A Conversation for The Sub-editor Report for 2001

Or to put it another way...

Post 1

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

I wish I had been given the chance to edit this self congratulatory whine.

To start with, I would have dumped the generalisations and assumptions. Next, I would have provided links to some of the poorly-structured rubbish that (sadly) makes it through Peer Review. This rubbish is then issued to a sub who, in the main, lovingly crafts it into a readable state.

I would also have pointed out that in the "real world", on most publications, the interaction between writer and editor is limited to the clarification of facts. This interaction is always initiated by the editor, never the writer. (If a writer poked their nose into the process the most likely outcome is that the piece would be spiked [dumped]).

As h2g2 is the first (only) chance many people will have to get their twitterings published by a reputable organisation, I feel it is only fair to point out the pitfalls that lie in wait for our budding Bill Brysons.

I also suspect the people who put this piece together are yet to discover that the only real pleasure in an article is the editing.

Or to put it another way...

Post 2

Whoami - iD dislikes punctuation

'The people who put this piece together' - that'll be me then.

'The only real pleasure in an [Entry] is the editing' - Of course it is. I don't enjoy reading the Entries, writing them, or discussing them, only being a Sub-Editor. I think not.

'generalisations and assumptions' - Since I'm not everyone, I have to generalise a bit. I do, however, try not to assume things, but talk from experience.

'If a writer poked their nose into the process...' - I, along with some other Subs I have spoke to, don't like to arrogantly assume that we're better than the Author, or more knowledgeable. This is why I welcome feedback from the Author - it helps me to get better at subbing, and my comments help them improve their writing.

Now to finish this one off...

'...self congratulatory whine' - er, no. See 'What needs to change?' 'How well does it all work?', 'Problems', etc.

While it would be incorrect to call the Reports impartial, they are intended to be balanced - this is why the team co-writes them. I merely fudge all the bits together and add a few bits here and there - 'Editing', if you like.

However, I value your opinion and await your reply with great excitement.

Whoami? smiley - cake
Ace, Guru, Scout, Sub-Editor, Muse of the Bemused, Keeper of Cake, Reports team member

Or to put it another way...

Post 3

Lonnytunes - Winter Is Here

Whoami, as I realise you are a splendid person who (with others) put this piece together with the highly desirable aim of offering a bit of insight into the mysteries of h2g2 editing and that it wasn't (apparently) meant to cover the realities of publishing in other media, I apologise if my post upset you.

What I was trying to point out is that off-line publishing is vastly different to on-line publishing. ie: offline you do not (except in unusual circumstances, often to do with legalities) get feedback between editors and writers. If a piece is badly written, it is dumped. No second chances.

This bit seems to have bemused you: "the only real pleasure in an article is the editing."

It means that a person's reading experience is enhanced by good editing. It doesn't mean that editors are infallible Gods.

Here's a gem of wisdom that was passed on to me by a crusty newspaper editor about 30 years ago. "Most writers are poor editors and most editors are poor writers."

In my opinion, not a lot has changed over the ensuing years.


Or to put it another way...

Post 4

Whoami - iD dislikes punctuation

Ah, I'm sorry. I did think it a bit out of character coming from you... smiley - smiley The idea of the Reports is to look at how h2g2 is functioning, to help people make informed decisions, but also to enable us as a team to discuss, and make, informed suggestions.

The 'only real pleasure in an article is the editing' thing is not a worry now - I just read it the wrong way.

Anyway, it was great fun rubbishing what I thought you'd written - even if I was arguing with myself. smiley - winkeye

It wasn't made clear in the Post what the Reports exactly were, or who made them, so read on at http://www.bbc.co.uk/h2g2/guide/A652466 - but don't read the other reports yet... (they're not ready)

Whoami? smiley - cake

Or to put it another way...

Post 5

Cap'n BK

'the only real pleasure in an article is the editing'. Sorry to butt in to your conversation, but...
In 1983 I took a job procuring technical publications for aircraft. This was fascinating for me , as I was both an aircraft engineer and an aircraft enthusiast (I am still the latter, though recently retired). Part of the job was editing contractor's output. I rapidly got to a stage where I couldn't read anything without mentally editing it! That can really ruin your concentration. Even now, I have to make a conscious effort to enter 'non-critical mode' before reading a book or magazine. With newspapers it is impossible to stay in that mode past the first page. At least with them getting angry at the grammar and typos stops me getting angry at the content.

Or to put it another way...

Post 6

Whoami - iD dislikes punctuation

I'm an AS/A2 (17yr-old) English Literature student - I *always* read with a critical eye, but still enjoy a book. Lovely to meet you, anyways. I like to think that people occasionally read what I wrote a while back... smiley - smileysmiley - cake

Or to put it another way...

Post 7

Whoami - iD dislikes punctuation

BTW, you might want to try writing a little Personal Space introduction - that way, one of us Aces can give you a proper h2g2 welcome! smiley - smileysmiley - cake

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