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