I’m : a programmer, writer, podcaster, geek, and coffee enthusiast.

Writing compulsions

I conserve exclamation points. People overuse them, and they’ve become devalued. By conserving them, they gain significance for the rare occasions that I think they’re warranted.

I never use “meh” or “heh”, and I don’t like when other people do. If I think something is very funny, I’ll use “LOL” — but I use it sparingly, so it retains its significance, like exclamation points.

I hate semicolons. There’s almost always a better, more readable way to convey the intended idea without using one. If you ever see me use a semicolon, you can be sure that I agonized over it, and it’s very uncomfortable for me to see it there.

I will never write “the fact that”, “in and of itself”, or other meaningless phrases like them that too many bad writers use to inflate their word count. I hate these phrases so much that I avoid them in casual speech, too, even if I need to pause for a moment to reorganize my sentence. The overuse of these fluff phrases is a product of our education system’s bad writing standards. Teachers: Every time you assign a minimum page length or word count, you’re encouraging this.

I will almost always put the punctuation outside of the quotation marks if it wasn’t part of the original quoted string:

I recognize that the latter is the convention for American English, but I don’t like it. I think it’s misleading, because it creates the ambiguity about whether the comma was part of the quoted phrase. This is a reflection of being a programmer, I think — I hate the idea of misrepresenting the literal string by including punctuation that wasn’t originally there.