HAD editing rant

Description of your first forum.

HAD needs to proof read posts

Poll ended at July 15th, 2011, 2:39 pm

Yes
6
50%
No
1
8%
I am a grammar nazi
2
17%
I don't care
3
25%
 
Total votes : 12

HAD editing rant

Postby profp » June 14th, 2011, 2:38 pm

About six months ago we (the readership) were asked to give up our time to complete a survey to support/improve/provide feedback on the general direction HAD should move in. I willingly made this investment, I appreciate HAD - and in particular the request for feedback, I visit regularly and do my best to support the site & community within my means and capabilities.

One of my main pieces of feedback was that the quality of writing needs to be improved. The frankly lazy style, poor proof reading and inconsistencies detract from otherwise excellent content. Am I alone in this perception? I am categorically not being a grammar nazi, but - for example - radio hams are regularly misrepresented as HAMS. It isn't an abbreviation. Anyone who knows the subject matter knows it's not an abbreviation, and capitalising it is just plain wrong. Then there are the lazy posts that repeat the same phrases throughout, and the pretentious style - although at least it is consistent - of 'We think this... We think that...'. (When 'think' is actually spelt right - which isn't always the case).

HAD, I want you to succeed. But in my view you need to maintain basic journalistic standards - like adopting, maintaining and adhering to a consistent house style - in order to make a go of it. I am *this* close, as a regular reader, to ditching you. I know that no-one cares about that - but I do wonder, am I alone in my hate of the recent, and rapid, decline in editorial skills?

Oh, and comments to this effect posted against one offending article were summarily censored. Thanks - you'll take my feedback when it suits you, but not at other times?
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby MS3FGX » June 14th, 2011, 3:47 pm

I don't know if it makes me a "Grammar Nazi", but I would have to agree. I can't understand how people who claim to be professional tech journalists have such poor spelling and sentence structure, to say nothing of comprehension of the source material (as clearly a number of editors don't "get" some of these projects). Frankly, I couldn't in good conscience publish an article on my site without reading it over multiple times, and I don't even have advertisers!

Even on this very forum, there are a number of mistakes made in the UI text, which I brought to the administration's attention the first week the forums where up. The response was that spelling and grammar were not priorities, and there were more important things to work on. So now, months later I am still looking at default strings like "Description of your first forum." on a supposedly professional website while, interestingly enough, I don't see the fruits of these "more important things" that were being worked on. I can't say it really instills confidence.

P.S.

The "Royal We" is completely asinine. I don't know why or how it got started, but I really wish they would stop.
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby drewmerc » June 15th, 2011, 1:06 am

i believe the the content of the post's is more important than the grammar
i'm not talking about spelling that any spell checker should catch because all post's should be spell checked
i mean what the OP wrote "radio hams are regularly misrepresented as HAMS." i have no problem with this at all
as i see no confusion here it's not like anybody is going to think the post is about cooking
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby wellernumber7 » June 15th, 2011, 1:26 pm

I'd agree.

I would have said that a simple summary of the target article, combined with HAD user comments, is all that's needed. Except many of the HAD user comments now are pointless whining.
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby profp » June 16th, 2011, 2:30 am

Based on the poll results to date, there seems to an overwhelming support of my original post.

HAD staff, perhaps you'd like to join the discussion and put forward your point of view?

It would also be really useful if you could clarify the commenting policy on the main site, as it's obvious that draconian measures have been introduced but I'm not at all clear what the criteria are for a comment to left standing, rather than deleted - it seems that any criticism, however well reasoned, qualifies a comment for deletion. I think you owe it to your commenters to clarify the situation.

It wouldn't surprise me in the least if this thread was to be deleted in due course - if it is, you'll lose my minuscule contribution to your advertising revenue :lol:
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby nullset » June 16th, 2011, 10:25 am

MS3FGX wrote:The "Royal We" is completely asinine. I don't know why or how it got started, but I really wish they would stop.


Agreed 100%. It's quite awkward and annoys me.
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby calebkraft » June 16th, 2011, 12:22 pm

OK, I'll chime in.

Do we need to proofread better?
Of course. Every site that has words, should use them in a correct manner. Not only that, none of us are professional copy editors! We're hackers! Granted, some of us are better at hacking than others, and some of us are better with words.

Is this top priority?
Not even remotely close. Top priority is getting awesome hacks out there fast and hopefully factually accurate (ugh, those mistakes are the worst.). We all have other jobs to do and really just want to share awesome hacks with you. We try to be good, but we simply aren't perfect. Sometimes we're rushed. Sometimes we're too damn excited about the project. Sometimes the spell checker gets screwy because we use dramatically* incorrect structure. Sometimes we really, actually, and seriously thought that word was correct and dammit, it wasn't. Get over it, its a hacking blog, not a thesis paper.

What are the rules on comment moderation?
If you are offensive, threatening, or spamming, or obviously trolling, we'll delete your comment. We really don't like to. Seriously. But if you start doing things like insulting us or making lewd comments towards others, we'll delete your posts and ban you.

If you're on topic and not being a total ass-hat, you won't get deleted. You can dislike a project, criticize it etc. But if you just comment "FAIL", or "arduino sux", or "i'd hit that"... well, your contribution might get trash binned.

Sometimes we have people that blow this whole thing out of proportion. They act like we're creating some type of orwellian dystopia by not allowing them to rant, off topic, about how horrible we are... on our site. :roll: A little common sense goes a long way here.

We suggest people read this and follow it.


Why do we use the royal we?
I have no idea. Long ago it was established and we've kept to it. Sometimes I like it, sometimes I don't. I've started working with the writers to come up with a little more editorial content which would all be first person. Event coverage is also always first person.

The people have spoken! why didn't you change that feature?
We get requests for changes and alterations daily. People want our site a different color, layout, format etc. Others are requesting specific content, or the removal of certain categories. Many of the requests we get are opposed to each other!
We tend to not make many huge changes. We get close to 200k page views a day and any major change brings a flood of complaints down on our head. Bad excuse, I know, but it does effect our decisions. That being said, no one will disagree that some better proofreading would be beneficial.

I hope I've covered the questions here fairly well. If not, well.. I'm around!


*(that was supposed to be grammatically, but spell check didn't like it. Case in point.)
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby profp » June 17th, 2011, 2:19 am

Caleb, thanks for stepping up to the plate. It's appreciated.

Is this top priority?
Not even remotely close. Top priority is getting awesome hacks out there fast and hopefully factually accurate (ugh, those mistakes are the worst.). We all have other jobs to do and really just want to share awesome hacks with you. We try to be good, but we simply aren't perfect. Sometimes we're rushed. Sometimes we're too damn excited about the project. Sometimes the spell checker gets screwy because we use dramatically* incorrect structure. Sometimes we really, actually, and seriously thought that word was correct and dammit, it wasn't. Get over it, its a hacking blog, not a thesis paper.


I have a couple of suggestions for you, and a couple of observations, and then I'm going to shut up.

* Find one or more volunteer copy editors. There are people out there who enjoy crafting words, and can improve the consistency and quality of HAD's style, without adding to your workload

* Use a grammar checker, not just a spelling checker. That would catch 90%+ of the issues I reckon. Another geeky tip is to use text-to-speech to read articles back to you before posting - that will catch misplaced or mis-used words.

* HAD posts are not, generally, time sensitive. Post one less item from the queue, take ten minutes or even a day longer to post, and no one is going care. The we-haven't-time thing is a weak excuse IMO.

* The commenting policy is more draconian than you outline - I know from personal experience that even the mildest correction to a post tagged on the end of a supportive comment will get trashed. Net result - it's really not worth bothering to comment & the quality of content falls (e.g. I am a qualified EE with 25 years experience in the industry)

I believe you could expand your readership significantly, and presumably make the site more attractive to prospective advertisers, if you improved the editorial quality, but I can see that's unlikely to happen in the near future. I'll check back in a few months & see how things are going - thanks for the hacks & good luck.
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Re: HAD editing rant

Postby k-ww » June 17th, 2011, 1:56 pm

I would not go crazy about typos [I find that I tend to transpose pairs of letters due to a 'longer' propagation delay on some of my fingers than the others when I am typing fast] & poor grammar - remember that the people who read this are not all native English/American speakers,
and getting stomped on for poor grammar when you are trying your best to explain a technical issue is very unfair.

I interact on a AIM channel for a German language program, and I've never been criticised for poor grammar due to my lack of knowledge of the written language or the current colloquial expressions as opposed to what I learned in school many years ago.

Look past the 'poor' language or spelling, and instead, on the intent of the questions or answers.

As to the 'quality' or type of hacks - even the most advanced hacker would have posted ones like that when they started out, if the HAD website existed then [for me 50+ years ago].

No one forces you to read any more of a hack you consider lame that the heading so you know what it's about. Thats why the 'read more..' button exists - so that those who want more than a thumbnail sketch of the topic can find out more, and you can skip quickly to the next hack.
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