Editing - when you ain't showing what you're selling

Subject: Editing - when you ain't showing what you're selling
From: Sheila Marshall <sheila -at- STK -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 28 May 1998 12:53:20 -0500

One of the TWs here found this and passed it on. You gotta see this:


Here's the exchange between a member of the copy editor's list and the web
master there. Not only is there an obvious lack of editing but there are
major problems with the web site when viewed from Netscape, which is
important to note when reading the web master response.

Dear friend and colleague:

I am writing in a spirit of helpful cooperation, not in a competitive
mode. I have just had your Criteria page called to my attention by
another editor, and my inspection of that page has revealed at least
ten *major* editing errors: errors of style, punc

I strongly advise you to have one of your editors examine and rewrite
that page in its entirety as soon as you possibly can. The reputation
of your service and your staff is damaged beyond repair every time a
prospective client of yours sees the page as i

Please accept this as constructive and well-intentioned criticism, not
as a mean-spirited attack. I am certain that any qualified editor who
examines your Criteria page will agree with me that it is extremely
badly written, and that its presence on your s

Very best regards,

(I used a sigfile that contains the URL for my page.)

His response (in part):
Thanks. I'm a web designer, not an editor. My only use for the page
is to get design business. [...]

The feedback I get from the site is usually on the quality of the
design. All of the editors pages I found online where quite
amateurish. Editing Online looks like an upscale business. Your
site looks like somebody's moonlighting as an editor when in fact,
you're the editor--right? Good web design is about information
architecture. It's a natural extension of writing. You should give
your site some polish. Hey, most of the clients needing editing
services for, say, software documentation don't know the differnce
between criterion and criteria anyway. If they did, their
doucmentation wouldn't suck, and they wouldn't need an editor. The
reality is that companies like Umax, Kodak, Minolta and thousands of
others produce extremely poor documentation--writing that makes the
mistakes on my page look trivial. Don't beleive me? Buy a UMAX
scanner, and read for yourself. So, I agree that if I where to ramp
this thing up, I'd fix the writing. But frankly I find your
constructive criticisms misinformed and a bit bush league after
viewing your site.

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