And that reason is to help the writer communicate his or her thesis.
thread currently running in Great Debates has aroused this bit of ire. I’m reluctant to link to it, because it is not my intent to start a pile-on on the OP, and the OP is hardly the only person on the 'net who is guilty of these behaviors:
*hitting the enter key randomly rather than at the end of paragraphs
*making not the slightest effort to compose entire sentences
*using ellipses not to indicate excisions in quotations, but instead strewing them about as randomly as the enter key
To everybody who does this: STOP! You don’t impress anyone with your typographic creativity. You make your text harder to read and harder to understand, and you annoy people who might be on your side. In short–stop being stupid.
I think I read the first five or so lines before giving up to confusion. It’s possible I got an idea of the point, but I doubt it.
I can understand the need for brevity when composing text messages, and I even find it acceptable in communications where clarity is not crucial, like IMs or e-amil between friends. Trying to have a debate, it’s self-defeating.
I’m mostly posting from home w/a wireless (cranky) keyboard (confess that I"ve spilled chardoney into it a time or two, but I’m sure that has nothing to do w/it). So, often the shift key doesn’t ‘take’, and a few missing letters here and there. I do, try to use correct punctuation, capitalization etc. The total lack of capitalization bugs me as well, as does the lack of paragraph breaks.
Random spacing and formatting is pretty low on my list of textual complaints. It’s not nearly as common as using an apostrophe in a possessive pronoun, or saying jive when you mean jibe.
And capitals. A lot of other languages aren’t as capital-happy as we are. My rule is that, if someone writes me without capitals and little concern for grammar, I write them back without capitals and little concern for grammar. It’s all about knowing your audience.
I do agree that we’ve come to a general consensus on this board to use capitals and show concern for grammar, but the person you’re referring to is a guest if I’m not mistaken.