A little while back I saw a post on a magic forum. It's ok – no names, no pack drill. But it was in a thread where the social convention dictates that people express their regret at the passing of the threads titular magician. It wasn't a magician I had heard of particularly, but death is always sad occasion to someone. What we want are reminiscences, stories, and anecdotes. One post was essentially,
“Person X loved my Y trick, from my book Z. The Y trick floored X. It's in my book, Z.”
Whisky. Tango. Foxtrot.
Why didn't they just add an Amazon affiliate link while they're at it!?
Oh. I forgot. Their sig file had a link to their web site. Seriously. Maybe they work for LOCOG!
Now, since I'm not going to name and shame, or slag off people I've never met, it's worth pointing out that the details are unimportant. After all, maybe the person meant it in a genuine way. So I hereby propose a method to determine if they're genuine, or contain more evil than Bin Laden's suggestion box!
And as a bonus, this method also works for the humour-impaired, those with a failure in their sarcasm filter, and people insistent on using text-speak or acronyms. Plus it's not confined to magicians, this works on any web forum, on any topic.
The solution is:
All messages on public web forums must use voice recordings, and not written words.
Humans have had more years learning the nuance of speech than they have the written word. Heck – before the Internet, the longest piece of prose Joe Public read was the instructions on a microwave dinner for one. (Because it's always for one.) And let's not get started on the amount of reading done with the “new wave” of “visual learners”.
So, by being able to hear the person's voice we can tell if they're being sarcastic, attempting to be funny, ironic, amusing, intelligent, or abhorrently commercial.
And that includes the *******ing **** of a ******* who's writing this ****ing ******** of a ***** article.