If your only impression of a person is from their writing, then you tend to make a bunch of assumptions based on that little bit of information that you have. It may not be right, but that’s how the human brain works – it makes quick initial judgements based on a little bit of information.
So if you’re listening to a guy being interviewed on the radio and he stutters or mumbles, then your impression of that person is based on that little snip of audio. And it isn’t a good impression.
If the first time you see someone on TV he is sweating, his eyes are flicking back and forth, and he is blinking a lot, then you’re going to base your impression of that person on those few seconds of video.
Unless you know some of the people on HTMF in real life, then all you have to go on is what they write. And if they write like an illiterate 12-year old, then that’s your initial impression of the person.
Even if a person has an important and thoughtful message, if he can’t express it properly in the chosen medium, then it won’t get across. The content doesn’t matter if you can’t communicate it.
The medium is indeed the message, right?
That changes, of course, if you know the person in real life. If you were to make the same spelling and grammar errors that others have made, DWhite, I don’t think anybody who knows you in real life would judge you based on a few badly crafted posts.
Nobody’s expecting online communication to be perfect. Your posts on HTMF aren’t being graded. We all make errors, and nobody’s perfect.
But… in the absence of other factors, you are being judged by the quality of your posts.
What really grinds my gears, though, is when someone corrects others’ grammar or spelling when they aren’t perfect themselves. It seems to be an attempt to show how intelligent you are, and it fails miserably, in my opinion.
These are the people who would criticize Neil Armstrong’s famous speech on the moon. As if that somehow makes them smarter than Armstrong or demean his accomplishment.
Pointing out that someone mixed up ‘they’re’ with ‘their’ or ‘there’ doesn’t make you smarter than them. And in the absence of other information about you, it makes you seem petty.