Discussions about eggcorns and related topics
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Thanks for your understanding.
Chris -- 2011-03-08
The apology first. When I opened this forum back last autumn, I was torn: On the one hand, the thread for readers’ contribution on the main site had become unmanageable, and some regulars on the Usenet forum alt.usage.english seemed a bit fed up with eggcorn talk—so a space for eggcorn discussions among the interested general public was needed; on the other hand I knew full well that I wouldn’t have many resources to devote to such a space. I hoped that a measure of self-organization would take place, and that the contributors might start talking with each other. (And even in the best case, I didn’t want this forum to be a “you ask, we answer” sort of thing.)
In the end, and for a long list of reasons many of which quite personal, my available time and energy turned out to be in even shorter supply than I had feared, and this forum languished. I’m sorry about that. Many of you have noted excellent eggcorns, which, after some checking and thought, should go right on the main site. Many have come up with intriguing and strange borderline phenomena; these, in my experience, take up even more time, because you keep coming back to them, trying to understand what is going on.
The lack of response must have been frustrating, in particular for the regular posters. I’ll try to do better.
Still, please don’t expect any miracles. The bulk of the entries on the main site are authored by three people: Arnold Zwicky, Ben Zimmer, plus myself. Both of them have multiple engagements and responsibilities. Even leaving aside the contributions in the forum, all three of us are, in Arnold Zwicky’s words, many eggcorns behind.
As for the housekeeping, I have removed the spam that has been infesting several threads. Any type of posting now requires registration. If this is not enough to stop the spammers the rules can be tightened further.
I have also resurrected the original Contribute! thread, with paged comments and hopefully persistent links. A very nasty, long-standing bug that intermittently caused some pages to refuse to load at all (with an invisible-to-the-reader Internal Server Error) seems to have finally gone away, too. Last, I have made some minor layout tweaks to accommodate users of Microsoft Internet Explorer.
It is very gratifying to see that the adversity hasn’t stopped the most determined eggcornistas’ contributions—from Ken Lakritz, who supplies us with material much faster than we can follow; from Pat Schwieterman, who relentlessly points to what’s already there in order to improve the overall site; from occasional posters who still find their way in here. Many thanks. A lot deserves a reply, or at least thoughtful consideration. I’ll start by reading my way back through your threads.