How do they come up with these things..



  • Aside from right-click wtf-iness, this is a very minor WTF, but this "easy explanation" gave me a chuckle:

    the easiest way around the block on right clicks is to create a shortcut of the temporary internet files in the windows folder on your desktop and load the page as you normally would and once the page is loaded disable javascript and delete all files in the internet shortcut folder and hit the back arrow button and then hit the forward arrow button and you can right click and load any image on the page.

    My parser broke down and cried...

    From source



  • Heh, or you could disable javascript and hit refresh, without going through the hassle of emptying your temporary internet files folder.

    Which isn't in the Windows folder any more either, and hasn't been since Win 9x died (7 years ago?).

    EDIT: Seems the thread is 5 years old anyway, so many computers still had Win98 or shudder WinMe on them.

    Doesn't stop the fact that you can drag and drop images from a browser to the desktop without ever touching right-click or disabling script.
     



  • When I read e-mails from young whippersnappers comprised of a sentence the length of a paragraph, I can put that down on lousy edumacation or modern willful ignorance. For me personally, they've very hard to read, but I suppose the modern generation gets used to it.

    It's when I receive messages from middle-aged adults in the same form that I really start to worry. Adults who certainly don't talk that way, so why do they write that way? (cf. The Chronicles of George)

    I have a lot of difficulty reading unbroken text. Sentences and, even more so, paragraph breaks help me manage my short-term memory when parsing and comprehending text. A paragraph break, I am guessing, signals a dump point where I can flush all unused information knowing that it won't be directly referenced any more. A whole article or story in a single paragraph tries to cram itself into my short-term memory at once (since any sentence may contain direct back-references) and my brain feels satiated to the point of bursting. I do welcome better explanations though.

    E-mails (or forum posts of course) with long single-sentence paragraphs are just really tedious to make any sense out of. I especially hate the ones where the writer is just blathering about some bullshit such that even they must surely realise that what they wrote made no sense whatsoever?

    Do these people really understand text like this? Or is it a case of people simply not learning to do unto others? I am very thankful that most intelligent people still know how to write.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    When I read e-mails from young whippersnappers comprised of a sentence the length of a paragraph, I can put that down on lousy edumacation or modern willful ignorance. For me personally, they've very hard to read, but I suppose the modern generation gets used to it.

    It's when I receive messages from middle-aged adults in the same form that I really start to worry. Adults who certainly don't talk that way, so why do they write that way? (cf. The Chronicles of George)

    I have a lot of difficulty reading unbroken text. Sentences and, even more so, paragraph breaks help me manage my short-term memory when parsing and comprehending text. A paragraph break, I am guessing, signals a dump point where I can flush all unused information knowing that it won't be directly referenced any more. A whole article or story in a single paragraph tries to cram itself into my short-term memory at once (since any sentence may contain direct back-references) and my brain feels satiated to the point of bursting. I do welcome better explanations though.

    E-mails (or forum posts of course) with long single-sentence paragraphs are just really tedious to make any sense out of. I especially hate the ones where the writer is just blathering about some bullshit such that even they must surely realise that what they wrote made no sense whatsoever?

    Do these people really understand text like this? Or is it a case of people simply not learning to do unto others? I am very thankful that most intelligent people still know how to write.

    Go to doom9 forums, and look up the posts of a guy named CruNcher. Every one of them is a single sentence, sometimes comprising hundreds of words in an impenatrable wall of text. The closest he gets to punctuation is smileys. Many are useful and informative, but no one can read all that.



  • There appreas to be a split in the brain of most people between the part that builds language via text and the part the builds it via speech.

    There's also this inherent inability to read one's own text:

    Strings of periods:

    but..... that may not be so good ............ so what do yo want to do?

    Strings of exclamation marks and question marks:

    That's so great!!!! but how can I do this...?????

    Utterly stupid comma insertion:

    The thing, will have to go over there.

    READ YOUR STUFF, DAMMIT. Don't you read any books?



  • there's also the IM style 🙂

     

    every sentence on a single line 😃

     

    and a random emoticon at the end :>

     

    if you can call it a sentence, because it has no verb :mrgreen:

     

    I'm so happy there were no IM programs when I was fifteen ^^ 



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    When I read e-mails from young whippersnappers comprised of a sentence the length of a paragraph, I can put that down on lousy edumacation or modern willful ignorance. For me personally, they've very hard to read, but I suppose the modern generation gets used to it.

    It's when I receive messages from middle-aged adults in the same form that I really start to worry. Adults who certainly don't talk that way, so why do they write that way? (cf. The Chronicles of George)

    I have a lot of difficulty reading unbroken text. Sentences and, even more so, paragraph breaks help me manage my short-term memory when parsing and comprehending text. A paragraph break, I am guessing, signals a dump point where I can flush all unused information knowing that it won't be directly referenced any more. A whole article or story in a single paragraph tries to cram itself into my short-term memory at once (since any sentence may contain direct back-references) and my brain feels satiated to the point of bursting. I do welcome better explanations though.

    E-mails (or forum posts of course) with long single-sentence paragraphs are just really tedious to make any sense out of. I especially hate the ones where the writer is just blathering about some bullshit such that even they must surely realise that what they wrote made no sense whatsoever?

    Do these people really understand text like this? Or is it a case of people simply not learning to do unto others? I am very thankful that most intelligent people still know how to write.

     

    Upgrade your brain memory. Do it fast though cause SDRAM is getting more and more scarce 🙂 



  • @Kiss me I'm Polish said:

    there's also the IM style 🙂

     

    every sentence on a single line 😃

     

    and a random emoticon at the end :>

     

    if you can call it a sentence, because it has no verb :mrgreen:

     

    I'm so happy there were no IM programs when I was fifteen ^^ 

     

    And then there are the

     people who always

    insert linebreaks

    every couplpe

    *I mean

    couple

    of words

    in irc.

     >_<



  • I definitely need a short-term memory upgrade. It would be nice to be able to attempt mental arithmetic or chess without that "brain is about to burst" feeling of trying to stuff too much in there. (SDRAM, you say? I could steal some from my iMac; my machines here all take SDRAM)

    The instant messaging style of one sentence per line drove me mad. I didn't have typing notification on old Mac AIM, so there was no way to know when the person had finished. (IRC is the same) So I'd either interrupt them by replying too soon, or sit waiting, wondering if they were done yet. With gaim/Pidgin, that's mostly over, although one friend uses CenterICQ which is not typing-notification-compatible with gaim/Pidgin (nor UTF-16 compatible). I guess she'll go Finch in time. She also types in multiple messages, although I tend to also make little effort to consider whether I'm done and end up doing the same.

    At least I no longer type a paragraph each for multiple threads of conversation in a single IM 🙂



  • @dhromed said:

    Utterly stupid comma insertion:

    The thing, will have to go over there.

    READ YOUR STUFF, DAMMIT. Don't you read any books?

    That happens to me, too. However, I'm from Germany and German uses more commas than English.

    That, and I tend to write like I think, which usually leads to multiple nesting (like this (including lots of braces - and dashes* - that help keeping it somewhat structured)), which in turn makes my posts less readable, as people expect less complex structures. I sometimes talk like that, too, but I then I usually run out of working memory before I can get to the really awful nesting levels.

    By the way, I'm proud to use proper sentences, punctuation and even capitalization when IMing and on IRC. That groups me with what, 5% of the respective user bases? It's amazing what passes as "distinguished" and "educated" style these days...
     

    * Not to forget footnotes.
    With even more nesting!



  • There are two ways, to tell that English text is written by a German. That was one of them. (Seemingly strange insertion of commas, that makes no sense until you realise that in German, there would be a comma exactly there.) The other is excessive use of "do now" and "does now" -- as in "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works". I don't know why they write that. It's grammatically correct but places the emphasis in a slightly awkward way.

    Germans also sign off with "n8" which takes a little while to figure out. "n" + "8" ⇒ "Nacht" (as in "Guten Nacht"), not "nate". I think I only figured this one out because I was talking to a German. Had I not known his nationality I would have been very confused. After that, I recognised it as a sign of a German.

    By the way, a "-" is not a dash. It's a hyphen. Unicode calls it "HYPHEN-MINUS" because it gets abused so often as a minus sign and thus it's not possible to determine by machine what it was used for. The real characters are:

    - : hyphen
    : minus (&minus;) – the mathematical operators are the same width (− + ÷ ×)
    : en dash ("--", &ndash;, opt-hyphen or alt-0150) – similar in use to parentheses but less parenthetical
    : em dash (&mdash;, shift-opt-hyphen or alt-0151) – an en dash on steroids with an attitude problem


  • There is this other writing habit I hate... Some people think one full stop is not enough to end a sentence... Oh, and I'm trying hard not to give in to my German nature and place too many commas... One coworker even used to start letters with this three stop stunt...

    Dear Sir...

    ...thank you for  [...]

    Oh... We also use a comma after the salutation...

    N8...



  • Is their anything that will make the symbol keys around the number pad output the correct maths symbols when pressed? The minus is a hyphen, the multiply is a star, the divide is a forward slash...

    We already have all those symbols elsewhere on the keyboard, so it'd be nice to change them.
     



  • @Thief^ said:

    Is their ....

    Is whose?

    @Thief^ said:

    ... anything that will make the symbol keys around the number pad output the correct maths symbols when pressed?

    Hm .. you're British, right? A simple 5-minute C jobby that uses alt gr would do. alt gr-pad* would be × and alt gr-pad- would be −. Do the same for dashes, typographer's quotation marks, genuine ellipsis etc. Actually, depending how Windows works, you could simply create a new keyboard layout definition. It would be just like having a Mac, except Apple omitted minus and times from MacRoman and thus from the extended ASCII shortcut series.

    Non-Europeans without alt gr would have to use ctrl-alt, which is the same thing. Shouldn't conflict with my Winamp volume change (ctrl-pad+/-) but I'd have to pick something else for switch track (ctrl-alt-pad+/-).



  • My favorite way to avoid anti-right-click scripts was always to hold down the left button when right clicking.  JS uses a bit mapping to determine which button you're pressing... left button = 01b = 1, right button = 10b = 2, left and right at same time = left | right = 11b = 3.

    Most of those scripts check button == 2 rather than button & 2 like they should. 



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    The other is excessive use of "do now" and "does now" -- as in "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works". I don't know why they write that. It's grammatically correct but places the emphasis in a slightly awkward way.

    being a German as well, I'll throw in my two cents* of speculation and say that it's caused by a good advice gone bad. One of the common pitfalls for Germans learning English are the so called "false friends". There are many english words and phrases that actually sound very similar to german ones - yet have a completely different meaning. "I become a hamburger" and "You can say 'you' to me" are two famous examples. Thus students are advised often and early to be very careful with - speak, avoid - phrases that sound "too german" because they probably don't mean what they think.
    In 90% of the cases this advice works well but in the rare cases where english and german sentences have not just the same grammar but actually the same meaning too, it backfires. And I think that's what happened here. "The feature now works" ironically sounds too german...



  • @vt_mruhlin said:

    My favorite way to avoid anti-right-click scripts was always to hold down the left button when right clicking.  JS uses a bit mapping to determine which button you're pressing... left button = 01b = 1, right button = 10b = 2, left and right at same time = left | right = 11b = 3.

    Most of those scripts check button == 2 rather than button & 2 like they should. 

    Thanks for that 🙂  Interesting



  • @PSWorx said:

    "I become a hamburger"

    ...? "I am a hamburger, a frankfurter and a doughnut!"



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works".

    That is doubly confusing because I often think "not" and type "now", so if I type "This feature does now work", I likely meant "This feature does not work".



  • @RaspenJho said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    My favorite way to avoid anti-right-click scripts was always to hold down the left button when right clicking.  JS uses a bit mapping to determine which button you're pressing... left button = 01b = 1, right button = 10b = 2, left and right at same time = left | right = 11b = 3.

    Most of those scripts check button == 2 rather than button & 2 like they should. 

    Thanks for that 🙂  Interesting

    More interestingly, and WTFy is that while sanely IE uses bitmapping for the buttons, the W3C prescribes the unusable 1-2-3 for mousebuttons.

    I don't know how non-IE browsers do it. I hope they chose bitmapping also.



  • @rbowes said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:
    "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works".

    That is doubly confusing because I often think "not" and type "now", so if I type "This feature does now work", I likely meant "This feature does not work".

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂
     



  • @dhromed said:

    @rbowes said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:
    "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works".

    That is doubly confusing because I often think "not" and type "now", so if I type "This feature does now work", I likely meant "This feature does not work".

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂
     


    Perhaps there's a real need for English 2.0! But for now, I suggest "totally":

    That does not work.

    That does totally work.



    Disclaimer: I'm joking, don't say that unless you want to sound like a punk teenager or something.



  •  

    Sentences and, even more so, paragraph breaks help me manage my short-term memory when parsing and comprehending text.

    I find this a lot while reading from computer screens. I tried a Midnight Commander clone as my file manager. Stopped after my brain overloaded shortly after opening the program. Maybe it was something to do with the lack of blank space.

    Guess I know what autistic people suffer every day, then.


     


  • @dhromed said:

    There appreas to be a split in the brain of most people between the part that builds language via text and the part the builds it via speech.

    (...)

    Utterly stupid comma insertion:

    The thing, will have to go over there.

     

    The only reason that people do not (or are not perceived to) stupidly insert commas in speech is the lack of an audible utterance representing a comma.

    Actually, scratch that -- there is one: "like". Conveniently, it only represents inappropriate commas.



  • @dhromed said:

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂

    "It does work" already emphasizes the fact that it works. "it works" would be sans emphasis. 

    Depending on context, you could also use

    it does work indeed ("het werkt toch")

    but it does (in fact) work ("welles, het werkt wel")

    it works OK

    or go the whole nine yard with "I'm afraid I must most emphatically assert that the functionality is indeed present. Your faithful servant, etc."
     

    Far more confounding is the US style of checklists where a tick indicates 'yes' of 'pass' and a cross indicates 'no' or 'fail', as exemplified by many GUIs built in Delphi.

    v yes

    x no

    Or the age old "so, it doesn't work?" "no." Hmm.. Does that mean "no, it doesn't work" or "no, it does?". Despite the fact that it's not clear, most people will look at you as if you're stupid when you ask for clarification.

    Not to mention the dreaded tail question, and how it's (mis)interpreted."It does work, doesn't it?" is asking for confirmation, so if the answer is "yes" that means it does actually work. Unfortunately, some people seem to have missed that memo.



  • @khedron said:

     I tried a Midnight Commander clone as my file manager.

     That's a nice trick, considering that midnight commander is a clone (of norton commander, IIRC)
     



  • @dhromed said:

    @rbowes said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:
    "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works".

    That is doubly confusing because I often think "not" and type "now", so if I type "This feature does now work", I likely meant "This feature does not work".

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂
     

    English supports it, but not perhaps as you might think.  Example:

    het werkt niet -- it worketh not (archaic)
    het werkt wel -- it works well



  • @moof said:

    Or the age old "so, it doesn't work?" "no." Hmm.. Does that mean "no, it doesn't work" or "no, it does?". Despite the fact that it's not clear, most people will look at you as if you're stupid when you ask for clarification.

    After 2 years I'm still having trouble with my OH with something similar..

     

    OH: Do you want a [cup of coffee | something to eat | <whatever>]?

    Me: No thanks.

    [5 minutes pass]

    OH: Are you sure you don't want <whatever>

    Me [Deliberately]: Yes.

    OH: <confused> Was that a yes or a no......

    I'm getting there - they're starting to pause longer before asking that last question....

    (In their defence this sort of thing is one of my foibles, and they aren't 'techie' minded. Their question of "do you want tea or coffee?" [my emphasis] usually generated the answer "yes please" instead of "coffee please" until they stopped asking it in that form 😉 )



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    Do these people really understand text like this?

    In my observation, people like this are suffering from a more fundamental problem: inability to recognise their own failure. To borrow a phrase from Pratchett: they look at a sentence, figure out two or three large words in it, and then have a great big guess at what it means. They don't even realise that they have entirely failed to comprehend it. When applied to their own writing, they tend to guess at what they had intended to say, so they completely miss all the details that are wrong.

    I believe this is somehow related to a lack of proper reading comprehension exercises in schools. These people never learn that they suck at reading - they genuinely think they understand stuff, but they really don't.

    The meme is self-perpetuating - because they think they can read, when somebody confronts them about something they have read incorrectly, they just assume that they weren't thinking properly and change their guess to be what the other person said (still without actually reading the sentence). As a result, nobody notices unless they're actually looking for it. 



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    There are two ways, to tell that English text is written by a German.

    Similarly, the complete omission of forms of the verb "to be" indicates a Japanese author (because Japanese is the only major language that doesn't actually have it, they use sentence structure instead). Hence you get "I hamburger" instead of "I am a hamburger".

     

    By the way, a "-" is not a dash. It's a hyphen. Unicode calls it "HYPHEN-MINUS" because it gets abused so often as a minus sign and thus it's not possible to determine by machine what it was used for. The real characters are:

    - : hyphen
    : minus (&minus;) – the mathematical operators are the same width (− + ÷ ×)
    : en dash ("--", &ndash;, opt-hyphen or alt-0150) – similar in use to parentheses but less parenthetical
    : em dash (&mdash;, shift-opt-hyphen or alt-0151) – an en dash on steroids with an attitude problem

    Strictly, it's the em dash which is the parenthetical form, used for run-on sentences—like so. The en dash is used for ranges, for conjoined names ("Bose–Einstein"), and for adjectives formed by prefixed nouns that are themselves hyphenated or spaced composites ("pre–New York" uses an en dash, but "pre-Victorian" is just a hyphen).

    Modern publishers have taken to using the en dash for all these forms, because they feel that the em dash looks too dated. This is tolerable, but if you do that, you should never use the em dash.



  • em vs en dash is a tricky one. I find the em dash to be too Xtreme for my tastes. But it seems to depend on typeface (which it shouldn't!) In whatever typeface this site is using (Verdana I guess), em dash doesn't look too bad. Maybe I'm softening to it, but I've tended to consider it too extravagant. It's so long, that it draws too much attention to itself away from the text. By comparison, en dashes in this typeface look far too short, and hyphens are ridiculously short.

    I only learnt of using en dashes for cases like "pre–New York" recently -- very cool. It's something I'm going to try to remember to use, being already aware of the ambiguity of using a hyphen in such cases.

    Of course, if you want to really pick at nits, there are special widths of spaces too that I forget. Proper fraction slashes (&frasl;), fi and fl ligatures (which I loved playing with on the Mac, but I find them harder to read than plain old "fi" and "fl"), and more. I never let up on typographer's quotation marks and apostrophes on my site though 🙂



  • @dhromed said:

    @vt_mruhlin said:

    My favorite way to avoid anti-right-click scripts was always to hold down the left button when right clicking.  JS uses a bit mapping to determine which button you're pressing... left button = 01b = 1, right button = 10b = 2, left and right at same time = left | right = 11b = 3.

    Most of those scripts check button == 2 rather than button & 2 like they should. 

    More interestingly, and WTFy is that while sanely IE uses bitmapping for the buttons, the W3C prescribes the unusable 1-2-3 for mousebuttons.

    I don't know how non-IE browsers do it. I hope they chose bitmapping also.

    it is not a bitmap and it does not make any sense to be a bitmap. each mousedown/mouseup/click event represents a single button state change. if you press both left and right buttons, this should generate separate events for each of these two mousedowns. there is no need for bitmapping here and would make no practical sense to implement such bitmapping, seeing as mouse button chords are not a widely spread user interface paradigm to warrant support for them in the core event processing (though it is easy to implement button chording support in JS with the separate event model).


  • @dhromed said:

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂
     

    het werkt niet -- it does not work or it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    You can emphasise any of the words, emphasising "it" implies that the other person is talking about something else, or that something else is the problem. Emphasising "does", "does not" or "not" means that the other person is wrong, and emphasising "work" implies that the other person is expecting it to work differently or is using it wrong.

    You can also shorten "does work" to "works", but then if you emphasise it it's ambiguous whether you mean to emphasise the "does" part or the "work" part. You can also shorten "does not" to "doesn't", which is often done in normal speech, but gets separated for emphasis.

    The most confusing part for most people is how do you answer questions like: "You're not going out then?"

    In English "No" = "Not going out", but in quite a lot of languages (eg Chinese) "No" = disagree / wrong = "Going out".



  • @foxyshadis said:

    Go to doom9 forums, and look up the posts of a guy named CruNcher. Every one of them is a single sentence, sometimes comprising hundreds of words in an impenatrable wall of text. The closest he gets to punctuation is smileys. Many are useful and informative, but no one can read all that.

     Randomly selected post by CruNcher

    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1019329#post1019329

     If that's an impenetrable, unpunctuated wall of text, what's this? http://forum.phalanx-shadowmoon.eu/viewtopic.php?id=470
     



  • I would like to add a bland variation on "The feature now works".  I would express it as "The feature works now".  I always had trouble with verb/adverb order.  I just use whatever feels right.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    To borrow a phrase from Pratchett: they look at a sentence, figure out two or three large words in it, and then have a great big guess at what it means.

    Let me guess.. the Nac Mac Feegle? I know that Rob was reading a bit in Wintersmith, and he was just starting to learn in Hat Full of Sky (which is what I'm reading right now).

    That's funny because it's very similar to how I do a lot of reverse engineering.. glom on to a couple bits, usually function calls or strings, and take a great big guess at what the code does. Of course, in that case, it tends to work. 🙂



  • @Raggles said:

    @foxyshadis said:

    Go to doom9 forums, and look up the posts of a guy named CruNcher. Every one of them is a single sentence, sometimes comprising hundreds of words in an impenatrable wall of text. The closest he gets to punctuation is smileys. Many are useful and informative, but no one can read all that.

     Randomly selected post by CruNcher

    http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1019329#post1019329

     If that's an impenetrable, unpunctuated wall of text, what's this? http://forum.phalanx-shadowmoon.eu/viewtopic.php?id=470
     

    Okay, maybe only half the posts are like http://forum.doom9.org/showthread.php?p=1020950#post1020950 but it sure builds a reputation fast. Your example is still worse. :p 



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    @PSWorx said:

    "I become a hamburger"

    ...? "I am a hamburger, a frankfurter and a doughnut!"

     Ahh another fan of Eddie Izzard.
     



  • I make no secret of it.



  • @asuffield said:

    By the way, a "-" is not a dash. It's a hyphen. Unicode calls it "HYPHEN-MINUS" because it gets abused so often as a minus sign and thus it's not possible to determine by machine what it was used for. The real characters are:

    - : hyphen
    : minus (&minus;) – the mathematical operators are the same width (− + ÷ ×)
    : en dash ("--", &ndash;, opt-hyphen or alt-0150) – similar in use to parentheses but less parenthetical
    : em dash (&mdash;, shift-opt-hyphen or alt-0151) – an en dash on steroids with an attitude problem

    Strictly, it's the em dash which is the parenthetical form, used for run-on sentences—like so. The en dash is used for ranges, for conjoined names ("Bose–Einstein"), and for adjectives formed by prefixed nouns that are themselves hyphenated or spaced composites ("pre–New York" uses an en dash, but "pre-Victorian" is just a hyphen).

    Modern publishers have taken to using the en dash for all these forms, because they feel that the em dash looks too dated. This is tolerable, but if you do that, you should never use the em dash.

    Chapter 6 of the Unicode Standard agrees with you about the em dash, but says the en dash is only for ranges. It says all compound words use the hyphen. (But I am willing to believe the Unicode Consortium is not the final authority on this.)



  • Wikipedia goes into dashes in a lot of detail. I wouldn't take it entirely to heart because rules do change for the better. For example, it's no longer necessary to insert unsightly dots between letters in acronyms. (The fact that the letters are capitalised is clue enough.) Em vs en dashes is a little controversial and I suppose it depends what you believe. I liked the visual clarity of a space-set en dash, finding the em dash overwhelming. I used to find the use of "--" for an em dash (supposed to be "---" but everyone uses two) to be stupid, but I've since found it clearer than a single hyphen.



  • @Daniel Beardsmore said:

    I used to find the use of "--" for an em dash (supposed to be "---" but everyone uses two) to be stupid, but I've since found it clearer than a single hyphen.

    Well, most people do not distinguish between em and en, only between "short" and "long".

    The two dashes suffices, and various writer programs today convert it to a real dash automatically, which is a good thing.
     



  • @VGR said:

    Chapter 6 of the Unicode Standard agrees with you about the em dash, but says the en dash is only for ranges. It says all compound words use the hyphen. (But I am willing to believe the Unicode Consortium is not the final authority on this.)

    It's kinda true - more or less all compound words should be hyphenated. There's just a list of exceptional cases where that doesn't work, like the case where one of the components is itself hyphenated or spaced. (I'm really not sure why conjoined names use en dashes, but it's probably historical - names are usually words spelled wrong anyway)

    Unicode doesn't really have any business specifying usage though. It's a specification for character identity, not formal typography. 



  • @moof said:

    Far more confounding is the US style of checklists where a tick indicates 'yes' of 'pass' and a cross indicates 'no' or 'fail', as exemplified by many GUIs built in Delphi.

    v yes

    x no

     I absolutely hate checkboxes that use crosses. After using some early on that switched between a tick and a cross to indicate yes or no, I was always a bit apprehensive when using ones that only had crosses or blank space. I always sat there for a moment thinking "am I turning this feature on or disabling it?", it gets even worse when the description itself is a negative.



  • @dhromed said:

    @rbowes said:

    @Daniel Beardsmore said:
    "The feature does now work" instead of "The feature now works".

    That is doubly confusing because I often think "not" and type "now", so if I type "This feature does now work", I likely meant "This feature does not work".

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂

    Bah, you should have just written it as:

    het werkt niet -- it doesn't work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    There problem solved 😛 

     



  • @asuffield said:

    Unicode doesn't really have any business specifying usage though. It's a specification for character identity, not formal typography.

    I believe usage is part of character identity. The Unicode character database has many properties which exist largely for the purpose of specifying usage. A simple example would be O (oh) and 0 (zero). The Unicode specification does explicitly make the point that mere typographical differences are not qualifications for having separate codepoints.



  • I am not sure where 0 and O were considered the same character, but you mean situations like separating Greek delta from the mathematical delta sign, so that documents can differentiate between a 'Δ' meaning 'D' and 'Δ' meaning 'difference'. Of course, Δ has a variety of meanings in maths and science. It reportedly also means 'defendant' in legal shorthand.



  • mere typographical differences are not qualifications for having separate codepoints.

    In theory, you're right. In practice, these are all typographical variants of the same character: 2٢२২੨૨୨௨౨೨൨๒໒༢ - and that's not even counting the blatant typographic variant 2. Or ² or ₂, ②⑵⒉❷➁➋

    EDIT: and, no, there is not any more technical reason for not unifying arabic/indic/european digits than there is for not unifying chinese/japanese/korean characters, which Unicode does. 



  • @Random832 said:

    In theory, you're right. In practice, these are all typographical variants of the same character: 2٢२২੨૨୨௨౨೨൨๒໒༢ - and that's not even counting the blatant typographic variant 2. Or ² or ₂, ②⑵⒉❷➁➋

    EDIT: and, no, there is not any more technical reason for not unifying arabic/indic/european digits than there is for not unifying chinese/japanese/korean characters, which Unicode does. 

    Are you sure? For instance, some of those variants of "2" have a right-to-left directional property. ASCII digits are expected to all be the same width in modern fonts (and thus the need for U+2012, Figure Dash, and U+2007, Figure Space), but I don't know if that holds true for digits in other languages. I believe the Asian vertical variants have different baselines, which is important when someone is typing them out. The only ones that are pointless are the superscript and subscript numbers (which even the Unicode standard recommends not using).

    I do get the impression that the Han characters were unified only because space did not permit separate Chinese, Japanese and Korean sections. (I suspect that decision was made back when they believed they could fit the whole codepoint set into 16 bits.) I hear some (a lot of?) Asian linguists are unhappy with the unification.



  • @Thief^ said:

    @dhromed said:

    I find an issue in English is that there's no explicit opposite for "not".

    compare Dutch -- English:

    het werkt niet -- it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    I sometimes have trouble emphasizing positive things because English just doesn't support it natively. 🙂
     

    het werkt niet -- it does not work or it does not work
    het werkt wel -- it does work

    You can emphasise any of the words, emphasising "it" implies that the other person is talking about something else, or that something else is the problem. Emphasising "does", "does not" or "not" means that the other person is wrong, and emphasising "work" implies that the other person is expecting it to work differently or is using it wrong.

    You can also shorten "does work" to "works", but then if you emphasise it it's ambiguous whether you mean to emphasise the "does" part or the "work" part. You can also shorten "does not" to "doesn't", which is often done in normal speech, but gets separated for emphasis.

    The most confusing part for most people is how do you answer questions like: "You're not going out then?"

    In English "No" = "Not going out", but in quite a lot of languages (eg Chinese) "No" = disagree / wrong = "Going out".

     

    How about "it does indeed work"? 


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