Why grammar matters on the Internet

Cross posted at The Verge Forums

We all know what a Grammar Nazi is. We know, that wherever we post on the internet, on our blogs, on forums, and in comment threads, we will be scrutinised. This happens on Reddit, Twitter, Youtube and the Verge is no exception. But why does grammar matter? Why do I support these ‘Nazi’s’ who undermine each and every one of us as they beset virtually every online community in existence? It’s rather simple, and at the Verge, it’s quite obvious.

The Verge, to me, is how technology journalism should always be. Proper writing, from proper journalists. Not countless mini-posts with 6000 worthless comments (you know who I mean). The community here have the best opinions, the most valid opinions, and are very entertaining. Therefore, the pressure to get things right, is higher.

Opinion is rife on the web. It’s what makes the internet what it is. However, we know that when we share our opinion, what we type may get pushed to the bottom of a thread, dismissed by just one downvote. So what do we, sometimes subconsciously, think when we post our opinion? Some people do different things, but I think I understand this is what happens on the most part, in order of what we do most often:

  1. We try to be as quick as possible, so we get out comment in early, and it recieves the exposure we think it deserves.
  2. We alter wording to make the comment more controversial, to guarantee replies.
  3. We read over our comment to make sure it makes sense.
  4. We check out grammar briefly.
  5. We check to see whether or not what we are writing has already been covered in an article we may have skimmed.

And with these comes three main types of commenters:

  1. The person who spends time making sure their opinion is clear, controversial, and valid. These people often feel under pressure, so do all 5 steps carefully. (Me included)
  2. The person who cares about 1 and 2. Just 1 and 2.
  3. The person with an endless supply of gifs.

But why does this matter, and of what significance is this? The internet says, that your opinion is only valid, if you can get your grammar right. If you can’t, then you obviously don’t care. While this is wrong, it’s fact: in the short space of time, and within a character limit you may encounter, you have to stand your ground well, or you’ll be ignored, or harshly put down. This increases the levels of pressure commenters feel.

Grammar matters, because you’re not face to face with the people you are speaking to. You’ll probably never come across that person you had a debate with in a comments thread ever again, so first impressions are set in stone.

If you want to comment on this post, I’m trusting you to get your grammar right. And I’m also asking you not to laugh at the irony that I may have made a mistake in this post. If I have: Deal With It.