TLDNR and why you should never ever use it. Ever.
Posted on June 30th, 2010
If there’s one thing that really annoys me, it’s seeing “TLDNR” posted anywhere, ever*.
“TLDNR” is a sign of everything that’s wrong with the internet, in my opinion. It marries poor grammar with downright rudeness and implies that any piece of writing over a screen’s length is not worth the effort of reading. An acronym coined by the kind of moron that hangs about online with nary a good word to say about anyone, TLDNR stands for ‘too long did not read’.
First of all, congratu-frickin-lations for coming up with that, sounds as though you had a team of Oxford scholars working round the clock on it. Secondly, it’s not really a sentence, is it? Ok, so maybe it contains all the appropriate types of word required to make up a sentence, but it’s quite clearly caveman speak. Me tarzan you jane, too long did not read, me hungry want food. See what I mean?
I see where this has come from: simply using an acronym wasn’t quick enough for you, your time is so precious that you can’t even spare the three seconds it takes to form a proper sentence to abbreviate. A quick look on, er, Wiktionary reveals that, hey! There are variants! Some favour the punctuated acronym, whether it’s the insertion of a colon, semi-colon or, for no fathomable reason, a forward slash after ‘long’. Hell, you can even use TLDR (too long didn’t read) if you’re too busy to spare the millisecond it takes to type an N. Here’s an idea, save yourself even more time by just not commenting at all. What do I care if you didn’t read something? In fact, let’s formalise this: if you don’t comment on it, I’ll just assume you didn’t read it. Deal? There, saved you another eight precious seconds to spend trolling about elsewhere online.
The people who coined TLDNR are no doubt the same people who rfs2wst txtmsg spc on vwls so they don’t have to shell out the bank-breaking sum of 20 pence instead of 10. In the end, their messages make no sense and leave them sounding like an illiterate teenager. We should all agree to delete them unceremoniously and never give them another thought. (Sorry Mum.)
But why, general moronity aside, aren’t we allowed to be wordy on the internet? (I say ‘we’ as if I belong to that club of bloggers who actually have readers and not just words. I realise also that the eight people who do actually read this have probably given up by now. Understandable. What was I saying again? Oh yeah:) why does everything has to be so quick and short and sharp? It’s as though there’s an unwritten rule that decrees we shalt not make a point elegantly in ten words if we can do it clumsily in three.
The real problem is that this stupid acronym assumes that long = boring. It is not so! There are plenty of brief, boring blog posts and news pieces online – hell, I’ve written a good few of them. The reverse is also true; but people’s attention spans are so distressingly short now, it’s as though we just can’t be bothered to concentrate on something for longer than three seconds. Why bother reading something properly when you can get the gist from the headline and a quick skim of the first paragraph? And why waste time actually reading something if you can leap straight into the comments and berate the author for putting time and effort into something that you couldn’t be bothered to read instead?
Me, I like a long read. I like the twisting winding tangent-y ramblings of the witty, the sharp, the passionate and the interesting – even if they consist of 16,000 brilliantly nonsensical words about a videogames show in which I have little-to-no interest.
Now, Twitter; that’s a different kettle of fish. I hate the verbose on Twitter. If you find yourself repeatedly taking three or four tweets to make your one point, you need to forget Twitter and get yourself a blog. The occasional two-tweet case is acceptable. I’ve even been known to do it myself, you know.
You know why there’s no acronym for ‘Wow, this was long but totally worth it as I enjoyed reading it a lot and it was generally really interesting, good job person who wrote it’? Because if you actually read something, you get to actually form your own opinion, which you can then actually legitimately post as a comment and I won’t loathe you forever even if it’s really mean.
Also it would be stupid: WTWLBTWIAIERIALAIWGRIGJPWWI would never catch on.
Inevitably, some fucking comedian is going to post a TLDNR-or-variant comment now. Good imagination skills, internet. You know what else we could try? Selling pre-sliced bread and a box that sits in your living room and displays moving pictures.
*except, annoyingly, the t-shirt from BustedTees that the above image is taken from.