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How to Write Like a Wanker

There is some amazing writing on the web, but then there are gifts of writing that come descending out of clouds of babble like a shining star. The article, How to Write Like a Wanker, by Vincent Flanders, is one of those precious gems.

Like much of his wonderful cynical writing on his site Web Pages That Suck, this article tells it like it “isn’t” to help you understand what not to do when you write on your website or blog.

No matter what Flash-blinded web monkeys would have us believe, the Internet is a text-based medium: especially its major discussion forums (IRC and Usenet) where people from all over the world can interact and share information. A popular misconception about text messages on the Internet is that, to be an effective communicator and earn the respect and admiration of your peers, you must be able to write lucid prose; that your messages, articles, posts and pages must be easy to understand and pleasant to read.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Popular sites filled with cutting-edge Internet cognoscenti (such as Slashdot and ShackNews) give the lie to this harmful and destructive myth: they are brimming with horrific grammar, atrocious spelling, gratuitous abbreviation and childish, arrogant attitude. To be “in” on the net, you must write like a wanker.

This is truely a work of art. Among the tips he offers on writing like a wanker, my favorites are:

  • Claim False Credentials.
  • Make Shit Up.
  • Cite Urban Legends.
  • Ramble.

Take time to read through this thoroughly and see if it resembled anything you do on your site? If it does, consider yourself a wanker. ;-)

And consider fixing it and changing your writing and blogging style.

For more examples of what to do and not do on your site, see more web pages that suck.

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8 Comments

  1. Posted May 14, 2006 at 12:22 am | Permalink

    I was afraid that user-friendly blogware and easy web publishing might give the coup-de-grâce to whatever quality writing was still on the web, by providing the average anybody to flood the cyberworld with approximate grammar and alternative spelling. Just like word processors have crippled typographic quality and disposable cameras have harmed photographic creation.
    Yet I believe the reverse is happening: it seems that blog software has now also empowered those remaining literate non-geeks to have a voice when only PHP gurus and html shamans could spread their evil syntax errors.
    I’m really happy when I stumble upon handcrafted gems of text (I wish I had more time to read what quality prose the blogosphere has on offer). And I am happy to see that you have not lost all hope of bringing the spelling-heathen and grammar-pagans over to the bright side of literacy. Keep up the good writing.
    Kristen, Toulouse, France

  2. Posted June 23, 2006 at 5:43 pm | Permalink

    This article was very interesting and helpful in many ways. I understand how it really isn’t a ‘what not to do’ when writing for your blog, but he brings up some very useful ideas. Great jobs, thanks for keeping us all informed Lorelle! :)

  3. Geoff Dodd
    Posted February 16, 2007 at 10:25 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle,

    Well really, dear. You know my writing model was Aldous Huxley and a tinge of Abraham Maslow. I acquired phrases like ‘The Transcendental Unity’ – – and it’s not about having a matching pair of dentures. Not at all, as they mutter in Calcutta. We ascend to the clouds of Heaven as words mysteriously appear from our unconscious depths. We writers of the ‘Net. I am so grateful for this life.

    Geoff Dodd
    Perth
    Australia

  4. Geoff Dodd
    Posted February 17, 2007 at 11:11 pm | Permalink

    Lorelle,

    To my mind, even publishing a phrase like, “How to Write Like a Wanker” is poor style and shows inconsistent standards.

  5. Josh
    Posted October 15, 2007 at 7:51 pm | Permalink

    I like to say that writing is good for you its helps the brain to focus and helps you to feel good about self as well as others in your life.So keep write you could up being the next world biggest book writer like Harry Potter Book.

    Josh

  6. Posted January 3, 2008 at 11:18 am | Permalink

    I think if you are serious about your blog then you need to write some interesting and informative news to make the reader want to return in the future to see your new posts.

  7. Posted January 27, 2008 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

    There is so much spam around today and the only way to improve this is to write good material for your readers who will want to come back often.

  8. justquestion
    Posted January 28, 2008 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I love it! There are so many wankers out there too. I often will just stop reading a post that has horrible grammar or obviously uniformed “facts” and move on to something else, good writing does make a difference. I don’t need a lot of $100 words but I do want the words you use to be real words and have a clear meaning in the context you are using them.


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