69165RE: [BackpackGearTest] Re: EDIT ADDENDUM: Owner Review - GoLite Hex 3 - by tim todd
- Feb 3, 2006Excellent post, Steve!
These are just general comments on the subject and not directed at anyone in particular.
I've tried to, as much as possible, avoid having styles edited. I *want* different styles in reports. I can't imagine anything more boring than a few thousand cookie cutter reports. I want our readers to believe that a report they are reading could be from the person they shared a shelter with last week or the person they were talking to at the trailhead last month...or themselves, for that matter.
But we also have to have standards to make our reports readable and worthwhile. Certain information *must* be in there for reports to have value.
Editor make style *suggestions* only when they truly feel it would substantially add to the report. When they say it isn't a suggestion, but a requirement that means it is something we've discussed and decided was necessary for reports in general.
I'd also like to say I don't believe in micromanaging. The Editors have a tough job. I don't want to do their job. So I set down guidelines, general, to be sure, as to what I want and I let them decide how to get that.
I absolutely support *all* Mods and their people in their decisions. Unless I want to take over their jobs, which I don't, I don't see how it can work any other way.
I do, from time to time, comment on editing that seems to be more toward style than substance when I see it. It is a gentle reminder to Editors as to what I consider style and what I consider content. The content, the information, is the important part, not the report. The information is the only reason BGT exists.
If you feel quite strongly that it is a style issue then don't make the change. If the Editors feel quite strongly that it is a content issue and needs to be changed then they can leave it up to me and I will arbitrate it. But I am the court of last resort and am not going to second guess Editors on a daily, or weekly, or monthly basis. Don't bring it to me unless it is a deal breaker between you and BGT.
And when I make a decision the only discussion is if you want to follow it or leave BGT.
<http://www.backpackgeartest.org/> http://www.BackpackGearTest.org : the most comprehensive interactive gear reviews and tests on the planet.
From: BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com [mailto:BackpackGearTest@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of Steven H.Miller
Sent: Friday, February 03, 2006 10:42 AM
Subject: Re: [BackpackGearTest] Re: EDIT ADDENDUM: Owner Review - GoLite Hex 3 - by tim todd
Ted and Jason:
Actually, looking back through my emails, I can't find the Survival
Guide. I certainly read the review-writing lessons on the website, and
I think I followed the suggestions pretty closely (but we'll see when
the editor "has at" my first review, won't we!)
But having read a bunch of fresh reviews and the edits of them over the
past few weeks, it seems to me that there are not only standards -
which are addressed well in your post, Ted - but also "styles" involved
here, and style requirements are not really clearly documented in the
Style is a very subjective call. I have noticed that every so often, a
new report writer just freaks out about being edited. I've seen it
twice in the past three weeks. It has seemed to center on a sense of
outrage that the editor is being too demanding, too subjective, too
It would certainly make it easier for a lot of new report-writers if a
couple of you veterans could try to document some thoughts on style,
since you are certainly operating out of your style-opinions in your
Now, I write for a living, and my skin got toughened up to editing a
couple of decades ago. I feel it incumbent on me to pass along some
advice that helped me over this emotional hurdle:
a) If your editor does not seem objective to you, remember that as the
author, you are probably the least objective of all the parties
involved. Of course you think your piece is good: that's why you wrote
it that way. But if you can step back from it honestly and pretend
somebody else wrote it and see if you can spot anything in it that
needs fixing... you'll find something every time. Most really good
writers are never completely satisfied with their work, and feel that
it was never really "finished" and perfected, only that they had to
part with it at some point anyway.
b) It's important to distinguish between you and your work. Criticism
of your work is not criticism of you. Outright rejection of your work
is not rejection of you. Nobody's talking about you as a human being
when they're editing your report on a sleeping bag. (The first time I
sent off a screenplay and got it back with a short 'Thanks, but no
thanks' note, I called an older and wiser friend and glumly told her
what had happened. "I got rejected" I said. "You did not get
rejected!" she said very briskly. "Your script got rejected. They
don't know you. They've never even met you.")
c) This kind of writing is a job, it's not art. It's not poetry, it's
not a confession of your inmost feelings, it's not a love letter. If
it was one of those things, criticism of your style might be worth
taking personally. But this is a job. If you were working your first
day on a construction job, and a veteran carpenter came by and pointed
to two boards you'd nailed together and said, "Hey, that joint's not
square," you wouldn't start yelling at him for criticizing you. You'd
get your square and fix the joint, and be thankful the guy helped you
out before you put up the wall-frame and found that the roof wouldn't
sit on it correctly. Writing-style is more subjective than the
squareness of two studs, but it's still a job, not art, and it's not
worth expending a lot of emotional energy getting defensive about it.
You are probably imperfect as a writer, and your editor is probably
imperfect as an editor. All we can do is try.
All that said, I sympathize with the two freak-outs I've seen here.
It's terrible to feel that a strangers are capriciously torturing you,
just because they can. I don't know how the editors decide between
what things are mandatory edits and what are suggestions, but I suspect
that therein lies the key to the emotional problems I've seen so far.
On Feb 3, 2006, at 7:02 AM, edwardripleyduggan wrote:
> > Are these "house styles and standards" delineated in writing
> > that's accessible to new reporters? It might ease the editor's work
> > considerably.
> > SteveM
> Not to mention the writer's...
> Jason's post addressed this issue pretty well. The Survival Guide,
> though a little out of date for a few minor details (a new version is
> in the works) remains an essential document. Jason stressed that, and
> as both a tester and an editor I agree.
> One major source of edits is in the matter of conversions and units.
> The BGT site has a converter utility. The foot of this page has pretty
> comprehensive information regarding how this information should be
> presented, and I consider this text indispensable.
> The BGT standards are not hidden away or arbitrary; they are all
> documented, and most of the documentation is indicated upfront. It
> seems not everyone reads it, though (or perhaps it isn't internalized
> easily). I really don't expect perfect ORs to come rolling in--it
> would be boring if they did--but I do ask that those submitting them
> carefully attend to my edits and advice. Most do.
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