As I understood this post, there is an argument that:
posters who want to signal will use formality
only persuaders want to signal
the reader should be suspicious of anyone who writes formally
In general, IAWYC, but I think that we may be ignoring the fact that signal-recognition has legitimate uses. Standard example: if I read Eliezer’s blog, I know in advance that he is a legitimate source of rational, logical arguments. If I read xxyy’s blog (assuming this is not peer-reviewed, etc), I have no idea—given the volume of data published online—whether what I’m reading is in any way factual. Yes, I should analyze content, read reviews, and track down references, and such. But, this is very time consuming. It is reasonable to have some pre-selection mechanism.
If this pre-selection mechanism happens to be something as silly formal word-choice, the “right” font, or using some keyword within the first few paragraphs of a paper, then so be it. To clarify: signal-recognition is weak evidence that the paper is worth reading.
I think some of the comments act as though only things written by name-brand authors can be trusted. This is false: new science is done by new scientists every day. But, the presence of new scientists implies that there must be a signaling mechanism, and that this signaling mechanism cannot be morally wrong.
We shouldn’t conclude that because someone uses signaling (“formality”/”expert style”/”eloquence”/etc) that they are attempting to persuade readers of their message. They may simply be trying to pass the first gate to readership.
Is it possible that (counter-intuitively) by attempting to disband recognized signals, we are simply being elitist?