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Fact: lol is a word.
In 2014 and 2099

(Tl;dr: By 2014, 'lol' has long since shifted from an acronym to a word with a significant, predictable meaning. Other languages have turned emoticons into words, like Mandarin's "orz" which is meant to resemble a kneeling person and communicate respect. There's no justification in the study of language for treating 'lol' as an acronym or as any less wordlike than utterances we all accept on SIC like "OK", "huh", etc., in 2014 or 2099. By 2099, probably all languages will have either generated a home-grown equivalent to 'lol' or just integrated it into their comms wholesale - for decades, some probably more than a century.)

This is an issue that has been simmering on the back burner for me since one of my first days here, if not the first.

Some of you are programmers, some graphic designers, some scientists - of various disciplines - and so forth. At least one player is a game designer. All of us can offer insights from our fields in turn when relevant to the smooth functioning of the game and our common sense of immersion. It doesn't make us automatically right to be participating in some field or have taken some classes, but it usually gives us a different angle and some experience dealing with relevant questions that may seem more arcane to others - or may seem perfectly obvious, but their lay perspective leads them to the wrong conclusion.

It's fair to say that even if a chemist took a class in biology, that doesn't give her authority in biology, especially if someone who focused more on that discipline is available to offer her own opinion. In the face of abundant and easy-to-find evidence, though, lay people who engage honestly with the work can come to accept and understand that there are very good biological reasons that humans drink water, the atmosphere is made up of a certain amount of nitrogen, etc.

This should all go without saying, from my perspective - that there is no absolute authority on real-world matters and yet that some of us have experiences that lend credibility and gravitas to our snap decisions when that expertise is relevant. But maybe that's not how everyone thinks.

Because of this possibility, I spent a fair bit of time rehashing introductory morphology, syntax and pragmatics after a recent OOC-Chat discussion where it was decided that lol isn't a word - contradicting the linguistic reality, in my belief then and in actual fact. Then I decided to get to the meat of the issue and directly search for linguists' professional opinions on the word 'lol' itself. I believe I've been easily vindicated; here's a small sample:

http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/lol-slash-grammar-knowmsayin

Another recent grammatical change is the transformation of LOL. In a casual reply like “lol, i hear you”, actual laughter is probably not occurring. What began as an abbreviation meaning “laughing out loud” (or “lots of love”) is losing this explicit meaning and now frequently serves as a pragmatic particle marking empathy and a shared frame of reference, according to linguist John McWhorter.

Something similar, McWhorter says, has happened to the phrase (Do) you know what I’m sayin’? – it isn’t really the question that it superficially appears to be, but rather is “a piece of grammar, soliciting the same sense of empathy and group membership that LOL does”. Given its frequent informal use, the phrase is often compressed into a syllable or two for efficiency. If you search Twitter for nomsayin or knowmsayin, you’ll see how common this is.

In the comments, 'full stop' and 'dot dot dot' are given as similar examples of verbalized punctuation (similar to 'lol', that is).

Here's Carey's link to McWhorter on the subject: http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/30/opinion/mcwhorter-lol/index.html

It's important here that John McWhorter, a relatively conservative figure in both politics and linguistics, acknowledges that 'lol' is what, in this context, casual language users call a 'word': a particle of speech with its own significant meaning that can organically acquire new shades of meaning or shift to mean something else entirely over time. He refers to 'pragmatics' when he says 'pragmatic' there; the field of linguistics that studies the implicit and covert meanings of words and phrases, for example, how and why "Have you seen Frank?" comes to mean something different than whether you've literally laid eyes on the man, why the reply "I saw his truck at the store" doesn't elicit frustration, etc. Those of you who feel you know for sure what is and isn't a word, would do well to read more about pragmatics and morphology. Here's a note from the same blog linked to 'pragmatic' above: http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/a-pragmatic-note

Carey has a series of posts tagged 'lol' which often deal with it as a word and as an example of generative grammar, the normal human process of creating and changing grammar organically within a given society, geopolitical region or subculture: http://stancarey.wordpress.com/tag/lol/

As a footnote, Chomsky and linguists of his ilk have observed so many universalities and similarities in this process across cultures that they have proposed a common 'language organ' in the brain that utilizes various physical brain structures to apply the same kind of thinking to all living languages.

Wikipedia has an informative page on generative grammar, as in the study of how this kind of thinking operates within and across cultures:https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_grammar

The Wiki page on morphology is a good read for laypeople who want to understand more about how meaningful bits of language are created, studied and change over time: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphology_%28linguistics%29

I believe the question has now been settled without anyone having to resort to dense scientific reports or any kind of negativity, but if further citations are needed, let me know. If this post does generate animosity, I apologize. This matter should be pretty uncontroversial for those who engage with the facts.

Sorry for the bad coding.

is definitely not a word. Here are the links linkified in order:

http://www.macmillandictionaryblog.com/lol-slash-grammar-knowmsayin

http://www.cnn.com/2013/04/30/opinion/mcwhorter-lol/index.html

http://stancarey.wordpress.com/tag/lol/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generative_grammar

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Morphology_%28linguistics%29

While I understand that 'lol' and other internet-originating words may have been adopted into the English language in some capacity or another, it's still considered slang during the times where our form of internet is thriving and it's kosher to say so. Like all trendy, faddish, and hipster words that originate during certain cultural phases in history, it fades into obscurity after so many years. I don't honestly like that 'LOL' is something you want to say can be thematic to the game, where the vast majority of the world incorporates the Matrix into its everyday life. It pretty much obliterates the use for acronyms, shortened phrases, or any mish-mash of internet-related words in our era. Maybe, once in a while, it might resurface on the Grid, but I highly doubt it.

The only problem with that reply Napoleon is that in Withmore, there is no Matrix. There is a Grid, a text based format just like our current day internet, which allows for acronyms. As for the SIC, it is a conveyed form of understanding. If someone were to 'lol' or 'rofl' on SIC, what I take from that is they are now laughing out loud or rolling on the floor laughing and it would be received that way by your brain as the meaning of the acronym would be sent with the acronym itself.

As for language and slang, this game uses slang that was generated in the 80's and 90's on a regular basis.

There's slang being pulled from practically all eras, as far as I've seen. And I acknowledged the grid-speak in the end of my aforementioned post, which you're right. I just don't think LOL, ROFL, LMAO, LMAOSIC, and all it's a bazillion variations should really be the first thing everyone uses because that's what we're used to and ruins the mood for me all together - or, I guess, it shouldn't be so popular, which it isn't. I only see a few people use it, every now and then, SIC and Grid-wise.

To be clear, I'm not suggesting people be allowed to use acronyms on SIC, moreso that 'lol' is not really an acronym anymore.

If you say that Laughing Out Loud is no longer an acronym, then that's saying Rofl, lmao, brb, and everything else isn't one either. They're just as widely used and identifiable in the world as LOL is.

The difference being that what 'lol' implies as an acronym does not always mean what is being said by saying 'lol'. Where as brb, will always mean be right back no matter how you slice it. rofl is closer to 'lol' in being 'a word' because I highly doubt many people that 'rofl' are actually rolling on the floor but they are more likely actually laughing and to a heavy degree thus so when they say it. lmao is again another form of 'could be a word' like 'rofl' since you can't actually laugh your ass off, but because the saying itself like rofl already implies that it still stands as an acronym as it represents a series of words compounded into a single 'statement' rather than implying its own connotations on it's own merit like 'lol' does.

In other words, you can't pull a turnip out of a carrot patch and then say that all the carrots have to be turnips because what you pulled out happened to be a turnip instead of a carrot.

Instead of making this be about "lol", how about if people talk about whether gently communicating to blamelessly naive new players that SIC is not smstxt (or any form of text) is OK or not?

My TL;DR opinion: It's imperative.

It does not follow, Napoleon. Nothing about the process of creating a different word from the letters 'lol' implies that any other Internet chat acronym we can think of automatically has some new, subtler meaning - we'd have to agree on what that meaning is, for one thing.

We might have an issue of conflicting immersion needs here. For me it breaks my immersion that it -isn't- used as a word, because of the combination that I know it's the wrong analysis and that there's no IC explanation to justify being unlike the real world. If it's ruled that it isn't a word in the face of the evidence, I'll accept it as a speculative fiction conceit, but it shouldn't come down to a misunderstanding IMHO. The reason I'm discussing whether it's a word at all is that I was specifically told it can't be used on SIC because it's an acronym and not a word. I'll give you that there are occasionally people who say LOL because they are literally laughing out loud - I do this myself - but you can't deny that people use it to mean other things much of the time, if not most. I mean, what does "OK" stand for?

I also don't see in any of the expert analysis above a discussion about whether a neologism of a "word" which isn't ever spoken and is ONLY used in text media "counts".

People say "lol" in real life all the time, usually sarcastically.

Maybe we're different ages or there's a regional difference, but personally I've heard 'lol' used in spoken language plenty, and a few players my age or younger have confirmed privately that this is their experience as well. For me at least, by now the meanings of gentle derision, mild amusement or appeal to empathy spring to mind as organically as the subtle meanings of 'OK' do. I don't dispute the notion that SIC isn't SMS, but I see that as a separate issue that's more relevant to other utterances, personally.

Alright. Everyone's going to have their opinions about the 'LOL' thing, which I accept that it's a word of it's own with a vaguely accepted meaning when used in appropriate situations. It's like, a quasi-dialect in of itself - LOLspeak. Got that. If it's used over the grid, I got it. Someone's cleverly shortened it as would any person. But touching up on what Vetra said, because that really is an issue here, it doesn't necessarily mean that that form of quasi-speak should be used on SIC. Not everyone in the IC time period might now what it means. This kind of is something that I'd rather wait on an admin or someone more Sindome mythos/culture-knowledgeable would know.

I think you're going to be dismayed if you're confusing real world linguistic developments for IC theme in a setting which is extrapolated from 80s culture and alternative timeline. I'm honestly not even sure why this is a Theme discussion.

We've been told not to use chatspeak on the SIC. It will remain true that we should not use chatspeak on the SIC. Using it as an utterance in day-to-day conversation might be passable, but you will still come across as quirky and eccentric. In many Cyberpunk writings, overly troped deckers and hackers use a garbled form of chatspeak or leetspeak; they're generally regarded with the same level of bemusement as somebody might be if they were to use that language in real life among circles unfamiliar with the lexicon.

SIC is not text.

But it isn't full-on mindmeld either, which is why we can't do things like:

Speaking of :) and other such symbols etc... This has diven me nuts..

SIC ad's get fancy symbol borders and pictures.. No, not just the boobs and stuff (though this to me suggests imagery translates into SIC or can, or something..)

I mean like the:

##################

# ADVERTISEMENT! #

##################

Is SIC projecting a 'box' around the thoughts that are being projected into my head (which are not written / spelled out / typed require literacy, etc to my understanding)...or I am misunderstanding the concept of SIC entirely.. or.. I mean..

I have no idea. Clarify? Anyone? How am I envisioning that ICly?

I think you guys are focusing a little too hard on what SIC is and isn't. True it's not text. True it translates the meaning(implying that spoken language barriers do not exist). It's a tool, to drive people together, communicate from afar and become knowledgeable of things going on elsewhere in the city in real time.

As far as 'lol' goes. Even when people use it in spoken language, you hardly ever hear people say it how it would pronounced as a word. They tend to say, "elle-oh-elle". Which would still be an acronym. The general consensus of players and admin would rather these terms(lol, rofl, lmao, brb, etc.) and emoticons not be used on SIC, why can't we just respect that? Does not being able to use 'lol' ruin the game for you? Does not being able to put a smiley face on SIC cripple the immersion and sense of character for you?

@Wildgiller: As far as SICADs go, if you really need some kind of IC explanation for the borders or symbols in it, just think of it as an ad. Something flashy/distorted before and after to grab your attention from the normal tone of the constant SIC 'chatter'.

This whole discussion is way too long to read for something as stupid as "lol is a word'

Don't use it on SIC. I will @recycle you... Maybe. LAWL.

lol

Cerb, you obviously care much more about being right than you care about the players being able to enjoy and express themselves in the game, and it's clear that you'd rather use your dubious authority of "partially in charge of a role playing game on the Internet" to shut down anyone whose views don't line up with yours than acquiesce or engage even slightly, even on a matter that ultimately has very little consequence.

This isn't even about whether or not "lol" is a word; I've only been the target of this kind of behavior from you on one occasion that I can remember, but I've seen you do it to others enough that I can't stay silent about it anymore. A GM's job should be to foster a welcoming community for the game and help keep the game smooth-running and enjoyable, and your attitude is acting counter to both.

I do not expect you will change, as your fanatic belief in your own logic and reasoning skills does not seem to permit you ever admit you have anything to learn, but I could not in good conscience stay silent about it any longer. It's making the game less enjoyable for me and others. $void me or delete my character if you want, because there's nothing about your 'powers' or 'authority' as Sindome Head GM that intimidates me.

Sorry if this sounds unpleasant and dismissive, but you reap what you sew. I know GMing is challenging, demanding, and often thankless work, but this isn't even about the player-GM relationship so much as it is about baseline civility between two adults. I do want to keep playing and enjoying the game, but the fact that this kind of dynamic between the GMs and players seems to be considered not only normal but exemplary worries me greatly.

And if being able to say "lol" on SIC matters enough to someone that they can make a well-reasoned, researched, and even cited case for being able to, just fucking let them.

I'm not sure where the anger comes from...I didn't read Cerb's post as anything but being humorous on a topic that, I'd have to agree, was really hard to read through. Lighten up a bit, I think you're just seeing things that aren't there.

Actually Cerberus has helped me a lot.

Yes he might be a bit difficult to deal with. Army Drill Sergeants are like that. He is nothing different to them. He is very much like them. He has to uphold a code and rules. And he is a Head GM that has to deal with a lot of pressure.

Battle have you been GM? Because I have for multiple games and its a tough job that requires a thick skin. Cerberus may be a bit tough to deal with but he has a heart. He has tried helping me more then once with my RP. And I give him the benefit of the doubt.

I'm really not. This is the first time I've ever made any kind of complaint about staff behavior in the year or so that I've been playing this game, and anyone who knows me knows that I'm usually very meek and conflict-averse. There is a problem.

No.

Predictable.

:-)

Okay I scan you. But I feel you are being unfair without giving the benefit of the doubt. If you were a GM you would -know- how difficult it is. You have people who whine and bitch when things don't go their way, and I am the first to admit I am guilty of this. You have Game Lawyers who constantly try to bend the rules. You have jerks who want to do whatever and ruin the game for others. I could go on. The list is long... A GM's job is -anything- but easy. They volunteer for this. They are working hard for -us-. And most of the time they are not -even- appreciated.

I admit Cerberus can be hard to deal with. And I admit he tends to have a Drill Sergeant mentality. I learned that the Sergeants are always right no matter how wrong they are you just don't question a Sergeant. It's the same thing. He is harder and more strict? How is that bad?

i didnt wanna get involved but if some people aren't seeing it, like, arent seeing whats above my post, i need to back up battlejenkins and say im really intimidated and uncomfortable now and just kinda bummed out cause ive committed to roleplay and committed to doing a series of illustrations for the site so i have to exist. he was really nice and helpful before i disagreed with him about something, and now whether it's ooc-chat aggression/condescension or using in-game staff -help- channels to tell me my politics are wrong or what your opinions of me as a person are. being a gm is hard but this is just about being civil. i just wanna play a game

idk. i tweeted at johnny about it a while back and i see other players favouriting it. im wondering who else is going full north korea about how they talk on the game. im hearing right now there's lots. so i'll speak up, maybe you can too.

blah

i know, "play a different moo if you dont like it"

I don't know what "going full North Korea" means.

Neither does Urban Dictionary...

But I'm here to back up Cerberus in saying, keep "lol" off SIC. The point is, whether it's a word or not, it's chatspeak, and chatspeak isn't how SIC should be used. So let's just stop arguing about whether it's a word or not and agree that it's - hey, look at it this way. We aren't going to allow conversation in Tagalog on SIC, either.

I still disagree.

I am guilty of bitching and whining when something doesn't go my way.

Cerberus had a reasonable heartfelt conversation with me. They could have newted me but they didn't. They gave me the chance to RP. I am not going to be ungrateful and not take it in account. And I was probably bitching and whining. Yet Cerberus put up with it.

Anyways, it might be a word *for some* in OUR current time and our timeline, but in the game, it has it's OWN timeline. So, taking just that into account, words like 'googled it', and for some groups, 'lol' / 'Oh, I elle oh elle'd at that', that wasn't happening back in the late nineties.

I'm bringing up the late nineties because it was 1999/2000 where our timelines split. Nuclear wars, diseases, the US near ceasing to exist, the Matrix being created, corporations becoming their own governments basically.

No time in *that* timeline for 'lol' to become a word. Just as we wouldn't say 'I'll google it'. Even if it did, it would be replaced by the time 2099 (current game time, almose 2100) came around.

Example - Friendzoned would more likely be manozoned. (Mano is a friend in slang)

No such thing as bff. Or bee eff eff. It is now, Ace Bata. Cash/Money = Flash.

Sindome has it's own slang and you can find Shadowrun / Cyberpunk 2020 (and later) slang in it.

I understand that you and some people you know use it, but this is 2014 in OUR timeline. Not the timeline of the game if that makes sense? Granted with some groups they may use it as a word but it is due to our own timeline that has allowed those people to use it now. In Sindome, it's its own timeline if that makes sense?

That's why I see as the main reason it isn't accepted in the game on sic. The timeline hasn't allowed that particular slang to develop, plus, sic is thoughts, not texting.

Does this make sense?

And there's Linekin.

Happens when you (I) write a bunch. Sorry (a bit) for being wordy.

Totally makes sense.

LOL is not a word appropriate for sic.

This however is legit

Cm> *Laughs*

I'll be honest. I think this thread has seen enough. I don't want to stifle anyone's freedom of speech here and I appreciate the time and effort that went into the responses here but the staff opinion has been stated by both myself and Linekin.

Further explanation isn't really required and we should move on to focusing on RP or other issues that need discussion.

Also, read the timeline. This is an alternate reality. This is not 'our earth'. It is a somewhat 'darker' future. If you've played Vampire the Masqerade or any Mage game, you should be familiar with this concept, like the 'World of Darkness'.

The timeline makes this pretty clear with events from the early 21st century that never happened in our timeline. Such as:

"The millennium comes and cults around the world who predicted the end of the world prove to be wrong. 1 million are dead the morning after in the wake of riots, suicides, and general crime that runs uncontrolled across the globe on New Years Eve." - 2000

And

"In a surprise move, China invades North Korea, absorbing the region into the greater whole of what the world is beginning to call the Chinese Empire. In response, the United States of America unilaterally invades and annexes Taiwan. International tensions increase to levels well beyond anything experienced at the height of the Cold War." -- 2001

Let's consider this a GM edict, that LOL and words like it should be avoided. They are immersion breaking. And this is coming from someone who says 'L.O.L' out loud, often.

--S

For anyone looking up grammar/SIC text preferences from the GM side, I'll offer that you also should mind your proper use of capital letters, if you are looking to avoid drawing critique.

That hasn't been a cause of critique. Not in the past.

We (as a group) know not everyone is a good speller or knows grammar inside and out.

Do make some effort but it's okay if you're not perfect.

It has, at various times been a point I make. Especially on SIC. Sometimes ICly, sometimes OOCly when people haven't gotten the hint. Spelling mistakes are one thing, I am not one to talk in that regard. However, not adding a period to the end of a sentence is not acceptable. This isn't text, or IM. Immersion suffers when people are brought out of it by lazy punctuation.

If you are reading a book and half the sentences don't have punctuation, is it going to bother you? It would bother me. Once in awhile, we all miss a beat. I'm not talking about you folks. Mistakes and typos happen. No one is going to get on you about it.

It's when it's a pattern, several messages in a row, or very consistently, that we may reach out and give you a little ping about it.

And yes, this does apply to those who play from phones. You got a shift if your phone is good enough to play. :)

As for mistakes, typos etc., I wonder if they can be ICly justified. What I mean is, careless spelling, missing punctuation marks and so on tend to be unintentional. But are we allowed to make them part of SIC RP?

In fact, since SIC transmits thoughts instead of messages, one might expect it to reflect SICers' thinking habits to a certain extent. A lot of formal training could make your character over-rational. On the other hand, a street urchin isn't likely to theorize too much - it's common sense rather than high thinking that matters. That said, it has nothing to do with the message you're trying to convey or your everyday speaking habits. (A highbrow ViriiSoma researcher may be perfectly adequate in his daily life, using slang and so on; still his attempts to ask a girl out over SIC could well result in Romeo's monologue - it's just -how- he thinks, not -what-).

Then, different states that affect your mind would probably affect your SIC style as well. If you're high, or scared, or injured, your mind could be foggy and thus unlikely to produce SIC messages with multiple clauses and perfect Academic English. Missing commas mean that you can't structure your thoughts and impressions (being too emotional, thrilled, frightened, shocked etc.). Grammar is the backbone of language, so if you're suddenly turning ungrammatical, you are probably semi-conscious and trying hard to stay awake. Spelling errors can indicate absent-mindedness or haste (you have too much to think about at the same time to pay attention to your SIC).

All this is mostly involuntary, because most people can change their way of speaking but not their thinking habits - it's all about nature plus education. It could be useful RP-wise, as a SIC message would tell you more than the SICer intended it to do. (Not always - I suppose the better you know the person you are SICing with, the more you could tell.). Additionally, what about SIC disguise? Changing aliases is easy, but what about the inner logic you can't control? On the other hand, a person with well-cultivated mental discipline - in that case more self-control than pure IQ - might be able to adjust their way of thinking to the situation and topic, etc. This would create individual SIC styles reflecting mental habits of different characters. What would you make of a person who always drops their periods and commas? Or discusses cookie recipes like quantum physics, with "-isms" and Latin borrowings sticking out? Or speaks idiomatic English face-to-face, but lapses into a grammatically Caliban-ish style on SIC? And so on and so forth.

Is it legal to make consistent mistakes for the sake of RP?

(I'm sorry if this has already been discussed somewhere.)

Bound,

Everything you're describing is the complete opposite of what playersand admins are counseling against here. You're talking about deliberate and thoughtful choices on what to type, for the sake of conveying legitimate IC moods, qualities or manner. As such, someone who's doing what you're talking about is lokely to actually produce text which the other players can understand and appreciate.

What's being counseled against here is lazy, sloppy typing because the player is unaware of, or doesn't give a shit about, how their OOC inadequacy impacts other people's enjoyment of RP'ing with them and the example they're setting for the next immigrant's new player.

All spelling errors in the above post are *cough* intended ironically.

Mmhm.

Anyway, I'll just repeat my cliche which a lot of you have heard me say a lot of times:

Sindome is a game for the literate.[/]

though your character might not be.