Re: Re[2]: his/her > A New A

Subject: Re: Re[2]: his/her > A New A
From: Paul Goble <paulg -at- COL -dot- HP -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1993 10:23:59 MST

Eric asked:

> In the same vein, how do people handle editing structures, words, or
> constructions which they don't like?
> ...
> In my situation, when a programmer writes some instructions (which will be
> published under his name in the newsletter I edit), I have problems deciding
> what to keep and what to change. Rewriting passive to active may make it more
> usable, but it could also just reflect my preferences, biased as they are.

Here are two ways I decide what to keep and what to change:

1. Ask the original author

I try to get to know each engineer who provides materials for me.
Some people feel hurt if I change their writing style very much,
others expect it. Yet other people want tutoring on how to improve
their style, so they can make the changes themselves.

2. Set a policy (i.e., creat a bureaucratic higher authority)

If the publication will be seen by paying customers, many
organizations prefer to set a "corporate style." For a newsletter,
you could produce a 1- or 2-page style guide (worded diplomatically
and backed by references to authorities like the Chicago Manual).

Then you can tell the programmer:

"I changed your article to second person to meet rule #2," or

"Your writing is fine, but I had to change it to match the
style of the other articles."

What do experienced editors have to say on this subject?

--------======= * =======--------
Paul Goble
Hewlett-Packard Colorado Springs Division
Learning Products Engineering
paulg -at- col -dot- hp -dot- com

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