Random thoughts on random topics



Ah, the eternal issue of footnotes. There are those who honestly feel that footnotes are a sign of sloppiness (in writing, and hence probably also in thinking): either what is stated in the footnote is important for understanding what is said in the text and then it should be part of the text; or it is not, and then it can be left out. Purists …

Others delight in the possibilities of adding ‘irrelevant’ details, side-remarks, hedges, that footnotes offer: entire underground battles are being fought there, scores are settled, new enemies are made. Here you can state an opinion without arguing for it, this is the place to display your knowledge and learning even if it has nothing to do with the topic. Exhibitionists …

Martin Stokhof
from: EOL Discussion Board
date: spring 2003