Say NO to winky smilies

As someone who spends a large chunk of his life on IRC, mainly due to working with the various communities on IRC, my quality-of-IRC (QoIRC?) is pretty important. Although typically blissful in my day to day bumblings, one increasing trend seems to be sweeping IRC communities like a dose of diarrhoea at a festival…

…winky smilies – πŸ˜‰

They annoy me. IRC has enough ambiguity without someone deliberately enforcing it. Some people use winky smilies all the time. Now, translate this into the real world (that’s the point of smileys). Imagine winking that much. Imagine walking to the bus stop and saying “cold out today!” ;). Imagine going to a shop and responding to a question with “no I don’t want cash back” ;). People would think you were nuts. It is just isn’t normal, and we need to put a stop to it. The world of online emotions is perfectly supported by :) :( πŸ˜› and :D.

  • neuro

    Winky smilies have their place – are you going to obliterate all winky smilies because you don’t agree with people’s usage of them? Smilies don’t kill people, the inappropriate use of acronyms kills people, lolz rofl ianal foad πŸ˜‰

  • GazzaK

    πŸ˜‰ I love them πŸ˜›

    actually, I agree, too many people use smileys

  • YES YES !


  • Malcolm

    Stop the hate! πŸ˜‰

  • Matthew Revell

    Amen brother.

  • sward

    It feels somewhat strange, but I actually agree with neuro: Winky smilies aren’t all that bad. Acronyms are just evil–I spend half my IRC life trying to work out what acronyms mean (and I am very forgetful too), and it gets worse when people start making the SFA[1] up. There is one smiley type I don’t like though: The horizontal smiley 0_0 ^_- etc.

  • sward
    1. Stupid F’in Acronyms
  • resiak

    No, you’re wrong. πŸ˜‰ means something different to :-), :-P, πŸ˜€ and :-(.

    People using MSN-style “smileys”, also known as RANDOM LETTERS IN BRACKETS which apparently expand to some really irritating picture on MSN, need to be shot, though.

    I really have no idea how I’m meant to guess that (au) means “imagine a picture of a car here”, or indeed why someone would want a picture of a car in conversation.

  • zmerlinz

    Well i always read the πŸ˜‰ smiley as if someone is speaking in a sarcastic tone. As this is hard to put accross using IRC.

    What smiley would you use for sarcasm ?

  • jono

    My objection is not so much that all winky smilies are bad – just that people who use them all the time are. πŸ˜›

  • BryanForbes

    But what if you do wink as much as you use the winkie smiley? I like winking and I don’t care if people think I’m nuts ;).

  • sil

    I suspect at least some of them are typos, since a πŸ˜‰ is just a :) where you didn’t quite hit the shift key in time for the first key.

  • davee

    I’ve just grepped my IRC logs.

    $ grep ‘;-)’ lugradio-2006-* | … … 34 ChairmanMiaow 44 blackwire83 46 mwelchuk 47 port7 49 JetlagJen 52 sebpayne 58 MWelchUK 59 Juski 67 Ghworg 78 avantman42 82 Jetlag 176 davee

    Oh, oops. I think perhaps you’re talking about me … πŸ˜€

  • Ted Haeger

    I’m picking up what you’re putting down, brother jono. πŸ˜‰ No more winkies. πŸ˜‰

  • mrben

    Winky smiley’s are vital!

    They are shorthand for tags. If you do away with them, people will think we’re serious all the time!

  • mrben

    Dammit – you stripped out the fake tags.

    They were sarcasm tags everyone πŸ˜‰

    <sarcasm></sarcasm> (/me tries again with escaped characters…..)

  • Mr b!

    Is it me or is everybody missing the point? True, i’m probably thicker than Jade Goody in a custard factory, but isnÒ€ℒt Jono saying that nobody seems to know when it’s appropriate to use a wink? They just use them at the end of every sentence regardless. He is not saying it is a crime to wink. Sleeping with your mom is a crime, donÒ€ℒt do it kids!:lol:

  • Landstalker

    The reason smileys are around is because you can’t express emotion easily in plain text. Hence why they are also referred to as emoticons. If you went to someone at the bus stop it would be plain to see that you were making a passing comment and not wanting to strike up a conversation about the current climate and weather front.

  • pcybill

    I’m curious Jono, is it the fact that a user will use the winky smile repeatedly, or that each user will include the winky smile at some point in their message?

  • davee

    I’ve done a rather more thorough analysis of the smileys present in #lugradio and am relieved that I’m no longer the biggest culprit :-)

    I got my figures wrong before because I forgot that there are typically two ways to make a smiley – both with and without a ‘-‘ in between ‘:’ and ‘)’

    See for the full analysis!

  • pen

    Smilies are only really bad when you overuse them (same with acronyms, IMHO :))

    By the way, sward: what’s wrong with ‘right-way-up’ smilies? (how else can you express a googly-eyed stare than O.o – apart from WTF, maybe?)

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    […] Jono, this is to you bud! I am so guilty of the “winky smile” as you put it. I am probably one of the worst offenders. But I think one up on the winky smile, is this one: […]

  • Rob…

    I’d have thought that most winkies were due to mistiming of shift when aiming at the : …

  • icarus

    I have a tendency to use the emots a lot, if I didn’t people would think I’m serious too often when I make suggestions like…

    you’re only solution now is to backup, format and reinstall! πŸ˜‰ :p

    without the emots that would most likely be taken serious and send a hopeless user into computer depression πŸ˜€

    The o.0 is a great way to express that “stupid look” you give to people when they say something so unbelievable words can not express it!

    But acronyms have to go…ianal is never needed, we all know that lawyers don’t post on IRC or nerd sites! :roll:

  • Chris Cunningham

    Post 24 is, like, the perfect example of why smileys should be rationed. It’s patronising, is what it is: the thought that you’re honestly going to be so dumb that you can’t figure out what tone to take a sentence in unless it’s got a little gif at the end to clue you in. And winky smileys mean “I am being clever”, which is doubly awful when you consider that one is decreasingly less likely to use the winky smiley as one’s mental capability increases.

    • Chris
  • Andreas Nilsson

    Haha, we totally need more winky smileys, I’m totally going to start doing it in public more and not just on irc!

  • DeanG


    Vague hipness is :B:A:D :!:!:!

  • tim

    Well, emoticons are more of a mood indicator and the winky smiley is just a place-filler for the other less ambiguous smileys. If you get rid of the winkey smiley, the only thing that will happen is that people will use some other approved smiley constantly and it won’t be soon until you start a ‘ban all :) smileys’ campaign.


  • fraggle

    I like to use the sticky-out-tongue smiley a lot πŸ˜›

  • Tyler

    OK πŸ˜‰

  • Jim


  • Kat (ChairmanMiaow)

    Some of us communicate a lot of what we say in sarcasm, and using it on irc without a tool to indicate what you’ve just typed is somewhat hard! I think marking up text to indicate tone would be rather more annoying. Any other suggestions about how to indicate that, or should we be ambiguous? (And how here to I indicate that I’m being slightly tongue in cheek?)

  • Jono

    Once again, my issue is not with the winky smiley per say, just its overuse. :)

  • Andrew Smith

    People will just think you’re Anne Robinson. πŸ˜‰

  • Nick Moffitt

    Ò˜» is the one true smiley.

  • neuro

    the truth will out:

    [neuro@intrepid Freenode]$ grep “;)” #lugradio.log | cut -d”<” -f2- | cut -d”>” -f1 | sed ‘s/@/ /ig’ | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | head -10 794 Xalior 721 Phated 592 mrben 303 Treenaks 297 resiak 222 dotwaffle 213 SlimeyPete 193 TMM 152 Ng 151 VooDoo [neuro@intrepid Freenode]$ grep “;)” #lugradio.log | cut -d”<” -f2- | cut -d”>” -f1 | sed ‘s/@/ /ig’ | sort | uniq -c | sort -nr | grep -i jono 26 jono 1 jonobacon


  • neuro

    jono says:

    My objection is not so much that all winky smilies are bad – just that people who use them all the time are. πŸ˜›

    So your problem isn’t the winky smiley per se, just the people who (over)use them, as you’ve said, and as I alluded to in my first comment. Why persecute the innocent medium of mood communication because of arseholes? Your campaign to “say no to winky smileys” is therefore inherently flawed – it should be “say no to overuse or unnecssary use of emoticons” πŸ˜‰

  • jono

    neuro – wise point, but I still hate the damn things. πŸ˜›

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