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Grammar Fascist is a free educational game aimed at improving the standard of literacy displayed on Internet message forums.

Well that's what we're going to tell everyone.

In reality, Grammar Fascist is a game for everyone who has ever despaired at the pitiful standard of writing displayed on Internet forums. It's a game for everyone who's ever wanted to get in touch with their inner intellectual snob. It's a game for anyone who's ever wanted to visit a Brittney Spears fansite and make eight year-old girls cry.

In short, it's a game for people like me. (With the possible exception of the bit about eight year-old Brittney Spears fans).

What You Need To Play

All you need to play is a group of friends (or at the very least, people you know), a selection of message forums (alternatively, you can opt for an "open" game, where all forums on the Net are in play), and an agreed time limit, together with an appreciation and understanding of language, and a sociopathic desire to inflict that appreciation and understanding on everyone else.

Rules Overview

The basic format of the game is that you score points for certain posts you make on the selected message forums within the specified time period. Now I find with many games that the easiest way to explain the rules is to describe the passage of play, and Grammar Fascist is no exception. So here goes.

Let's imagine that you've agreed a "five-day Monday to Friday game limited to ENWorld and RPGNet". This means that the game will take place from 00:00:00 on Monday morning to 23:59:59 on Friday evening with only posts made between those times to either the ENWorld or RPGNet forums counting.

You immediately start surfing those forums for badly written posts, and stumble upon the following post.

RPGWriter

Joined: 29 June 2003
Posts: 4,576
Location: kansas

Posted: 4 January 2006, 15:45

Joe57 wrote:

Hi everyone,

Some people say that it's currently too hard to get a foothold in the RPG industry right now. But others say that it's easy if you just work hard at your writing and make an effort to get contacts. What do you guys think?

i think its reely hard get your stuff publihsed in the socalled rpg industry now becaus pepole in the industry dont apreciate good writing wen he see it lik ive written a book.they say it isnt good enough but what would they know.just becouse theyve published something id lik to publish something.theyre just scarred of talent and people like me but they dont know.my book is finihsed and redy to be printed if any compeny out their has the gut to put out... its radical... better than teh saf shit you do now.Your just trying 2 insure u stay on top.

This is an ideal post to respond to. It's important to note how the quoting mechanism works on these kind of messaging forums. In this case, the post is by RPGWriter, who is responding to a post by Joe57, and has included quoted text from Joe57. For the purposes of the game, we are only interested in the text written by RPGWriter, the author of the post. We call this post, the target post, and the person who made it, the target.

To score points, you reply to RPGWriter, quoting his entire post, and then adding your scoring critique at the bottom. We call this the scoring post. For example:

Jonny44

Joined: 4 January 2006
Posts: 1
Location: The shining city on the hill

Posted: 4 January 2006, 15:47

RPGWriter wrote:

i think its reely hard get your stuff publihsed in the socalled rpg industry now becaus pepole in the industry dont apreciate good writing wen he see it lik ive written a book.they say it isnt good enough but what would they know.just becouse theyve published something id lik to publish something.theyre just scarred of talent and people like me but they dont know.my book is finihsed and redy to be printed if any compeny out their has the gut to put out... its radical... better than teh saf shit you do now.Your just trying 2 insure u stay on top.

You appear to have made a number of mistakes in your post. They are:

i1 think its2 reely3 hard 4 get your stuff publihsed5 in the socalled6 rpg7 industry now becaus8 pepole9 in the industry dont10 apreciate11 good writing wen12 he13 see it lik14,15 ive16,17 written a book.18they19 say it isnt20 good enough21 but what would they know.22,18,just19 becouse8 theyve23 published something id24,25 lik26 to publish something27.18theyre19,28 just scarred29 of talent and people like me30 but they dont31 know32.18my19 book is finihsed33 and redy34 to be printed35 if any compeny36 out their37 has the gut38 to put out39...40 its2 radical...40 better than teh41 saf42 shit you43 do now. 18 Your19 just trying 244 insure45 u46 stay on top.

1Formatting mistake: the word "I" should be capitalised. (1 time).

2Grammatical mistake: "it's" is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (2 times).

3Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "really". (1 time).

4Logic mistake: missing word ("to"). (1 time).

5Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "published". (1 time).

6Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "so-called". (1 time).

7Formatting mistake: "rpg" should be capitalised. (1 time).

8Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "because". (2 times).

9Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "people". (1 time).

10Grammatical mistake: "don't" is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

11Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "appreciate". (1 time).

12Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "when". (1 time).

13Grammatical mistake: should say "they" not "he". (1 time).

14Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "like". (1 time).

15Logic mistake: "when they see it like I've written a book" makes no sense. (1 time).

16Grammatical mistake: I've is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

17Formatting mistake: I've should start with a capital "I". (1 time).

18Formatting mistake: there should be a space after a full stop. (5 times).

19Formatting mistake: The first letter of the first word of a sentence should be capitalised. (5 time).

20Grammatical mistake: isn't is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

21Bad writing: should have a comma or other punctuation at this point. (1 time).

22Grammatical mistake: sentence should end in a question mark. (1 time).

23Grammatical mistake: they've is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

24Grammatical mistake: I'd is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

25Formatting mistake: I'd should start with a capital "I". (1 time).

26Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "like". (1 time).

27Logic mistake: the literal meaning of that sentence is that the only reason you want to publish something is because others have published things - and I don't think that's what you're meaning to say. (1 time).

28Grammatical mistake: they're is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

29Spelling mistake: I think the word you are looking for is "scared", although as an aside, after reading this post they probably are scarred, albeit mentally. (1 time).

30Logic mistake: you appear to be saying that they are scared of you for additional reasons, beyond those of your "talent"; while this might be true, I don't think it is what you were meaning to say. (1 time).

31Grammatical mistake: don't is a contraction, and thus requires an apostrophe. (1 time).

32Logic mistake: incomplete sentence - what is it that they don't know? (1 time).

33Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "finished". (1 time).

34Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "ready". (1 time).

35Logic mistake: the literal meaning of your statement is that your book is only ready to be printed if a company is prepared to publish it, when in truth, it's either ready or not ready. (1 time).

36Spelling mistake: the correct spelling is company. (1 time).

37Logic mistake: you've said "their" when you meant "they're" (they are). (1 time).

38Grammatical mistake: correct word is "guts". (1 time).

39Logic mistake: you've said that they don't have the guts to engage in romantic assignations - I think you meant to say "put it out". (1 time).

40Grammatical mistake: "..." is not correct punctuation. (2 times).

41Spelling mistake: the correct spelling is "the". (1 time).

42Spelling mistake: the correct spelling is "safe". (1 time).

43Logic mistake: at the start of this post, you were writing for the general readership of this forum and referring to publishers in the third person. However, you have now started to refer to publishers in the second person. (1 time).

44Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "to". (1 time).

45Logic mistake: the word you were thinking of is "ensure". (1 time).

46Spelling mistake: correct spelling is "you". (1 time).

Your post contained 57 errors.

You have now made a scoring post, with an initial score of 57, one for each error you found. Each footnote in which you pointed out one or more errors is termed a score.

(As an aside, you might think that this post, with an error rate of 57 errors in 101 words is excessive. However, I've found real-world posts with rates approaching this, and sustained over a much greater length.)

It is very important to note that 57 is your provisional score. In order to remove all subjectivity from the scoring process, Grammar Fascist uses the responses of other, non-playing, forum participants to judge the validity of all scored points.

Again, I'll explain through an example. Imagine that having made your post, the following posts appear.

RPGWriter

Joined: 29 June 2003
Posts: 4,576
Location: kansas

Posted: 4 January 2006, 15:58

Your talking crap. Its people like yhou whu mak it so hard to get in to teh industary. if y dont fuk off im gona fuk u off my self

Jonny 44 wrote:

You appear to have made a number of mistakes in your post. They are:

[Rest of post follows because he's too dumb to bottom post and trim]


Peter Pumpkin

Joined: 5 April 2001
Posts: 11,934
Location: Bath, UK

Posted: 4 January 2006, 16:05

Jonny 44 wrote:

You appear to have made a number of mistakes in your post.

You appear to be new here, and while I appreciate that you are perhaps trying to be helpful, I think you are going out it in a way that will prove to be counter-productive.


Pedro

Joined: 18 December 2005
Posts: 472
Location: Madrid

Posted: 4 January 2006, 16:12

Jonny 44 wrote:

7Formatting mistake: "rpg" should be capitalised. (1 time).

Why? I can see that you can argue that since rpg is an acronym for roleplaying game it should be spelt R.P.G. But if you leave out the periods then you are clearly saying that it has become a word in its own right, and if so, whether or not to capitalise it would simply be a matter of style - with lower-case being entirely correct.

40Grammatical mistake: "..." is not correct punctuation. (2 times).

I don't think that's correct. Certainly it's very informal, but in a sense, the whole point of using puntos suspensivos (translates as suspensive points - don't know what the English term for that is) is to bypass the rules of grammar rather than breaking them.

The first post doesn't count, because any subsequent posts made by the target have no effect on scoring.

The second post does potentially count, since it is in direct response (i.e. it quotes) your scoring post, and it was made before the end time of the game. This makes it a responding post. However, since it doesn't directly contradict any of the scores you claimed, it doesn't alter your score.

The third post, by Pedro (which is also a responding post) does alter your score though, since it claims that two of your scores are incorrect.

The important thing to grasp here is that it doesn't matter if Pedro is right or wrong: claiming that your score is wrong is enough to invalidate it.

By claiming that score 7 is wrong, Pedro not only removes the 1 point you scored with it, but he also gives you a further penalty of 2 points (i.e. twice what you claimed). Similarly, claiming that score 40 is wrong eliminates the 2 points you scored with it, and adds a further penalty of 4 points. So your provisional score has now declined from 57 to 48.

Note:- a score can only be invalidated once. If another person claims that a score is incorrect, then that causes no further penalty.

However, the guiding principle of "a single contradiction by someone else is enough to forever nullify a point" also applies to responding posts. Again, imagine that the following post is then made:

RickRick

Joined: 29 June 2003
Posts: 4,576
Location: kansas

Posted: 4 January 2006, 16:19

Pedro wrote:

I don't think that's correct. Certainly it's very informal, but in a sense, the whole point of using puntos suspensivos (translates as suspensive points - don't know what the English term for that is) is to bypass the rules of grammar rather than breaking them.

I think they're called ellipses, and according to my professor at college, they are *not* correct grammar.

This post cancels Pedro's claim that score 40 was incorrect, nullifying both the 2 point loss and the 4 point penalty, putting the score back up to 54 points.

Note 1:- it doesn't nullify Pedro's entire post. The claim that score 7 was wrong has not been challenged and thus still stands.

Note 2:- once a score has been revalidated in this way, it cannot ever be invalidated again, even if someone else comes up with a different explanation as to why it's invalid.

Note 3:- you cannot yourself challenge a post which challenged you.

Finally, imagine that the following post is then made:

Mike

Joined: 15 May 2003
Posts: 7,328
Location: New York

Posted: 4 January 2006, 16:25

Jonny44 wrote:

19Formatting mistake: The first letter of the first word of a sentence should be capitalised. (5 time).

Erm... shouldn't that be 5 times. Like, plural?

This poster has found an actual mistake in your scoring post. Again, it doesn't matter whether or not he's correct - the fact that he's made the claim is enough. If this occurs, you get a -5 penalty for each mistake that is found. (Multiple mistakes can be found within a single score, each of which will incur a -5 penalty).

So in this example, the original score of 57 has now gone down to 49.

Note:- just as before, this penalty is eliminated if a single person counters the claim that you had made a mistake. At the end of the time period, each player submits a list of scoring posts (i.e. the URLs) to the rest of the players, and the scores are tallied up. The four top highest scoring posts made by each player are then totalled. (It's quality that we're looking for here, not quantity).

The highest total wins.

Additional Rules

Each player must use only one account to play the game. This does not have to be their standard account, but the name of the account must be submitted to the other players before play starts.

Players are not allowed to make posts responding to scoring posts made by other players. Any covert attempt to do so (by creating an anonymous account) is totally unacceptable, and can be punished by the other players by any means they so desire, up to, and including, death by beating.

(Laws against homicide in your locality may override the provisions of this rules set, and we strongly urge that any Grammar Fascist players take legal advice before beating any cheating players to death, no matter how strongly you want to do it).

Tactics

Grammar Fascist is a more subtle game than it might seem at first glance. This is due to the interactive nature of its scoring system. Attempting to too aggressively criticise posts may provoke a backlash that will actually reduce your score to lower than it would have been had you been more conservative.

If the game is "open", meaning that any and all forums are in play, then it's worth while searching for a forum that will offer rich pickings. Personally, I'd suggest checking out skateboarding forums and any place where people tend to wear their baseball caps backwards or call each other dude.

But at the end of the day you must never lose sight of the most important thing: the idea of the game is to have fun and educate the unwashed.


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