Online Etiquette: Proper Grammar and Citations

With the formalization of the blog, it seems that proper grammar and etiquette have become a thing of the past. Gone are the days when, eager to learn more about an article or book, you could simply look to its citations. In the blog era, citing one’s work seems no longer to matter. Somehow, citations have become ugly, burdensome text, dirtying an article or blog with their factual accuracy. That, or those few pertinent words are simply just too difficult to include. What appears to have replaced the age-old habit of giving credit where it is due is to simply take credit for oneself. Not only is this practice ethically wrong, but it may also leave the reader questioning the validity of the article. The time of responsible writing is no more. In its place, an era of writers so eager to express themselves they have either forgotten or have drifted from the most basic fundamentals of writing. Nowadays, readers are constantly bombarded with blogs and articles from such writers. The cyber community has never been more populated than today, affording plenty of opportunity for proper etiquette to lose its foothold within the masses of traffic. The internet is a vast arena, yet provides little room for regulation. Without literate watchdogs, this information superhighway has become vulnerable to individual expression. Ironically, citing material is not a daunting task. According to Wikipedia.org, a citation can be as simple as providing a link. Though a nuisance to some, citations are a simple yet integral component for the inquisitive reader.

Proper grammar, too, has lost its bedrock among the cyber writing community. Presently, it seems that expression leaves little room for such boring and cumbersome things as correct punctuation and spelling. Apparently, it is much cooler, under the guise of passion, to express your self with little to no consideration for a common means of communication. After all, proper grammar was not emplaced to torment writers, thereby chaining them. It was meant as a means to communicate and express oneself on a common ground so that others could comprehend the works and words of the author. Unfortunately though, a casual style of writing, once only considered appropriate for personal emails, has become a recurrent theme throughout. You need not look far for an example of this. Blogs often vary in content from factual articles intended to inform, to opinionated rants intended to amuse or invoke emotion. Writing protocol can be a little confusing to the novice writer who desperately wants to get his or her point across. Grammar is sometimes the furthest thing from a blogger’s mind. Perhaps it is perceived as too restrictive for the anxious writer, worried about conforming. However, within this domain, conforming is a good thing. It provides a needed consistency that most readers will inevitably appreciate when, because of accurate spelling, they can glide through an article with a clear understanding of the author’s intent.

It is evident that online etiquette has become much less clear in recent years. Though guidelines are available from many sources, it seems that your average blogger is often ignorant of this. If only writers would just agree to learn and abide by the rules set forth to help and empower them. Until then, there is little way of separating those amateurs, whose words run rampant across the screen. Simply put: if writers are unwilling to take the time to be responsible and clear writers, why should anyone take the time to listen to what they have to say?

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