Message Editing

Message Editing

1. Introduction

As a result, computer-based systems for editing and improving the readability and correctness of such texts are becoming increasingly important. At the most basic level, spell checking and correction has become a standard feature in many email systems and instant messaging clients. More advanced tools seek to improve the overall grammatical and lexical quality of the text by suggesting broad changes that do not deviate significantly from the original intended message. An example of such a tool is the work of Nenkova et al., which first determines the purpose of the email and then suggests rewrites that best fit the model. In a similar fashion, tools used in language learning, such as the Intelligent Writing Tutor and its successors, often check for errors based on the native language of the author and suggest changes to the text in an effort to improve the author’s English skills. This area of research is broad and complex, yet the limited study of user interfaces for editing message content suggests that little of this technology is reaching the hands of real users. A user editing interface differs from the natural writing environment and thus often leads to user frustration or rejection of the change tools. This research hopes to shed some light on this area by examining current methods and technologies for message editing, defining what makes a good edit of message content, and generating a scheme for empirical testing of the usefulness of specific edit types.

The internet is the most powerful, influential, and far-reaching communication tool ever created. It has transformed human communication, breaking down the barriers of time and distance, allowing people to interact in ways that were previously impossible. Email, instant messaging, and chat rooms have radically changed the way in which we interact with one another, creating new and unique social phenomena. These communication tools offer a wealth of research opportunities, as they provide an unobtrusive window into the workings of human interaction. Emails, in particular, are an ephemeral record of communication, making them an ideal data source for social science research. Unfortunately, these tools also suffer from an age-old problem: people make mistakes. Email, chat, and instant messages are typed quickly and often in a less formal register and as a result are filled with typographical, spelling, and grammar errors.

2. Benefits of Message Editing

2.3 Enhance message quality: If you find an error in a message already posted, you can always fix it. People who read the forum without having read the original message will get an enhanced quality of communication.

2.2 Withdrawal: In the event of a potential misunderstanding, you may be able to alleviate it by withdrawing the message and explaining yourself in person or over the phone. This can work quite nicely on the avoidance side of conflict management, where you are trying to steer clear of something that may cause a heated argument. This can also be known as postponing.

2.1 Replacement: In the event of an error in communication, you may be able to avoid causing a misunderstanding.

Editing messages can bring out a world of differences in communication. Though the process can be time-consuming and require a lot of thinking and consideration, it can be beneficial in the long run. Here are some benefits:

3. Techniques for Message Editing

– Silent reading

Some editing changes can be handled only when the writer is silent; others can be made when the message is read aloud. But it is probable that 90 percent of all editing changes can be handled when the writer is silent. You hear your own voice so clearly that you may not be able to suppress it in favor of the voice of the reader if you are required to read aloud what you have written. Do not hesitate to mark all over your copy, for in the long run it will pay you to take on any editing change that occurs to you, however trivial it may seem. Many an ostensibly minor error has a way of coming to the reader’s attention and spoiling his impression of your message.

– Reading for content

As you read alone, try to put yourself in the reader’s place. Concentrate on your message in opposition to the content. Would the reader be able to follow the grammar, usage, and style at first reading, or would he be forced to reread phrases or sentences? Is your meaning clear, or would it be necessary to explain what you have written? Arrive at the answers to such questions without altering your document at this time. Then try to evaluate your message as though it were the written or spoken communication of another. This is difficult, for the reader is the only judge of the totality of the impression given by your message, and you, as the writer, cannot read at once with the mind of the reader. But you can still gain immeasurably by exercising critical ingenuity.

4. Tools for Message Editing

The simplest tool for message editing is the ‘replace’ function. By examining the distribution of a particular letter within the document, this tool enables the writer to swiftly exchange one letter for another. A good example of the effective use of ‘replace’ can be found in Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. While working on this novel, Carroll was invited to transcribe the original manuscript of an ancient, anonymous poem. After slogging over this task for several weeks, he celebrated its completion by employing the ‘replace’ function to exchange the letters of the poem with those of Alice. In doing so, Carroll was able to give two copies of his work to different friends, without having to labor over the manuscript of Alice.

Another basic tool is ‘delete’. This implies that it is possible to get from one text to another by subtracting. When applied in a modern word processor, the ‘delete’ function constitutes a sort of ‘safety net’, as it is always possible to restore a deleted segment of text to its original state. Having said this, the ‘delete’ function has been used to significant effect in the history of editing. Lord Alfred Tennyson once complained to his friend and publisher Moxon that he was unhappy with his latest poem. Moxon suggested that Tennyson read him the poem, so that they could both decide whether it was worth publishing. As Tennyson began to recite, Moxon sat at his side tearing entire stanzas from the manuscript, until the poet angrily called to him, ‘Hold thy hand, Man, or there will be nothing left!’.

5. Best Practices for Message Editing

d. Do not hesitate to extensively rewrite your message. Many people believe that the best writers are those who have a natural talent for writing. In reality, even skilled writers revise their work numerous times to deliver the best possible product. With practice, you can vastly improve the quality of your writing by being willing to discard weak text and rewrite it completely.

c. Save or print a hard copy of correspondence you want to edit. Computer monitors tend to tire the eyes, and mistakes can be missed. Reading from a hard copy and using a pen to make corrections can greatly improve the thoroughness of the editing process.

b. When reviewing your own text, read it aloud to yourself to catch awkward phrasing and mistakes. If possible, try to have another person proofread your work. Coordinating multiple viewpoints can lead to many ideas for improvement.

a. Although instant messaging sometimes brings out our most informal language, try to maintain a standard of professionalism when allowing others to view your messages. Improper spelling, punctuation, or capitalization can all result in a negative image of you. Traditional sentence and paragraph structures should still be maintained to create easy-to-read text. Using emoticons and abbreviations is generally discouraged in a professional setting.

In addition to following the guidelines for effective writing, please keep in mind the following techniques when editing your messages.

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