I'll admit it right up front: I'm an old guy, and this is a "kids these days" rant. Pull up your pants, comb your hair, and for Pete's sake, learn to type! I'm referring to what is variously known as "txt lingo", "txt msg spk", or my own term: laziness.
Something you youngsters may not know: you didn't invent online shorthand. There were computers before the Internet, and online "chat" communities before there were web forums. That's right, my old CompuServe "CB" cronies and I invented "lol" and :) back when you were still playing Nintendo Gameboys.
Ok, enough of the "old curmudgeon" act. I want to make a serious case for proper punctuation, spelling, and grammar within professional forum postings. First let's examine some reasons why it's so prevalent.
When asked (read: "when I flamed her about it"), one forum member explained she "was in a hurry, needed an answer fast, and it was just faster to type".
Well, yes, it is faster, once you're used to it. Marginally. After all, it evolved in the chat rooms and bulletin boards, with sometimes dozens and even hundreds of people all talking at once, trying to get a reply in before the conversation scrolled away.
While it may be faster to type, is it faster to read? No. While the brain is very good at recognizing word shapes, it does take more concentrated effort to parse the title of this article than it would if I'd properly spelled-out the words.
If your goal is to get an answer fast, then you're shooting yourself in the foot by using "txt msg spk". It will take longer to read and understand, and will annoy a lot of the most qualified potential responders. You won't get faster or better answers, and in extreme cases, any answers at all.
Another reason: many can't type. Tough. Learn to type. You're using a computer, not a cell phone. I find it mind-boggling that someone who can't type is posting programming questions in a technical forum. As someone who has hired and trained many programmers, I can say that without exception the best programmers are excellent typists.
"I can't spell" or "English isn't my native language". I sympathize. But don't hide behind txt msg lingo. You'll cause more confusion, not less. In general, I think people are very tolerant of unintentional spelling and grammar errors. Do your best, and people will reward the effort.
My last argument for proper spelling, punctuation, and grammar: it shows respect for others. I'm aware that using the phrase "respect for others" turns me back into an old fart talking about the good old days, but so be it. If you want someone to take the time to respond to your question in an intelligent, thoughtful, and thorough manner, then you need be intelligent, thoughtful, and thorough in your postings. A message full of "smilies", abbreviations, unpunctuated sentence fragments, and vowel-denuded words gives the impression of a breathless, quickly dashed-off message from a lazy or ignorant person. It's not going to get you the kind of answers you presumably came to the forum to get.
That's my take on the situation. What's yours? I welcome your comments and counter-arguments.
And, btw, thx 4 rdg - cul8r!