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Subject:Re: Typos in resumes From:"Wayne J. Douglass" <wayned -at- VERITY -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 27 Feb 1997 10:36:36 -0800
At 12:03 PM 2/27/97 -0600, M. David Orr wrote:
>The real question is "How do we eliminate defects in our writing from
>the very beginning?" Some quality-oriented answers I might suggest are:
>* Screen prospective employees carefully to eliminate sloppy writers
>* Train existing writers in quality principles
>* Train existing writers in writing skills
>* Use automated standards by means of templates that do virtually all
>formatting through macros, toolbars, wizards, and AutoText
>* Develop in-house stylesheets and train everybody in their use
>* Create the expectation that copy will be perfect when submitted
>We tried the old copyediting-everything route years ago. If writers know
>there will be a copyedit, many tend to let things ride that they would
>normally fix. We found the quality of first drafts seriously declining
>and costs rising.
>Now we try to hit drafts right on the mark the first time. I'm not
>saying we don't proof, but we expect not to find much when we do.
All this is very fine, but like many ISO-like processes it only guarantees a
predictable outcome, not necessarily a quality outcome, because it depends
on the definition of quality.
Who does *not* "try to hit drafts right on the mark the first time?" All
we're quibbling about is whether editors/proofreaders are part of the
process (with the accompanying expense) in order fulfill "the expectation
that copy will be perfect when submitted." One of the pleasures of
unearthing typos in a professionally edited publication is knowing that a
mistake got through the screening *despite* all the efforts, and we were
clever enough to find it. That should be an object lesson for all of us
demanding perfection, although it should not stop us from trying to achieve it.
BTW, putting my editor cap on, I would delete "existing" from the "Train
existing writers in writing skills" bullet item, following the logic that
training non-existent writers would be a waste of time and money. I'm not
going to get into the discussion of whether you can "train" somebody to
write (and this from somebody who once taught Freshman Composition in college).
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