1285: "Third Way"

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Teaspoon
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1285: "Third Way"

Postby Teaspoon » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:18 am UTC

Image

Title text: "'The monospaced-typewriter-font story is a COMPLETE FABRICATION! WAKE UP, SHEEPLE' 'It doesn't matter! Studies support single spaces!' 'Those results weren't statistically significant!' 'Fine, you win. I'm using double spaces right now!' 'Are not! We can all hear your stupid whitespace.'"

If you view source, the double-space supporters in the title text do, in fact, have double spaces after their exclamation marks. I love the attention to detail, and it's a shame my browser stripped the extra spaces out.

<edit>
Hi all, I haven't logged in for what I guess would be a couple of years. Was the posting of this comic thread by the usual suspects delayed as a trap for lurkers?
</edit>
Last edited by Teaspoon on Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:22 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Economica
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Economica » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:19 am UTC

Everyone's arguing about one space or two spaces, and I'm just sitting here letting TeX decide my whitespace for me.
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rhomboidal
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby rhomboidal » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:20 am UTC

Having to tediously type all those &nbsp;'s in HTML converted me to single spaces. And oddly enough, to Neo-Libertarian Fascism, as well.

Teaspoon
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Teaspoon » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:33 am UTC

rhomboidal wrote:Having to tediously type all those &nbsp;'s in HTML converted me to single spaces.


I'd never even heard of double spaces after periods before this comic, but if I were a long-standing double-spacer and writing HTML I'd just type my double spaces without &nbsp;ing them. The browser does what it's going to do with its spaces so nobody would see, but *I* would know that I'd written the right thing...

I'm Australian - is the double space thing an American dialect or is it just one of those inconsistencies in the global fragmentation of English?

Related, because it's about little quirks of punctuation:
I was raised with no exposure to the Oxford comma and thought it looked wrong and terrible when I was first exposed. After a couple of years and a couple of incidents where I was writing lists where some list members were phrases including the word "and", it started to make sense and I converted. As an example, I believe "dim sims, fish and chips, and hot dogs" is clearer than "dim sims, fish and chips and hot dogs" because the latter could also be parsed as a list which an Oxford-comma-user would write as "dim sims, fish, and chips and hot dogs".

I'd hate to order the fish and see my chips given to some random eater of hot dogs.

Elrieve
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Elrieve » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:41 am UTC

Economica wrote:Everyone's arguing about one space or two spaces, and I'm just sitting here letting TeX decide my whitespace for me.


Yes, but do you, like me, add a line break after every sentence in your .tex file?

jcsalomon
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby jcsalomon » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:43 am UTC

I tend toward long sentences with many dependent clauses,
and my rewrites often combine or split these,
so when I’m using a line-oriented VCS like Git
breaking lines after every sentence isn’t quite enough;
I’ve taken to writing my prose as if it were a sort of blank verse:
breaking lines at most punctuation points
and at other phrase boundaries.

I’ve since learned this technique called semantic linefeeds. Brandon Rhodes, in a blog post on the subject, quotes Brian Kernighan’s 1974 version of “UNIX for Beginners”:
Hints for Preparing Documents

Most documents go through several versions (always more than you expected) before they are finally finished. Accordingly, you should do whatever possible to make the job of changing them easy.

First, when you do the purely mechanical operations of typing, type so subsequent editing will be easy. Start each sentence on a new line. Make lines short, and break lines at natural places, such as after commas and semicolons, rather than randomly. Since most people change documents by rewriting phrases and adding, deleting and rearranging sentences, these precautions simplify any editing you have to do later.
Last edited by jcsalomon on Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:49 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.

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brandtsound
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby brandtsound » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:48 am UTC

I typically use only a single space, though I remember back in high school/college if I needed another 1/4th of a page or so, I would use "Find & Replace" to change them all to double spaces and get a bit of extra room.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Adacore » Fri Nov 01, 2013 4:59 am UTC

The guy who starts every sentence on a new line clearly works for BBC News.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby TheMegelSmeagol » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:03 am UTC

@H9RBSjs happened to tweet this earlier today:
Novice developer puts two spaces after a period in a sentence. Browser HTML parser responds with "Nice try, bro."

SomeoneSomewhere
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby SomeoneSomewhere » Fri Nov 01, 2013 5:58 am UTC

Being in NZ, I can't say I've ever seen much about double spaces except online. It does seem like a US invention.

I generally use an Oxford comma - though I didn't know what it was called until recently. I remember being told in primary school not to, though. I basically ignored the teacher and haven't really looked back.

herbys
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby herbys » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:05 am UTC

Seriously, how can anyone be still arguing for two spaces? I understand if people say "I like it" or "It is how I am used to do it", but don't you think that if we needed more space at the end of the sentence we could just make the space after the period longer? There's no argument to defend two spaces, even if you think it looks better. None.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Envelope Generator » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:36 am UTC

Another alternative for those of a mystical bent is G. I. Gurdjieff's system of punctuation.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Plasma Mongoose » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:40 am UTC

I never realised that this was such a serious issue. The reason I used two spaces is both out of habit and on the occassion that you end up creating a wall of text, the double spaces helps break it up slightly. These spaces makes it just that bit easier to see where the sentences begin and end. Depending on the font used, a comma(,) and fullstop(.) can look almost identical, especially when you are nearly as blind as I am.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby 1055 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:44 am UTC

How are both factions not attacking the "new line after every sentence" guy? That would be horrible to read! Also, I checked the Blag and What If pages, and they use single spaces. For me, this issue only bothers me when I'm the 4th person to work on a document and the previous writers have not been consistent in their spacing.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Mr Q » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:50 am UTC

Teaspoon wrote:I'm Australian - is the double space thing an American dialect or is it just one of those inconsistencies in the global fragmentation of English?


I'm Australian and I definitely know about double spacing after a full stop.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby coredumperror » Fri Nov 01, 2013 6:59 am UTC

I first heard the monospaced-typewriter-font story a couple years back, and I switched to single space as an experiment. I've never looked back.

I still occasionally find code comments that I wrote before the switch, and if I'm already there to edit the code, I always "fix" the double spaces, too. It's actually gotten to the point where double spaces look incredibly tacky to me (especially when using a mono-spaced font).

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Arancaytar » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:06 am UTC

What I'm having trouble with is the notion that any of these three signs would be written without sentence punctuation at the end. And in capital letters. And un-serifed text. Center-aligned.
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da Doctah
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby da Doctah » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:26 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:What I'm having trouble with is the notion that any of these three signs would be written without sentence punctuation at the end. And in capital letters. And un-serifed text. Center-aligned.

And in Comic Sans!

Question for single-spacers: how does one distinguish between the period ending a sentence and one at the end of an abbreviation that happens to be followed by a capitalized proper noun?

blowfishhootie
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby blowfishhootie » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:30 am UTC

Arancaytar wrote:What I'm having trouble with is the notion that any of these three signs would be written without sentence punctuation


Well, they're not sentences, so...

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:36 am UTC

I wonder what addams will say...

Speicus
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Speicus » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:55 am UTC

I first heard about this double space phenomenon when I read Robert Bringhurst's "The elements of typographic style". It seemed a strange thing to me. He calls it a "quaint Victorian habit". I wasn't yet very knowledgable in this field, all that he said seemed wise and reasonable, and desire woke in me by swift agreement to seem wise myself. So I continued to use single spaces, as I had always done.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby sotanaht » Fri Nov 01, 2013 7:56 am UTC

I always use double spaces.  What is the argument for single spacing anyway, wasting space?  Sentences are not words, there is no reason the same rules should need to apply to them.

I remember that I was taught to double space in elementary school.  If nothing else, it probably made it easier to count the sentences in hand-written essays.

da Doctah wrote:
Arancaytar wrote:What I'm having trouble with is the notion that any of these three signs would be written without sentence punctuation at the end. And in capital letters. And un-serifed text. Center-aligned.

And in Comic Sans!

Question for single-spacers: how does one distinguish between the period ending a sentence and one at the end of an abbreviation that happens to be followed by a capitalized proper noun?


This is also a good question.  I mean with basic grammar it should be obvious, but that assumes the sentence is otherwise structured correctly.
Last edited by sotanaht on Fri Nov 01, 2013 2:50 pm UTC, edited 1 time in total.

Istaro
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Istaro » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:29 am UTC

herbys wrote:Seriously, how can anyone be still arguing for two spaces? I understand if people say "I like it" or "It is how I am used to do it", but don't you think that if we needed more space at the end of the sentence we could just make the space after the period longer? There's no argument to defend two spaces, even if you think it looks better. None.


Not sure if trolling or actually not familiar with concept of preserving information . . .

Unrelatedly, why does the comic show only one guy in the "line break after each sentence" camp? I know tons of people who do that in emails.

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Postby groszdani » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:31 am UTC

I use one space, just a bit bigger one than the other ones. (LaTeX)

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Diadem
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Diadem » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:38 am UTC

Huh, is this even still a thing? Double spaces, I mean. I've heard that people in this mythical land of 'USA' used to do this, but to the best of my knowledge this fell out of fashion over there long ago as well. I am wrong? Americans are like Microsoft: If everybody else in the world uses one standard, they will use something else. Probably for the same reason Microsoft does it. They are big enough to get away with it.

As an aside: Due to work, I've recently been working extensively in MS word for the first time in ages. And holy shit, the kerning in MS word is absolutely terrible! Randomly on the same line some spaces will be barely visible while others are gigantic. And sometimes the letters of a word are so far apart it looks like 2 words.
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dalcde
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby dalcde » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:48 am UTC

I'm in the line break without carriage camp.

It's annoying that Notepad recognizes UTF-8 but not Line feed, while Wordpad recognizes Line feed but not UTF-8.

(btw, apparently line break after sentence is insufficient. Two line breaks are needed)

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby R3sistance » Fri Nov 01, 2013 8:52 am UTC

Surely the solution to this one would be to write sentences so long that they now passable as being paragraphs to the point whereby you use nearly ever concatenating word that is potentially possible but without showing that this is what you are doing since there is only so many ands and buts you can use in sentence; However there are other methods of also elongating a sentence when considering the obvious comma or the slightly less obvious semi-colons, now that this sentence has reached a length worthy of being a single paragraph (or an unreadable mess of failure) I must consider the impact of Ellipsis...

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby time burglar » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:04 am UTC

So here's a question for C/C++/etc coders. Have you ever taken a brief break from work to send a personal email, and then received an bemused reply asking why the hell all of your sentences are terminated with semicolons?

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby mccdyl001 » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:15 am UTC

How do we know that "Double spacers" weren't just taught wrong as a joke?

It would be like having a child and teaching them colours wrong as a joke. i.e. "Johnny, go fetch the blue brick." <Johnny returns with a blue brick.> "No Johnny, thats a green brick. Fetch the blue brick over there (points to a green brick)" <Johnny returns with a green brick.> "Well done Johnny!"

Mean yes, but potentially hilarious to watch over the years as they make a total fool of themselves. I can see how "double spacers" could easily have been victims of a cruel prank..

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Klear » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:30 am UTC

da Doctah wrote:Question for single-spacers: how does one distinguish between the period ending a sentence and one at the end of an abbreviation that happens to be followed by a capitalized proper noun?


Ummm.. basic text comprehension? Are you a robot or something?

PM 2Ring wrote:I wonder what addams will say...


Haha, indeed.

BTW, I'm in the "never heard this was a thing" camp. As far as I know, double spaces were never used in Czech. What I really hate is when people don't put any space after a periods and commas.There's a lot of people who do that,and it looks terrible.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Dark_T_Zeratul » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:41 am UTC

I'm a double-spacer myself.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby balthasar_s » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:47 am UTC

Carriage return AFTER line feed.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby obfpen » Fri Nov 01, 2013 9:58 am UTC

SPACINGANDMINISCULEFORMSFORTHATMATTERAREFORBARBARIANS
ANYWAY·IFTHISWASGOODENOUGHFORCENTURIESOFROMANSTHAI
JAPANESEANDCHINESETHENITSGOODENOUGHFORUSALL·SCRIPTIO
CONTINUAFTW

Actually, I'm a third-wayist, at least for TeX and HTML (which is all there is anyway, right?), for the line-diff reason already given.
But after seeing this:
jcsalomon wrote:I tend toward long sentences with many dependent clauses,
and my rewrites often combine or split these,
so when I’m using a line-oriented VCS like Git
breaking lines after every sentence isn’t quite enough;
I’ve taken to writing my prose as if it were a sort of blank verse:
breaking lines at most punctuation points
and at other phrase boundaries.

I’ve since learned this technique called semantic linefeeds.

I'm going to convert.

I don't have any problem with others typing two spaces between sentences. It has its advantages (algorithmic sentence detection without abbreviation false positives, rapid scanning across monospaced text, etc.) and in any proper document preparation system it's not going to introduce any ugliness. It might look odd in certain office software, but then I'd argue that the problem there isn't the number of spaces typed.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby PM 2Ring » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:35 am UTC

dalcde wrote:I'm in the line break without carriage camp.

It's annoying that Notepad recognizes UTF-8 but not Line feed, while Wordpad recognizes Line feed but not UTF-8.

(btw, apparently line break after sentence is insufficient. Two line breaks are needed)


I mostly use Linux, so I forget that some Microsoft stuff screws up if you don't end lines with CRLF.

Two line breaks are a good way to mark paragraphs in plain text - it's very easy to write code to reflow such text.


Klear wrote:What I really hate is when people don't put any space after a periods and commas.There's a lot of people who do that,and it looks terrible.

+1


balthasar_s wrote:Carriage return AFTER line feed.

I hate you. :)


obfpen wrote:I don't have any problem with others typing two spaces between sentences. It has its advantages (algorithmic sentence detection without abbreviation false positives

Good point... assuming you can guarantee that the text faithfully follows the double spacing rule. OTOH, I've never been fond of sentence end double spacing - I've always thought it looks ugly.

Back in the Amiga days I used a text editor (CygnusEd) that automatically doubled spaces after periods, which I found rather annoying. Fortunately, it was very easy to write a macro to undo the doubling, but it was still annoying.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby jgh » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:35 am UTC

I've had a quick skim through some documents.
- My essays and documentation from school in the early 1980s are single spaced.
- My essays and documentation from university in the late 1980s are double spaced, as is my documentation from the early 1990s.
- From about the middle of the 1990s everything is single spaced again.
I think it must have been something I picked up at Uni. I do know that I wrote some text compression code in the early 1990s that compressed dot-space-space more efficiently that dot-space. A lot of my archived text is spaced justified so has occasional double spaces to spread the text out.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Znirk » Fri Nov 01, 2013 10:58 am UTC

So ... what is the monospaced-typewriter-font story?

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby EpicanicusStrikes » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:00 am UTC

Two spaces after every sentence. That's the proper method. 'Taught that along with my 'ABC's, though I'll admit that many of the more complex concepts of sentence structure and grammar have escaped me.

I do remember reading some version of Elements of Style that nullified the Oxford Comma. I also remember the same edition claiming that ending punctuation can be placed "Within quotation marks."

Whatever. Modern communication protocols are erasing the use of the double space, anyway. It doesn't look right and feels vaguely offensive, but language is a living thing that literally can be whatever we want and I could care less.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby Klear » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:07 am UTC

EpicanicusStrikes wrote:Two spaces after every sentence. That's the proper method.
(...)
I could care less.


I find it funny that since you have an opinion on which way is proper, you could literally care less.

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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby cellocgw » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:20 am UTC

I still remember fancy IBM Selectrics which had a half-space bar as well as the regular spacebar. Handy for elided letters as well as sentence spacings.


BTW, the real "third way" is FIle Not Found.
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Re: 1285: "Third Way"

Postby obfpen » Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:37 am UTC

Znirk wrote:So ... what is the monospaced-typewriter-font story?

Code: Select all

Basically, in monospaced text (such as that produced by old typewriters) there are unnaturally even letter widths.  Because capital and little letters are equally sized, and sentence spaces are indistinguishable from word spaces, this tends to produce a blocky appearance of words that go on and on.  But by adding an extra space between sentences, it's broken up more.  This is claimed to make the text easier to skim across.

Nowadays, though, prose is typically set in a proportional typeface where the capital letters starting (most) sentences are easily discerned, so that the text doesn't need extra spacing between sentences, and so English spacing is discouraged.

Monospaced text is still typical for programming code though, and this is perhaps why some style guides, such as Python's PEP 8, specify double spacing between sentences and before inline comments.
Last edited by obfpen on Fri Nov 01, 2013 11:41 am UTC, edited 1 time in total.


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