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Re: suggestion

From: Charles F. Munat <coder@acnet.net>
Date: Fri, 15 Jan 1999 16:16:29 -0600
Message-ID: <009e01be40d4$b7769940$291172a7@acnet.net>
To: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>, "Jessica Chaiken" <jchaiken@mindspring.com>
Jessica Chaiken wrote:
"Rail all you want, but you cannot keep language and
language use from
changing. Language is a living thing which grows, changes,
and sometimes
dies over generations."

This suggests that there is nothing we can do about it. Of
course languages grow and change (I presume you were being
metaphorical in calling it a "living thing"). The question
is, are "emoticons" helpful or hurtful to our language and
our culture (whichever language and culture you happen to be
part of)?

I stand by my original contention that emoticons cheapen the
language. And because I believe there is a strong connection
between what we can express and what we can experience, I
think that things that cheapen our language also cheapen our
experience of life. And I think that we, as a society, are
NOT helpless with regard to changes in our languages, our
cultures, our ways of life. I vote for consciously choosing
our behaviors after thinking about their ramifications. So
far, I've not been too impressed with the laissez faire
method of growing cultures (of people, that is... let's
leave my refrigerator out of this). Why not take an active
role? If I can boycott company A's products or company B's
services, I can certainly boycott emoticons.

I am all for changing and improving the language. That's why
I don't like emoticons. I don't think that they are an

But I appear to be in the minority on this subject.

Robert Neff wrote:
"I can write a moving letter and i can also write a humorous
one.  Therefore, I am one that likes to use emoticons."

I don't see the connection here, unless you mean to say that
emoticons are necessary to writing letters that are either
moving or humorous. I, for one, also occasionally write
letters that I hope will be humorous or moving, and they
seem to have had that affect on others, judging by their
responses. Yet I managed to do it without ever having to
resort to emoticons. I still believe that they detract from,
rather than enhance, the impact of what you want to say. In
fact, many a well-written letter has been diminished (for
me) by the addition of an emoticon, a smiley face, or the
ubiquitous x's and o's.

Wayne wrote:
[Re: emotica, ASCII art and accessibility - some
"No-one 'relies' on them. People use them though, as part of
a palette of
ways of expressing things. Just because you don't want to
extend your
personal palette of expression - which is your right - by
what right do
you suggest that on that basis these things shouldn't be
extended - if
possible - to be accessible to include everyone."

Balderdash. Are you saying that emoticons are not a form of
shorthand? That what they represent cannot be expressed in
standard English (or French, whatever)? If I make liberal
use of acronyms in my prose, am I not relying on them to
convey my message? Why would it be different for emoticons?
And is using acronyms instead of verbalizing equivalent to
extending one's palette? I think not.

Emoticons shrink, not extend, the writer's ability to
express feeling. Where words have a nearly infinite variety
of shades, tints, nuances, emoticons are the equivalent of
crayons. I am hardly a Luddite, but I do think that we
should consider the ramifications of changes before we all
leap on board. Emoticons may have served a purpose in
certain type of electronic communication, and they can be
amusing (though that has worn rather thin with their
repetition), but I see no reason to move them out of their
original arena and into the mainstream (alas, too late!).

But, getting back to accessiblity and the lexical equivalent
of plastic pink flamingos (emoticon-lovers: please retain
your senses of humor):

With regard to the third sentence:

1. Last I checked I have the right to suggest anything, but
maybe I misread the first amendment.

2. My original message in the "emotica" thread was intended
to point out that some level of accessibility can be attain
even with current technology. An unusual suggestion for
someone purportedly trying to prevent some from their
God-given right to "see" emoticons.

3. Finally, I did not mean to imply that the current
technology was up to the task or that improvements shouldn't
be made. I am more interested in ASCII art than emoticons,
for obvious reasons, but I have no problem with and would
support efforts to, if people insist on using them, at least
make them more accessible. I'm just sorry that it is
necessary. And I think that some of those who haven't been
able to see them may be just as sorry when they dicover how
omnipresent they are becoming.

Then again, I may be the only person in the known universe
who hates emoticons. Just ask my wife.

For those who have difficulty reading this without emoticon
clues, I provide the following:

:) :) :) :( :( ;) ;) :| :| :\

Please scatter these throughout the above message as
necessary to make it comprehensible.

Just doing my part.

Charles Munat
Puerto Vallarta
Received on Friday, 15 January 1999 17:26:25 UTC

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