Thursday, March 24, 2011

WT.!?

I had just finished reading a news article on the Internet the other day -- I don't remember the topic -- when I started to browse the comments section that followed it. This is a terrible habit that I have. I always read the comments section, knowing that it will bother me if it's negative in tone, which it usually is. My threshold for harsh and grammatically incorrect criticism is very low. So inevitably, I become annoyed after reading an article because other people are annoyed with the article.

One comment I often see is "WTF?" Three powerful letters that convey two messages: 1) I'm confused and angry, but 2) I'm going to be as nice about it as possible by not using the actual curse word. Because, as you know, using profanity on the Internet is a major no-no. The phrase is so widely used that it's listed on Dictionary.com, which says it's "used esp in emails, text messages, etc." I'm disappointed that a dictionary would abbreviate the word "especially" in a definition, as if it was using it in the form of a text message. To quote the Internet, "WTF?"

There is a cleaner version of the phrase: "WTH?" I've seen that phrase in comment sections, too. So at least I'm not the only one who wants progress in making the Internet a friendlier place to read news stories. But we can take it a step further.

This is my suggestion: Let's adopt the phrase "WT.?!" It's shorthand for "What the...?!" I was inspired to create the phrase after writing about old Nintendo games like Ninja Gaiden in my previous entry. In Ninja Gaiden, when the main character was caught off-guard, he'd exclaim, "What the...?!" I've always liked that statement, partly because I've never figured out how a person should say it out loud.

For now on, if you ever feel compelled to post a negative comment after a news article, don't use profanity. Use "WT.?!" But I wouldn't recommend reading the responses to your comment. They might be negative.