Final results are in!

Poll results as of Mon Jul 8 11:16:56 US/Central 1996
I encourage smileys on AFU 9 7.8%
I don't mind smileys on AFU 12 10.3%
I loathe smileys on AFU 95 81.9%
TOTAL 116 100.0%

Last vote recorded on Mon Jul 8 4:00:56 US/Central 1996

One last chance to see the Official AFU position on smileys

The latest round of the smiley debate has managed to take some of the joy out of reading AFU. No novel arguments for tolerating smileys were introduced and it has just degenerated into a pissing contest. One thing should be obvious to anyone following the debate is that emoticons are unwelcome on AFU and their use on AFU will continue to be discouraged. We should all get back to castigating newbies and members of AOL and generally engaging in the behavior that makes alt.folklore.urban so much fun.

Since this my page, I'll indulge myself in getting in the last word. Most of the anti-emoticon arguments revolve around the proper use of English. There is one argument that I find particularly wrong-headed:

I don't mind smileys on AFU because (as a linguist in training) I know that there are significant grammatical differences between spoken language and written language, and I believe that Usenet and other computer-mediated communications constitute a new "mode" of expression, and can therefore be expected to follow different rules. Some day I hope to write a thesis on the way smileys (and other pseudoprosodic devices) are used in Usenet and e-mail. (I know Swift didn't use them. Then again, Swift didn't even have a net connection.)

I don't buy the technology makes a new means of expression argument. Does Swift mean something else when displayed on a Web page or printed on a laser printer? Yes, technology does change language but by changing the population with means of expression. The standards of proper English may change to fit the standards of this new population but not necessarily so.

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