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The Written Word

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Writing about programming is not an excuse for poor grammar and punctuation. In fact, it is quite the reverse. You need to make extra efforts to explain yourself in a clear, legible, fashion when talking about a technical subject - which programming is.

Noobs are overly concerned with the use the of technical terms. This is far less important at an early stage than writing clearly. People here are happy to help explain technical terms, or to indicate where you haven't used one correctly.

Sentences begin with a capital letter and end with a full-stop, or period as the Americans say. Commas, such as this one, break up a sentence so that it is not read as a seemingly endless stream of disconnected words with no end in sight .. Reading sentences aloud helps to discover where commas should be placed, introducing natural pauses.

Use paragraphs to break a large block of text. Nothing is as off-putting as a large mass of text! In fact, when presented with such a post my temptation is not to read it at all.

Posting on a forum is completely different to the spoken word. You have the opportunity to review, and revise, your post. You can make good use of bold, occasionally italics, some inline code.

  • You can even
  • Use bullets
  • To highlight key points

Admittedly, if you are new to forums and forum-tags, it may take a while to correctly use the tags. However, there is a Preview Post button which you should use at least once before posting. In particular, please make a special effort to wrap your code in [ CODE ] tags. It tells you how to do this directly in the area where you are typing your post. Again, use Preview Post until it displays correctly.

  • Copy your code and Paste it into a blank area
  • Don't attempt to re-write your code! just copy/paste it
  • Highlight the code
  • Click the [ CODE ] button just above where you are typing
  • Click the Preview Post button to check it

Spelling-mistakes occur and we do not expect posters to spell-check their posts every time. Nevertheless, re-reading your post at least once (preferably twice) should allow you to reduce the number of more obvious spelling mistakes. Most modern browsers can underline spelling mistakes with a red-line; right-click the word and it may even offer to insert the correct spelling for you.

Bottom Line
People here are very willing to help you, but they are unable to do so unless you can explain your question clearly.

3 Comments On This Entry

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20 August 2013 - 03:17 PM
Great post as usual.


31 August 2013 - 10:33 AM
I'll slip this comment quietly in here, to suggest that a few of the contributors here @DIC could benefit from reading this as well, particularly the part about sentence structure :).


03 September 2013 - 10:34 AM
Good article! Communication is wasted if it is not clear. I think I'll start thinking about how I can better use some of the options available, like bullet points, that I haven't been using.
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