Passive Voice

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Passive Voice

Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Mar 18, 2014 2:38 pm

I'm reading through a lot of the old content, and much of it is written in- you guessed it- passive voice. Passive voice can be a pain to read, and makes some of the Evapedia articles quite dull. I'll be running around working on the smaller articles when I have the time.

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Postby Stryker » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:08 pm

What beyond subjective reasons do you have for doing this?
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Postby CJD » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:08 pm

Passive voice is an effective way to remain distanced and neutral. Essentially, when used effectively it's optimal for a wiki.

The only people who objectively dislike passive voice are pedants.
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Postby InstrumentalityOne » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:09 pm

I'm reading through a lot of the old content, and much of it is written in- you guessed it- english. English can be a pain to read and makes some of the Evapedia articles quite dull. I'll be running around editing things other people wrote to suit my own personal preferences when I have the time.


No but seriously, why is this a problem?

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Re: Passive Voice

Postby Tankred » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:11 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote: Passive voice can be a pain to read, and makes some of the Evapedia articles quite dull.


But this is just your personal opinion.

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Postby caragnafog dog » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:12 pm

Could you be more clear what the problem is?
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Postby Sailor Star Dust » Tue Mar 18, 2014 3:13 pm

I could be wrong, but I think passive voice was intentionally chosen way back when so the wiki would remain neutral-sounding.

I'm also curious what the exact problem is.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:10 pm

IO is right: I was not very clear. Of course, passive voice is a good way to stay distanced from opinion. However, too much "can be interpreted as" or "can be assumed to be" can be a pain and a bore- it's too much of the "to be" form. Replacing these with the phrases "is interpreted as" and "is assumed" makes it sound less like we're detached commentators and more like we're caring about what we're writing. Still passive, but more active (and active is interesting.)

Granted, Stryker, I get that you see this as subjective; however, I don't see a problem in making changes that aren't making the architecture any worse and that, in my opinion, improve the articles.

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Postby Bagheera » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:10 pm

The wiki should be consistent in its tone, and given its purpose (which is to relate events and concepts in the show as clearly as possible) passive voice is actually preferred in this instance. Of course it's dull, it's a reference work! Save the active voice for writings which are meant to entertain, not inform.

Edit: Also, "can be assumed to be" is far preferable to "is assumed to be" because it explicitly tells us that there are other options available. We want that ambiguity on many of our pages, since it makes our articles descriptive rather than proscriptive.
Last edited by Bagheera on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:13 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:12 pm

View Original PostBagheera wrote:Of course it's dull, it's a reference work!

:???: Isn't this the kind of opinion that we don't want people to have? Evangelion is supposed to be interesting, not dull and boring! If the analysis was dull, then how could we expect people to want to read it and learn from it? Interesting doesn't mean uninformative.

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Postby Bagheera » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:18 pm

Evangelion is interesting. The wiki is not Evangelion. The wiki is not there to engage people, it's there to be a point of reference so they can learn about whatever interests them. That's exactly the point where the information presented to them has to be as neutral as possible so they can come to their own conclusions and decide how they want to proceed, which means passive voice is ideal in that case.

Don't presume your tastes are shared by everyone, or that they're relevant to the disposition of the articles in the wiki. If you can't come up with something beyond "it's hard to read" or "it's boring" you don't have a good reason to make the changes you're suggesting.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:22 pm

There's a difference between my personal taste and what an English teacher would label "bad writing". I'm not changing things to be opinionated; I'm changing things so that instead of talking at the people reading the articles, it makes an attempt to engage them. It also eliminates awkward prose. Now, while that may be presumed a subjective opinion, I'm not the only one that reads the wiki. There's 5000+ members on the site, and even more that have presumably visited. Claiming that I am positively alone in thinking that the wiki is written in awkward prose is ridiculous.

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Postby Paranoid » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:24 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote::???: Isn't this the kind of opinion that we don't want people to have?

You aren't in any way entitled to dictate other people's opinions, and you certainly aren't entitled to use the wiki as a tool for that purpose. The wiki is there to provide information, not to evangelize the series, and absolutely not to evangelize certain interpretations of it.
You see changing "can be interpreted as" to "interpreted as" as more interesting writing. I see it as annoying and pretentious.
If anything, you should be worried about how people see evageeks, not the show itself.

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:There's 5000+ members on the site, and even more that have presumably visited. Claiming that I am positively alone in thinking that the wiki is written in awkward prose is ridiculous.

None of these people have spoken up vis a vis passive voice and changing suggestions to facts. Claiming that because there's a lot of members you cannot be alone in your opinion (protip: you can), and somehow that justifies changing things to your taste (yes, it is your taste) is absurd.
Last edited by Paranoid on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby Bagheera » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:27 pm

View Original PostParanoid wrote:You aren't in any way entitled to dictate other people's opinions, and you certainly aren't entitled to use the wiki as a tool for that purpose. The wiki is the to provide information, not to evangelize the series, and absolutely not to evangelize certain interpretations of it.
You see changing "can be interpreted as" to "interpreted as" as more interesting writing. I see it as annoying and pretentious.


And as I noted, that changes the meaning of that particular phrase considerably. This is very much the sort of thing that should be discussed before changes are made, since community opinion on the matter is important.

And Nuke, your English teachers weren't talking about technical writing. That's what this is. The rules are different for reference works, I promise you. You learn these things when you get both fictional works and technical papers published.
Last edited by Bagheera on Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:28 pm

Well, the reaction speaks for itself, I'd say. We really don't want another "man with a mission" reshaping the wiki to a personal opinion.
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Postby InstrumentalityOne » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:31 pm

Interesting stuff will always be interesting no matter if it was written in the passive voice or not.

Opinion or not, informative articles and passages of text just tend to be written more in the passive voice and probably always written in the passive unless it cannot be avoided.

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Just open wikipedia and you're greeted with an article where 80 percent is written all in the passive.

I know its hard to contribute with eva already being so old and all but there's no point to this

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Postby CJD » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:39 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:Still passive, but more active (and active is interesting.)


This whole idea that passive is automatically uninteresting is offensive.

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:There's a difference between my personal taste and what an English teacher would label "bad writing".


Any teacher who calls all passive voice "bad writing" should be drawn and quartered for crimes against the English language.
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Postby Nuclear Lunchbox » Tue Mar 18, 2014 4:55 pm

I seem to have been so badly misunderstood in my intentions and opinions (second time this has happened to me today, shock) that I'm not even going to bother clarifying. Consigning my appearance in this thread to the dustbin. If you need me, I'll be editing the wiki to be ad hominem. Sarcasm, for those of you that didn't get it.

Also, a) that article's got active voice, and b) I notice that some of the people telling me how to edit haven't even touched the Wiki. Huh.

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Postby Bagheera » Tue Mar 18, 2014 5:08 pm

I think you're simply confusing vehement disagreement with misunderstanding. We understand you perfectly. We know what passive voice is, and we know how it's used (and misused). We also know where it's appropriate. It's fair to say that many of the wiki articles are in dire need of editing, often on grammatical grounds. But their use of passive voice is not a major issue by any means.

Also, you'd do well to remember that people don't have to actively edit the wiki to use it, or to know what's involved in writing well. After all, in addition to the requisite ability one also needs both the time and the inclination to edit wiki pages. It's just a tad arrogant to assume that people who haven't gotten around to it for whatever reason don't know what they're talking about, hmmm?

And no, that article's largely in the passive voice. Perhaps you should learn more about what it means and then try to articulate your issues with the wiki more clearly?
For my post-3I fic, go here.
The law doesn't protect people. People protect the law. -- Akane Tsunemori, Psycho-Pass
People's deaths are to be mourned. The ability to save people should be celebrated. Life itself should be exalted. -- Volken Macmani, Tatakau Shisho: The Book of Bantorra
I hate myself. But maybe I can learn to love myself. Maybe it's okay for me to be here! That's right! I'm me, nothing more, nothing less! I'm me. I want to be me! I want to be here! And it's okay for me to be here! -- Shinji Ikari, Neon Genesis Evangelion
Yes, I know. You thought it would be something about Asuka. You're such idiots.

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Postby Mr. Tines » Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:07 pm

View Original PostNuclear Lunchbox wrote:some of the people telling me how to edit haven't even touched the Wiki. Huh.
Some of us can judge in advance when not to kick a hornets' nest.
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