I've been hanging out on the 'net since '96 (I think). A lot has happened since then, especially to the discussion lists. Then, everything was strictly text-based, and, as most of us were on dial-up and had to pay per minute and/or byte, postings were often well thought-through.
Now, it is easy to add pictures, broadband often (but not always!) means no restrictions on bytes. There are more "lists", more "forums", more "communities". Blogging is free and easy to manage. It has become cheaper to own websites.
But. It seems to me that at the same time words have become less... important? On some communities where I participate, nowadays it is quite normal that commenters have not really read the question, and thus answers/comments on something else entirely.
Let me fabricate an exaggerated example:
Q: "Anybody knows how to define 'houndstooth' pattern?"
A: "Use one light-one dark in both warp and weft and you get 'log cabin'"
Yes, but... that wasn't the question?
Or, another one:
1:st post: "I found this interesting article (link provided)"
1:st comment: "Very interesting, esp the discussion on ..."
2:nd comment: "Where can I find the article?"
I suppose the above is a cousin to what I wrote in january.
Except... these (albeit fabricated) examples are from within a forum. That is: the participant(s) has 1) managed to find the forum, 2) managed to sign in and 3) has had enough interest to read the first part of the thread (well, obviously not - but open the page in question).
OK, everyone of us has "senior moments", whether we are old or young. But I think this is getting more and more common?
I have read articles saying that elderly people get "smarter" when they start using the 'net (whatever that means - and, question is: if you already were a 'net user, are you already "smarter" than you would have been, without the 'net?). I have also read articles saying that surfing/gaming children lose reading ability - but also articles that state that children having access to a computer read better than children without.
Whatever. But: shouldn't we all be courteous enough to try to understand the question(s) before we answer/comment?
Some textile content from our co-op, now open seven days/week: