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Ask Shifra

Something Different... Answering questions and making curious observations (online) since 2005.


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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blogging "Tells"


In poker, a tell is a detectable change in a player's behavior or demeanor that gives clues to that player's assessment of their hand. Behaviors that may exhibit tells include leaning forward or back, placing chips with more or less force, fidgeting, changes in breathing or tone of voice, facial expressions, direction of gaze or actions with the cards, chips and any cigarettes or drinks. A player gains an advantage if he observes another player's tell, particularly if the tell is unconscious and reliable. Some players may fake tells, hoping to induce their opponents into making mistakes based on the false tell.(WIKIPEDIA)

The blogging world is a weird one: aliases and screen names, fighting for justice from behind a monitor, and telling your deepest secrets to total strangers are all commonplace activities.
Sometimes I think we're all a little messed up. Lately there has been a new phenomenon which I'll call double-blind blogging, even thought thats not really the right words for it. I'm talking about new anonymous mini-blogs like the Hot Channie blog (spawned by snappy catch phrase on my blog) and the Dov Weasel blog (designed to bring down the bear by exposing instances of sentence lifting and plagiarism.)

Most bloggers I've spoken to assume that these new adept bloggers, who seem both technically Savvy and very aware of who's who in the J-blogging world must really be other bloggers in disguise. Based on that assumption they try to figure out who it might be (even if their detective work will only take them as far as their usual blog alias. )

Who is on their email list? Who's blogs do the quote? What is their level of technical skill on the web? What is their writing style, temperament, target audience...
Who would have the time to maintain two blogs?

Basically people are looking for tells.
While I'm not the author of the Hot Channie or Dov Weasel blog (and I don't know who they are so stop asking me already people) I was thinking a lot about my own personal writing "tells" and whether or not I could hide them. I'll confess to commenting just a few times under another fake name when telling something too personal or saying something just so snarky I didn't want it traced back to me. I'd guess most of us have done it at some time or another.

So what would be my giveaways....
Well, I tend to use dashes when commas would do (that's an easy fix.)
I also use ellipsis (ellipses?) you know those marks for parenthetical statements?... like they are going out of style. That would be a much harder habit to break.
I use the words "although" and "however" constantly but I suppose if I was adopting another persona I might try to write in a less subtle way and just foist my untempered opinion on the world. I'm also not much of a speller or an editor when I'm blogging or commenting in a hurry (like today) but I'd be more meticulous if I was trying to hide my identity.

What do you think your "tells" are?
What do you think about these mysteries wrapped in enigmas?

Tell all in the comments!

37 Comments:

At 10:59 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

You can always tell it's me becaue I'm such a bad actor.

 
At 11:02 AM, Blogger Shifra said...

...and not much of a speller either from the looks of things ;-)

You know, I don't even know what that whole "Bad Actor" thing is about. Does it mean acting more passionate or indignant than you really are about something just to increase your ratings?

 
At 11:21 AM, Anonymous needs grammer class said...

and then theres that commentor who always put in their 2 cents and forgets the basics like punctuation and appropriate sentence prose so that all statements seem like endless run on paragraphs that never seem to have a defining point
;)

 
At 11:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I freely admit to being Hot Chanie

You believe me, right?

 
At 11:57 AM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I think still wonderin' is really hot chanie(TM) because she uses "bad actor" a lot. Alot. However you spell that.

My tells? I don't have any. Well, maybe a few. There are certain grammar crimes that I make frequently. Like using sentence fragments. Instead of commas. Also I do a lot of dialogue. And obscure Homestar Runner references. I also overuse the (TM) thingie.

 
At 12:29 PM, Blogger Shoshana said...

I honestly don't know what my tells would be, except possibly the fact that I tend to use a ridiculous amount of clauses in one sentence, resulting in complex sentences that easily could have been broken into several instead of one.

I did have a commentor trying to be anonymous because they were leaving not-so-nice comments for me. Unfortunately, this commentor had also sent me some e-mails on completely different topics in which the writing style was identical to the comments (and the punctuation was quite distinctive). I caught it in a second and called the commentor on it. They were at least decent enough to be embarrassed that I found them out and apologize.

 
At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'bad actor' came from DB's blog. A few weeks ago, he called me a bad actor. The origin of his statement is complcated and i don't have time to delve into it now. Nonetheless, I contend that he compared me to Jennifer Lopez. How dare he!

 
At 1:46 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

still wonderin' is DovBear?!

 
At 1:52 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

No no, I think SW is JLO - didn't we just establish that... or was it the other way around?!

 
At 2:27 PM, Blogger DTC said...

It's obvious. You're just trying to hide the fact that you're HR's "modernish" sister in-law's first cousin. (which would also make you GH's cousin.)

 
At 3:24 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Tells are how I caught a couple of other bloggers making nasty comments on my blog as "anonymous". I was really annoyed with them - I understand changing names for something very personal (and have done so myself a few times), but to do so to snark at people is wrong.

Hot Chanie seems to be mostly funny, though, so even if it were another blogger, who cares? I've seen a few bloggers who have more than one blog, also... [under two aliases]

I wonder what my tells would be. Probably that I start sentences with whatever you're not supposed to; use semi-colons a lot - like I'm doing here; use dashes in sentences a lot; and I also use ellipses a lot...

 
At 4:16 PM, Anonymous William Shatner said...

Myyy...tellsss....arethat...I......
.....


....use....alotof....ellipses........when I....













...






....SPEAK.

 
At 4:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Believe it or not, I actually have *two* other blogs that I maintain... but neither of which involve Judaism and are not part of the J-blogosphere.

No one has ever told me that my writing style is distinctive before. I'm fairly certain that if you came across something else I'd written, you wouldn't know it was me.

The Wolf

 
At 9:20 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have three other blogs. Find them if you can.

(but don't tell anyone if you do)

 
At 9:37 PM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Oh, by the way... When I saw the picture on this post, my heart skipped a beat - but I didn't make a single body movement out of the ordinary. Talk about habit...!

 
At 9:38 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Are we looking at the same picture ezzie?

 
At 10:57 AM, Blogger Ezzie said...

Pocket rockets! :)

Sorry, I used to play poker a lot, especially in Israel...

 
At 11:06 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

I have several blogs- but I can guarantee that most people wouldn't know it.

That is why I am admitting here that I am Ren Reb.

 
At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Cro Magnon Man said...

Cro Magnon Man have tells...Always refer to self in third person and not use articles or "is".

 
At 2:05 PM, Blogger Mar Gavriel said...

And remember the short-lived "Ash Shifra" blog?

 
At 2:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Shifra, when I read the things you describe as your "tells" - the ellipses, the dashes - I actually started to visibly blush (doesn't take much for a redhead) because those are my very own . . . bad habits - and I'm aware they're in major overuse both at my blog and in any comments I leave.

So our tells sound kind of similar. But I know I'm not you and you know you're not me. And Ezzie and PT can attest to the fact that I am me in real life, although I guess if they've never met you that doesn't help much.

I also think I use a lot of filler phrases, like "for the most part" and "all things considered." My grammar isn't always Oxford-perfect, but I'm very paranoid about spelling mistakes.

I guess I'm kind of naive in that I thought that if there's something I don't want to say as RaggedyMom, I just don't say it. If I feel comfortable with a remark in a comment, it's usually something I feel comfortable enough to sign my "name" to.

This is an interesting topic. I'll take this over "cawfee tawk" anyday, Shifra!

 
At 2:57 PM, Blogger orthomom said...

I also overuse the dash - gives a sentence a bit of flair, don't you think? Otherwise, another
"tell" of mine is probably careful attention to proper spelling and punctuation - which sometimes seems woefully uncommon in the blogsophere.

 
At 11:19 AM, Anonymous Can you guess who I am said...

According to some computer software, Hot Chanie is actually written by at least two and possibly four people. One woman in her 30s, a man in his late 20s or early 30s, and possibly two teenagers, one male and one female. In all likelihood the small size of the writing samples we submitted caused the computer to believe that there were four people instead of two.

 
At 6:01 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

I sure can, and I can guess who Hot Channie is too.

Whether any of you will cop to it when confronted (privately of course) is another matter entirely.

 
At 6:56 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

PS PT- you are too funny!

 
At 7:43 PM, Blogger PsychoToddler said...

I saw Shifra and Raggedy Mom at the same place at the same time, so I can attest that neither is the other and that either could pass for Hot Chanie (TM).

The question is...have you ever seen me and Cro Magnon Man at the same time?

Hmm...get's you to wondering...don't it...

 
At 10:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When we did those Purim blogs, "Step-Ima" did an amazing parody of my writing style. I didn't even know I had a style until I read that. Whatever it is -- she got it down exactly right.

 
At 2:06 AM, Anonymous Ozzie said...

Yawp!

 
At 4:06 AM, Blogger Jameel @ The Muqata said...

Shifra; Everyone claims to overuse elipses and hyphens!

I recall when Trep blogged about that over year ago.

I think Miriam got it right; there are some highly talented people who can master the mimicry of other bloggers...and then there's the rest of us.

Maybe those who write professionally are better at it than others.

My tells include; "in any event", "can someone please explain", and of course, throwing around buzzwords like aliya, Israel, and the Shomron.

And speaking of Purim Blogs...Purim's coming up :)

 
At 12:04 PM, Blogger Shifra said...

Note to readers - if your comment leads to a blog full of porn I will delete it whether or not your comment is relevant to the post.

I have my standards.

 
At 3:34 PM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

My tells include;

Jameel,

Your major "tell" is simple. Pictures of people with a big happy face.

 
At 9:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One thing I do all the time is overuse !!! and ?!?!

For someone who in real life is kind of mellow, I sure sound overly enthusiastic and bewildered when I write.

 
At 10:01 AM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Shifra: Do you know how hard it is to be Jack and Hot Chanie?

Its simply nuts.

Jack: Mock Cleveland
HC: Shop in Cleveland (and the prices in Cleveland are great)
Jack: Write about Urinals
HC: Find a red hat to match my sweater, and blog about shoes.
Jack: Write about Flatulence
HC: Pick up kids at soccer practice, run on the treadmill.
Jack: Copy Shifra's posting on "Tells"

You get the picture?

My. Life. Is. Crazy.

 
At 2:00 AM, Blogger Jack's Shack said...

HC,

You do a poor imitation of me. I shall have to take you outside and subject you to your just rewards.

But first I must ask Shola for his blessing.

 
At 10:53 AM, Blogger Hot Chanie said...

Jack: Who's Shola?

Is that your wife?

 
At 12:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This site might interest you

 
At 5:22 AM, Anonymous Double Take said...

Considering my profession - check out www.flowingpens.com - my comments would be filled to the brim with typos galore if I wanted to truly hide my identity.

 

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