Capital Letters

John Ladasky ladasky at leland.Stanford.EDU
Thu Mar 3 20:47:18 EST 1994


	I didn't read the original objection to all-caps postings, so I
don't know whether the objection was a friendly one.  But this recent 
posting is clearly not friendly.  If a flamewar ensues (in a bionet
newsgroup?), please, let's all be ready to take it to alt.flame.

In article <CM279M.792 at ucdavis.edu>,  <szjmahr at othello.ucdavis.edu> wrote
(and I have gratuitously edited his writing):

>	WHY OH WHY IS IT THAT SOME ARE SO AFFECTED BY THE USE OF ALL 
>CAPITAL LETTERS?  DO YOU FEEL AS THOUGH I AM SHOUTING AT YOU?
>
>	how are your eyes?

	This is actually a relevant point.  My eyes find it much easier
to read sentences which include lower case letters.  I think this is 
true for a lot of people... how about you?

>	WHAT THE HELL DOES IT MATTER?  THIS IS SCIENCE, PEOPLE, DON'T WE 
>HAVE BETTER THINGS TO WORRY ABOUT?  COULDN'T WE LIMIT OURSELVES TO 
>WORTHWHILE  ENDEAVORS, MAYBE EVEN SOLVE A FEW PROBLEMS WHILE WE ARE AT IT?
>
>	THIS IS A COMUNICATION NETWORK
>	
>	not a style conference

	Speaking for myself, I'd *prefer* it if I could get at the essence
of something without being sidetracked by the manner of presentation.  And
frequently I can do so where others cannot.  I have been known to argue
rather strenously with relatives and colleagues who believe in "dressing
well." 

	But unfortunately for all of us, even us relatively non-conformist,
high-brain-plasticity science types, style impacts communication.  The par-
ticular style that we prefer may merely be the product of repeated exposure
(I'm not sure there's anything inherent about all-caps being less readable),
but there's no doubt that style impacts people's ability (or willingness)
to listen/read/whatever.  And as the poster from Davis said, this *is* a
communication network.  I wouldn't consider it impolite to ask someone to
try to make it easier for me to understand their writing.  It will make
it easier to focus on those "worthwhile endeavors" and to "solve a few
problems."

					Just another radical Berkeley
					undergrad who somehow wound up
						at Stanford, 


					      - John Ladasky





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