In another thread, ZapperZ wrote something which reminded me of a concern I have harbored for some time:
I have noticed--- or think I have noticed--- a steady decline in the reading and writing skills of PF newbies who appear to belong to the juvenile cohort, biologically speaking. Many pundits appear to have noticed--- or think they have noticed--- this phenomenon in public web forums generally. These commentators typically blame these alleged changes in on-line "normative behavior" on the adoption by many juveniles of new technology such as text messaging. And I have in fact noticed--- or think I have noticed--- quite a few PF newbies who appear to be posting (inappropriately, in my view) using "TM style", just as some years ago, on moderated UseNet newsgroups I encountered posters posting (inappropriately, in my view) using L33t ("chat room style"). More to the point, this abbreviated style of writing appears to be accompanied by an inability to carefully read sometimes complicated texts, or to try to follow intricate and sometimes technical discussions. Assuming this phenomenon is not a collective hallucination, I have to wonder: can forums like PF have any long-term future, if future generations are unable or unwilling to read carefully any text longer than a few sentences?I lost count on how many HW posts that I had to move out of the main physics forums, even when there's a sticky in there with the topic telling them clearly to not post HW/Coursework questions, IN CAPITAL LETTERS no less.
So I am skeptical if any of these things will actually work, or be effective. If they can't read simple, direct instruction that's staring at them right in their faces