Reading a draft "for content only"

Subject: Reading a draft "for content only"
From: Arthur Comings <atc -at- CORTE-MADERA -dot- GEOQUEST -dot- SLB -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 8 Feb 1995 09:27:37 PST

. . .

Likewise, the developer
> needs to leave the grammar to you and review for content only. Clear?

> Vince Putman | Avoid polishing the fire truck
. . .

Clearly angry.

Why this insistance that someone could ever read for "content only" ?

What about if you left a coffee stain on a draft that made part of it
illegible? You want to cow your readers so that they don't mention this
difficulty to you, but press on regardless and try to decipher the
document without being able to really understand the parts that you
unintentionally obscured? Unless they're experts on coffee,
of course?

I take your point that pages and pages of precise, well-meaning, and
totally screwy grammar and punctuation edits would drive me crazy and
be a waste of everyone's time, but the trouble is, I've never seen this!

In ten years of tech writing I've had a few complaints about
reviewers, but they haven't had to do with illiterates trying to teach me
English. Maybe it's because I try to make my drafts fairly clean to
begin with; maybe not.

Anyway, if you really have to deal with that kind of endless edits, you
have my sympathy, but I doubt you're going to change the way a lot of
us work, or modify the desire of readers (ESL or not) to make something
more readable.

Arthur Comings

Corte Madera, California
atc -at- corte-madera -dot- geoquest -dot- slb -dot- com

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