back" becomes an acceptable explanation for a flame war.
    You're not their parent or guardian, but you ARE their mentor and teacher. We don't expect everyone to play that role actively except when a discussion in their area of expertise arouses their mentoring instinct. But we do expect everyone, at the very minimum, to serve as a good example. Throughout history there have been powerful throngs of people who seem bent on destroying civilization. The duty falls on the rest of us to help preserve it. One of the most effective ways of doing that is to try to help young people become even better adults than we are.
    I'm not talking about handing out hugs. I'm talking about treating young people the way adults are expected to treat them: with wisdom, tolerance and leadership. I.e., maturity.
    I maintain order in the Linguistics room because that's my job. It's not a hard job so I try to pitch in and help the other Moderators when I see a violation on a thread on another board in which I'm participating. But I don't have the bandwidth to cruise around simply looking for violations in threads in which I would not otherwise participate.

    As I said, if you see one all you have to do is hit the "Report" button. That's what it's there for and that's what we're here for.

    Speaking of bandwidth, it's not really necessary for either of us to beat this to death. I've made my point and you've made yours. One of the other Moderators has already responded to Lal's style of posting in a way you would find more agreeable and we've hashed it out on the Moderators' Secret Board, so you can be content in the knowledge that I don't speak for all the Moderators.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2008
  10. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

    So why bother saying anything to me if you do not intent on affecting me?

    "No I don't have any such duty"... Why not we live in the same society why wouldn't you want to enlighten me?
  11. phlogistician Banned Banned

    It's not my job to teach you English. You had school for that. I do however object to the drivel you write, and am perfectly free to express my opinion.

    Because you have a lot of opportunities to enlighten yourself, more than Fraggle or I ever had when we were your age, but instead of utilising them, you want to be spoon fed. The most annoying part of that, is that you seem incapable of even asking a coherent question to start the process.
  12. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    The American school system does an atrocious job of teaching English, especially written English. I'm a professional writer and editor. There are an amazing number of jobs for people like me, not working in the publishing industry but buried in corporations and government offices, precisely because most of their employees can't put a sentence together well enough to prevent a potentially catastrophic misinterpretation by an equally poorly-educated reader. You can ignore that; or you can sit around and grumble about it; or you can try to change it with your votes, dollars, letters to the editor, and participation at PTA and school board meetings. Or you can just be a "good elder" to the tribe and friggin' help people who need help. Especially when they come to a place like this where they have a reasonable expectation of encountering people who like to help others, where everyone spends about the same amount of time answering questions as asking them.
    I'm not going to belabor my opinion of the way you express your opinion, since you're not in the league with our worst offenders and you do at least try to accompany it with helpful advice.
    I don't know how old you are, but when I had my primary education in the 1950s I had an "opportunity" that Lal doesn't: really top-notch instruction in my native language. Today, universities give classes in remedial English to freshmen! Those kids wouldn't have been given their eighth-grade diploma in my day, and the teachers and administrators who allowed it to happen would not have been kept around. Of course most parents actually "parented" in those days so it's not fair to only blame the schools for doing the best with the raw material they're handed.

    On the other hand, one of the opportunities Lal has that we didn't is the internet. She has contact with a virtual community far larger than the limited circle of adults we knew. And guess what? You and I are the people that make that virtual community a resource for learning things like language skills, instead of just a playground or an entertainment center. "Opportunities" don't just happen. There are people behind the scenes making them happen: us.
    You talk as if you've completely forgotten what it was like to be young. I was labeled "gifted," yet I had trouble articulating questions, or even figuring out what I wanted to know. My mastery of English came late in life and I still can't understand a word of James Joyce or William Faulkner. When I was Lal's age, I suppose my grammar and syntax were indeed better than hers, but my train of thought was not.

    Besides, you're exaggerating to call her questions "incoherent." It's not too hard to pick out the bits that make sense and ask for clarification of the others. She's a lot easier to understand than Joyce or Faulkner.

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  13. phlogistician Banned Banned

    I'm not a professional writer. I just paid attention in school. I blame parents, and local colloquialisms more than the failings of school. School can teach people grammar, but peer pressure means kids hardly ever use it.

    Criticism helps. I'm telling lala her prose sucks and she needs to work on it. If we were all patronising, and let it lie, without mentioning it to her, she's carry on, writing run on sentences. It's like having a friend with body odour, you have to tell them, no matter how hard you find it.

    I had my education in the 70's. We were taught English, but never grammar per se, we were expected to pick that up as we went along. Studying foreign languages helped form questions about English grammar though, so I put a little effort in learning my own language, and attempt to use the right words and be precise. Language can be a wonderful thing if wielded correctly.

    I blame 'txt spk' for modern teenagers inability to write. So they put the same effort in, when they post on the Internet. You'd think using a computer, with spell and grammar checking options would be a bonus to today's youth, but I guess they are also colour blind and don't see the red underlining. Or they think being grammatical is nerdy.

    Not at all. I went to a school were plenty of kids didn't speak or write well. I decided I didn't want to be judged on first impressions by using the local dialect (I wasn't born where I went to school), knowing my life would end up elsewhere. So I strove to talk without accent, and learned to express myself. The local accent had such monstrous constructs as 'I aren't' instead of 'I'm not', for instance. I didn't want to use that and get labelled as an idiot in later life.

    I wanted to know science. English was just a tool.

    I guess we could to slow down and think because we had to use pens.

    I always take the opinion that a post should be readable by someone whose first language is not English. We have several forum members who do not have English as their first language, (and many that write better English than lala). So she fails there, and it's rather selfish to write run on sentences and make people work to decipher them. Arrogant, in fact.
  14. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Please take my advice and always go back and proofread your words. You should be able to easily note, for example, that "this forums" is incorrect on the second pass. If it's difficult, one trick people use is to go through the sentence backwards.
    One thing you should absolutely do is limit the length of your sentences. I know I write long sentences but I have a lot of practice at it.

    That last sentence could easily have been broken into four pieces. Then you can look at them individually and spot the weaknesses. ". . . . the way I write is raw material for others to think about it in such a way. . ." If the sentence had ended there with a period, it would be easier for you to notice that it makes no sense. "Such a way" doesn't refer back to anything; it's a dangling phrase with no referent. We have absolutely no idea what you mean, and the confusion multiplies when we are asked to keep reading (because there's no period) and to hope that all will be made clear in the rest of the sentence.

    Enforce a rule that no sentence will be longer than one line. Obviously you don't have to follow that rule for the rest of your life, but please take a tip from an experienced English teacher to help you write better.
    "We" are not isolated individuals or even an isolated community. "We" are all components of civilization, which can be seen as an organism that has lived continuously for about nine thousand years. So what we have has not been "given to us." It is what "we" have built for ourselves. Each of us is a part of something much greater than himself. Try to see the world around you that way and it will start to make more sense. It will give you more clarity in identifying problems that need to be fixed. This is certainly the fatal flaw in many of our leaders:
    • They are overcome with self-importance and do not see themselves as relatively humble components of a large and complex system just like everyone else.
    • They focus only on the moment, or at best their lifetime, rather than the smooth functioning of humanity's continuous civilization.
    • They exaggerate the differences between the "tribes," rather than the connection among them that makes us all brothers and sisters.
    BTW, that was good writing: Nice, short, clear sentences. (Well they weren't all complete sentences but this is an example of how the rules don't always need to be followed rigorously.

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    ) But more importantly, that was really good THINKING. For you to be able to see this at your age, not only see it but recognize it as a problem... not only recognize it but feel bad about it... wow, you are some great human being. You could be prowling the mall, talking about silly boys in a chat room, or playing World of Warcraft!
    Tutorial observation: that sentence is too long and perhaps you can now see why. Can you see three sentences in there? Nonetheless it's not too confusing. What you're telling us is that you do realize this and you have no intention of beiing a person who spends the rest of her life "half empty." Good for you!
    You have some good ideas. What you need to eventually do is find a way to use those ideas to power your actions. You're too young to start now, because you're still testing those ideas to make sure they are "righteous." But when you have more confidence you'll be able to find your duty to civilization. Which is not to completely ignore the malls, the chat rooms and the MMORPGs. Fun is part of life and we all deserve to have it. You just have to find the best way to give something back to civilization, in thanks for what it has given you. Or to use my earlier language: for us to give something back to us, in thanks for what we have given us.
    Unfortunately no one has invented a time machine yet. But you should start by understanding that if you had lived in the Stone Age, you would not be "you" in any recognizable way. Everything that has happened in your life, to make you who you are, would be completely different, and most of it would simply not have happened at all. No education, no medicine, no huge circle of friends, no professional entertainment like the music you take for granted. If you go far enough back in the Stone Age to the time before farming and permanent villages, you wouldn't have even had a house. On the other hand if you go back to the time of early farming, you would probably be working 100 hours per week to produce food and you wouldn't have any free time to think about all this stuff.

    Not to mention, you would most likely have died before you got to be as old as you are, and very likely before you were even old enough to talk. So you wouldn't ever have the ability to think about this stuff at all and "experience the joys of the Stone Age." The Stone Age was a miserable time for at least half the people who lived in it. For many of them, just as bad or worse than life in Darfur today.
    That was just a flippant remark in a particular context. If a person in the 17th century were sitting there saying, "I wish I could go live with the Indians (or the Maori, or Africans, or Siberians, or Native Australians, or whatever), someone could say to her, "Hey, there's nothing stopping you. You know we have ships or wagon trains or expeditions that go to those places and they can leave you there."

    She might say, "Hmm. I never thought about it. I guess you're right. I'll put my affairs in order and go buy myself a ticket."

    Or she might say, "Well, it sounds interesting but I don't want to put up with the danger and discomfort of actually living that way."

    In which case the other person would say, "Well then, I guess you've already made your decision. So just put a sock in it."

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  15. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

    Yea, proof reading is something I must work on. Amazingly I may read something a couple times and not realize that the way I am reading it isn't how it is actually written. Thank you for being patient with my writing skills. When people are polite it makes a much better change in my brain than if someone is inconsiderate and cynical.

    You must be a great teacher, thank you for spending your time here helping me.
    It really is appreciated.

    I automatically am given things, from the past like knowledge. My brain, public schooling, a good mother, onions, my love of snow have all been handed out. Without the help from others I would know nothing at all.

    "Try to see the world around you" I try to be so consciously observant in my community and nation, and a little bit around the world. Sadly I have yet to venture past north america due to financial reasons from birth, so I am limited in this aspect. Fortunately I will be attending my boyfriend's sister's wedding in Belgium in July free of charge

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    . This means I will be putting my beliefs to the test and begin to learn the ways of different cultures.

    Money and power is what makes people loose themselves. Therefore they cannot realize the bigger picture because they are following what they individually see.
    I feel like the ability to be an "individual" in this society, we call America is abused by some and taken for granted by others.

    Actually I play call of duty instead, geez.

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    No but seriously, I try to take as much part as doing my part on contributing to the world (I take of an elderly woman for example), getting an education, being polite and empathetic to others among other things.

    Yes, I can see many sentences in one.

    Yes I'm still trying to figure out what I would like to become... No ideas yet! gah!

    See something has been given to me.

    I realize all these things about how I would absolutely not have anything I have today or be who I am on this day if I lived in the stone age. I'm still plenty curious though.

    I can see where you are coming from now. I have taken all of this into account.
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2008
  16. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

    Me arrogant? Sir, My father died when I was 9, from the age of 9 till about 17 was my mother was continuously trying to kill herself or sleeping all day over his death. I have forgiven her since then and the fact that now I feel like I actually have a parent I learn from her. I as well suffer from depression, luckily at my age of 18, do I realize my capabilities and try not only to better myself and my future but others in my community. I have improved, that you must realize. I don't get why your giving me such a hard time. I assume you are putting me in the category of "dumb youth", ye whom calls me arrogant.
  17. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

    What's wrong with being spoon fed? If I'm asking help or just insight from others I like to be spoon fed. It means that I appreciate every bit of information that is given to me. You must think of me as some kind of idiot? We are what we know and if some one wants to know something than they have a right. So for you advice I am grateful but for your rudeness and assumptions I do not appreciate.
  18. EntropyAlwaysWins TANSTAAFL. Registered Senior Member

    laladopi, being "spoon feed" implies that you aren't willing to put the time and effort into finding things out yourself or developing the skills to learn things by yourself.
    This carries many negative connotations because while you may learn something when people simply give you the information you will learn a lot more if you learn how to learn in the process of learning something.

    Consider the expression, "give a man a fish and he will eat for a day, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime."
    This is analogous to the current situation. Ask yourself, which is better; to be simply handed the information or to learn how to acquire information?
  19. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

    What but what I like to learn the information and utilize it to my own advantage, whether it actually means something bad doesn't make to much sense because with somethings it would be a good idea to be spoon fed, like warding off a rapist, no one should ever have to go through it to know about it.
  20. phlogistician Banned Banned

    Lala, if you can type a question into SciForums, you can type it into Google. If you then come across some articles you want to discuss, by all means, link to them, and ask some questions here. Seed a discussion with some effort of your own, and the rewards will be much greater.
  21. laladopi time for change. Registered Senior Member

    That is entirely true, I should do more research than What I already know then post a topic.
  22. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Yes, we've already got Orleander using us as a shortcut to Wikipedia. That position is filled.
  23. Tiassa Let us not launch the boat ... Staff Member

    Mod Hat - Is there a topic here?

    Mod Hat — Is there a topic here?

    Not to be utterly priggish about it, but shall I create a splinter thread for "What's wrong with Laladopi"? It's not that I object to people trying to be helpful, but in some cases there's a question whether that's what is really going on.

    Or have I missed some obscure tie-in to the discussion at hand?

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