Thanks for the reviews but...

Started Apr 10, 2010 | Discussions thread
chuxter
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Re: Thanks for the reviews but...
In reply to Simon Joinson, Apr 13, 2010

Simon Joinson wrote:

chuxter wrote:

Simon Joinson wrote:

svuori wrote:

I would've liked to see the reviews proofread. I spotted quite a lot of typos with just a quick skimming.

  • Sampo

Yep, there's typos. Always have been, always will be. We correct them when people use the feedback link over on the left to tell us. If you really, really care more about typos than content then I suggest maybe buying a magazine

Simon, you do a good job. Don't get defensive! As you say, you are not perfect. No one expects you to be. There is a well characterized "human error rate" and there is nothing that can make it go to zero...even attempts to reduce it to 50% are pointless.

But, there are ways to reduce typing errors significantly and they don't involve flogging employees or covert monitoring of errors with subsequent financial penalties. I'd suggest dpr simply establish a cadre of on-line proof readers to check everything before you go to "press".

I'm a member of a club that publishes a monthly magazine (both print and on-line versions) and that's what we do...simply get members to volunteer to be proof readers. We have a relatively large membership and it was easy to coerce 30 members to do this. If one happens to be busy, that's no problem, because we always have plenty who can do this proofing quickly (we are always late, thus in a rush!).

You are sorta doing that anyway, but by putting reviews on-line and getting your readers to send you messages about the typos, you open up yourselves to criticism. It does seem that reviews are increasingly sloppy.

I don't disagree that ideally we'd be perfect at publication, but given that 99.9% of these 'typos' are so insignificant and that we're under intense pressure from the community to deliver reviews in a more timely manner - and that we have systems in place to ensure errors of fact don't get through to publication - we've decided that in a dynamic medium such as the internet, a couple of days 'bedding down' for the reviews (during which time the typos are corrected) is an acceptable compromise. You may disagree, but that's our position.

I understood your "position" even before you related it and I'm sympathetic.

We already spend a day proofing the reviews (in addition to all the time spend ensuring the tests are accurate). In a 30+ page review we usually get a handful of minor typos reported in the first few hours. We've never had to pull a review due to testing, analysis or interpretation errors, we pride ourselves on getting the important stuff right and fixing the little text errors that inevitably creep in as soon as they're spotted. With a small team that's the best we can do right now.

PS, point about external proofreaders duly noted (and not dismissed out of hand - it's not like we haven't considered it before).

Yes, it's a rather obvious idea. One additional point...it's widely understood that the worst proof-readers are those closest to the product. I assume that with your small group, you proof each others writing? If so, that may be part of the problem. You need external, disconnected people to do the proofing.

Heck, if you already budget 1 whole day for proofing, think what could be done at night by others in different time zones while you sleep? Yes, I know it's presumptuous of me to assume that you get to sleep.

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Charlie Davis
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