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Please explain LOL LOL LOL

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escondido123 Mar 5, 2012 09:16 PM

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.

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  1. The Chowhound Team Mar 13, 2012 07:27 AM

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

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    1. sunshine842 Mar 10, 2012 09:03 AM

      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.

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      1. re: sunshine842
        porker Mar 10, 2012 10:12 AM

        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

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        1. re: porker
          sunshine842 Mar 10, 2012 11:40 AM

          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...

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          1. re: sunshine842
            mcf Mar 10, 2012 02:55 PM

            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.

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            1. re: sunshine842
              porker Mar 10, 2012 08:13 PM

              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!

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              1. re: porker
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                escondido123 Mar 10, 2012 09:15 PM

                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.

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                1. re: porker
                  sunshine842 Mar 11, 2012 09:11 AM

                  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.

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            2. re: sunshine842
              MGZ Mar 11, 2012 07:41 AM

              "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.

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              1. re: MGZ
                chowser Mar 11, 2012 08:02 AM

                "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.

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                1. re: MGZ
                  Servorg Mar 11, 2012 08:02 AM

                  "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.

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                  1. re: Servorg
                    chowser Mar 11, 2012 08:07 AM

                    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.

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                    1. re: Servorg
                      sunshine842 Mar 11, 2012 09:12 AM

                      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.

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                      1. re: sunshine842
                        hill food Mar 11, 2012 11:07 AM

                        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.

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                        1. re: hill food
                          sunshine842 Mar 11, 2012 11:36 AM

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

                          :/

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                          1. re: sunshine842
                            hill food Mar 11, 2012 12:13 PM

                            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!

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                      2. re: Servorg
                        MGZ Mar 12, 2012 04:51 AM

                        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.

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                        1. re: MGZ
                          hill food Mar 12, 2012 05:08 PM

                          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.

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                    2. re: sunshine842
                      cowboyardee Mar 11, 2012 12:01 PM

                      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.

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                      1. re: cowboyardee
                        Chemicalkinetics Mar 11, 2012 12:06 PM

                        Agree.

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

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                        1. re: cowboyardee
                          sunshine842 Mar 11, 2012 12:19 PM

                          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.

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                          1. re: sunshine842
                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 11, 2012 12:20 PM

                            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.

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                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                              sunshine842 Mar 11, 2012 01:49 PM

                              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.

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                              1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                escondido123 Mar 11, 2012 04:00 PM

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

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                                1. re: escondido123
                                  Chemicalkinetics Mar 11, 2012 04:10 PM

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

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                                  1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                    escondido123 Mar 11, 2012 04:50 PM

                                    You are too much.

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                                    1. re: escondido123
                                      Chemicalkinetics Mar 11, 2012 05:05 PM

                                      :) 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.

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                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
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                                        escondido123 Mar 11, 2012 05:14 PM

                                        No apology needed, I understood you completely.

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                                      2. re: escondido123
                                        paulj Mar 11, 2012 06:06 PM

                                        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.

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                                        1. re: paulj
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                                          escondido123 Mar 11, 2012 06:14 PM

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

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                                          1. re: escondido123
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                                            small h Mar 11, 2012 06:17 PM

                                            You have amused me.

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                                            1. re: escondido123
                                              paulj Mar 11, 2012 07:52 PM

                                              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.

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                                              1. re: paulj
                                                porker Mar 12, 2012 09:53 AM

                                                Lets not get started on the emoticons....

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                                                1. re: porker
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                                                  rochfood Mar 12, 2012 03:45 PM

                                                  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.

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                                                2. re: paulj
                                                  hill food Mar 12, 2012 05:14 PM

                                                  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 ;-₰

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                                                  1. re: hill food
                                                    porker Mar 12, 2012 07:14 PM

                                                    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.

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                                                    1. re: porker
                                                      Chemicalkinetics Mar 12, 2012 08:14 PM

                                                      I don't get it. LOL

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                                                      1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                        porker Mar 12, 2012 08:35 PM

                                                        exactly.

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                                                        1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                          hill food Mar 12, 2012 09:42 PM

                                                          oh :-ɸ

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                                                          1. re: hill food
                                                            Chemicalkinetics Mar 12, 2012 10:25 PM

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

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                                                            1. re: Chemicalkinetics
                                                              hill food Mar 12, 2012 10:55 PM

                                                              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')

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                                                              1. re: hill food
                                                                Chemicalkinetics Mar 12, 2012 11:00 PM

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

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                                                                1. re: hill food
                                                                  porker Mar 13, 2012 04:51 AM

                                                                  Pirate calmly going over gunwale with knife in mouth?

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                                  2. paulj Mar 9, 2012 12:28 PM

                                    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.

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                                    1. re: paulj
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                                      escondido123 Mar 9, 2012 01:00 PM

                                      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.

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                                    2. k
                                      kaleokahu Mar 9, 2012 11:30 AM

                                      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

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                                      1. hill food Mar 9, 2012 12:59 AM

                                        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

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                                          freia Mar 8, 2012 01:04 PM

                                          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?

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                                          1. Chemicalkinetics Mar 7, 2012 10:15 PM

                                            Let's just say someone people completely abuse it.

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                                            1. Pedr0 Mar 7, 2012 08:14 AM

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

                                              Many Italians on this board.

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                                              1. re: Pedr0
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                                                escondido123 Mar 7, 2012 05:32 PM

                                                Of all the observations, yours certainly sounds the tastiest.

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                                                1. re: Pedr0
                                                  pdxgastro Mar 7, 2012 05:36 PM

                                                  +1, 2, 3 and 4.

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                                                2. Gio Mar 7, 2012 08:09 AM

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

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                                                    ferret Mar 7, 2012 07:40 AM

                                                    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.

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                                                      Isolda Mar 7, 2012 06:35 AM

                                                      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.

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                                                      1. DuchessNukem Mar 6, 2012 02:15 PM

                                                        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.

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                                                        1. re: DuchessNukem
                                                          toodie jane Mar 11, 2012 09:43 PM

                                                          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.

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                                                          1. re: toodie jane
                                                            hill food Mar 11, 2012 11:49 PM

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

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                                                        2. Glencora Mar 6, 2012 10:17 AM

                                                          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.)

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                                                          1. cowboyardee Mar 6, 2012 09:57 AM

                                                            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!!!

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                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                              MGZ Mar 7, 2012 06:27 AM

                                                              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.

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                                                              1. re: MGZ
                                                                chowser Mar 7, 2012 06:40 AM

                                                                " 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.

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                                                                1. re: MGZ
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                                                                  julesrules Mar 7, 2012 06:42 AM

                                                                  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.

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                                                                  1. re: julesrules
                                                                    MGZ Mar 7, 2012 06:48 AM

                                                                    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

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                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                      Servorg Mar 7, 2012 06:50 AM

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

                                                                      Now, that made me lol...

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                                                                      1. re: Servorg
                                                                        mcf Mar 7, 2012 07:52 AM

                                                                        LOL (irony meter on)

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                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                          Servorg Mar 7, 2012 07:57 AM

                                                                          If my irony is deficient is my humor anemic?

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                                                                          1. re: Servorg
                                                                            mcf Mar 7, 2012 08:00 AM

                                                                            On life support. IMNSVHO.

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                                                                            1. re: mcf
                                                                              Servorg Mar 7, 2012 08:29 AM

                                                                              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...

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                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                mcf Mar 7, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                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.

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                                                                          2. re: mcf
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                                                                            hawkeyeui93 Mar 7, 2012 07:58 AM

                                                                            mcf: Love it!!!! LOL :)

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                                                                    2. re: MGZ
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                                                                      escondido123 Mar 7, 2012 09:51 AM

                                                                      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."

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                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                        Servorg Mar 7, 2012 09:56 AM

                                                                        "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...

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                                                                        1. re: Servorg
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                                                                          escondido123 Mar 7, 2012 10:05 AM

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

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                                                                          1. re: escondido123
                                                                            Servorg Mar 7, 2012 10:21 AM

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

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                                                                            1. re: escondido123
                                                                              mcf Mar 7, 2012 10:26 AM

                                                                              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.

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                                                                          2. re: escondido123
                                                                            cowboyardee Mar 7, 2012 10:06 AM

                                                                            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.

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                                                                            1. re: cowboyardee
                                                                              mcf Mar 7, 2012 10:27 AM

                                                                              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. ;-)

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                                                                              1. re: mcf
                                                                                cowboyardee Mar 7, 2012 11:12 AM

                                                                                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.

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                                                                              2. re: cowboyardee
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                                                                                small h Mar 7, 2012 02:18 PM

                                                                                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."

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                                                                                1. re: small h
                                                                                  cowboyardee Mar 7, 2012 02:22 PM

                                                                                  "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.

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                                                                                  1. re: cowboyardee
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                                                                                    small h Mar 7, 2012 06:05 PM

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

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                                                                                  2. re: small h
                                                                                    hill food Mar 7, 2012 02:29 PM

                                                                                    "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)

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                                                                                    1. re: hill food
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                                                                                      small h Mar 7, 2012 03:18 PM

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

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

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                                                                                      1. re: small h
                                                                                        linguafood Mar 7, 2012 03:42 PM

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

                                                                                        >chuckle<

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                                                                                        1. re: linguafood
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                                                                                          escondido123 Mar 7, 2012 04:06 PM

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

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                                                                                          1. re: escondido123
                                                                                            hill food Mar 7, 2012 04:40 PM

                                                                                            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.

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                                                                                    2. re: small h
                                                                                      GraydonCarter Mar 7, 2012 07:06 PM

                                                                                      > 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.

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                                                                                      1. re: GraydonCarter
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                                                                                        small h Mar 8, 2012 01:05 PM

                                                                                        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.

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                                                                                        1. re: small h
                                                                                          hill food Mar 9, 2012 12:48 AM

                                                                                          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.

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                                                                              3. re: cowboyardee
                                                                                porker Mar 7, 2012 11:05 AM

                                                                                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.

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                                                                                sedimental Mar 6, 2012 09:07 AM

                                                                                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 :)

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                                                                                1. re: sedimental
                                                                                  Servorg Mar 6, 2012 03:29 PM

                                                                                  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

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                                                                                  1. re: Servorg
                                                                                    MGZ Mar 7, 2012 06:31 AM

                                                                                    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."

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                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                      Servorg Mar 7, 2012 06:36 AM

                                                                                      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.

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                                                                                      1. re: MGZ
                                                                                        chowser Mar 7, 2012 06:43 AM

                                                                                        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.

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                                                                                        1. re: chowser
                                                                                          MGZ Mar 7, 2012 06:53 AM

                                                                                          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.

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                                                                                          1. re: MGZ
                                                                                            MGZ Mar 7, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                            Along the same lines:

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

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                                                                                            1. re: MGZ
                                                                                              chowser Mar 7, 2012 06:55 AM

                                                                                              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.

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                                                                                              1. re: chowser
                                                                                                MGZ Mar 7, 2012 07:07 AM

                                                                                                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.

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                                                                                                1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                  MGZ Mar 7, 2012 07:23 AM

                                                                                                  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!

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                                                                                                  1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                    mcf Mar 7, 2012 08:05 AM

                                                                                                    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.

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                                                                                                    1. re: MGZ
                                                                                                      porker Mar 7, 2012 10:54 AM

                                                                                                      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.

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                                                                                                      1. re: porker
                                                                                                        mcf Mar 7, 2012 11:15 AM

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

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                                                                                                        1. re: mcf
                                                                                                          porker Mar 8, 2012 08:50 AM

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

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                                                                                                    2. re: MGZ
                                                                                                      chowser Mar 7, 2012 07:35 AM

                                                                                                      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.

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                                                                                                      1. re: chowser
                                                                                                        porker Mar 7, 2012 10:50 AM

                                                                                                        How about commas separating words?
                                                                                                        {;-/)

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                                                                                                        1. re: porker
                                                                                                          Servorg Mar 7, 2012 10:56 AM

                                                                                                          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...

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                                                                                                          1. re: Servorg
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                                                                                                            dmjordan Mar 9, 2012 01:51 PM

                                                                                                            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?

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                                                                                                            1. re: dmjordan
                                                                                                              Servorg Mar 9, 2012 01:59 PM

                                                                                                              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).

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                                                                                                              1. re: Servorg
                                                                                                                chowser Mar 9, 2012 02:56 PM

                                                                                                                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.

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                                                                                                              2. re: dmjordan
                                                                                                                mcf Mar 9, 2012 02:16 PM

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

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                                                                                                                1. re: mcf
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                                                                                                                  escondido123 Mar 9, 2012 04:12 PM

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

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                                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                    mcf Mar 9, 2012 05:11 PM

                                                                                                                    "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? ;-)

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                                                                                                                    1. re: mcf
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                                                                                                                      escondido123 Mar 9, 2012 05:17 PM

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

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                                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                                        mcf Mar 9, 2012 05:23 PM

                                                                                                                        Veddy intewesting.

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                                                                                                    3. re: MGZ
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                                                                                                      hawkeyeui93 Mar 7, 2012 07:52 AM

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

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                                                                                                      1. re: hawkeyeui93
                                                                                                        MGZ Mar 7, 2012 08:21 AM

                                                                                                        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.

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                                                                                                        1. re: MGZ
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                                                                                                          hawkeyeui93 Mar 7, 2012 08:29 AM

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

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                                                                                                          1. re: MGZ
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                                                                                                            Pollywantsacracker Mar 9, 2012 01:27 PM

                                                                                                            *diminishes.

                                                                                                            See, it happens to the best of us.

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                                                                                                            1. re: Pollywantsacracker
                                                                                                              MGZ Mar 9, 2012 01:36 PM

                                                                                                              Excellent - love it.

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                                                                                              2. linguafood Mar 6, 2012 08:55 AM

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

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                                                                                                1. re: linguafood
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                                                                                                  escondido123 Mar 6, 2012 08:55 AM

                                                                                                  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.

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                                                                                                  1. re: escondido123
                                                                                                    linguafood Mar 6, 2012 08:57 AM

                                                                                                    Were you literally laughing out loud, or just virtually?

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                                                                                                    1. re: linguafood
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                                                                                                      escondido123 Mar 6, 2012 01:34 PM

                                                                                                      Neither.

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                                                                                                      1. re: escondido123
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                                                                                                        M_and_H Mar 6, 2012 01:40 PM

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

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                                                                                                        1. re: M_and_H
                                                                                                          chowser Mar 6, 2012 02:54 PM

                                                                                                          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.

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                                                                                                          1. re: chowser
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                                                                                                            calliope_nh Mar 6, 2012 03:18 PM

                                                                                                            CIMH

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                                                                                                      2. re: linguafood
                                                                                                        chowser Mar 6, 2012 02:55 PM

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

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                                                                                                    emmekin Mar 5, 2012 10:26 PM

                                                                                                    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".

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