13 May 2006

Too Many Exclamation Marks!!

Woke up this morning and went straight to a forum I belong to, to catch up on the overnight posts .

I am a moderator/specialist there, which pretty much puts me in the position of new business consultant, so I have a responsibility to read everything and get a measure of the person - what they want, where their head is at, what their focus is, the state of their self confidence etc, in order to word welcomes, advice, warnings and general replies in a way that will be understood.

When people start talking in constant BLOCK CAPITALS it is known as SHOUTING and normal, acceptable practice is to go in and edit the post back down to sentence case and ask the new member not to shout.

I just wish we could start a new standard, where the constant use of exclamation marks becomes known as squealing.

Doesn't that make sense to you?

Exclamation marks express enthusiasm, energy, and the sense of taking the voice 'up' at the end of a sentence. Its why so many sales types use them way too often, to try and put a 'wow' factor into what they're saying.

Anyway, to copy the style for a moment, just to show what I mean:

A new poster has joined the forum! She/He has no sense of paragraph length at all! But they do have amazing children and everything each child does is worthy of an exclamation mark! (Allegedly!) And they've also mentioned how happy they are! What a good homeworking job they have! How wonderful the forum is! How nice all the members are! And they've gone on and on like this! For paragraphs three times as long! In THREE bloody posts!

And halfway through the second, the cringe factor started to make my shoulders stiffen and the back of my head ache. It actually started to hurt my ears without a single word having really been spoken.

Too much 'up'.

Too much 'in your face'.

Squealing.

Its the only word for it.

So, do I stop it in its tracks, go in and change every single excalamation mark to a full stop (period) and ask him/her nicely not to squeal?

From here it would make sense, if only this wasn't a new definition and something he/she might therefore take exception too.

Does anyone agree with my sentiments? Or the proposed defintition?
Can I have an Amen?


Seriously, if theres already another name for it, I'd love to know.

13 comments:

Wulfweard The White said...

Over use of Exclamations as a means of emphasis always annoys me but like you I often find practice which you indicate as a complete turn off. The only overuse I allow is an excess of periods at the end of a piece.........

I will adopt the word 'Squealer' though.

doris said...

It reminds me of all those scammy homeworking websites trying to sell you a homeworking business that is all in flashing red and exclamations. How can you refuse an offer like that when it is backed up by such squealing suprise?

It sounds to me like someone is trying to sell something but to actually pull them up for their choice of words may not go down well.

I suspect that it is in part the content of what has been said in hand with the exclamation marks. And maybe the content is so annonying but the exclamation marks are easier to pick up on?

Now, you know I'm an avid user of the exclamtion mark and fear I sometimes overuse it but hopefully my "content" is not quite repugnant?!

But I want say Amen. And I reckon Squealer is a good tag.

She Weevil said...

Ditto Doris!!

Sorry couldn't resist. Feeling much better. Are you sure you're not a Miss Whiplash on the quiet? Cruel mistress you.

Maybe you could find a copywriting 101 somewhere that cautions against the overuse of the exclamation mark and link to it on the forum after an appropriate amount of elapsed time. Or maybe you could just go in and delete all her exclamation marks knowing that she'll probably never post again.
Heartless you are, :)

Stegbeetle said...

"Squealing" - amen.
*he typed, consciously not using exclamation marks*

fineartist said...

AMEN sister! (I couldn't resist.) heh heh. xxx, Lori

zilla said...

Sqealer works.

I have so many punctuation pet peeves, I hesitate to comment.

But!

Context matters, I suppose, although, unlike Wulfie, I find the incorrect use of elipsis marks (...), either by placement or by too long a series of periods, maddening in any context.

Believe it or not, I receive business email on company letterhead that contains both excessive exclamation points and incorrect and over-used elipsis marks.

An elipsis mark (...)indicates something is left out. Or does it simply indicate that the writer has no idea what she's trying to say?

"Hi Jennifer!!! What's the status on the cabinets .......... we need to get the templates to Norman ....... time's running short.............. Let me know!!!! :-) Heather"

Seriously, I could shoot the bitch.

On the other hand, even I will over indulge in exclamation points if I'm typing chat, because the absence of vocal intonation or inflection we enjoy in face-to-face dialogue sort of bothers me. If I'm feeling silly or excited when I'm chatting, you might get catch me breaking my own rules!!

Seems like we could stand to reserve our best writing for forums that actually serve a purpose.

Squealer works.

Abby said...

Squealing is a good name!!!! I had a teacher at school who said more than one exclamation mark was too many!!!! I agree with him!!! I wonder what forum you're talking about because I remember one where one particular poster posts exclamation marks all the time!!! In one big stream of text with no paragraphs!!! And I gave up reading when I saw her name!!!! Just couldn't be bothered with it!!!!!

Also, tbh, imho, I really really hate those cutesy acronyms you find on some forums, iykwim? And afaik it annoys others too but some people rate group identity higher than decent practice in posting, iyswim? And otoh, if people use them it saves you those 0.4 seconds it would have taken to read the whole text that the acronyms take up, iykwim, and if you added up all of those 0.4 seconds you might find you've got time for a cup of tea, but tbh it gets on my (.)(.)s.

I hate imho!!!! I think it ought to be, in my superior opinion! Sod all this false modesty, hahah!!!

Okay!!!!! That's all I have to say about this tbh!!!!!

FateWineRoses said...

Hmmm. . . I have to wonder at the content of said forum, and of the amount of traffic you're having to look at. I've been a moderator of a high traffic forum and usually had to limit my interventions to serious infractions rather than pet peeves.

Also, you might take into account whether or not usage of excessive exclamation points is an actual infraction of forum rules, or just something that bugs you? If it's just something that bugs you I'd just make a smart a##ed comment and move on. If it's an infraction of forum rules, take action.

Cheryl said...

Its a quality forum - higher visitor number than post number by the thousands as it is also a resource.

The forum isnt the issue and its not a rule either, nor am I in a position (nor inclined) to smart mouth anybody, sadly, as it wouldn't gel with the professional image.

I just think there should be a name for swapping EVERY full stop for an exclamation mark, thats all - and Doris is right, its the sort of really low-brow, aggravating, tiresome stuff you see on those 'opportunity' pages that keep saying 'awesome' and using lots of yellow highlighter.

Not the sort of member we encourage, although thats easy - that sort tend not to get many answers from other members, so if its unfair to anyone its to the poor silly who writes like that.

Thanks for commenting - off to see your blog. :-)

Just tacky, tacky tacky!

Ghone said...

Perhaps a written English exam is required before they are allowed to post to the forum?
Do you give them a score at the end in red font?
:o)

ella m. said...

I'm with you...the exclaimation abuse makes the posts read like a used car salesmen.

Badaunt said...

Too many exclamation marks make me pant, like an excited puppy. By the time I get to the end of something written with too many exclamation points I'm hyperventilating.

Perhaps you could say, "Please don't hyperventilate as you type."

Library Lady said...

I have to admit that Ido use the elipsis bit a fair amount at the end of blog entries. But like Zilla I find it maddening when it's used throughout a piece. There's a woman on a listserv I frequent who uses it instead of periods to the point where I can't bear to read her stuff--the minute I see her name, I scroll downward.

I applaud you for being picky. I know I make punctuation errors here and there, but I am sick, sick, sick of folks who abuse punctuation and spelling. I know it's a blog or a listserv, but if other people are going to read it, you should care about how it looks!