How to drum up internet traffic
 
 
 [Dictionary.com - it's fair use or something]

"Oh, dear", I exclaimed today when I saw the homepage of dictionary.com (actually dictionary.reference.com). It seems to have become a middlebrow newspaper website! We know this because they've held a Word Rage forum, where the website asks - urgh! - the public to express its contempt for words that other people use.

Holding a Word Rage forum is a tedious waste of time, but all middlebrow news sites must do it from time to time to save them from bankruptcy. It provides them with some kind of "interactive" content, and attracts web visitors.

Actually, I searched dictionary.com for the latest news on William and Kate and drew a blank! And yet they call themselves a middlebrow newspaper website?!

Anyway, let us analyse (and I do mean anal-yse) the blurb that dictionary.com uses to advertise its undignified trash. I didn't click on it, as I refuse to read the views of these particular uninformed people. I realise this makes me uninformed too, but hopefully I'm also less masochistic than them.


TITLE: "the Conversation..." - well, it's not a meaningful conversation if there's only one point of view


"Banish these Words!" - this article will not alter the English language at all
"What you said" - the ad's first mention of "you", which is immediately contradicted by their mention of how few people took part, not including you.

"Hundreds of people offered their picks for words that are abused..." - ABUSED: the very word I used on this PEF website! The difference is, I used it to satirise hateful blowhards who know nothing about language. It worries me to see a major online dictionary starting to resemble the Queen's English Society.

"debunk..." - is a real word
"game changer..." - is a real phrase, and not a controversial one. Used since 1993, according to Merriam-Webster.

The caption also mentions "going forward", a hated business-speak phrase, which would have been doomed to obscurity if it hadn't been for the heroic efforts of peevers complaining about it on the internet.


Finally, "See if you agree." Come on, fools, click on this! But wasn't this a survey of "what you said"? Why would you need to click to see if you agree with what you already said?! This does seem to be the function of most news websites: to confirm their readers' opinions, regardless of the facts. But it's not exactly the hunt for knowledge that a dictionary should be engaged in.

I wasn't wowed by the site's other headline either:
"What English plural word does not contain any of the same letters as its singular equivalent?"
English does have some unusual plurals - person/people, hoof/hooves, etc. But dictionary.com wasn't talking about modern English, as the answer was... kine. Which is the plural of cow, apparently. No, it's not "cows". What century are you living in? Dictionary.com has spoken...


See also
- Wiktionary v Dict.cc: which is more disappointing?