103 Comma Kings

I am a member of several Linkedin groups. These groups are virtual ‘clubs’ where individuals gather based on professional or personal interests. Typically, one group member brings up a topic or asks a question and thus begins a discussion thread. At times the threads are interesting to their conclusion, but lately I am finding that too many deteriorate into sheer and utter nonsense where  loquacious individuals must comment on every single post and some even start fights with mean-spirited criticisms and replies. Then there are the never-ending story threads like the one that prompts me to write now.

Imagine: 103 mostly self-righteous comments on correct comma placement in a couple sentences presented by one poor soul who must rue the moment he asked this group for advice. What’s more, these 103 comments occurred in 2 days – significant both for LI groups and certainly for a topic such as this. As they comment on the commas, everyone speaks with great authority whether they think the example was correct or not. And these comments are punctuated by statements about credentials: “I am a certified high school English teacher,” “I am a professional editor,” “I have written 10-million books,” and on it goes. I am incredulous: how can these folks have the time (and energy) to create tomes on comma correctness?

Ergo, to assuage my growing agida, I think I will send everyone on the LI list a copy of Strunk and White’s The Elements of Style.