Words & Phrases, 2021

  • disaster voyeurism
  • Stakhanovites, model workers who produced higher than expectations
  • university, a synthesis of two words: “unity” and “diversity.”
  • collimination, adjusting the line of sight of a telescope
  • muhaha, evil laugh
  • Isekai, an anime genre of going to another world and having adventures
  • Zugzwang, worse position than if opponent’s turn to play
  • (R)azi Party, portmanteau of (R) Republican and Nazi Party
  • mad-eyed, staring at the undreamt thing
  • cronyism and connections
  • heart heat, emotional turmoil
  • grief’s lonely algorithm
  • manslipping — about the tendency of men to let their masks fall below their noses 
  • invincible ignorance
  • A far-right propaganda machine built atop a gaslight factory
  • enormous faff
  • the American nightmare of overpromise and underdelivery
  • slaved and saved for nothing
  • transmedia information war propping up a popularity contest for strongmen
  • Pandejos
  • Tempus Fugit, time flies.—Virgil
  • hover to discover
  • a self-motivated lickspittle
  • head-canon, the canon in your head that isn’t canon
  • Hungerstein, hunger stone
  • Gangster capitalism, unnecessary adjective?
  • gazing into the void of self-creation
  • runch, running lunch
  • future dreamscape
  • byzantine shitshow
  • mazuma, money
  • reflexivity, the feedback loop by which expectations or desires can shape reality
  • friya, free and beloved
  • niksen, the art of doing nothing
  • ground truth, might have origins in maps
  • gray bar motel, jail
  • subs or dubs, subtitles or …
  • economical with the actualité
  • data void
  • herd of independent minds
  • inscape plan, turning inward to find salvation
  • global weirdness
  • endless melting-snowflake background
  • agnotology, the academic study of ignorance
  • The Slenderman of cocktails
  • vetocracies, when too many actors have veto rights
  • Jimoto, japanese for “local area”
  • pernicious convergence, all roads lead to Rome
  • paroxysms of junkie violence
  • crumb de la crumb
  • symbiosis, from the Greek for “together” and “living.”
  • screechy and preachy
  • content cop providing free moderation labor
  • , αἰσθητής (aisthētḗs), one who perceives
  • reality testing
  • Transformation through Education program
  • howling cognitive vacuum
  • Dīwān, “record,” “compendium,” “collected works
  • America’s spiritual sewers
  • mise en abyme, a formal technique of placing a copy of an image within itself, often in a way that suggests an infinitely recurring sequence
  • hegemonic anxiety, the fear of losing global dominance.
  • pain lost in translation
  • petro-masculinity
  • wishful worries
  • ossan, rude Japanese word for middle-aged dudes
  • O.H. Krill, original hostage, alien’s name, part of UFO conspiracy lore
  • nooshijoon, Farsi, may it nourish your soul
  • full of LinkedIn hustle-goblins
  • quantum foam
  • sewer stories, where truth and false doesn’t apply
  • wokescolds
  • hysteresis effect, an event that happens whose effects continue after the event
  • a never-ending assembly line of death
  • psephologist, pollster?
  • shtum, British slang for silent
  • decorative statistics
  • Sisyphus spinning the wheels of a perpetual-motion Peloton
  • neijuan, Chinese, involution is the experience of being locked in competition that one ultimately knows is meaningless
  • Genizah — Hebrew meaning “to hide or put away” — refers to a storage place in a synagogue or a cemetery where old Jewish books go to die
  • occhiolino or little eye, Galileo’s word for microscope
  • hidden curriculum refers to the set of social norms and skills that autistic people have to learn explicitly, but that neurotypical people learn automatically
  • Degenerate gambler and chance king
  • Russlandversteher, a derogatory term for people who take a soft stance on Vladimir Putin’s Russia
  • chyron, a caption superimposed over usually the lower part of a video image (as during a news broadcast)
  • a sad symptom of moral and intellectual decline
  • Omne Ignotum Pro Mirifico; Wonderful, Because Mysterious.
  • Cirque du Subway
  • Smokey, sweet nuts
  • Scariants, scary variant portmanteau
  • low return world
  • paperback shaman
  • a counter-syllabus
  • fantasy cults
  • assabiya, group cohesion or solidarity
  • panopticoin
  • the human built world
  • death lottery
  • vetocracy, a system defined by how easy it is, and how many ways there are, to block action.
  • tangping (躺平) = Internet buzzword that refers to the choice of young people choosing to stop working overtime and rebel against overly competitive society.
  • silverback MD
  • mayhem man
  • a creeping charla­tanism
  • bucolic dystopia, impoverished and rundown
  • No pole fisherman; if you don’t fish ’em, you don’t eat ’em.
  • homo mimeticus
  • performative assholery
  • loosely connected, incoherent mishmash of militants, grifters, and attention merchants
  • thugs dam, in Tibetan, is an honorific meaning one engaged in meditation, applied to the dead
  • entropocene, an era of larger, quicker, less predictable, non-linear change
  • freaking in, freaking out on the inside
  • a dim, electrified jejunum
  • a cipher of misinformation and malaise
  • poop on the porch
  • Sideshadowing: unsettles simple causal explanations of human events, reminding us that what actually takes place is always one of numerous possibilities that could have occurred.
  • pace hurtling gravewards
  • tedious memoryhole preamble
  • Proustian signifier
  • Wu-wei (無為), literally translated as ‘no trying’ or ‘no doing’, but best translated as ‘effortless action’ or ‘spontaneous action’.
  • lifequakes
  • fatally tangled
  • ukeireru, acceptance (of who you are, what you do and what society does to you)
  • necessary surgery long put off
  • malinformation — facts taken out of context to support a false narrative
  • supermediated psychoscapes
  • ten percent world, what remains after people are done with it
  • Utopian dreams commingled with nightmares of terrible ruin.
  • quantum extremal surface
  • asymmetry (or convexity) of payoffs
  • an assortment of cranks and kooks
  • sheng nu, leftover women in Chinese
  • sphincter factor
  • our poisonous effluent
  • papier-mâché Mephistopheles
  • mukbang, eating broadcast
  • poop splash
  • chutney and cheese
  • buyout barons
  • globaloney
  • muddled median
  • crepuscular corners
  • a moral panic in search of an audience
  • agent of refusal
  • escalator to extinction
  • dark bargain
  • liangmianren, or two-faced people
  • kintsugi, treating breakage and repair as part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.
  • punctuated equilibrium
  • the marrow of the medium
  • wakanyeja, Lakota for the child is also holy
  • generated incapacities
  • Compersion is our wholehearted participation in the happiness of others.
  • expensive, interlocking failure
  • a liability bomb
  • the NPR set
  • ride new waves of ruin
  • Bentoism, BEyond Near Term Orientation
  • technosignatures
  • semi-irl Gen X boomerpost
  • future fascist fashion
  • a break in continuity
  • pushed up to the very edge of apocalypse
  • avoid the pyramiding catastrophe
  • horrorshows of humanity
  • micro-consumerist bollocks
  • limitarianism
  • fatal hatchouts
  • postprandial
  • a dorm room pass-the-bong puzzler
  • captivity of childhood
  • tatterdemalion
  • surface gravity
  • anger outlaw
  • the freedom of a shimmering anonymity
  • ludic element
  • isomer, mirror image, like hands
  • niugui sheshen, 牛鬼蛇神, evil monsters, bad political actors
  • desirable difficulties
  • Big Meat
  • Rush hour Rambo
  • heladeros, ice cream maker

Between the “Quotes” & Control

“Not needing a family member for support or because you plan to inherit the family farm means that who we choose to spend time with is based more on our identities and aspirations for growth than survival or necessity,” he explains. “Today, nothing ties an adult child to a parent beyond that adult child’s desire to have that relationship.”

Increased opportunities to live and work in different cities or even countries from our adult families can also help facilitate a parental break-up, simply by adding physical distance.

“It’s been much easier for me to move around than it would have been probably 20 years ago,” agrees Faizah, who is British with a South Asian background, and has avoided living in the same area as her family since 2014. 

She says she cut ties with her parents because of “controlling” behaviours like preventing her from going to job interviews, wanting an influence on her friendships and putting pressure on her to get married straight after her studies. “They didn’t respect my boundaries,” she says. “I just want to have ownership over my own life and make my own choices.” 

-Maddy Savage, “Family estrangement: Why adults are cutting off their parents.” BBC.December 1st, 2021.

From a language perspective, I found this article interesting because clearly the “quotes” are direct quotes, but because of the way “quotes” are frequently used elsewhere, I read the “controlling” in the above as possibly questioning whether the behavior of preventing a child from going on job interviews, influencing their friendships and applying pressure to get married counts as “controlling”. These behaviors are incredibly common. At the same time, they are obviously controlling.

But, it’s a sign of a new line being drawn. Influencing your child’s choice of friends when they are children is probably prudent. But, is it prudent when they reach the age of maturity? And, even asking that question has bias. In many cultures, there is this idea that older people have wisdom and should be influencing those younger than them throughout their lives. The counterpoint is that much that counts as wisdom are like mesofacts: something that was true at one time but is no longer true.

This can also be true of life strategies. In a particular time, it may have made sense to get credentials and look for a career with one company. Or, it may have made sense for women to get married and have children young. But, does that value square with a woman getting a university education first? Financially, it’s a difficult argument to make. It doesn’t make financial sense. But, it may make sense from other perspectives. For example, educated women may, arguably, do a better job educating their children. Or, perhaps, a university education can be used as a proxy for ability or intelligence, and increase someone’s value on the marriage market.

When you think this through, it’s clear that the social environment and values are changing. Older generations like the way things were because they had more control. And, reading through this article, it’s clear that much of the topic of estrangement is about control. It’s also about what we will tolerate. We tolerate more when incentives are lined-up to support certain lines of control. But, if you are bringing less to the table (or negatives in the case of abusive people), then you get less control, no matter how old you are or how much wisdom you think you have.

Crystal Nights by Greg Egan

“The Phites who’d invented the boost had had one big advantage as they’d tinkered with each other’s brains: it had not been a purely theoretical exercise for them. They hadn’t gazed at anatomical diagrams and then reasoned their way to a better design. They had experienced the effects of thousands of small experimental changes, and the results had shaped their intuition for the process. Very little of that intuition had been spoken aloud, let alone written down and formalised. And the process of decoding those insights from a purely structural view of their brains was every bit as difficult as decoding the language itself.”

—Greg Egan, “Crystal Nights.”

Struck me as an interesting example of how lived experience cannot be reduced to language and abstraction.

Words & Phrases, 2020

  • diktats, a harsh punishment unilaterally imposed
  • griot, West African storyteller
  • amanuensis, transcriptionist
  • Anholt cultu
  • violent entertainment of context collapse
  • fissiparous, an organism is one that produces new individuals by fission/splitting
  • wegan diet, a vegan diet modified to include only wild-harvested meats
  • axis of assholes
  • slow-rolled
  • TTP, techniques, tactics and procedures
  • Moonlight Maze, Russian cyberattack on DoD in 1990s
  • semiotarchy, tyranny of signs
  • kenopsia, eerie feeling when you are the only one in a building
  • reality resetters
  • Weltschmerz, world pain
  • sprooks, spies and crooks
  • keening, public lamentation for the dead
  • LARPing, live action role playing
  • hustlers masquerading as philosophers
  • an alien in a trench coat of normalcy
  • Cultural defense warrior
  • Uncle Sid, the Buddha
  • Groypers, Gen Z Christian fundamentalist white nationalists
  • Stultus est sicut stultus facit, stupid is as stupid does
  • wu de, martial virtue
  • bathos, an anticlimax created by an unintentional lapse in mood from the sublime to the trivial
  • the freaky rich and their courtiers
  • shipaggedon
  • new cangaço, bandit in Brazil
  • micromort, one-in-a-million chance of death
  • Bric-à-brac
  • the straw that stirred the drink
  • learn to man the fry cooker
  • Herrenvolk, “master race” 
  • the firehose of falsehood
  • bourse, stock exchange
  • hyperfuturist
  • beinhaus, bone house, bird house of a human skull
  • nocebo, something making you ill because you expectmit to
  • oikeiôsis, something belonging to oneself
  • phantom urban topology
  • antimetabole vs. chiasmus
  • Coup Clutz Clan
  • tsujigiri, crossroads killing
  • fakokta, fucked up in Yiddish
  • criminally ignorant
  • surplus to requirements
  • symbrachydactyly, limb difference
  • reshook, past tense of reshake
  • Jantelagen, energy to ignore the fame of a famous person
  • recreational fear
  • solfeggio frequencies
  • Münchhausen Trilemma, more proof: circular, regressive, or dogmatic
  • boojahideen or booj
  • tribalism trap
  • poisonous creature comforts
  • the intimacy of scrutiny
  • gemba, closest to the decision makes the decision, Toyota
  • mouneh, Lebanese pickle
  • deficit of wonder
  • 臭いものに蓋 (kusai-mono-ni-futa). Its literal meaning is “to cover what stinks”. Its figurative meaning is to look the other way or hush up a problem
  • semantic satiation, using a word to the point it loses its meaning
  • 尻拭い (shiri-nugui). The literal meaning is “ass-wiping”, but the figurative meaning is to clean up somebody’s else mess
  • 自業自得 (jigou-jitoku): Reap what you sow
  • post-truth freak flags
  • dazibaos, a wall mounted newspaper, a form of protest
  • quacksalvery
  • the dark abyss of stochasticity
  • Kaupapa, (Māori, or te reo), kaupapa means principles and ideas which act as a base or foundation for action. A kaupapa is a set of values, principles and plans which people have agreed on as a foundation for their actions
  • xenoarchaeologist, someone who studies alien civilizations
  • homoiconic, same structures for data and code
  • Technologiefolgekostenabschätzung, literally technology follow-up cost assessment
  • misophonics, extreme aversion to certain noises
  • Callipygian, having shapely or beautiful buttocks
  • yauh peng, yauh leng, both inexpensive and beautiful
  • isegoria, it’s all just opinions, all speech is equal
  • parrhesia, candid speech that may require an apology
  • 報復性熬夜, revenge bedtime procrastination or not going to bed to reclaim free time
  • nerdquarium
  • dalits, broken people
  • acedia, no longer caring about caring
  • adult pacifer
  • weenie wagger
  • crèche question
  • kulturkampf
  • kalos kai agathos
  • sluggish, sclerotic and stupid
  • topoi, commonplace book of classical rhetoric
  • productive uncertainty
  • rusted chrome of yestermorrow
  • rock of righteousness
  • Shitness protection program
  • apophatic, God is known be what She is not
  • ceteris paribus, other things being equal
  • eco-Taliban
  • jouhatsu, people who disappear and continue to conceal their whereabouts for years, means evaporation
  • emblematic high priests of critical uncertainty
  • Die Entzauberung der Welt, “the unmagicking of the world.”
  • revanchism, the political manifestation of the will to reverse territorial losses incurred by a country, often following a war or social movement
  • reply guys
  • mwenkanonkan, indigenous feminism of Uganda that predates Western feminism
  • akrasia, weakness of will
  • cobots, collaborative robots
  • Globaloney
  • woketopians
  • necrophoric, an animal that carries the dead of its own kind
  • chinthe, a mythological lion-like creature that frequently guards Buddhist temples
  • a series of linked interiors
  • fictive kin
  • irony poisoning
  • shoaling, rising water tables
  • adjustor of destinies
  • intermittently connected suburbs of the self
  • laminar agent
  • vampiric complexion
  • Cronenberg character
  • humeur noire
  • prettier and tittier
  • chronic malcontent
  • exponentialize the terrible
  • derecho, a line of severe thunderstorms that produce high winds, from Spanish “straight”
  • double dissidents
  • coprolites, fossilized crap
  • hibakusha, nuclear bomb survivors
  • coronagrifting
  • wakaresaseya, relationship ender, Japan
  • naught but a lunatic line
  • cri de coeur
  • pathocracies
  • annus terribilis
  • petri d
  • corporate claptrap
  • apophenia, connecting unrelated phenomenon
  • legend tripping
  • Aloha Wanderwell
  • clown fiend
  • slow your tarred heart
  • untact, “un” and “contact”
  • nuguna, meaning “anyone”
  • honjok, individualist loners, literally alone tribe
  • deathfluencers
  • sanitary Spartacans
  • three ring shit show of your life
  • cyberverse
  • motte-and-bailey fallacy
  • pareidolia
  • pigeonhole principle
  • Books are willing accomplices in the crime of thinking.
  • Please scream inside your heart.
  • man mafia, patriarchy
  • yahrzeit, anniversary of someone’s death
  • contain the contagion
  • McJunkins
  • barycenter, gravitational center
  • stereoscopic vision
  • jungle plums, false mastic
  • cargo cult public health
  • mlecchita vikalpa, cryptography
  • gamblesphere
  • persecuting society, caused by scarcity
  • choremania
  • þetta reddast, everything will work out
  • rype, wild bird
  • blatherskite
  • quiescent mode
  • orthopedic fracture machines, trampolines
  • hamsterkauf, hoarding
  • uitwaaien, outblowing, spending time in the wind
  • Zuihitsu, at will and pen
  • memory artist
  • sapere aude, dare to know
  • kakorrhaphiophobia, fear of failure
  • ungeklärt, undefined
  • mortichnia, or “death march”, the footprints of a dying animal
  • digging graves with artistic precision
  • aleatory, determined by chance
  • minstrel show of hate
  • morituri te salutant, those that are about to die salute you
  • clear the froth
  • coterminous, bordering
  • invidious, tending to rouse ill-will
  • stichomythia, alternating character in poem
  • hysteresis, negative effects into the future in economics
  • ave atque vale, hail and goodbye
  • bohemian downsides
  • unchecked dread
  • Kodak fiend, taking pictures of unsuspecting people
  • paracrine effect
  • combed hair before battle
  • pitiless crowbar of events
  • gulag government
  • fluxion
  • socnets
  • nosocomial, hospital-acquired
  • saeculum, expected lifetime or replacement cycle for a generation
  • vitaparcours
  • publicity requirement
  • praying atheist
  • mutualism
  • bezoars
  • dipterocarp
  • folivores, leaf eaters
  • wild monkey rumpus
  • standing reserve, Heidegger
  • Gestell, framework
  • hand-washing for the infodemic
  • sologamy, single women who essentially marry themselves
  • bizarre digital fever dream
  • covidiots
  • dodecahedron
  • simulacra, the copy without an original
  • chingar, to fuck
  • puppet people
  • our messianic libido.
  • ipsissima vox,the very voice
  • Virilio’s Information Bomb
  • is not even wrong, so bad it really can’t even be discussed coherently
  • romanticizing pathology
  • iconics of the hegemon
  • the massive ocean inside of me makes the fish swim
  • petrichor, the smell after it rains
  • past light cone, a clean figure in spacetime that encloses all the places and times where something happened whose consequences we might see
  • sucking on lozenges
  • Aphantasia is a condition where one does not possess a functioning mind’s eye and cannot voluntarily visualize imagery
  • thinkmeat
  • taste adjacent
  • gnawing on the remnants of dreams
  • imaginary vortex
  • consumer metaphysics
  • thin newness
  • gomi, Japanese for garbage
  • new tech angel hair
  • waterflesh
  • bum guns
  • a matter of personal microculture
  • coronapocalypse
  • suppuration
  • the pitiless crowbar of events
  • skeuomorph, derivative that keeps non-functional design cues from original
  • la puta vida, this bitch of a life
  • baboso, drooling idiot
  • Drano enema
  • a supernova of stupidity
  • overcooked and underdone
  • zaftig, plump
  • aspeta, wait
  • mise-en-place
  • a man of esoteric skills and appetites
  • a clean, three ingredient high
  • cryptids, an animal that has been claimed to exist but is not proven to exist
  • tant pis, so much worse
  • liminal space, the time between what was and what will be.
  • necrocapitalism
  • pseudo‑event
  • lagniappe
  • virtual trophy
  • sick room architectures
  • garbage guru
  • Dowager Duchess
  • ever-softening society
  • the interfering aunt
  • parlor general
  • tongue rot
  • trash trove
  • link cowboys
  • TEOTWAWKI, or The End of the World as We Know It
  • exogenous shock 
  • laggardiste
  • panem et circenses
  • slaves of praise
  • akrasia, a lack of self-control or the state of acting against one’s better judgment
  • ikigai, “reason for being,” or it’s the intersection of what you love, what you’re good at, what you can get paid for, and what the world needs
  • neltiliztli, rootedness
  • huehuetlatolli, elder’s discourse
  • YORP effect
  • black chemistries awaiting catalysis
  • unwitting recipients of dead news from above
  • 40 million fascists and a mule
  • Io me ne frego, I don’t care
  • mass-infantilism
  • barroom windbags
  • città di merda, city of shit
  • ragazzo delle borgate, guy from the suburbs
  • romafaschifo, Rome sucks
  • maglia nera, black Jersey or last place
  • ghost lineage
  • Something in the milk ain’t clean…
  • paranoia into policy
  • cupiditas oculorum, lust of the eyes
  • fecal dust
  • psychoentirety rejection
  • cumulative causation
  • censorship through noise
  • gongoozler
  • Lithopanspermia, the transfer of organisms in rocks from one planet to another either through interplanetary or interstellar space
  • memory-wired
  • propaganda DJ
  • a loser’s catalog
  • interoceptive
  • ora et labora, prayer and work
  • Un travail de bénédictin—literally, a Benedictine labor—is a French expression for the sort of project someone can only accomplish over a long time through patient, modest, steady effort.
  • extispicy, entrail reading
  • proletarii – that is, people whose duty to the state was to ‘bear children’ as they did not have enough property to be classified as assidui, ‘the settled’ or ‘the landowning’
  • Kinkshaming
  • Purity Police, grudgewankers
  • hemicrania, a pain affecting half the head
  • Great Weirding,
  • Permaweird
  • Atira asteroids, within Earth’s orbit
  • papier-mâché Mephistopheles
  • Holdout creditor problem
  • Everything becomes vintage
  • Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose
  • a trash fire that will inherit the earth
  • Beruria, clarity, woman in Talmud
  • the rocks of psychosis
  • technical debt
  • Coase theorem
  • residual benefactor, the person who gets what’s left after bankruptcy
  • anxiegenic paradoxes, anxiety creating
  • designed by clowns
  • peeling for the pentimento
  • confederacy of catastrophe
  • bumper cars of mismatched words
  • coloratura, florid ornamental singing passages
  • living in the doom
  • the narcissism of small differences
  • wild is the way
  • warring information tribes
  • haruspex, ancient Roman official who reads the entrails of animals for omens
  • nalgas, buttocks
  • Dime con quien andas y te dire quien eres, “Tell me who you hang out with and I’ll tell you who you are.”
  • smooth-skinned erection machine
  • intellectual panoply
  • gender-criticals
  • Heslington brain
  • Agnotology (formerly agnatology) is the study of culturally induced ignorance or doubt
  • homophily
  • mystics of the stream

Dirty, Naughty, Obscene, and Otherwise Bad Words

““With millions of images in our library and billions of user-submitted keywords, we work hard at Shutterstock to make sure that bad words don’t show up in places they shouldn’t.” The company’s dataset of Dirty, Naughty, Obscene, and Otherwise Bad Words contains the block-lists for their autocompletion and recommendation features, covering 2,600+ words and phrases in 28 languages.

https://github.com/LDNOOBW/List-of-Dirty-Naughty-Obscene-and-Otherwise-Bad-Words

StoryWrangling.org

“StoryWrangler instrument reflects our first step towards wrestling the day’s events into coherence. It is an approximate daily leaderboard for language popularity around the globe…

…Half of a billion messages are posted to Twitter every day! Written on post-it notes, they would wrap around the Earth’s equator in a neon hug full of politics, pop music, and sports.

At the Computational Story Lab, since 2008 we have collected a random 10% of all public messages using Twitter’s Decahose API. Overall, our collection comprises roughly 150 billion messages requiring 100TB of storage.

https://storywrangling.org/

How to Write Great Microcopy

  • Be clear, concise, and useful
  • Use consistent wording
  • Create a microcopy framework
  • Be conversational
  • Use humors and idioms carefully
  • Highlight your brand’s character
  • Be wary of word translations
  • (Almost) always use active voice
  • Use the passive voice (sometimes)
  • Provide context
  • Assume your user is smart
  • Keep it scannable
  • Write short paragraphs an sentences
  • Don’t overuse contractions
  • When to use sentence case
  • When to use title case
  • Capitalize proper names & terms
  • When to use “Your”
  • When to use “My”
  • Keep ’em calm
  • Refer to the user
  • Identify interactive elements
  • Start with verbs
  • Prompt action
  • Motivate action
  • Set expectations
  • Instruct action
  • Show progress during action
  • Give feedback after actions
  • Use constructive feedback model
  • Avoid destructive feedback
  • Create positive moments
  • Pair visuals with words
  • Be consistent with imagery
  • Use familiar words and phrases
  • Spell out numbers up to nine
  • Reassure users with social proof
  • Pick the right moments
  • Test and improve
  • Think: “How can I improve your life?”

h/t The Product Person.

I have no doubt this is good advice for “microcopy”, which seems to be the text involved with software interactions. But, I think there is an interesting contrast to advice offered in posts like “English Split Composition“. Is “microcopy” good writing outside of writing human/computer interactions in software? Is it “good” writing, in other contexts? When you think of someone like Ernest Hemingway, initially disciplined by the telegraph, that turned into his style, can taking that further into “microcopy” lead to good communication or even good art?

English Split Composition

“English is a language built mostly out of two others. Much of it was created out of the language of invaders who came to Britain around 450 ad from Anglia and Saxony (in what we’d now call northern Germany). About 600 years later the French invaded and brought their language with them, too; it was derived from Latin. The new French competed with Old English, and the outcome was a language—modern English—built out of both.

Often words with similar meanings from the two languages were both turned into English words, such as make (Saxon) and create (from French), or need (Saxon) and require (from French). So in English you can say almost anything with two kinds of words: short, simple ones with Saxon origins, or fancier ones that come from Latin.”

-Ward Farnsworth, “What Did Lincoln Know About Language That We Don’t?” Reason.com. June 22, 2020.

Words We Don’t Have

“Language and culture are inextricably linked. The words that exist (or that we make) form our language, and hence, are definitive of our culture. This place explores words that are unique to dialects or non-English languages, with an aim to examine what these words might illuminate about their cultures (and ours).”

WordsWeDontHave.com