You are not the literary genius you think you are

e e cummings was a radical poet. He willfully and carefully broke conventions by removing capital letters, moving around punctuation, and breaking up the lines of his poems for specific and deliberate effect. He was an artist, and he's still widely known today because he was very, very good at it. But even he knew enough to capitalize his sentences when he was writing prose.

There's a world of difference between great poetry and lazy typing. I know, because I used to be a lazy typist myself. I told myself that I wasn't capitalizing because it gave me a unique and identifiable style, but eventually my peers clued me in. There's hundreds of people online today, and every day, that use that same unique and identifiable style. It's not cool, and it's not interesting. It just tells your readers you can't be bothered to reach over and hold down the "shift" key for half a second.

Make sense

Readers of the modern English language have grown accustomed to certain norms. Paragraphs, for one. Punctuation. Consistent spelling. And, of course, capitalization. When someone scans down a column of text, they automatically look for paragraphs to indicate major chunks of thought and punctuation followed by a capital letter to indicate minor ones.

Don't force your readers to think about your point, your direction, or where your thoughts begin and end. It's the writer's job to make the message clear, not the reader's. Readers rarely have the time or the inclination to read your writing patiently and in depth, especially on Everything2 where hyperlinks to other new and interesting topics are just a few inches away. Capital letters provide immediate visual clues to where your thoughts lie in your writing.

Node for the ages

E2 is a database of information, possibly the largest publicly-created reference in the world. Sure, we have daylogs and dream logs, and you're encouraged to put anything in those spaces that you like. But when you're noding facts, information, or insight, you're not writing poetry. You're not writing stream of consciousness literature. You're composing an entry in a new kind of encyclopedia, knowing full well that (provided it's not nukeworthy tripe) it's going to stay there for people to come look at for a long, long time.

You want what you've written to be read, don't you? You want it to be appreciated and understood, right? Isn't that why you're posting it here in the first place? Then please, remember the lessons of your ambitious and underpaid English teacher. Writing standards are not there because teachers of literature like to be anal retentive, but because they make it easier for everyone to read what you've written.

Be Cool

I find it easier to read things, when they are in lower case. Capitals look so out of place, to me.. at least, where prose, or creative pieces are concerned. (Though, I amend my thought process ever so slightly, with little harm done, depending on which way the author chose to present their work.)

Maybe it isn't so fair to impose restrictions on such stuff? It is 'art'. Would you have me turn my spoon, even though it catches morning sunlight just so, if I hold it in a way I was never taught to hold it, in the first place? I'll not miss out on the bits of beautiful sunlight bending and filling my eyes, simply because it is a little too bright.

I often wonder, how anyone is so sure of e.e. cummings thought process regarding writing style.. interesting that it would be an excercise in crushing a potentially brilliant artist, were someone to take this capitalization matter to heart.

Every so often, I get so disheartened at the way things are smothered simply to adhere to conventional standards, that could probably stand a little change, anyway.
It's more difficult to read uncapitalised prose. I don't know if this has to do with English not being my mother tongue, but I was taught to expect very specific grammatical behaviour from it, and when someone fails to deliver I get all confused.

That said, capitalisation is not a grammatical rule - it's a stylistic convention which differs from place to place (even the "official" rules on how to capitalise things in an English lit university course are hotly disputed between different universities in different countries). So let's not get too pedantic about it, either.

I think capitalisation is good netiquette - it's hard enough on the eyes to read off a flickering screen as it is, without any added confusion. On the other hand, if someone is too lazy or too artistic to care about following the conventions, it's their loss - people are less likely to read what they write.

As with anything regarding language, capitalization is, as TheLady points out, a convention.

These do change over time, but this change is slow, and we should be thankful for it--else how could we ever find anything intelligible, let alone understanding.

If we are speaking specifically of E2, there is a further consideration to my mind: our intended audience. If that is only some class of netizens, possibly in the vanguard of linguistic deconstruction in aid of a future where only our streams of consciousness are shared, that is one thing. But it is not a place I would be very happy in.

I believe there is much to be said regarding the effort required to render thought into word--even in poetry. There is nothing that is not embodied in some medium. How could we know, and understand it if it weren't? I think even prose would benefit from poetry analysis, merely a close attention to the actual object we have before us--which is all we actually have.

Language is like a river, and it does change over time; these conventions do alter. I don't think it is something we do deliberately, certainly not capriciously, but under obligation: we have a responsibility to render our wisdom in the way that best expresses it--and we often find this effort renders something we never realized we knew.

Grammatical correctness is not a burden, It is the way we show respect to those who will read our thoughts.

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