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      Welcome!   03/05/2016

      Welcome, everyone, to the new 910CMX Community Forums. I'm still working on getting them running, so things may change.  If you're a 910 Comic creator and need your forum recreated, let me know and I'll get on it right away.  I'll do my best to make this new place as fun as the last one!

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I think that the most important parts of communication are minimizing ambiguity and avoiding overuse of vocabulary foreign to the audience. The goal, after all, is for the audience to understand your intended meaning.

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47 minutes ago, ijuin said:

I think that the most important parts of communication are minimizing ambiguity and avoiding overuse of vocabulary foreign to the audience. The goal, after all, is for the audience to understand your intended meaning.

While I agree with that, however all professions, and this includes game designers ,to use me as an example, have their own jargon.1  The good books explain what 3d8+4 means in the front of the book, then just use the short form instead of saying "roll 3 eight sided dice, total them together then add 4 to that total" ever time.   Some of the odder dice notations are of course d% and D66.

D% is "roll two ten sided dice, using one as the tens digit and the other one as the ones digit.  If you get both as 0 it means 100 (or in some rare games, it means 0, so the range is 0-99 not 1-100)

D66 is close to that, but you roll 2 six sided dice, use one for the tens digit and one for the ones digit.  This gives you a range of 11 to 66, with out any numbers having a 0,7,8, or 9 in them.  Traveller uses this a lot.  Gives you a flat curve of 36 numbers, vs a bell curve of 11 numbers (2-12), the result of the sum of 2 six sided dice. Flat curves vs bell curves are very important in game mechanics. A plus 1 to a flat curve doesn't mean that much. It's freaking major in a bell curve.

This is also why table top gamers, in addition to having a ton of dice, have dice of different colors. Other than the collecting small shiny object aspect of course.

1 Never mind programmers and their jargon.  There are whole books explaining that.  (On line version found here) With just a fast search, that's the newest one I can find and it's 13 years out of date. (2003)

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1 hour ago, The Old Hack said:

I think the best gamer spell checking disaster I ever encountered was the horrible 'dawizard' that I first encountered in a Ravenloft supplement and later on met again in a book that collected magical items over the time. I could NOT work out what in the world it meant that the device inflicted such-and-such an amount of 'dawizard' on the players that tried to meddle with it. Finally, more than a year later, it dawned on me that someone had for whatever reason done a search-and-replace on 'mage' in exchange for 'wizard' and that this had resulted in damage becoming the absurd dawizard. The blessings of early spell checking programs.

Heh.  Sounds like a cross between the Weekend Edition Sunday Puzzle and a Car Talk "Puzzler of the Week."

(For those of you who can't hear them, those are both shows on public radio.  Actually, you can hear them, they're available as free podcasts.  The Sunday Puzzle is even separated out into its own podcast so you don't have to download the entire soon-to-be-outdated news program just to get a five minute puzzle segment.  Car Talk, on the other hand, mekes you listen to the whole show, or go to their web page for a text version.)     

 

1 hour ago, ijuin said:

I think that the most important parts of communication are minimizing ambiguity and avoiding overuse of vocabulary foreign to the audience. The goal, after all, is for the audience to understand your intended meaning.

True, but we must make a distinction between "overuse" and "any use at all of any words the reader might not know already."  Heaven forbid we should ask a reader to look up a word if they don't know it and can't guess it from context!  My copies of Anne MacCaffrey's Harper Hall Trilogy still bear pencilled-in definitions on the back fly leaf of words I did not know, and I am grateful to Anne for expanding the vocabulary of the young adults that series was targeted to.  (targeted at?  targeted for?)  Likewise, J. K. Rowling used a diverse vocabulary in her books, some of the words just occurring in the text naturally and some being incorporated into names and spells as a bonus for diligent readers.  Books written for, say, a fifth-grade reading level, should not be limited to using only those words the average fifth-grader already knows, or else how are the poor kids supposed to ever make it beyond to the next grade-levels?

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1 hour ago, mlooney said:

There are whole books explaining that.  (On line version found here) With just a fast search, that's the newest one I can find and it's 13 years out of date. (2003)

This version is ten years more recent, but may be considered unofficial.

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4 hours ago, HarJIT said:

This version is ten years more recent, but may be considered unofficial.

Given that the whole of the jargon file is public domain, you can't say if any version is unofficial or not.  Scanning it, it seems to have all the older stuff and some post 2003 items.

All versions need to be cleaned up.  No one talks about DEC or CP/M any more, and most of the usenet stuff is badly dated.  In fact as far as I know BofhNet is about the only active usenet service still active at it's 1990's level.

 

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RE: today's NP.

"Waifus"?

Well, I suppose it's rather chimeric as it is… being an English word borrowed into Japanese and then borrowed back for a different meaning.  Okay, I'll accept that.

(Japanese words don't usually change singular-to-plural (although it is possible to explicitly indicate multiple of something).  Hence with loans from Japanese usage, "three Pokemon" is used (or, perhaps more controversially, "three emoji"), analogous to "three sheep".  (I tend to feel somewhat irritated by "emojis" - although the meaning is still clear, and I'd be fighting an uphill battle trying to get that one dropped.))

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The evolution of "Emojis"; Started out as ASCII "Emotes", then "Emoticons" when people gave them graphical representation for instant messengers and forums, then someone felt they needed to sound cute when porting them to mobile messengers.

I remember when emojis first appeared, people were talking about them like it was something new and amazing, all I could think was "these have been around for years, they're just emotes!"

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1 minute ago, Scotty said:

The evolution of "Emojis"; Started out as ASCII "Emotes", then "Emoticons" when people gave them graphical representation for instant messengers and forums, then someone felt they needed to sound cute when porting them to mobile messengers.

I remember when emojis first appeared, people were talking about them like it was something new and amazing, all I could think was "these have been around for years, they're just emotes!"

Although "emoji" actually means "picture (e) written character (moji)" - the "emoticon" connection is a coincidence but probably contributed to the term's adoption by English speakers.

The distinguishing factor from forum emoticons is that emoji have actual Unicode codepoints (i.e. they are stored just like a letter, number or symbol, not as a picture) - which apparently originated as an effort to map text in Japanese cellular character-encodings (which reserved codepoints for pictograms) plus the Zapf Dingbats font (later adding Wingdings and Webdings) to Unicode's Universal Character Set (designed as an international standard capable of representing text originating in any encoding).  More info.

(Unicode also gives a far larger number of characters to form textual emotes from than ASCII, hence we gain the "spacing macron, backslash, underscore, opening parenthesis, katakana tsu, closing parenthesis, underscore, forward-slash, spacing macron" shrug.  And the Lenny.)

Although I have personally decided on the following private-use encoding for the Demonic Duck:

FDECD, representations:

UTF-32: \U000fdecd
UTF-16: \udbb7\udecd
UTF-8: \xf3\xbd\xbb\x8d
CESU-8: \xed\xae\xb7\xed\xbb\x8d

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What ever happened to calling the "smilies", or is that just for the ascii versions?

 

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Jargon is necessary in any complex (or even mildly complex) field because people proficient in that field, talking with each other, will need to distinguish between idea/concept/object A and idea/concept/object B, where people who aren't into that field are (in some cases) unlikely to even be aware of the existence of either of them.

For example, lots of people have some understanding of the word "parameter", but anyone who can name two ways of passing parameters knows something about computer programming - even if they can't explain the difference. (If they can name three or more, they probably know a LOT about computer programming.)

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3 hours ago, mlooney said:

What ever happened to calling the "smilies", or is that just for the ascii versions?

 

That's for old people like you and me. All these youngsters don't even remember the time when ascii was basically all the graphics we had.

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Domain specific, or technical, terminology can be useful when it serves to clarify, differentiate, or in other ways improve the precision of discourse. Not all jargon is useful, as not all jargon improves communication, and applicability varies based on audience and context. When useful, technical terminology still narrows the audience, though this is more of a signal, to precede a topic which otherwise should be selective. As ever, one must practice moderation.
 

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5 hours ago, The Old Hack said:

That's for old people like you and me. All these youngsters don't even remember the time when ascii was basically all the graphics we had.

And they spend so much time on our lawns too.

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I remember back in the days of nn newsgroups and huge text files being posted which somehow could be converted into one little picture.  Heck, I remember back in the '70s, when "message boards" were "PLATO Notes," "chat" was "talkomatic," "email" was "Personal Notes," IMs were "term-talk," "remote access" was "monitor mode," and "WoW" was "avatar."

We used emoticons, but then, so did Abraham Lincoln....

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1 hour ago, CritterKeeper said:

I remember back in the days of nn newsgroups and huge text files being posted which somehow could be converted into one little picture.

Text files! Back in th' day, we din't 'ave no fancy TEXT FILES. Or magnetic storage media. Luxury, I calls it! No. We used punch cards! An' when bug got inta program that way, we 'adda look each punch card o'er in detail ta find out what 'ad been punched wrong. An' then we 'adta fin' programmer an' punch HIM until he stopped punchin' beck an' got ta work punching th' cards right. An' we needed ten thousand punch cards just ta boot computer, an' computer was so ornery, it booted us right back.

And when ye tell young people nowadays, they'll never believe ye.

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And now for something completely different: a question about a word. What's wrong with "ain't?" Aside from the loss of status you get by using it, it seems to me a perfectly cromulent  contraction for "am not" that is much easier to pronounce than the more straightforward "amn't" would be.

Who axed "ain't and by what authority?

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1 hour ago, The Old Hack said:

Text files! Back in th' day, we din't 'ave no fancy TEXT FILES. Or magnetic storage media. Luxury, I calls it! No. We used punch cards! An' when bug got inta program that way, we 'adda look each punch card o'er in detail ta find out what 'ad been punched wrong. An' then we 'adta fin' programmer an' punch HIM until he stopped punchin' beck an' got ta work punching th' cards right. An' we needed ten thousand punch cards just ta boot computer, an' computer was so ornery, it booted us right back.

And when ye tell young people nowadays, they'll never believe ye.

There's just a special kind of irony in this post. ;)

 

20 minutes ago, Amiable Dorsai said:

And now for something completely different: a question about a word. What's wrong with "ain't?" Aside from the loss of status you get by using it, it seems to me a perfectly cromulent  contraction for "am not" that is much easier to pronounce than the more straightforward "amn't" would be.

Who axed "ain't and by what authority?

"Ain't" also tends to be used in place of "isn't", as in "Ain't that right, Jimmy?" though I'm thinking it gets used because it's only one syllable rather than 2.

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"Be" is the most stubbornly irregular verb in English.

"He is not" can be contracted as "He's not" or "He isn't".
"You are not" can be contracted as "You're not" or "You aren't"

But "am not" refuses to be contracted, so the only way to contract "I am not" is "I'm not".

From a historical perspective, a lot of verbs that are quite regular now had, in previous centuries, been conjugated in many ways.  Generally, the less often a verb is used, the more likely it will eventually be conjugated in a more regular manner.  For example, there is some linguistic speculation that it will not be too much longer (just a few centuries) before the past tense of "catch" becomes "catched" instead of "caught".  As "be" is among the most frequently used verbs, it resists the regularization of its conjugation with great inertia.

If it seems like the process is taking too long, try reading a few passages from the King James Version as it was originally published in 1611.  400 years has made a lot of difference.  Just think what will be straightened out in the next half millennium.

He hath holpen his servant Israel 
Luke 1:54 KJV  From the Magnificat Canticle

Spell check hath not holpen me at all.

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Musings:

If someone proved a theory, it is a "proven theory".  This means that "proven" is the past participle, which is usually also the grammatical part used after "have", i.e. "have proven".  But for some reason "have proved" ("proved" equalling the simple past tense) is widely accepted.

Also bend→bent, wend→went.  Wend means the same as go, "went" apparently later became more associated with "go".  Otherwise "go" follows (although not exactly phonetically, by current phonetics at any rate) more or less the same conjugation as "do": do/does/done/doing/did, go/goes/gone/going and one would expect "gid" if the two verbs had developed the same.

KJV spells "show" as "shew" in several places.

"Be", the infinitive, shows obvious connection to "being" and "been", its participles.  The simple past (was/(wast)/was/were/were/were) and simple present (am/(art)/is/are/are/are) show no clear connection to "be", but seem somewhat related to each other, albeit not in any regular conjugation.

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As far as I'm concerned, "ain't" is perfectly fine, but it's also useful for conveying information about the speaker when writing dialogue.

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Any form of 'to be' is stubbornly irregular in any Indo-European language I am aware of.

German: 'zu sein', 'ich bin', 'du bist, 'er/sie/es ist', 'wir sind', 'ihr seid', 'sie sind'

French: 'être', 'je suis', 'tu es', 'il/elle est', 'nous sommes', 'vous êtes', 'ils sont'

In Danish it is funny. Its infinitive is 'være' and then it is 'er' throughout its present tense.

Latin: 'esse', 'sum', 'es', 'est', 'sumus', 'estis', 'sunt'.

That's just a few examples. Obviously, the Latinate examples are all very similar -- see French and Latin.
 

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1 minute ago, CritterKeeper said:

As far as I'm concerned, "ain't" is perfectly fine, but it's also useful for conveying information about the speaker when writing dialogue.

Old joke by an English teacher of mine: "There ain't no such word as 'ain't.'" I suspect this was his ironic comment on the prescriptivist take.

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I suspect that (at least some) irregular forms of "be" originated as entirely different words.

In Spanish there actually are, today, two different *sets* of words for "be", with slightly different meanings. Ser is "be" referring to a normal condition, estar is "be" referring to something unusual or changed. The immigrant whose last hundred generations of ancestors lived in Nigeria es negro - the Scotsman who just managed to spill a gallon of black paint on his head esta negro. Both translate to English as "is black".

(And even with that, ser is conjugated irregularly in a way that looks, to me, like at least three different root words.)

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Hmm... esse, es, est and estis are visibly related, as with sum, sumus and sunt.

Minor vowel changes aside: estes respelled to êtes due to the French pronunciation.  Likewise with estre, although that seems to have been semi-regularised from esse (Latin infinitives usually end in -re).  Which goes to show how relatively conserved the very common be-verb(s) is - perhaps hence the tendency to retain irregularity rather than simplify (related, does any other English verb still have a distinct subjunctive mood, auxiliary use of that one with infinitives of other verbs aside?)

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