So given that I seem to have pissed off some people on C18-L, now what do I do? I was not as polite as I could have been in pointing out the well-established ALL CAPS IS SHOUTING convention. However, the response to what I said is way out of proportion. I will wait before I respond at all. As the comments to my previous entry indicate, graduate students and younger scholars are put off by the kind of animosity often displayed on listservs. I know I was when I was a grad student.
I think I will apologize for the nature of my original post but clarify that the all caps convention applies to Internet communication (and has for a long time), not to all forms of writing. One of the C18-L correspondents seems to be confused about the convention, citing eighteenth-century poet Alexander Pope’s use of all caps as a defense. I am also toying with the idea of joking like this: “To avoid confusion, all future ad hominem attacks upon me will please use the phrase ‘ethical onanist.’ This is what is printed on my business cards, and my chair says the department can’t pay to have new cards printed up with the perversely brilliant phrase ‘moral masturbator’ on them.”
I’m open to suggestions. Please advise.