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Please explain LOL LOL LOL

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I understand that LOL means Laugh Out Loud, but I'm trying to understand when it is used by posters virtually every time. Does it mean everything is funny to them or does it have another meaning that is less than kind? Thanks much for clarification.

  1. It generally just means that their statement is in jest, or they find it slightly amusing.
    People generally do not literally laugh out loud every time they use "LOL".

    1. It would appear that you have used this on another thread - was this before you knew what it meant or after?

      7 Replies
      1. re: linguafood

        As I said in the OP, I assumed it had a single meaning but wasn't sure, I used it on another thread because it seemed like the appropriate response.

        1. re: escondido123

          Were you literally laughing out loud, or just virtually?

          1. re: linguafood

            Neither.

            1. re: escondido123

              sometimes "haha" just doesn't cut it. lol. -_-

              1. re: M_and_H

                And, COL, chuckle out loud, hasn't become popular. Sometimes I'll use LOL in place of "funny" as in LOL, I was thinking the same thing. I rarely laugh out loud when I'm online but sometimes I'll CiMH, chuckle in my head.

                1. re: chowser

                  CIMH

            2. re: linguafood

              It's the only way I'll be a ventriloquist--I can LOL, across the world, and you never see my lips move.

        2. I think of it as *text speak* in the same vein as when someone says "to die for" or "I could just kill...." or " I almost fainted when...." etc.
          I just have to assume that they are not really laughing out loud(LOL) or rolling on the floor laughing their ass off (ROFLMAO). At least, I have never seen anyone ROFLMAO.....while sober :)

          29 Replies
          1. re: sedimental

            ROFLMAO is simply a way of adding emphasis to a LOL, which is simply shorthand for a bigger lol. Since this is all "sans" live feedback (being virtual and all that) I can see a use for all of these and more. In fact I'm a recent convert to SMOON* myself when it comes to something I really found funny.

            *Snorting Milk Out Of Nose

            1. re: Servorg

              I understand the employment of initialisms in a response, but you don't ordinarily place those at the end of an initial assertion, do you? It seems a bit presumptuous to label one's joke that funny before it has been "heard."

              1. re: MGZ

                Explaining a joke is usually not a good idea as it tends to kill off any humor dead as a door nail. But indicating that one is kidding, while using text only, can be a difficult and problematic deal. So clearly indicating that the statement is being said in jest is a good idea at times, so that the majority of the readers won't take your words/ideas as a literal or serious proposition.

                1. re: MGZ

                  Or maybe it's a way to introduce that a joke or something facetious is coming, a preemptive strike so to speak. With the absence of tone and expression, I don't fault people trying to add something more to written text, especially in quick communications like a message board.

                  1. re: chowser

                    I think that with carfeful articulation it can be done anyway. If your reader doesn't pay enough attention to what's written and misunderstands, that's their fault. The same is possible in spoken communication. Ultimately, good communication requires effort and good communication is a worthy goal.

                    1. re: MGZ

                      Along the same lines:

                      http://www.npr.org/2012/03/01/1477412...

                      1. re: MGZ

                        While I agree good communication is a worthy goal, misunderstandings do and will happen and if some phrases help reduce that, in a casual setting, I don't think that's a bad thing. This is a message board, not a graduate thesis.

                        1. re: chowser

                          What can I say, I fear that slippery slope. In my online experience, we have been sliding gently for the past twenty years. Oddly, however, I am basically a descriptivist. I simply have trepidations concerning the consequences of written communication getting reduced to a least common denominator level.

                          1. re: MGZ

                            And, while my soapbox is still holding up, I'll add another request. We need to do away with the overuse of IMO and IMHO. So unnecessary, so redundant. I mean, no sh*t it's your opinion, it's a subjective discussion!

                            1. re: MGZ

                              OTOH ;-), when someone's retort to a post of mine is "that's your opinion," well, DUH. My response is "yeah, it's mine, who else's would I be posting???"

                              But I occasionally use IMO, to indicate how subjective I think the matter under discussion is.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                Perhaps IM(H)O is overused. I'm kinda with mcf - I use it when I want to indicate that my opinion might not be worth much, kinda like a FWIW.

                                1. re: porker

                                  Exactly, porker. Alternatively, I sometimes write "my$.02; change tendered upon request."

                                  1. re: mcf

                                    me: 2c
                                    wait, "a penny for your thoughts"...someones gettin shortchanged.

                              2. re: MGZ

                                I'm a purist when it comes to printed text or formal writing. I consider message boards like spoken conversation between friends. I use words,phrases with friends that I'd never use in a formal speech, just as I use words and phrases on message boards that I'd never use formally--I have to admit, even on a message board, splitting an infinitive or ending with a preposition still bothers me and I find myself using everyone with his/her because it just seems wrong to use "their." And, don't get me started on whether that period belongs before the quotation mark or after.

                                As the slippery slope goes, that arguably that happened with the printing press when common man could learn to read.

                                1. re: chowser

                                  How about commas separating words?
                                  {;-/)

                                  1. re: porker

                                    Luckily this site is still (per Jim Leff's original mandate) a "spell free - grammar free" zone. Each one of us is quite welcome to write to whatever standards we deem appropriate for our own posts. Fortunately, the privilege stops there. If some other poster ever critiques any other posters spelling or grammar simply report it and *poof!* - critical post be gone...If someone is simply correcting the spelling of a restaurant's name or street name that is allowable as long as no "chiding" the OP for sloppy spelling goes with it...

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      So that means I can tell people that the word is "voila" and not "wa-la" or "wah-lah" as long as I don't make fun of them?

                                      1. re: dmjordan

                                        If the restaurant happens to be called "Voila" and someone posts about it as "Wa-la" you can say for the record that the correct name is Voila so folks don't go running around in circles looking for a place called Wa-la that doesn't happen to exist. But if someone uses the incorrect spelling of the word in the body of their post, and all you plan on doing is posting "No. It's voila" then if someone reports your post it is going to most likely get pulled down for being a product of the "Spelling Police"...(or the "Grammar Police" if you are correcting someones grammar).

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          I don't know if the rules have changed over the years but I mistakenly spelled Michael Pollan's name with an "e" instead of "a". I didn't see deletions but apparently posts that corrected to it were deleted. When I finally saw someone's post before it was deleted, I asked for them to edit it in my post.

                                        2. re: dmjordan

                                          I know the difference, I just use wah lah for fun! Don't assume folks don't know the diff. :-)

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            And if you've watched Julia Child her joke was to say "viola" instead....I can hear her voice in my head.

                                            1. re: escondido123

                                              "I can hear her voice in my head."

                                              I see. How long has it been there, and can other people hear it, or just you? ;-)

                                              1. re: mcf

                                                For years. Just me. But if my husband puts his ear to mine, he can hear the ocean.

                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                  Veddy intewesting.

                              3. re: MGZ

                                MGZ: Maybe, maybe not. If I read your posts as largely negative/condescending, then have I read into your missives properly?

                                1. re: hawkeyeui93

                                  In a way, that's close to making the point. A reader's ability to comprehend dimishes as a consequence of repeated poor articulation. My posts over the years have been almost nothing but WYSIWYG and in the same voice as my spoken conversation. Someone inferring condescension in any type of communication from me is often more telling about them than me.

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    MGZ: I'm sure it is "more telling" ....

                                    1. re: MGZ

                                      *diminishes.

                                      See, it happens to the best of us.

                                      1. re: Pollywantsacracker

                                        Excellent - love it.

                        2. I think of it as internet writing's equivalent of having a persistent facial tic. Back in the day, overenthusiastic writers who don't edit themselves well just used multiple exclamation points at the end of every sentence!!!! Defaulting to 'LOL' multiple times in a single paragraph is basically the same thing!!!!!!!!!111!!!

                          31 Replies
                          1. re: cowboyardee

                            I basically agree. Moreover, "LOL," when used in a non-responsive fashion, is just bad writing. It's a lazy way to apologize for the inability to articulate an attempt at levity or to obscure a passive aggressive assertion that may not be popular. At bottom, it has become roughly synonymous with the colon/parenthesis smiley face. Each is, at best, a simplistic device to permit bad writers to communicate something and, at worst, the web equivalent of baby talk.

                            1. re: MGZ

                              " the inability to articulate an attempt at levity "

                              While some might be amazing writers and able to articulate levity easily, if using LOL is allowing bad writers to communicate, I don't think that's a negative. It's more democratization of the internet and giving everyone access to having his/her opinion heard. It's often hard to read intent w/out seeing the person's face and there is often enough, misunderstanding because of it. There is a world of difference in, "LOL, maybe she's a cow" or "Maybe she's a cow." Maybe simplistic but effective.

                              1. re: MGZ

                                That's fine with me, I don't need everyone on chowhound to be a "good" writer. It's about the food. I'm just glad we use punctuation.

                                1. re: julesrules

                                  I agree completely that it's about the food. Consequently, there should be no need for attempting humor that may not be understood. Further, it's not just about bad writing, it's often just lazy writing which is as much of a detriment to serious "conversation" as it is to levity

                                  1. re: MGZ

                                    "Consequently, there should be no need for attempting humor that may not be understood."

                                    Now, that made me lol...

                                    1. re: Servorg

                                      LOL (irony meter on)

                                      1. re: mcf

                                        If my irony is deficient is my humor anemic?

                                        1. re: Servorg

                                          On life support. IMNSVHO.

                                          1. re: mcf

                                            I am heading in for an immedate and massive transconfusion, directly into my funny bone. Ironically I hope that the transconfusion is full of infectious humor...

                                            1. re: Servorg

                                              I know this response is a tad feverish, but you'd better get on that STAT! IME and AFAIK, delaying treatment can lead to status of "humerus DOA" among other tragic consequences.

                                        2. re: mcf

                                          mcf: Love it!!!! LOL :)

                                  2. re: MGZ

                                    Your comment on passive aggressiveness is something that I wonder about when comments are almost always followed by LOL. It's like when someone says something you find critical/annoying and their response is "Well, I was only kidding."

                                    1. re: escondido123

                                      "It's like when someone says something you find critical/annoying and their response is "Well, I was only kidding.""

                                      Another excellent reason to be seen as kidding up front...so as to remove all doubt about one's intent...

                                      1. re: Servorg

                                        But saying you're only kidding--or using LOL to show your supposed intent--doesn't give one free reign to then be unpleasant.

                                        1. re: escondido123

                                          True. But "unpleasant" is like "beauty" in that it's all in the eye of the beholder...

                                          1. re: escondido123

                                            I agree. I guess I haven't noticed the use of LOL more than many other ways of mocking other posters, both aggressive and passive aggressive ones.

                                        2. re: escondido123

                                          I've seen that. Or a smiley face after a critical post, as though you can automatically stay in anyone's good graces as long as you include colonD at the end of any post.

                                          In the context of an actual argument, a 'LOL' is basically just added to piss off and mock the other party, having pretty much the opposite intent from its usual vaguely-friendly-but-thoughtless effect.

                                          Example: "I can't believe you think you can make a good pad thai in a cast iron skillet - LOLOLOLOL!" The mods really should look the other way whenever this kind of thing comes up and just let other posters rip the LOLOLOLer to shreds. For the good of the internet.

                                          1. re: cowboyardee

                                            I think the mods should just pull it down. Frankly, in such a case, nothing short of reaching through the screen and ripping someone's lungs out through his/her nostrils is going to suffice.

                                            IMO. ;-)

                                            1. re: mcf

                                              Here's hoping the technology to do so is right around the corner. Maybe Skype could develop it, though of course that would mean that it doesn't work 80% of the time.

                                            2. re: cowboyardee

                                              I opened this thread thinking its title referred to the recent-ish (I think) development of emphasizing how very vigorously you are laughing out loud with a long line of alternating Ls and Os. I find it startling to see this. It sounds in my head like the deranged person next to me on the subway has broken into uncontrollable cackling. Because it makes no sense: it's not an acronym, as LOL is.

                                              A couple of weeks ago I saw a post that upped the ante even more: LOOOOOOOL. I guess that's when the deranged person cackles with such force that she runs out of breath and keels over.

                                              I once read an anecdote about a guy who thought LOL stood for "lots of love." Things got awkward when he sent an email that said something like, "I was so sorry to hear that your grandmother died. LOL."

                                              1. re: small h

                                                "A couple of weeks ago I saw a post that upped the ante even more: LOOOOOOOL. I guess that's when the deranged person cackles with such force that she runs out of breath and keels over."
                                                _______
                                                LOOOOOOOOOOOOOOoooolasadlfk;jhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
                                                That would be laughing so hard you lose your breath and pass out on the keyboard. Your cat has to press the 'submit' button.

                                                1. re: cowboyardee

                                                  Don't give people any ideas. 'Cause I'm starting to think this barrel ain't got no bottom.

                                                2. re: small h

                                                  "I was so sorry to hear that your grandmother died. LOL."

                                                  oh that is rich (and I did indeed audibly chuckle)

                                                  does anybody else get a sort of sarcastic vibe when someone employs LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL"? it strikes me as someone saying "har de har har. har."

                                                  I understand the casual use of LOL once in a sentence, but in a series it comes across as either condescending or dismissive (smiley-yet-vexed face emoticon as YMMV)

                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                    <in a series it comes across as either condescending or dismissive>

                                                    Yep. Not "what you said was funny," but "what you said was laughable."

                                                    1. re: small h

                                                      Which is ironic, b/c that is *exactly* how the OP used it on another thread.

                                                      >chuckle<

                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                        That would be because the OP was trying to make a point.

                                                        1. re: escondido123

                                                          well in that spirit, hill food wasn't commenting on the OP's usage, but rather something encountered in hill food's past (3rd person IS fun!)

                                                          and thanks small h - it is good when one finds one is not alone interpreting an ambiguity.

                                                  2. re: small h

                                                    > LOL stood for "lots of love."

                                                    My 87 year old father signs all his emails LOL by which he means Lots of Love, and I'm just happy he can still do email.

                                                    1. re: GraydonCarter

                                                      And if you and he both know what he means, the communication is a success and everybody wins. My grandmother could never get the hang of using capital letters or punctuation in emails (her handwritten letters were fine). That was before texting was common, so maybe she was just ahead of her time.

                                                      1. re: small h

                                                        oh god basic "netiquette" anybody over say 60 or 70 gets a hall pass and anybody under gets ignored for POSTING LIKE THIS. sheesh once I had thought I'd royally ticked off upper management in another city and of that demographic only to call directly and find all was fine, they just didn't know better, there was a point to be made, but they didn't realize how it came across on the monitor.

                                                        I have refused to communicate with some relatives by e-mail because of this. phone is fine. e-mail some will just never understand.. and they ain't changing.

                                            3. re: cowboyardee

                                              I like your facial tic comparison. I see it as a verbal tic, as a teenager might use "like";
                                              Like when we were in the park, this guy came up and, like, just mouthed off. Then Jordan says, like, get the hell out of here. Then we all ran for, like an hour.
                                              or some people use "you know" or "follow me" or "see" throughout their sentances.

                                            4. I think some people use it when they feel sheepish, for instance when someone points out that the topic has already been covered, that the restaurant is closed that day... as in "You're right! LOL" In "real life" laughter can be a way to diffuse discomfort, so why not virtually? (Just a guess.)

                                              1. Used to refer to "Little Old Lady" in a medical context ("LOL w/MMP" = little old lady with multiple medical problems) but has fallen out of favor for multiple probably sensible reasons.

                                                Probably not why it's being used on this site though.

                                                2 Replies
                                                1. re: DuchessNukem

                                                  Newspaperman Herb Caen first used LOL to mean Little Old Lady (or Ladies) back in the late 50's, in his venerable SF Chronicle 3-dot column. Then it became "LOLs in Tennis Shoes", his sarcastic comment on the frumpy haberdashery habits of "old" ladies. I can't say "LOL" without thinking of how reading his column before going off to high school every day got me through those horrific years.

                                                  1. re: toodie jane

                                                    Caen was a classic and quite the bon vivant. I need to find his books of essays.

                                                2. I only use it when someone's post has actually made me laugh out loud, as in the case of the person who suggested licking people when she met them to help her remember them better. Still cracking up about that one.

                                                  1. There was a Curb Your Enthusiasm episode on this last season where a character would verbally respond to any humorous statement with "LOL." Larry called it "verbal texting." It may be a scary prediction of life in the not-too-distant future.

                                                    1. Tihs etnrie theard is laguhbale... J/S.

                                                      1. It actually stands for "Let's Order Lasagna".

                                                        Many Italians on this board.

                                                        2 Replies
                                                        1. re: Pedr0

                                                          Of all the observations, yours certainly sounds the tastiest.

                                                          1. re: Pedr0

                                                            +1, 2, 3 and 4.

                                                          2. Let's just say someone people completely abuse it.

                                                            1. I think some people either lack a sense of humor, or can't see that perhaps what they said in response to a post was in itself either somewhat rude or condescending. Sometimes an LOL is said in response to that situation to try to defuse it. As in, a reply may be somewhat abrupt and/or oddly "direct" and to signify this one may use an LOL for lack of a better acronym to represent this and try to answer as politely as one can instead of flying off the handle. Kind of like relieving the tension with a chuckle. Sometimes it's used to signify that one recognizes (or chooses to believe) that what another has said must be tongue in cheek and an LOL acknowledges that fact. An LOL can also indicate after a post that what one has just posted themselves is to be taken tongue in cheek and it is OK to laugh at that post. Many meanings, not all of which indicate nor imply some sort of drama or need to be offended. After all, offense is taken by the reader not given by the writer? And it can be telling if someone interprets an LOL as a direct slander of his or her character, personally speaking (now I'm afraid to use IMHO to emphasize that this is simply what I believe and doesn't require dissection, quotations and refutations, nor to be taken in any other spirit in which the comment is intended. Sheesh -- this IS a graduate thesis board!)
                                                              As an aside, I think these Boards really need to lighten up a bit. Laughing at what one writes or has written or what one reads isn't the end of the world. Maybe we can all "get over ourselves" and our opinions just a little bit and take an LOL for what it is -- a little laughter in our day?

                                                              1. if one says any wordy-like thing over enough it will lose all meaning (exercise: repeat 'spoon' or 'cabinet' for 20 minutes and report back)

                                                                FWIW IMHO BTW LOL just feels lazy - so I often use (heh) or (smirk) or even </snark> at the end if it seems like I might in fact sound snarky (and honestly I rarely am, although I may be an idiot on occasion) THX

                                                                1. Hi, escondido:

                                                                  My own take is that 'LOL' can be and is used to express be- and amusement in all its human forms--e.g., joy, ridicule, mirth, irony, sympathy, judgment, acceptance, applause, confirmation, empathy, validation, derision, sarcasm, relief, rue, nervousness, dissuasion, encouragement, surprise, chastisement, conviviality, praise, condescension, embarrassment just to name a few--and probably multiple combinations of the full panoply.

                                                                  The term certainly is overused, and so is in danger of having so many meanings that it becomes meaningless. Do you remember the thread about some Chow writer calling Jacques Pepin a "badass"? IMO, it was a similar example of dilution of meaning.

                                                                  I'm also of the belief that these very features of the term--meaning anything, everything and nothing--make it a safe one to use without fear of approbrium or Mod-eration.

                                                                  Aloha,
                                                                  Kaleo

                                                                  1. How wide spread is the is repeated LOL? When I did search on LOLLOLLOL, I only found posts by one person. It wasn't a thorough search, but I looked at posts on a wide variety of topics and boards.

                                                                    1 Reply
                                                                    1. re: paulj

                                                                      There are some people who use LOL frequently., often a number of times within the same post. I wondered why when there was no real humor involved. Keleokahu gave me the most thorough explanation.

                                                                    2. Until such time that technology finds a way to enable us to transfer verbal inflections and intonations, facial expressions, body posturing, and hand gestures, we have to find some other way to express those nonverbal methods of communication into the collection of pixels flickering on our monitors.

                                                                      LOL, ROFL, ROFLMAO, *snerk*, and the entire range of emoticons do the job of expressing nonverbal communications -- and for now, it's all we have, so it's become acceptable for us to use.

                                                                      41 Replies
                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                        yeah but....
                                                                        we use verbal inflections and itonations everyday. Shouting surely has its place in communication, but wouldn't it get annoying if someone always shouted?
                                                                        I'm gussing the OP had something like this in mind.LOLOLOLOLOLOLOL
                                                                        L
                                                                        O
                                                                        L
                                                                        OLLLOOLLLLLOOLOLOLOLOLOOOLOLOLL
                                                                        LO

                                                                        LOLOL

                                                                        1. re: porker

                                                                          Has that happened? (haven't seen it here)

                                                                          I've seen plenty of threads THAT SOMEONE TYPED IN ALL CAPS and was prompted in the very first response to their post that caps is shouting and to please not do it. (I know that not everyone has received their Roolz uv the Internetz, and I know several more have never bothered to read them, so a first offense is no foul in most cases...it's when they persist that it becomes eligible for the Report button)

                                                                          If it's somebody who's doing it regularly, apparently for their own amusement, report them...

                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                            That's the thing with passive aggression. The perp can often sidle right up to and onto the plausible deniability barrier, do a tap dance or the macarena on it and then go home, flush with achievement.

                                                                            1. re: sunshine842

                                                                              I don't think its a case of reporting them or not.
                                                                              Perhaps read the OP carefully; it seems (to me) that they are not asking why the use of LOL, but "Please explain LOL LOL LOL"
                                                                              Your first response is quite valid for the use of "LOL"...however, why do people overuse "LOL" as in LOL LOL LOL?
                                                                              Thus the ensuing debate and macarena.
                                                                              .
                                                                              .
                                                                              .
                                                                              I feel...
                                                                              flushed!

                                                                              1. re: porker

                                                                                What I was trying to understand was posters who included LOL in whatever permutations in virtually every post, regardless of subject, regardless of emotion. I have come to realize from reading a variety of posts, that folks use it in all sorts of ways, benign and not, so I will just learn to ignore them and focus on those folks that have a wider vocabulary...delighted to have the discussion.

                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                  I put them in the same category as people who end every sentence with "you know?" or "geddit?"

                                                                                  They don't even realize what they're doing, and I usually spot a long-lost friend across the room as soon as possible...

                                                                                  Online, I just skip to the next response, or close the thread.

                                                                            2. re: sunshine842

                                                                              "Until such time that technology finds a way to enable us to transfer verbal inflections and intonations, facial expressions, body posturing, and hand gestures, we have to find some other way to express those nonverbal methods of communication into the collection of pixels flickering on our monitors."*

                                                                              Haven't humans been able to express the entire range of emotions and ideas in written communications for millenia? What is it about this medium that makes words insufficient? Is it merely, as suggested, due to the democratization of the web that this medium requires additional tools to permit more to communicate effectively? If so, isn't that a comment on the members of our society? On the education system? Has time become that valuable?

                                                                              * Please note, sunshine, I am directing this post to your quote and the thoughts it generated. Given the nature of much of the discussion this thread has generated, please accept this genuine inquiry as what it is and not any sort of personal response.

                                                                              1. re: MGZ

                                                                                "Is it merely, as suggested, due to the democratization of the web that this medium requires additional tools to permit more to communicate effectively? If so, isn't that a comment on the members of our society? On the education system?"

                                                                                Not a comment on the education system as much as, in the past, people didn't have access to open forums, only the rich and educated. Even going back as far as 20 years, what other forum could average people have expressed their opinions, other than a megaphone in a park? That's what I mean by democratization. Voices, in the past, weren't even given a chance to be shouted down. I fully admit to using LOL, as I would other internet abbreviations. I don't think of I overuse it. But. then again, I guess no one does.

                                                                                1. re: MGZ

                                                                                  "Haven't humans been able to express the entire range of emotions and ideas in written communications for millenia? What is it about this medium that makes words insufficient? "

                                                                                  If authors, who have been expressing those emotions and ideas, had had to have an immediate back and forth with real time readers for each of those expressed emotions and ideas, you can bet that there would be the same sparring and side discussions and wild swings of topics we see here on a daily (hourly and in some cases minute by minute) basis.

                                                                                  If you look at the discussion of those great works of literary fiction and the critical discussions they undergo in classrooms and book clubs around the world you can see that there is a wealth of ideas about what each and every author might have meant for just about every idea they tried to convey.

                                                                                  1. re: Servorg

                                                                                    Good point. Instantaneous feedback also means you can react on emotions alone, shoot back a response in anger w/out thinking about whether the comments have merit. Ideally I've found, it's best to step back, reread it hours later to see if you might have misread the original intent. I've read many people take offense at posts where, being impartial, I've read none. I've also gone back and reread posts of mine and realized they came off in a way I didn't intend. Sorry, I've veered off your original point.

                                                                                    1. re: Servorg

                                                                                      Thanks for writing my reply for me!

                                                                                      I'm serious -- you wrote almost exactly what I was composing in my head.

                                                                                      Not trying to duck the issue, MGZ - Servorg summed it up very well, and I won't bore anyone by basically repeating the response line for line.

                                                                                      1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                        yup, when one has months or even years (Joyce, Proust anyone?) to posit an idea or theme and it goes through endless re-writes, an editor etc. before it ever goes to press, it's bound to be more eloquent and elegant than capable of the likes of me sitting in front of a laptop with a waiting and eager "post" button at the wait.

                                                                                        1. re: hill food

                                                                                          those guys didn't have anyone invoking Godwin's law while they wrote, either..

                                                                                          :/

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            oh jeez sunshine yer such a fascist (smirk)

                                                                                            I had to look Godwin up but his theory does have a lot of validity to it. so thanks - a new tool for me!

                                                                                      2. re: Servorg

                                                                                        Thanks for the thoughts and also to those who supplemented them. I'll abandon the inquiry as it grows off topic and apologize for the use of the Socratic, but frankly it does interest me a great deal. I've watched language and communication change at an unprecedented rate in my lifetime and I will continue to do so. Ultimately, these rapid developments are slated to produce a very changed world - one in which separate languages and national sovereignties seem destined to disappear.

                                                                                        1. re: MGZ

                                                                                          well I have to admit the W3C and perfection of XHTML may have something to do with that homogeneity under the skin of the web. although it does make life easier. let's hope the individual and regional cultures and ways survive despite a certain universal communication tool.

                                                                                    2. re: sunshine842

                                                                                      Despite my snark-tinged post upthread, I actually don't have a problem at all with LOL and smiley faces and ROFL and all that stuff when used to convey little emotional nuances. Heck, I've even used them myself. Yes, writers have managed to convey subtle emotions without that kind of thing for a long time, but I think servorg makes a good point that classic writing isn't immune to misunderstandings. Anyway, this site is more about conveying information than about conveying the subtleties of the human experience. Many people write a lot of posts - and none of us have an editor - so little things like emoticons and LOLs and such can be just plain useful. They allow you to convey a lot of information more quickly with less worry about your intentions being misinterpreted.

                                                                                      MCF made the important distinction a few posts ago though - the problem is when harmless-looking internetspeak is used with intent to ridicule and mock but maintain plausible deniability of your intentions at the same time. Of course there are times when this might be just a misinterpretation on the part of the reader, but there are many times where it is not and the intention is reasonably clear, at least to those involved in the conversation because of context or interpersonal history, etc. I have not historically been a major user of the report button, and perhaps reporting would be the best option in this case (it would seem less problematic than my tendency to bluntly ask the poster to cut it out, sometimes repeatedly with obvious increasing annoyance, which has gotten me in trouble), but as mcf nicely put it, I think the idea is to maintain a kind of dance with the moderation and posting guidelines.

                                                                                      1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                        Agree.

                                                                                        (which is better than had I typed:
                                                                                        Agree. LOL LOL LOL.)

                                                                                        1. re: cowboyardee

                                                                                          and we've all seen plenty of people who deliver a vicious verbal attack, then pause, slap you on the back and say "Ohhhh, I was just kidding" while everyone looks at each other to see whether everyone else winces or laughs.

                                                                                          Passive aggression knows no bounds, unfortunately.

                                                                                          1. re: sunshine842

                                                                                            Are you talking about internet or just in general? Either way, one should just take a real stance. If one is to argue, then at least be honest about it and have a real debate. The opponent at very least deserves a chance for a fair debate. Luckily, I do get this "passive aggression" too often in real life.

                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                              both -- we all see it, both in real life and on the web.

                                                                                              Depends on what the stakes are, and how offensive the statement is as to what sort of reaction I justify.

                                                                                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                The difficulty in taking a "real stance" is that it can be considered "getting personal" and then it is not allowed to remain.

                                                                                                1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                  LOLLOLLOL. Do you know what you are talking about? LOLLOLLOL Kidding Kidding. But LOLLOLLOL.

                                                                                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                    You are too much.

                                                                                                    1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                      :) I was just trying to show how annoying LOL can be. My apology to you. I think if I have something I want to say it to your face, then I should able to say it without LOLs.

                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                        No apology needed, I understood you completely.

                                                                                                      2. re: escondido123

                                                                                                        This is the kind of post where I have learned to include a smiley, just to make it clear that I was writing it with a smile on my face.

                                                                                                        1. re: paulj

                                                                                                          Ah, but what kind of smile? A leer, a smirk, a grin. That smiley face is so hard to see clearly.

                                                                                                          1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                            You have amused me.

                                                                                                            1. re: escondido123

                                                                                                              Chow's software is sadly deficient in emoticons. Sure we can all type the ASCII versions, but other systems give us long menus including animated ones. Sadly, my own vocabulary is pretty limited.

                                                                                                              1. re: paulj

                                                                                                                Lets not get started on the emoticons....

                                                                                                                1. re: porker

                                                                                                                  Hey..do you like the winking face (saucy) or the even saucier winking face with the tongue hanging out ? an even saucier devil. Extra crazy off the wall comment not to be taken too seriously. Typing sideways faces is an art.

                                                                                                                2. re: paulj

                                                                                                                  in the past I've tried to come up with incomprehensible emoticons, ones that look like something but mean nothing :-% or :-! or maybe 8-€ or ;-₰

                                                                                                                  1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                    Like it!
                                                                                                                    Reminds me of a Larsen called "Cow Tools";
                                                                                                                    http://t3.gstatic.com/images?q=tbn:AN...
                                                                                                                    This cartoon received some of the most fan mail. Everyone wanted to know the use of each tool, but they were simply made up and meant nothing. Drove people nuts.

                                                                                                                    1. re: porker

                                                                                                                      I don't get it. LOL

                                                                                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                        exactly.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                          oh :-ɸ

                                                                                                                          1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                            Is that a tongue? If so, is it the same as :P

                                                                                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics

                                                                                                                              trying to ascribe meaning is not advised as the path has eroded, the markers are lost, it's night and the moon is new. (although technically it's a Greek phi I suppose one might also see a circle'n'slash symbol, a pursed mouth 'null' or a gentle suggestion to 'oh zip it')

                                                                                                                              1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                Oh, it is a anti-free speech symbol then. LOL

                                                                                                                                1. re: hill food

                                                                                                                                  Pirate calmly going over gunwale with knife in mouth?

                                                                                                  2. This thread has long since run its course, so we're going to lock it now.