Those who know me claim that one of my worst flaws is an insistence on the correct use of technical terms, especially when it comes to photo equipment and darkroom work. Do you believe that, as long as the gist of the discussion is clear, the correct use of technical terms is important or that it is OK to use words in an imprecise or even incorrect way on a bulletin board such as this one?
Is it the words or the meaning that is important? You can be as precise as you like in the terminology you use to express something that is nonsense, misleading, a perversion of the truth, just pure unadulterated propaganda, or outright fantasy. And it is not uncommon for people to use terminology without understanding the meaning of the words they are using, confusing both themselves and whoever they might be addressing. Terminological correctness can be no different than political correctness, just a club with which to bludgeon others.
There is no substitute for plain and simple language that goes directly to the point of a matter that is easily understood by anyone and everyone. But, the KISS principle in writing is not as easy to abide in ourselves with one's motives often more complex than we might admit.
I recently was upbraided for correcting someone who told a darkroom newbie that hypo is not a necessary step in the developing process. He meant hypo clear and maintained that his usage is the correct one.
I have been in numerous public forums, and invariably there is someone who is a stickler for technical correctness around, and lets everyone else there know about every little mistake they make. Publicly. And, far too often, in a diparaging manner.
Here is my take, from the perspective of a member of the community (the moderators are the ones who run the show, and so their desires take precedence.) I feel that the ultimate goal of a public forum is to communicate. And, based on the global nature of the Internet, there will be people whose understandings of things technical is not only different, but is sometimes contradictory. So, to paraphrase Rodney King and Ford, "getting along is Job 1." Now, if someone says something that is factually incorrect, it may well be OK to correct them (especially if what they said is dangerous, such as "it is OK to drink leftover darkroom chemicals"). BUT, I would strongly encourage the use of tact and diplomacy when correcting them. Again, the desire is to create discussion, not drive people away.
As always, I reserve the right to be wrong. I have been wrong in the past, whether through a typo, or a brain lapse, or just a simple human error. And, there is a 100% chance I will be wrong again.
There's a difference between being wrong from brain-fade, mis-typing or faulty memory, and being proudly wrong because you are too stupid or lazy to try to get it right AT ALL -- but I'm sure you weren't defending the last!
Not at all... the main point I was trying to make was in relation to how I like to see "factually-challenged" posts responded to. I have seen far too many such communities that disintegrate when several individuals start nit-picking others' posts to death. Spelling-checkers seem to be the worst, IMHO.
However, when someone makes statements that border on the Defiantly Clueless (such as the afore-mentioned statement about drinking used darkroom chemistry), certainly it is OK to challenge them (the statements, that is -- I still prefer that ad-hominem attacks stay off the boards.)
Again, just my opinion -- I suspect the forum mods will enforce rules/etiquette as they see fit.
-Ed (or E D -- both are fine)
In order for us to understand one another, we must speak the same language and give the same meaning for the same word.
The difference between HYPO-CLEAR and Hypo, an older term for fixer, in usage is so vast that confusing the 2 products when developing a print or a negative is catastrophic.
A consistency of terms is helpful, however I find that when photographers used to film and wet darkroooms apply terms like "resolution" to digital they often do not realize the meaning applied to digital is quite different from what it means in analog photography. Film and digital are not just different flavors of the same thing, they are two distinctly different media even though a camera is used in both instances that looks and feels the same.
After reading the responses posted here, I am reminded that different disciplines use the same word with different meanings and that different localities in the country show the same propensity. For example, the term precision is used by many as a term relating the closeness of a group of results, one to another. That group of people would use the term accuracy to talk about how close a result was to a true value, if a universally accepted true value could be found (or defined).
If you want something interesting to read, try "The Dictionary of American Regional English."
Although terminological inexactitudes can give rise to problems, an attitude of tolerance and understanding for the way people use their language is invaluable and can make one a new friend now and then.
>>Although terminological inexactitudes can give rise to problems, an attitude of tolerance and understanding for the way people use their language is invaluable and can make one a new friend now and then. <<
I would say that obligation is mutual between both sides of a conversation or communication. Interestingly, relative to an extremely serious issue of understanding the US Constitution, today there was a lesson provided in a NYT editorial that is most valuable.
"Dr. Johnson's Revolution
By JACK LYNCH
Samuel Johnson's dictionary remains an invaluable guide to
what our founders had in mind when they set the democratic
experiment in motion."
Just letting misunderstandings slide to be polite and innoffensive is also a disservice to everyone.