old guy tip: if you find yourself writing a long defense of the actions of another person, and you feel like you've reached a point in your writing where it makes sense to quote the "dictionary definition" of a particular word that is commonly used, that's a really good sign that you might want to pause and seriously reconsider whether the subject of your defense deserves your defense.

@djsundog hmm yeah but im looking at the dictionary for the definition of cool here and there's a picture of u in it

@djsundog you can express what I was thinking so well

@djsundog indeed. The lexicographer does not distinguish between the usage of the philosopher and the fool.

@Gotterdammerung @djsundog Most lexicographers I know are also descriptivist rather than prescriptivist so they're not even telling you how people *should* be using terms, just observing how people (philosophers or fools) *do* use those words. So :flan_shrug:

@djsundog @thomasfuchs i sympathise wuth the setiment but generally speaking you can’t get old guys to change their behavior. you can only wait for them to die. depressing because i too will soon be an old guy.

@zensaiyuki @thomasfuchs you can't get an old guy to change; however, old guys can change themselves. it even happens sometimes.

@djsundog @thomasfuchs such things are complicated and personal, but I think we can all agree that internet arguments that involve arguing over dictionary definitions are the waking up in a stranger’s backyard after a bender of internet arguments. if you’re not questioning your life choices, you might not actually be sentient.

@djsundog in general, I stop reading as soon as I hit one of those dictionary definitions. Everything else aside, it's bad writing.

Can you imagine starting a physics paper with "The Oxford English Dictionary defines 'matter' as..."


@djsundog idk, sometimes people are out here like "you can't call the concentration camps concentration camps", and like,
1) do they even know what the word means
2) maybe some of them are the type to defer to an appeal to authority (in this case, a dictionary)

though also,
3) i guess probably they don't really care about the word choice as much as they do about the underlying sentiment, which all of this is mostly orthogonal to

Scalia, Dictionary Definitions 

See also: Antonin Scalia's entire Supreme Court tenure.


I don't get your point actually?
It's very common to have people use different acceptions of a word, and even presume of someone else's acception of it...
So it's often necessary (or at least good practice) to go back to the dictionary definition and reminding less-traveled people that the only acception that can be considered common ground without prior discussion is the dictionary's.

@djsundog oh man the old guy takes that I have read in the last week. Goddess save us.

@djsundog Maybe, maybe not, sometimes that old guy isn't the clueless person that others call him, but just strange and different and difficult. Yet, he has the right to be this way and say freely what he thinks. No need to push him out the door like an old dog.

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