Note to Editors: If You're Going to Do It, Please Get It Right
This is not meant to be a rant, and it's not meant to be an attack on anyone in particular at B/R or the site itself.
However, in a comment that mysteriously disappeared when the "comment bug" struck last night, a writer pointed out that this article comes off as exactly that; he interpreted it as a rant. So guess what I did? Edited the article!
This is a request, and it's something I have been feeling for a while as a writer.
I have read posts on other writers' boards that echo my feelings and I have had discussions with other writers that support what I want to express. So, I am going to say what many of them, for one reason or another, have been hesitant to say:
If you are going to edit my article, please get it right.
One reason a writer gave me as to why he would not let his name be used in this article was because he felt it would negatively affect his star rating and writer rankings.
Another writer said she would prefer if I didn't use her name in this article because she wasn't the type who liked to rock the boat.
So, at the risk of eliciting a harsh response from some very hard-working editors, I will try to write this mostly from my point of view, rather than speaking for all writers.
First and foremost, I sincerely appreciate the time and effort that many editors make to be sure that my article fits into B/R "standards". Unfortunately, many editors have a different interpretation of what those standards are, despite rather clear direction available on the site. I have an article in which three separate editors reversed each other's corrections.
As a small example, there is no grammatical opus (Chicago or otherwise) that says the period in the first sentence of the previous paragraph should go inside the quotes. It belongs OUTSIDE the quotes, and I won't bother going into the details as to why; a good editor should already know why.
Yet, that is one of the many edits that are often incorrectly made to articles. Heck, it's done so often that I've begun writing it that way to begin with, just so I don't have to deal with it being incorrectly corrected.
But that is a relatively minor issue.
What is most frustrating to me is when editors "fix" an article, and end up putting in spelling and grammar errors of their own—ones that didn't exist before the article was edited. It forces the writer to go back and rewrite portions of the article (if we even notice) and before we get to it, it makes us look foolish.
These are not isolated incidents—I would say it's happened to about 25 percent of my articles, and I've seen it happen to plenty of others' articles as well.
Also, while I appreciate the diplomacy that all the editors show when leaving feedback, if my article sucks, just tell me that (maybe in some different terms). Instead of telling me, "great job," go ahead and let me know where I can improve. I won't get better if you don't tell me that every sentence I write is a run-on, that spell-check doesn't mean all of my words are going to be correct (e.g., flair vs. flare, etc.), or that spell-check is not a substitute for thoroughly perusing the article before I post.
I fully appreciate and embrace the idea of an "open-source" network, but I wonder if perhaps an online test of some kind should be a necessary prerequisite before you can become an editor? I mean this seriously, not as a sarcastic jab at editors. Right now, you just have to click the mouse about ten times; you don't even have to read the material.
I realize that you can revert back to a previous version of your article and that you don't have to keep an editor's changes. But I shouldn't have to correct the spelling of someone who has supposedly made it their job to correct MY spelling.
I would probably advise editors to consider carefully before making stylistic changes. It might be that the writer intentionally meant for a sentence to be a fragment, for the sake of the flow. Perhaps I wanted the italics or bolded words to be set up the way they were.
So, please, I'm asking on behalf of the writers, that when you choose to hit the "edit" button, you take the time to be careful with the changes you make.
I have to state this again to be clear: the majority of editors are doing a great job; a writer can't survive without a good editor. You have my utmost thanks and appreciation. I have experienced negative issues with experienced editors as well, but far less frequently.
And B/R, I would ask that you consider a mechanism to better train people before they become editors. I'm not sure that ten mouse-clicks should allow you to edit the work of Ken Rosenthal. But this is just an opinion, and one I'd be interesting in hearing the responses to.
I truly hope I haven't offended anyone and if I have, I apologize in advance. If I have offended someone, it's because I haven't been able to express my ideas clearly enough (mabye I need an editor, huh?).
This is more specifically meant for those newer people, who might click through all the editorial instruction screens without reading them, because they believe they already know how to edit.
For those to whom this applies, I am just asking as a writer just that you take care with what some writers might consider their "artwork". Fair enough?
What is the duplicate article?
Why is this article offensive?
Where is this article plagiarized from?
Why is this article poorly edited?