I was really happy to see that my last post sparked such a discussion! 6 comments is a lot for our newly-formed blog. I'd like to continue the debate, respond to the comments, clarify the points, etc.
My first tenet is this: I don't believe there is any such thing as right and wrong where language is concerned. As several commentators pointed out, there is (only) understandability and ease of communication. In fact, i've heard linguists say that the development of language is a constant tug-of-war between ease of articulation and ease of comprehension. And I would argue that the internet, instant messaging, and blogging have provided, for the first time in history a medium in which people communicate in real time using written text - in which people articulate with their fingers. I'm not out to make my readers decipher a lot of gibberish, as i kind of did in that last post, but i did want to point out the fact that we have the ability to easily understand a lot more than just standard spellings. Typos, misspellings, internet slang, punctuation, smilies, are all examples of things we're getting used to processing at almost full reading speed.
ACW raised another interesting point besides reading speed. Non-standard spellings will not be easily found by search engines. The itneresting thing about google, though, and the reason it's used a lot to gather linguistic statistics is because it's based only on the actual language that people use on the internet. I just searched for the phrase "priviledged language," and, of course, Google suggested the "correct" spelling, but it also returned 28,700 hits. Now, there were 2 million for the non-D spelling, but there's still a certain community of thousands of people out there who think "priviledged" is a word. So maybe it is...
I'd also like to say that while my previous post was pretty indignant, this idea wasn't sparked by the original comment posted about my spelling. That provided a great catalyst, though. If the point of the comment was really to open discussion about the use of "ethnography" (which, i admit, may well need examination), why is spelling relevant? And though the critique was presented as a joke, it doesn't change the fact that it was worth posting. That's another important tenet: i don't believe people say or write things that don't make a difference.