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Last week we asked you whether, in your opinion, academic research papers should be free online Should Academic Articles Be Free Online? [MakeUseOf Poll] Should Academic Articles Be Free Online? [MakeUseOf Poll] Aaron Swartz was behind things we’ve all heard of, like RSS and Reddit, and believed academic journal articles should be free for all. He downloaded thousands of articles using his university log in, and was... Read More or not. The results, while somewhat expected, make for one of the most unanimous polls we’ve ever had on MakeUseOf, with over 90% of the voters voting for the same option.

Out of 642 votes in total, this was the breakdown: 3% said that research articles should not be free online, 4% said they’re not sure, and 93% of the voters (that’s nearly 600 people, in case you’re curious) think that yes, research articles should be free online.

Full results and this week’s poll after the jump.

In case you’ve missed it, there’s quite an interesting discussion in the polls comments. If you’re interested in the subject, they’re all worth a read. As usual, don’t forget to check out last week’s best comment by Dee Wheat Should Academic Articles Be Free Online? [MakeUseOf Poll] Should Academic Articles Be Free Online? [MakeUseOf Poll] Aaron Swartz was behind things we’ve all heard of, like RSS and Reddit, and believed academic journal articles should be free for all. He downloaded thousands of articles using his university log in, and was... Read More who won 150 reward points!

This week’s poll question is: Do You Use Emoticons In Emails & Chats?

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Want to make some extra MakeUseOf reward points? The most useful comment on the poll will be awarded 150 points!

Emoticons are not a new thing, but I got to thinking about them this week following the addition of over a 1,000 new ones to Gmail Can’t Express Yourself? Google Adds Over 1,000 Emoticons To Gmail’s New Compose [Updates] Can’t Express Yourself? Google Adds Over 1,000 Emoticons To Gmail’s New Compose [Updates] Google has rolled out over 1,000 emoticons for Gmails’s new compose, which you can add to your emails by clicking the “Insert emoticon” icon or with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Shift+2. The complete emoticon collection includes... Read More . Emoticons had their ups and downs, but they refuse to go out of style and insist on remaining relevant even after several decades. What about you, do you use them? When answering this poll, please focus on picture emoticons, or emoji, and not on ones we ALL use from time to time such as “:)”.

So why do you like using emoticons? Why do you refrain from doing so? Do you hate emoticons with a passion? Do you find it hard to express yourself without them? Share your opinions!

  1. Lisa Santika Onggrid
    February 20, 2013 at 5:21 pm

    I use it every now and then when texting or chatting, as the mood strikes. Sometimes it's so much better with emoji and I can avoid misunderstanding (because our feelings aren't that obvious in written text) but it depends on who I'm talking to. All OK to friends but definitely not to teachers or any superior. I'll limit myself to one or two emoji per message, because overusing it will cause severe confusion over the meaning of the message, and difficult to read (read: Annoying!)

  2. Aska Nag
    February 18, 2013 at 10:14 pm

    Yes, every day I use Skype. In my opinion do without the smilies in the communication is totally impossible, but we should make it clear the interlocutor of our emotions. It seems to me smiles it is an essential part of communication.
    Best regards!

  3. Debkumar Bhadra
    February 18, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    I use emoticons rarely.

  4. Rama moorthy
    February 18, 2013 at 4:30 pm

    MUO guys , where you getting questions like these ..?although its fun, really nice and useful ..

    • Yaara Lancet
      February 21, 2013 at 7:40 pm

      Like I wrote in the poll itself, I thought about it after seeing all the new emoticons Gmail added recently.

      If you have ideas for good questions, we're always open for suggestions.

      • Rama moorthy
        February 22, 2013 at 6:42 pm

        Ya sure ..

  5. Dustin
    February 18, 2013 at 2:45 pm

    The HR individual at my company uses the :) in every single communication, email or typed, that they send out. About every other line ends with a :). Even when they really aren't necessary. :) It actually looks really unprofessional in my opinion. :)

    • Yaara Lancet
      February 21, 2013 at 7:39 pm

      That's pretty funny. :) Oh no, I did it too!

  6. Mac Witty
    February 18, 2013 at 12:37 pm

    In chats from time to time but not very often in e-mails. Do use them more often when commenting on blogs to make sure people understand and to cheer things up a bit

  7. Stephan Huebner
    February 18, 2013 at 12:18 pm

    Yes, I use them often, more often in chats than in Emails though. I see nothing wrong with using them to express my mood. Especially with ambiguous sentences they can make all the difference. Plus, using a simple laughing-smiley makes criticising something a bit less harsh, imho.

  8. Rajaa Chowdhury
    February 18, 2013 at 7:59 am

    Yes I use emoticons a lot in my chats and personal emails (I avoid it totally in official emails, as not been required and neither is it appropriate as per official communication protocol). Why do I use them? In voice communication, the emotions are made clear with voice modulations, however in textual communication, we are devoid of that advantage. So emoticons play a huge role to show the correct emotion and help avoid a lot of mis-communication. For Example, if I just write idiot and if I write idiot :P to my friend, they mean totally different. That's why emoticons are so important.

  9. Chris Hoffman
    February 18, 2013 at 7:58 am

    Old-school text emoticons are always the way to go. =^_^=

    You kids these days and your pictures. x.x

    • Randy
      February 19, 2013 at 3:48 am

      As to what I use, I'm with Chris and it's only one to indicate a joke or being pleased about something. Old school: or

    • Yaara Lancet
      February 21, 2013 at 7:37 pm

      Those take a lot of typing! I just make do with plain old :). The funny thing is that when i write text messages, I go to the trouble of writing :), when inserting a picture emoticon is actually easier these days...

  10. Louis Wang
    February 18, 2013 at 7:15 am

    In chats usually. I only use it to show that I'm kidding or not offended by whatever is being said. It's like smiling to take the sting off a potential insult.

  11. Carmen Lucía Rivera
    February 18, 2013 at 7:01 am

    Email - every once in a while, mostly when writing to my sister.
    Chats - all the time ;)

  12. Robert Owens
    February 18, 2013 at 3:35 am

    I never use them, and really never thought about using them. Heck, I don't even know how to put them in emails! (I suppose I could look it up.)

    I do, of course, use the occasional "typed" smiley, but this is something I can do without breaking my "typing train." I would think that the extra step(s) of hunting down an appropriate emoticon would break my flow while I'm typing. It's extra work.

    Also, I don't want my emails to be more emotionally hyper-expressive than I actually am!


    (I had to throw one in there!)

  13. Deborah Herrick
    February 18, 2013 at 3:27 am

    I don't use them often and then only with my grandkids who appreciate them more. I can't figure out how to pick them or use them quickly! So I only use the frown, smile, or wink.

  14. Jonathon Béasse
    February 17, 2013 at 10:25 pm

    When chatting or emailing friends/family I will use emoticons, but sparingly.

    If I were to send an email to from my business account to another business account, I would refrain from emoticons. It just doesn't look professional in my opinion.

  15. dragonmouth
    February 17, 2013 at 8:18 pm

    A written sentence cannot convey a range of feelings or emotions in the same manner as when that same sentence is spoken. Emoticons allow us to indicate sarcasm, joy, surprise, etc. So, yes, I do use emoticons but only in my posts. As a couple of posters stated, emoticons in e-mails, other than to one's close friends and family, seem a bit tacky and definitely a big no-no in business messages.

    • Lisa Santika Onggrid
      February 20, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      It's jarring to see emoticons in an otherwise flat-toned business message, but I can justify it in newsletters/announcements trying to sound friendly and casual. Done sparingly, of course. There is time and place for every single thing.

  16. Judith
    February 17, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    I try to keep my use of emoticons to a minimum. The dumbing down of the youth coming up in America seems to have sent grammar and spelling to the wayside of education. I blame it on cell phones and texting. When they were charged per letter or length of text, then the abbreviations became more prominent.
    I just do not like it at all. Then again, I am old.

    • Stephan Huebner
      February 18, 2013 at 12:22 pm

      How do smileys relate do "dumbing down"? If that were the case than replacing any (lengthy) explanation with graphics would fall in the same category. Why should one have to needlessly explain the mood under which an expression was written when a smiley does that just fine?

      • Lisa Santika Onggrid
        February 20, 2013 at 5:25 pm

        Yeah. I would place abbreviations and smileys/emoticons into different categories. They serve different purpose. I'm not against abbreviations as long as it's easy to understand, and done on purpose. It's contagious, but wise kids would learn proper grammar instead of using 'texting grammar' 24/7.

    • Yaara Lancet
      February 21, 2013 at 7:34 pm

      I don't think anyone was ever charged for texts my length of message or character. Is that what you meant?

      I think many of the emoticons and abbrevations people use today were actually born way before texting, in chats. I remember using some when I was young on IRC. We can blame certain devices, but it's happening because we're communicating by typing more and more. Different kinds of abbreviations always existed, they just looked smarter, I think. :)

  17. Scott
    February 17, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    I never use chat, but in my emails to family and friends, I do use them. Only a max. of about 3 in any given email.

    I agree with what Eric said: even though one shouldn't over use them, they are often helpful in conveying the 'attitude' behind the words (in case the words might be too easily misunderstood). A smile, a grin, a funny-looking surprised face can lighten the mood of a comment so that there's less chance of the reader taking offense at what was intended to be an inoffensive comment.

  18. Aleksandra Huey
    February 17, 2013 at 6:47 pm

    only in communication with friends and family, business communication looks very unprofessional with them.

  19. Eric Hegeman
    February 17, 2013 at 6:29 pm

    I will use them on occasion in chats, almost never in e-mails. There are times when they help convey what you are saying better than words alone will. But that said, there is such a thing as using them too much. When you have to put one in every sentence or worse, several of them in every sentence that is too much.

  20. Alan Wade
    February 17, 2013 at 6:16 pm

    Apart from the odd :) I dont actually think about using them. I think it makes email look very tacky.

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