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View poll results: Distributed Proofreading - What do you think?
Not a bad idea - where do I sign? 6 42.86%
Stupid idea - proofreading is overrated. 5 35.71%
Wots proofreading? 3 21.43%
Voters: 14
   
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Distributed Proofreading
Gamma 
16/8/08 11:12:22 PM
Overlord

Every issue of Atomic has typos of one form or another - affecting the quality of the magazine.

For example, in issue 92 (Sub edition), EDHEAD on page 5 had "It was a great chance, too, to personally meet AND even wider cross section of enthusiast computing". On page 29, in lovely big green letters, the survey URL is listed as "www.atomicSmpc.com.au/survey08".

So, I have a suggestion - Distributed Proofreading. Members of the Atomic community sign up to help with proofreading an article before it is sent to the printers - after signing an NDA of course.

Benefits:
- Proofreader gets to see an article before everyone else.
- Atomic magazine quality is raised.

Thoughts? Flames?

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Amiga4eva 
17/8/08 12:25:33 AM
Hero
Titan


Firstly, your poll is hardly fair. Your options are 'it's a great idea', 'proofreading is overrated' and 'what is proofreading?'.

You're basically giving the poll taker the choice of agreeing with your idea, looking like an idiot by not knowing what proof reading is, or saying that ANY proofreading is overrated.

But anyway, moving right along - the idea is interesting, but I'm honestly not sure that Atomic has some huge number of mistakes in the copy that necessitate public vetting of the content before it goes to the printer.

I personally believe that the level of errors in the copy is probably no more than any other magazine (and in its own right acceptable) it's just that the Atomic community - through forum sections like this, and meets with the staff and whatnot, feel closer to the magazine, and therefore are more readily willing to

a) voice their opinions on errors in the magazine large or small
b) more likely to actually scrutinize the magazine on a level most hardcopy publications aren't used to.

This definitely isn't a flaming, but I just don't know that the hassle of organising something like this is worth Haymarket's time, or is really required.


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Freelance writing whore for http://www.gameplayer.com.au | http://www.atomicmpc.com.au
Contact: jmatson@atomicmpc.com.au

morris 
17/8/08 3:54:16 AM
SuperHero
Immortal


I agree with everything Amiga4eva has said.

I had a long post, but he said everything more concisely than I could.


EDIT: One thing that you may not have thought of is that these guys have tight time restrictions. Distributed proof reading would eat into that time, and it's not easy to enforce the constraints on volunteers that are doing it in their spare time.


Edited by morris: 17/8/2008 3:58:48 AM

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TheFrunj 
17/8/08 12:09:53 PM
God

Definitely a novel idea, but we do have a deadline to get our stuff ready.

The error on page 29 was made by an incorrect url supplied to our designer, who finished that page within hours of having to send it, assuming that it was correct. And even so, it's not that hard to go online and see if anyone else had the problem, and found a solution (which they have).

As for the an/and thing, while it is possible to zap every single typo, we're only human. Things can slip past every now and then, and such a trivial word like that doesn't really bring the magazine down much since you still know exactly what he was talking about.


If we were to distribute them, who's to say they wouldn't miss them as well? Not to mention being held back by the person if they don't send it back to us in time, or the possibility that they would post it online (people break NDAs all the time, just look at Tweaktown).

I'll let Hollingworth come in tomorrow and give his views on it, but I surmise it'll be much the same :)

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Atomic – Tech Writer

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battlefield_gir 
17/8/08 12:20:31 PM
Titan

there was a spelling mistake on the modding section, he wrote "fanes"

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lg9142 
17/8/08 2:08:54 PM
Master

The Fallout 3- And you can't play it because... section cut out mid-sentence. Tell me this type of stuff doesn't need fixing.

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morris 
17/8/08 2:21:17 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


Quote by lg9142
The Fallout 3- And you can't play it because... section cut out mid-sentence. Tell me this type of stuff doesn't need fixing.

That's not something proof reading can fix.

That's a layout problem when the articles are put together. Sometimes things wrap to the next line, but that line is outside of the visible area.

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David Hollingworth 
18/8/08 10:36:40 AM
God

Yes, this is stuff that does need fixing.

Though I will say that the 'error' you are pointing out, lg9142, is not an error. That's an ellipsis, and if you read that header and the first line of the boxout you get a complete sentence.

However, there are more issues here than may be apparent at first glance.

Funnily enough (magazines being my business) I am a pretty harsh reader of other titles in the field, and let me tell you at our level of publishing (small publishing house, nice interest) typos - as A4E has said - are common. Missing captions (or the infamous captiongoesherecaptiongoeshere), mis-spelt words and line wrap issues are all part of the joy of making a magazine :) As is getting called on it by eagle-eyed readers.

Here's the subbing process in a nutshell. Article comes in, hopefully checked by the author, but it will still contain errors (inevitable, especially with words that are technically not mis-spelt, but a typo has changed one word to another), formatting issues and style inconsistencies.

This article is then subbed by me. This catches probably 70 per cent of those issues, then it goes to layout. Design-Dave gives each article a read through, and he might catch a few issues as well.

After design, I sub again 'on page', catch more errors, and then hand off to a fresh set of eyes - a dedicated proof-reader. The vast majority of remaining errors are caught at this stage, but sometimes more errors creep in in when you're dealing with that newly marked up copy. Replacing a short word with a long word, for instance, can cause a line to drop off a page, so this can be a fiddly process.

Regardless, we catch most of that, and when the proofs come back from the printer, another set of eyes goes over the mag.

At this stage, now in full colour and all in sequence, and a usually after a good nights sleep following a stressful deadline, we catch the last batch, and go through the process of deciding which are important enough to change. It's like triage for publishing.

The importance matters, because we have a limit on the amount of pages we can resupply - changing those printing plates at this stage costs money. So some mistakes (especially ones that may have been introduced at the same time as other mistakes were corrected), which we are quite aware of, go through regardless.

We just have to grin and wait for the feedback threads :)

Now, as to passing out the mag to sub (call it... cloud subbing?), the truth is we already have a great sub. A sub that we PAY, too, so that means there is actual accountability. Volunteering is all well and good, but when something slips through (and it will, I assure you), what happens then?

Also, signing an NDA doesn't cut it, either, as the NDAs that we sign expressly forbid people 'outside of the employ' of Haymarket from seeing copy/content.

No, the sad truth is that we already have the best processes we can manage already in place to avoid errors. And one of those processes is definitely this forum, so please, don't be afraid to call us on stuff ('sif you would be!), as it all helps us try to hone the magazine and site into the best possible product.

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"No matter where you go, there you are."

SyKRyD 
18/8/08 12:36:30 PM
Learner
its a good concept in theory (grammatical/spelling errors are also one of my pet peeves with atomic)..

..unfortunately, implementation is not so simple.

good response dave.

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Gamma 
24/8/08 10:29:36 AM
Overlord

Excellent response David. First time I've actually seen anyone describe the process. Actually looks alot like the QA process for software :)

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morris 
24/8/08 1:09:39 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


Quote by David Hollingworth
Though I will say that the 'error' you are pointing out, lg9142, is not an error. That's an ellipsis, and if you read that header and the first line of the boxout you get a complete sentence.

Actually I thought the error lg9142 was pointing out was that the boxout finishes with an incomplete URL.

"We have more information about this at www."

That's why my response above said that is a layout problem. But I did mis-read the post. It was about the title not the URL.

I like the word ellipsis. I blame Virtuoso for that.


Edited by morris: 24/8/2008 1:10:58 PM

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robzy 
24/8/08 2:43:23 PM
Hero
Immortal


Quote by David Hollingworth
(small publishing house, nice interest)


Yes, yes it is a nice interest :P

Either way, I don't find them that bad. It kind of reminds you that Atomic is a laid back magazine written by people who love tech for people who love tech. And personally I get a small kick out of finding the odd typo in Atomic.

Rob.

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עם ישראל חי

fredzfrog 
27/8/08 11:17:22 PM
Titan

Ya... the typo's are what keeps magazine feedback open... that and david's georgous pic each month... yummy! :D

But then again, if they stopped playing the japanese form of baseball ( http://www.atomicmpc.com.au/forums.asp?s=1&c=1&t=130680) then thered be no mistakes, and that'd be sad...

Hooray for tpyos!

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The Dude 1 
6/9/08 6:39:30 PM
Journeyman
How about hiring a professional proof-reader/copy-editor?

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The Dude abides.

David Hollingworth 
8/9/08 10:11:36 AM
God

Quote by The Dude 1
How about hiring a professional proof-reader/copy-editor?



Great idea - are you offering to fund the new position?

:P

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"No matter where you go, there you are."

spyder 
8/9/08 7:42:46 PM
SuperHero
Immortal


You could pay me in beer and recently-reviewed computer parts..

(although the beer may be counterproductive to the actual proofreading job...)

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