A Conversation for How to comment in Peer Review

A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 41

Martin Harper

Nope - I'm not going to give way! smiley - devil

Clearly this sentence is one of those that can be parsed two (at least!) different ways, and since there are no precedence rules in English grammar, all could be valid. However, your parsing is inconsistent with the actual spelling of the sentence. That doesn't necessarily mean that it is wrong - HVL may indeed have made a typo - but it does make your parse less likely.

This is just a case where you have to use the spelling to dis-ambiguate the parsing. Additional support to my parse is provided by looking at the facts: some of the interesting parts of h2g2 make it different from most other websites, but some do not. For example, I'm interested in the politics of h2g2, but the politics here are not dramatically different to politics on other websites.

In order to criticise spelling and grammar I think you have to be pretty confident that you've got the correct intended meaning of the sentence - and if I were in your position I would not be so confident... smiley - tongueout

-Martin


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 42

Researcher 188007



I capitulate. I've managed to make a complete a**e of myself. At least it's Friday.

My thinking was veering towards the mechanical - in this case, the 'which' threw me (a 'that' would have made it more obvious I was talking gubbins). There are special rules for 'one of' constructions which I chose to ignore for some reason.

On reflection, I think your way of parsing the sentence is the only logical one. I don't know what you mean by 'there are no precedence rules in English grammar'. English grammar is not as precisely codified as in some other languages, but the logic behind syntax is usually irrefutable once clarified. Unlike in other issues, such as whether 'politics' should be a singualar or plural noun.

And the moral is (once again): before commenting in PR, check your facts, and if you're going to be pig-headed, make damn sure you're right. Apologies for the complete waste of time to HVL and everyone concerned.

A somewhat chastened Jackanapes


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 43

Sol

Just for the sheer hell of it, and with any luck to annoy Hoovooloo straight off by not reading the article before commenting smiley - winkeye , I agree with Lucinda that there are two interpretations, and two varients in the structure therefore. And I'd be willing to bet that Hoovooloo knows that too.

Mind you, I'd say that in the varient where there has been no typo, a comma wouldn't be appropriate. Because, as Lucinda says this bit would be defining which parts make it different.

Mind you, I had to hold the computer upside down and squint a bit before I saw it.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 44

Sol

Sml post!

No really, though, I read it the same way as you, Jack, first.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 45

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

actually, i think it is a silly sentance and should be completely rewritten.

smiley - tongueout

something along the lines of
a unique feature of h2g2 is the peer review system. this involves.......


why make it more complicated that you have to!??!?


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 46

Researcher 188007



Exactly. It's your duty to the reader to rewrite sentences that may be ambiguous.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 47

Sol

The original sentence might be said to lend itself to a bit of ambiguity. Possibly.

Hoovooloo has already addressed this point, but, aside from the fact that I enjoyed it, and adding my voice to others that something of the sort might be useful, and that there are some very good points here, I would agree that it is a bit hectoring for inclusion as it is.

So why not modify it a bit?


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 48

Geoff Taylor - Gullible Chump

It's such a shame. There was a fascinating (if pedantic) argument about the structure of a sentence, and then he goes and spoils it all by calling himself a gobs**te! smiley - biggrin

I want to add my voice to those that say that the article would make a good basis for an official guideline, rather than a Guide entry in itself.

smiley - cheers
Geoff


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 49

Spiff

hello all, smiley - ok

I commented on the piece earlier, and nothing immediately to add there.

I just wanted to suggest an easy way to show that 'make' in the opening sentence *must* be plural.

The sentence breaks down into three parts, initially. Subject - PR; main verb - is; complement - 'one of... websites.'

Then the third part can be paraphrased as 'one of .

contains a relative clause all of its own, which is where the confusion arises.

So we can see why we get a plural verb in: 'the parts of h2g2 that make it different to other websites.' (I agree with MS that 'that' is better in most contexts, but that is another story)

smiley - ufo

A more lateral approach also seems to point towards the same analysis:

'Peer Review' is *not* a website.

h2g2 *is* a website.

The complement of 'make' in the relative clause is 'it' which is causing people confusion, because of the two preceding noun phrases; 'Peer Review' and 'parts of h2g2'.

BUT - Peer Review is *not* a website, and 'it' *is* identified as a website (admittedly by comparison, but it is identified as being a website among other websites)



The second effort seemed more comprehensible *before* I started trying to put it to paper/screen! smiley - yikes Hope some of this makes sense to someone!


seeya
Red Herring

smiley - ufo

Personally I suspect that the phrasing was intended to avoid trying to suggest that PR was *the* main thing that


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 50

Researcher 188007

OK, Geoff, I'll take the gag (and the hairshirt) off then. smiley - winkeye

And thanks Spiff for your elucidating remarks - your brain obviously works on a Friday. We should maybe transfer the whole thing to the BritEng thread, though I think it's come up there before.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 51

Zarquon's Singing Fish!

Just wondering where you are with this one, Hoo?

I've refrained from commenting up to now, but followed the debate with interest.

Like Hell (post 30) I had difficulty with the 'tone' of this entry. It's improved since I first read it, however it still sounds a bit 'sour' to me.

In particular:

'And Researcher X drops in and comments "nice entry, but I'm going to make a criticism. I'm cleverer than you, because I know Fact A and Fact B, and you haven't included them, and you should, and it's a shame you didn't give the answer to Query C, because I'm curious about it." '

which appears to imply that *any researcher who makes a comment* is trying to be cleverer than the writer.

As a writer, when people ask questions or suggest information, this is generally helpful. When I make comments, it is with the aim of helping the writer. I think this is what most people do, unless they've had a bad day. There are a few exceptions, obviously.

Although later in the entry, there is a bit about helpful contributions, this impression still holds. It sounds very thin skinned.

You mentioned somthing being put together based on this, Azara's and Bossel's material. You didn't indicate (unless I've misread it) who was likely to take the lead on this and I had the impression that it was something that should go to the italics.

smiley - fishsmiley - musicalnote



A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 52

Ausnahmsweise, wie ├╝blich (Consistently inconsistent)

Hi,

I read half of your entry, thought of a smart Alec remark to make and came straight here. What does that make me smiley - winkeye ?


Instead of navigating as you suggest in

(6) Click "Back", to get back to where you were before

you can click on the link "Currently in Peer Review" (in the top right panel of every entry). That's been around for a while now and will take you directly to the entry's thread in PR. I usually do that with a right click and "Open in New Window" so I can still see what I'm commenting on and cut&paste pieces I need to refer to.

Awu.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 53

Hoovooloo

I can see I'm going to have to do something about this entry...

I agree about the tone. It was written in response to some specific comments, shall we say. With a couple of week's distance I'll have another go at it, because I do still think that the page you reach when you click the Peer Review banner should, first and foremost, tell you how to COMMENT on entries rather than how to write and submit them. I imagine that it is a rare person indeed who simply comes along and leaps straight into putting an entry in Peer Review without dipping in a toe by commenting first - plus anyone keen enough to be writing an entry can click another link to find out how (if they need to ask - it's a LOT easier now than it was a few months ago smiley - cheers to the programmers)

Anyway, enough blather from me, I'd better go and do something...

H.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 54

Zarquon's Singing Fish!

smiley - smileyI agree with you on all counts.smiley - smiley

Good luck.smiley - rose

smiley - cheers

smiley - fishsmiley - musicalnote


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 55

FABT - new venture A815654 Angel spoiler page

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A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 56

Monsignore Pizzafunghi Bosselese

As to related articles (looking from a firstie's side on the receiving end), there's also A738254 'First Impressions' plus the ex-PR thread hanging thereof smiley - smiley


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 57

Gnomon - time to move on

It might be worth your while mentioning that you shouldn't use Microsoft Word to compose your replies, as it has a problem with apostrophes and other characters.

There seems to be a contradiction in your entry. You imply that a sarcastic b*****d may take offence at your comments in peer review, but that an experienced author will know not to take it personally. You also imply that you are that sarcastic b*****d, and you are obviously experienced, and yet you have taken offence and written this entry.smiley - biggrin


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 58

a girl called Ben

smiley - laugh


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 59

Hoovooloo

Explanation of the apparent contradiction:

If you read my entry, don't like it, and say so in no uncertain terms, I'll take it on the chin.

If you read my entry and find it to be a load of poorly researched inaccurate dingo's kidneys, and tell me so in no uncertain terms, I'll take it on the chin.

If you DON'T read my entry... sarcasm is a possible response.

If you suggest additions which are factually inaccurate... ditto.

Good point about Word - that confused me for days, wondering why people were including strange sets of characters around things in their responses. smiley - cheers

H.


A748532 - How to comment in Peer Review

Post 60

lilithcookie

I guess maybe I've already been guilty of everything Bossel attributes to a newbee... and it's not because I thought it was a chatforum either.

I have this cyberbud who said I should write this piece called Dancing on Tables so I did and it was sort of different from the other stuff here too, which is probably by the cyberbud thought it would be cool.

Well... to make a shortstory even shorter, I got dinged for the firstperson thang and decided at that point that there wasn't a point in taking it further because it sort of depended on my personal experience as well as my sense of rhythm or lack of it depending on your subjective interpretation. I really have a difficult time objectifying that too, in case that wasn't apparent already.

So my next question was something like do we all need to write like we're Julius Caesar calling himself HE or HIM in order to get published? I guess the short answer was 'yep' and the long answer's been more or less thoroughly linked to this thread... and when summarized, it's still 'yep'.

Well... ok... so now what? I've published the thang elsewhere, that's what, because I figure it'll probably get just as much exposure as it would've gotten here anyways. Because 15 minutes of CyberFame is still 15 minutes whether you get it on the homepage at h2g2 or buried somewheres in your own website.

And while you can tell this place gets way more traffic than most places, it's also got way more material floating around and most of it's 'asleep', which I guess is the preferred term for 'ignored'.

So my first mistake was probably not realizing just how big this place really is and how most of it probably doesn't interest me or anyone else except in aggregate, like it's interesting sort of like having 1 year's experience 20 times instead of just 20 years experience ok?

In other words there's a lot of stuff that interests one or two people maybe and a little bit of stuff that interests a bunch of people... sort of like in real life. And most of the former just gets lost in the dust because apparently nothing's ever thrown away here so it becomes this huge attic full of God knows what.

And I guess that's what you do to attract the widest possible audience but at the same time I think maybe everything gets so trivialized out of shear numbers of articles that you wonder why you even bothered if you even bother to bother. There's this nagging suspicion always hovering around your ears that if you were to dig through the whole thing or even a part of it you'd still endup with a pile debris only it would be moved a little to this way or that.

So then my question as an author or aspiring one is... wouldn't it just be better to publish where I know people are interested in exotic dancing or similar stuff and not everything under the sun and moon and stars? Or should I just suck it in and do the thang in the 3rd person under the byline Julie C and try to make it keep the beat that's already there and hope that it doesn't get buried prematurely in the debris field? Debris field's a good metaphor too in some ways because this place reminds me of the wreck of the Titanic or something lying 2 miles underwater, and I really wonder if I should try to hold my breath or what?

Well... what I've done in the meantime is let the h2g2 newsboys have it as is... no warranty and stuff... and it's probably rolling around in the currents somewheres in the bilges being nawed by woodborers for all I know but I guess you could say it's published here, not as a guide entry but a mighthavebeen maybe because it really shouldn'thavebeen. In that sense I agreed with the PR guys and it wasn't because I wanted go fishing ok?


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