Monday, October 19, 2009

NeoNecrosis: The Dangers of Spell Checking

There are neophiliacs and necrophiliacs.

(redirected from Neophiliac)

neophilia - /nee"oh-fil"-ee-*/ The trait of being excited and pleased by novelty. Common among most hackers, SF fans, and members of several other connected leading-edge subcultures, including the pro-technology "Whole Earth" wing of the ecology movement, space activists, many members of Mensa, and the Discordian/neo-pagan underground. All these groups overlap heavily and (where evidence is available) seem to share characteristic hacker tropisms for science fiction, music, and oriental food. The opposite tendency is "neophobia".

(redirected from necrophiliac)

Sexual attraction for or sexual intercourse with dead bodies

How does a neophiliac become a necrophiliac? Good question! It so happens that I have an answer:

When someone uses spell OED-oriented spell checkers, set to 'correct all' (or something along those lines) to read documents. One of these days I'm going to compose a document that has sufficient non-OED contents that will be translated by some retarded spell-checker into something either completely unintelligible or at the very least incomprehensible. When I have the time, that is.

It happened, believe it or not. Of course, there's nothing wrong per se with using the OED as a spell-check reference. It is a fairly conservative publication and will ensure that neologisms, even those that have been in use for years—like, 'neophiliac' was actually used in a movie: Someone Like You, years back—aren't accidentally inserted into texts intended to be stolid. Of course, that makes language rather boring—as also happens when using dumb-ass software like the Microsoft® WORD® grammar-checker—but in some instances language is meant to be boring, I suppose.

But when it gets to a stage that one believes the processed result of a run-rampant spell-checker more than one's own common sense and contextual understanding...well, things are going just a tad off-the-rails. When the correspondence in question is, furthermore, of at least partially an 'official' and serious nature, one would think that said common sense would act as a serious reality-checker on the spell-checker.

Yes, or so one would think...

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