Viewing LiveJournal entry #70268

Monday, 9th February, 2009

hipikat @ 2:37 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Topical xkcd
Every time I've brought this up with someone they've shot me down saying THEIR WAY IS OBVISOUS. Well, my curiosity has just been validated.

Poll #1346171 Parenthetical statements with emoticons

How do you do it?

The clean (but questionable :) way
The syntactically (assuming you treat emoticons like glyphs :)) way?

Addendum: Yes, obviously I'm missing a 'correct' from the last question, but you can't edit poll questions once you've created the poll (for obvious reasons).


dilettantiquity @ 5:53 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Leaving it technically unclosed would break my brain; I can't even look at that first answer for very long without starting to feel edgy.
hipikat @ 5:57 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Second option, to me, looks just as unclosed.
Only the emoticon's got a double-chin.
madmanmarkau @ 8:06 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
cyrin_phin @ 9:13 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I agree with that technique. The best of both worlds; readability and structure.
mexicanjewlizrd @ 4:30 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
transcendancing @ 1:29 PM on Mon, 4 Jan 10
This is one way I do it, but the other is to put the face outside the bracket, or not use a bracket ending smiley.

ataxi @ 12:16 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I go with the clean/'incorrect' version. Although I'd argue it's not incorrect ... the smiley (I will NOT use that flatulent word "emoticon") exists in some other plane of imagery emerging from the otherwise imagistically lifeless ASCII character set, and how that imagery emerges (i.e. whether it relies on the visual, rather than syntactic benefit of a closing parenthesis or not) is, to me, irrelevant.

(If you use the ugly/'correct' version then the wrong image emerges -- the double chin -- distorting the purpose of the smiley entirely.)

(The present of an unclothed ":-" in a random wadge of text is still rather worrying :-)
hipikat @ 5:57 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Also, your user icon confuses, intrigues and hypnotises me.
dilettantiquity @ 6:11 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09

Actually, if I use an emoticon in that context, I throw in a few extra spaces after the closure and put the smiley outside where it can't grief me.

I've clearly thought about this a lot. Some might say 'too much', but I dispute that.
hipikat @ 6:16 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Extra spaces make me even more uncomfortable than the closing-bracket-with-double-meaning, probably because there's no other situation in continuous text where the bracket isn't nestled cosily against the characters. And I can't just take it outside the closure, because that changes the emoticon's meaning away from being localised to the parenthesised statement!
dilettantiquity @ 6:20 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I see your problem and suspect that it may be unresolvable, which troubles me. Personally, I find either of the extra spaces options the least offensive of the plethora of Dismal and Dissatisfactory Options Available, but that isn't to say they feel right.
hipikat @ 6:22 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I'm just glad no one's suggested little yellow emoticon graphics inline with text as the best solution.
wolflullaby @ 5:59 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I find both versions unsettling. To be honest, if its within a parenthesis then I will use an alternate emoticon to avoid that problem (such as :D or ^__^).
hipikat @ 6:02 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Interesting! (Probably because I'm often guilty of that too, but sometimes feel without alternative because my alternatives are furry, and I'm writing work email =^.^=)
wolflullaby @ 6:10 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
(88_88) spider!
(@_@) Needs more coffee!
evil_megz @ 10:24 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
.... You use emoticons in work emails?

If I had to choose one of the two, it would be the latter (emoticons may often occur mid-parentheses, :), and so using one to close is ambiguous to whether it is midway or closing). However, the times I have come across the dilemma I usually opt to reword what I am writing. I feel parentheses are overused (by myself and others) and they are usually dirty writing. Emoticons are even dirtier and are generally used to compensate for an inability to fully express oneself with words alone. If I am using both, there's probably more reason to reword the statement than just the ugliness of an emoticon near a parenthesis.
hipikat @ 11:59 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I use them constantly at work. I work at UWA. It's a pretty relaxed place.
alias_sqbr @ 8:36 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09

(I usually go for the extra space afterwards, but it still bugs me)
anxiolytic @ 6:00 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
( :) )
fairbank_otts @ 6:04 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
This way.
tommmo @ 6:04 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Out of those two I'd pick the second, because the first just looks shit. The second isn't much better, though. I'd either add a space between the smilie and the close-parenthesis, or just figure out another way to write it.
kadeton @ 6:13 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I go out of my way to avoid using emoticons in parentheses.
hipikat @ 6:17 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
jm_horse @ 6:23 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Obviously such stress would make the emoticon frowny, thereby solving the problem (:().
drackir @ 7:09 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
No, now it looks like it's yelling!
kadeton @ 7:16 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
I'd tell them they were creating a false dichotomy, and that there is no situation in which such a choice would be necessary.
hipikat @ 7:18 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
My God, Chris.
You're a hypothetical denier!
greteldragon @ 1:33 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
jm_horse @ 6:22 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
This is crazy. One answer is definitively correct; one answer is definitively incorrect.

So it looks a bit funny... it's still right vs wrong.

Another example: "superseded" looks and reads oddly. "Superceded" looks better - BUT IT'S WRONG.
hipikat @ 6:24 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
The correct/incorrect dichotomy you speak of was formed before we had emoticons hijacking the building blocks of our typographic system! The rules must be reconsidered!
jm_horse @ 6:33 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
No, they mustn't. They are rules.

The problem isn't the parentheses, it's the emoticon. Parentheses must be closed.

It's like you're burning a house down and then blaming the match.
drackir @ 7:11 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
You're acting like we haven't had shifts in English spelling rules within our lifetimes :P

The rules are only rules as long as we all follow them.
So if people are doing the first one then that would become the new rule :P
jm_horse @ 7:57 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Somehow this thread has gone, in about an hour, from a minor diversion into the most important thing in my life.

So, while I wouldlike to reply - and I'd really, REALLY like to - I'm not going to because I don't think I can do it in a calm, measured way.

This is the dumbest day I've had for a very long time. I'm embarrassed to be me.
hipikat @ 8:09 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
This is actually the first time the Commonwealth Government Style Manual (which I don't always agree with, but necessarily have to follow at work) has let me down. Honestly seems a little absurd that 'emoticons' don't even appear in the index, but then this edition is only from 2002...

I've got a good mind to write them and demand rules.
loic @ 7:27 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
[this way :)]
Alastair Irvine [] @ 2:52 PM on Tue, 10 Feb 09
Oddly enough, a long time ago I took to doing the opposite:
(I think a flat-mouth smiley looks more smug, which IMHO befits a parenthetical statement. :-] )
As you can see I also prefer a full stop before, and spaces either side.

hipikat, I think this thread has highlighted both the extreme geekiness of your friends, and also the limitations of the LJ poll system (which is incapable of expressing the necessary permutations of this level of pedantry).
ataxi @ 5:40 AM on Tue, 24 Feb 09
Nope, that flat-mouth smiley looks like it's got an upside-down handlebar moustache a la the International Tache Competition or something.
greteldragon @ 7:47 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
tzisorey @ 8:41 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Invest in malware-filled animated smiling-face images - that's what everyone else seems to do.
lazarus85 @ 9:24 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
i refuse to answer on the terms it may incriminate me :3
craskwolf @ 10:44 AM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
Incidentally, second xkcd comic in a row in which furries are mentioned.

Woo, go us!
scotsnow @ 1:10 PM on Mon, 9 Feb 09
dunq @ 5:04 AM on Tue, 24 Feb 09
Can't believe I'm in the minority!
shrydar @ 5:48 AM on Tue, 24 Feb 09
Of course ( this :) is correct- the smiley in this context functions as an alternate form of closing brace, and matches with the opening.