A Conversation for An Irreverent History of Steelmaking

The Steelmaking Piece

Post 1


Hi - Pinniped here...
Are you allowed to question the Editors? Here goes. I have three points.
1) Most important (and notwithstanding the other points below) I don't think it would be a good idea to post this Entry so soon after the terrible accident at Port Talbot. It doesn't seem in very good taste to me just now, and I think that others reading it would feel the same. Could it pend, say, another month? (Maybe it would anyway; I have no experience of this process).
2) Either by accident or design, this is an edited version of the original piece. I feel it was greatly improved (though also significantly extended) by Peer Review. The definitive version is at A647219, with sections on the Bronze Age, foundries and the 20th Century all added, and with numerous stylistic improvements (not to mention better jokes). I'm bringing this up in case you missed this "final" version accidently - in which case you should look at it, as it really is much better. If you've decided to stick with the version above for reasons of space or something - well, so be it.
3) I'm a little sorry you changed the title. I think this piece is very reverent. Being around hot metal invokes more reverence in me than any of the things that people are conventionally reverent about.
What's wrong with "Unreliable", I wonder? This piece is superficially factually accurate, but misleading if taken literally. It also has a deliberate style which is condescending and even threatening. Finally, it supposed to make people think far more deeply than the level of its jokes. "Unreliable", just like Adams' Guide. You see what I mean?
Here's hoping for a reply.

The Steelmaking Piece

Post 2

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

I quite agree, the definitive version A647219 was much better. I liked the jokes and actually thought it was more sutible for the edited guide in that form than the version which has made it. I will put a link to to this version from my home page because I am starting a section for my favorite entries. The edited version wont be getting a link.


The Steelmaking Piece

Post 3


Hi Pinniped,

In answer to your questions:

1) Unfortunately, I didn't see your notice until this morning. The Port Talbot incident was indeed tragic, and had it occurred to us, we might well have delayed the entry's publication. I hope we didn't cause any offence...

2) You're right - A647219 is better, but unfortunately, it was not the one you submitted to Peer Review (which was A644050 - evidently an earlier draft you made), so no one knew about it. Also, when an entry is accepted for the Subediting process, a copy of it is made, and it is this which is subbed. Any changes you make to the original after it's been picked by a Scout from PR will not show up in the copy that is subbed.

Some of the jokes were removed, I'm afraid - though they were good, they are not consistent with the writing guidelines for the Edited Guide. We are trying not to let the Edited Guide become a repository for Douglas Adams' humour and style of writing.

3) 'Unreliable' seemed to be the wrong word for the style. As you say, it is factually accurate (and not in the least misleading within the scope of the style), but the treatment of the material - the humorous and quirky way it is presented - seems more in keeping with the idea of 'irreverence'. This term is used in all sorts of book titles (just type it into Amazon...), and is generally used to entitle material that is usually taken to be 'serious' (e.g. opera), but is instead being treated in a flippant or more easily digestible form. See 'An Irreverent Guide to Opera', for instance. History is usually presented rather dryly and dustily, so your piece, which is presented in an untypical fashion for history, falls into the 'irreverent' category.

The argument is probably going to come down to semantics anyway - the word 'irreverent' seems to be shifting from its traditional meaning of 'disrespectful' to that of 'alternative and amusing; poking a little fun at established authority'. If this doesn't ring true, we can always change it back if you like. smiley - smiley

As you say, your original entry is still up there, as it always will be, and you're quite welcome to point people to it instead. The Guide's got room for any number of entries, in any form, but there are some criteria for inclusion in the Edited Guide.

We'd like to have your Edited entry updated with the other material, though - maybe you could put a thread in at the Update Centre: A496451.

Hope that explains our actions. smiley - smiley

The Steelmaking Piece

Post 4


Oh, and by the way, I thoroughly enjoyed the entry. Even the terrible 'Cort' pun. smiley - biggrin

The Steelmaking Piece

Post 5


Thanks Chris!
No problem with any of this - the Port Talbot thing can't be helped.
And I've got a first Edited Guide Entry now. Quite proud!

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