Thursday, September 01, 2011

Action Typing and Parentheses

Ever been on some chat and expressed an action using typed words? For example:
  • *sigh*
  • -facepalm-
  • <headdesk>
  • [sob]
It's always worked simply enough in the past. In fact, I was quite fond of using the *action* asterisks to demonstrate an action via chat. However, recently I have started using google chat more than normal msn. And in google chat, using asterisks serves to bold a word and hence the asterisks are no longer seen in chat. This is a problem because when I want to sigh, I'd like to express it as *sigh* rather than sigh

So I resorted to using the -action- dashes. At first this seemed a wonderful idea, when used on facebook and MSN with little trouble. However, GOOGLE COMPLICATES MY LIFE. For you see, -sigh- on google turns into sigh! A brilliant move on their part since I can now easily make crossed out words jokes, however again I found it difficult to describe an action! 

Then I decided I would use some form of parentheses to signify an action. Now there were many forms of parentheses to choose from...

Square parentheses [action]:
For those who often use quotations, you'll know that the square parentheses are used to add in or change a word within a quote. So if you wanted to use a quote, "This is a quote." in a sentence and be grammatically correct with caps, you'd have to write it as "[t]his is a quote." Also if someone said something but the subject was not in the quote, you'd have to add in a [he] or [she] within the quote so it made sense. "[She] gave a quote." I would rather not cause confusion between quotes and my actions so I did not use square parentheses to signify actions.

Squiggly parentheses {action}:
I have never used these parentheses... in fact I'm not really sure what they're used for outside of showing domain and range in math class... Thing is using these parentheses to signify action just looks odd to me... I don't feel like a {sigh} really shows my sigh... in fact it looks like a thought bubble to me... as though I'm thinking about sighing but not actually sighing...

Round parentheses (action): 
Round parentheses I often use to add in other phrases within my phrases (because I often like getting side tracked when I type) or when I'm adding in some form of example of what I'm talking about (eg. Right now). Hence to use them to signify an action will only cause confusion ("is she sighing right now, or is she just stating that as another idea or example?")

Weird obtuse triangular parentheses:
I can't make these things (refer to 4th parentheses in image above)... at least without using the alt + ### so let's just forget about their existence...

Normal triangular parentheses <action>:
These parentheses are used in HTML and many codes. In normal conversation I use them to create fill-in-the-blanks. Sometimes if I don't want to mention names or other things I'll say that <insert name here> did <insert action here>. Now I suppose I can take this already set in place rule to sigh by <insert sigh>... but... it's not the same... 

So for now I'm going to use {action} for a while to see if this strange thought bubble shaped parentheses is capable of fully expressing my actions. If I decide it's not up to the task, well... I could always resort to the underscore _action_ unless that causes my text to be underlined on google chat... Oh actually it causes italics! Great... just great...