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LOLSpeak January 8, 2010

Posted by yvettefrancino in QA.

I’ll admit it, I’m a bit of a word freak.  I love the English language. I subscribe to the word-of-the-day and love word games of all types. I’m intrigued by foreign languages, even the “made up” variety like pig latin and Klingon. (Check out my Crapola Translater post.)

Today over on the writing-about-testing site there was a post about this LOLSpeak site and I guess I’m getting old because my snob-meter came out and I felt like screaming, “NO! Stopz teh Madddnez!” How will kids ever figure out how to spell things right if we not only allow for all these crazy variations on words, but actually encourage it?

I  accept NetLingo as a part of our culture, though I’ve never liked the ubiquitous LOL.  That acronym should truly be reserved for those times when you are really, truly, laughing out loud, and not for those times you are trying to tell your reader that your kidding.  In my opinion, smiley faces and the various emoticons are a much more acceptable method of relaying your smile.  (OK, I overuse those, along with exclamation points. :-)) People that overuse LOL lose all credibility with me about their facial expressions or the level of hilarity they’re actually experiencing. And don’t even get me started on LMAO.

All this ranting on my part, however, does have a point…other than me just being a snob about spelling.  Some of the “professional” papers I’ve been downloading and reading lately have really made me cringe due to their lack of professionalism.  I’m talking poor grammar, poor word choice, poor formatting…  stuff that really needs an editor! Now, I know I’m not perfect.  I know I make mistakes all the time on this blog and in all my writing.  We all do!  (On a different blog, I once noted my intolerance for misspellings and got three emails about misspellings I’d made on old postings…  At least it got people to read my blog!)  And depending on your mode of communication and your style of writing, certain errors are expected…maybe even done purposely…such as that dreadful LOLSpeak site.

But, if you are trying to sell something….especially related to quality, take the time to do some quality-testing (ie. editing) on your Website, your white papers, your eBooks, or your articles.

I think this is especially true if English is not your first language.  I cannot begin to imagine how difficult it must be  for that group. We spoiled, native English speakers can’t even get it right, so how can we expect them to? However, we do expect them to get it right. And if writing is filled with misuses of grammar, we tend to judge it as inferior, stop reading, and perhaps miss out on some incredible content.

Just like an exceptional application will not have any users if its interface is poorly designed, documentation will not get read if it lacks proper presentation and formatting. Take time to make sure you have a good user interface on your docs.

My recommendations? Stay away from LOLSpeak! Go ahead and LOL once in awhile, but save it for the times when you’re REALLY laughing out loud. For professional documents, have someone that speaks the native language well (preferably an editor!) review your work.  Don’t send it out until that’s been done!  Oh, and one more thing…  Go ahead and overuse smiley faces (at least whenever you’re writing to me!) 🙂



1. Lisa Crispin - January 8, 2010

Any writing full of spelling and grammar errors is a big red flag to me. If the person’s too lazy to run it thru a spellchecker and grammar check, then it’s not worth my time.

The “WAQB” ripped off the Table of Contents of Janet’s and my book and used it as the “syllabus” for their “Agile Tester Certification Courrse”. The funny thing was that even though the guy was plagiarizing, he managed to get so many spelling and grammar errors in, it was laughable. Maybe that’s how he was trying to hide the fact that he was stealing the content. But would you take a testing course from someone who won’t even use a spellchecker?

RE lol and emoticons, I heard an interview on NPR of the guy who first invented the smiley face in ascii. They had had some misunderstanding over something meant as a joke, and he felt that there needed to be some way to show emotions in messages.

yvettefrancino - January 8, 2010

I’d read that WAQB had plagiarized your Table of Contents, Lisa. I suppose it shouldn’t be a surprise that poor quality would go side-by-side with poor ethics. Now they have a poor reputation to match.

2. Jayashree Sampathkumar - January 8, 2010

Hi Yvette,

This posting does make so much sense in the light of understanding the correct usage and using the words aptly to convey the right message. Well said!

yvettefrancino - January 8, 2010

Thank you Jayashree. I know you are one to take that extra care in your writing, and it shows.

3. yvettefrancino - January 8, 2010

Aha — I had to rush out to give my son a ride to school and quickly published this, thinking… I hope I didn’t misspell anything. Sure enough, I just reread and caught a place where I’d said ‘their’ instead of ‘they’re.’ (For those of you that caught it, thank you for overlooking it.) Seriously, I KNOW that I probably make a mistake with every post — there have already been a couple times when I’ve messed up my links. Please feel free to correct me if you catch these.

My point is that we all (myself included) need to be aware of how our credibility is hurt when we’re careless with our grammar, spelling, etc. I think we have become a culture that is so quick to publish, that we can forget to take that extra step to ensure our writing is at its best.

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