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Why the quality of your forum posts matters.

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I don't want to be the grammar police.

I realize that many of our members are not native English speakers. In these situations I do my best to work through hard-to-read posts trying to determine the intent of the message or description of the problem.

But its also important to point out that your written communication skills are vital for getting and keeping a job, especially in an upper-tier industry such as software development.

Recently this was posted to one of the non-technical, non-question areas. I immediately asked if this was originally in another language and translated to English for posting here. The OP said, "No this was not originally in another language." Wow. I am floored that this could be written by an adult and sent around their workplace. This was sent by someone who has stated in other threads they are currently a developer with their company. I told the OP of that message that if I had received it I would have thought it foreign spam and reported it to the network admin. I wanted to suggest they take a remedial English course at night school, but just didn't have the heart. So rather than send a direct message to one person that would be seen as a personal attack, and at best would only benefit one person, I thought I would write a more general message that could help many.

snipped, on 03 August 2015 - 01:38 AM, said:

I have just sent this email around at work and thought i would post it here as well, i had a lot of difficulties with one machine the rest went on a treat.


Over the weekend I ended up upgrading my PCís and Laptopís to Windows 10, encase you are thinking about doing the same these are the difficulties I ran into.

Issue 1
When installing Windows 10 your met with an installation screen, This installation screen has a big overall % in the middle of a circle with three steps at the bottom.

One of my PCís was stuck at 40% overall with 25% done in drivers and functionality (I think it was drivers and functionality, it was definitely drivers). It stayed this way for about 6 hours, in the end I turned off the machine and turned back on, this reverted the OS back to the previous version, tried the installation again and it worked within the hour.

Issue 2:
When setting up the PC your asked to choose your network, The PC froze while choosing it. After turning off and back on, this time skipping this stage I was able to move on.

Sadly the wireless card drivers was last updated from windows 7, even more sadly they are still selling this model in shops.

I tried the Windows 7 drivers regardless and even with them it froze, when selecting the wireless network when i am logged in.

Issue 3:
NVidia graphics card, When you get to the login screen you may be shown a black screen, this is down to the NVidia graphics card, Windows seems to have a work around which is to press or hold the ĎCTRLí button and eventually it will show.

I preferred to remove the graphics card and set the machine up first, once the machine was set-up I re-inserted the graphics card and downloaded the beta version of the graphics card drivers from the net.

Issue 4:
When does a reset after doing the upgrade I was prompted for the product key, the keys are stored against your Microsoft account so skip this step, log in, and then try and activate the license, chances are itís already activated.

Windows 10 doesnít seem to remove all the data on your drive when you say to leave nothing behind, I ended up resetting it afterwards with the option to clean the drive. The amount of time this will take will vary computer to computer, my laptop with 120GB took 20 minutes my computer with 600GB took well over fifteen hours. For about fourteen and half hours it was on 99%. I am told this is normal.

keep in mind if you do a reset after the upgrade you will not be able to revert back to the previous version of windows, this is because it deletes your windows.old folder which contains your previous windows installation. If you donít want to reset but also donít want to revert back you can claim back the space using the Microsoft disk clean-up utility, you will need to clean up system files.

I have also been told and I canít understand for the life of me why they would do this but after 30 days windows will automatically delete this folder, if you have forgotten to back anything up you should be able to recover it from this folder.

It reminded me of a section I wrote for another post

tlhIn`toq said:

The second part of that is going to be your writing skills. The interviewers first interaction with you is in writing. Your resume and cover letter is their first impression of you. It is also a skill they will make use of throughout your tenure at the company. Sorry if this hurts your feelings but your writing here is about on par with a 10th grader. Let's be honest: I thought English wasn't your native language so what does it say to interviewers? Nobody hiring for a job at this level is going to be happy with it - If what they see is close to what you've shown here.

Developers have to write documentation as part of the job. They have to work closely with clients. They have to convey themselves well in writing with coworkers. As a 50 year old I can tell you that we see it more and more as younger and younger people enter the work force. I think its primarily due to text messages, Tweets and so on. Graduates today think T9 leet-speak is normal and expressing themselves with emoticons is acceptable in the workplace. Realize that the guy interviewing you may be closer to my age than yours. If you want to appeal to him then talk and write more like your father than yourself.

I've said this to others and commonly heard back "but i right different 4 wurk". Yeah, right. Maybe some do but in my experience if someone can't bother to hit the shift key when they type 'i' in a forum post they aren't going to do it in internal emails. If they are prone to massive run-on sentences with no punctuation in posts, they are going to do it in client email or program instructions. If they can't use "your/you're" and "to/too/two" correctly here they can't use it correctly elsewhere. At the very least laziness in public posts shows a predisposition to only doing the minimum requirement for a given task. Nobody wants to hire someone with that work ethic. Make an effort to show 150% pride in everything and anything a prospective employer might see - Including your on-line/social media presence.

I urge you to make every email, every DIC post, every Facebook entry something that makes you look your best. Or at the very least makes you look like a literate adult. Take the time to capitalize, add punctuation, do spell-check. Proofread your writings as if you were someone else reading them for the first time. When you write like an eighth grader you set yourself up for being doubted. Your boss doubts if you can communicate effectively with clients. Your co-workers doubt if you have the ability to understand documentation. Even your friends may have doubts about being used as a reference in your job hunting, for fear you may reflect badly on them. If you were employed in non-menial position such as the writer of that email, I would expect your supervisor would doubt if hiring you was even a good idea. Certainly promoting you is probably out of the question.

3 Comments On This Entry

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03 August 2015 - 08:20 AM


add punctuation,

This.. there have been multiple instances where zero punctuation was used and I spend three to six posts just trying to ascertain what was one thought versus another.


03 August 2015 - 02:51 PM
Your welcome, to vs. too, trail and error.. All these things bug me. They aren't complicated to get right. People blame their device, that doesn't wash with me.


15 August 2015 - 03:41 PM
I'm happy to add a few more:

advice and advise
affect and effect

askew and eschew
askew means not straight, eschew means avoid. I'll stop now.
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