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[P]
Should k5 have an official stylebook?

By Torgos Pizza in Meta
Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:27:33 PM EST
Tags: Kuro5hin.org (all tags)
Kuro5hin.org

The New York Times has one. Time Magazine has one as well. Your local newspaper most likely has one too. They all have a stylebook to follow. A stylebook is a guide on writing style, grammar and correct usage of terms. With many articles submitted needing small corrections, would having a Kuro5hin stylebook help both submitters and editors alike?


There are various stylebooks in usage in print and online publications. Most local newspapers will use the MLA Stylebook, Chicago Manual of Style or the Associated Press Stylebook. There are other stylebooks put out by the New York Times, Reuters, LA Times and other organizations. Both writers and editors will use their particular guide to maintain consistency and accuracy in their publication.

Almost every article submitted to k5 today either has some grammatical or writing flaw in them. Goodness knows that I am not immune to this. This very article has several instances of mistakes and errors. If needed, I can always submit this article to an editor for help in proofreading. Not everyone does this and the possibility exists that the editors could be overwhelmed with articles to edit.

The purpose of this roundtable is to discuss the idea of an official k5 stylebook or styleguide. It may be that one isn't needed for this site and wouldn't be worth the time to put together. Could we alienate our ESL users by using one? (English as Second Language) Perhaps things are just fine the way they are. On the other hand, a stylebook could improve the writing submitted to the queue. It would also give a standard for all editing to follow.

If a stylebook was felt to be needed, should we make our own or should we adapt an already existing one? Should American English or British English be used? Perhaps both or a hybrid.

Personally, I believe having an official k5 stylebook would be a great benefit to this online community. I feel that it would lend to a more consistent writing style in submitted articles while also improving the quality. I'd much rather refer someone to the posted stylebook FAQ than to say, "-1 because you used passive voice, didn't attribute this quote and you spelled color as colour." What are your thoughts?

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Poll
Should Kuro5hin have an official stylebook?
o Yes 34%
o No 48%
o Not sure 17%

Votes: 147
Results | Other Polls

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Display: Sort:
Should k5 have an official stylebook? | 91 comments (90 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
interesting (3.25 / 4) (#1)
by MFS on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:18:33 PM EST

I'd be curious to see a style guide, not only for here, but for some other web sites as well...

not that I think it'll happen, but it'd be interesting none the less.

perhaps we should just adopt the Chicago Manual of Style, with custom K5 mods for the sake of writing half the book from scratch?


Nope, not me. I must be someone else.

Online guides (5.00 / 2) (#5)
by Torgos Pizza on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:26:40 PM EST

I did find one guide very interesting. It's the NPR online styleguide. It not only covered the usual writing styles, but also had a section on ethics and legal issues. I'm not so sure if we're ready for something that comprehensive, but it could also be worth discussing.

I intend to live forever, or die trying.
[ Parent ]
hmm.... (3.66 / 3) (#3)
by jeffy124 on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:22:43 PM EST

Both writers and editors will use their particular guide to maintain consistency and accuracy in their publication.

Consistency, absolutely; Accuracy .... we're talking about the press, right?
--
You're the straw that broke the camel's back!

This is a great idea (2.00 / 3) (#4)
by jacob on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:23:20 PM EST

I agree wholeheartedly that something needs to be done about style in the articles here. A style guide is the perfect solution. It should be made, and if need be, I'd help in its production.

--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

Just one thing (3.33 / 9) (#6)
by ChiefHoser on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:28:32 PM EST

Colour is the correct spelling of Colour not color. Just like honour is honour not honour.

We Canadians know how to spell :).
-------------

Chief of the Hosers
spellings..... (4.25 / 4) (#7)
by jeffy124 on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:33:57 PM EST

Here in the US, color is the correct spelling.

Some other US/International pairs:
center/centre
honor/honour
organization/organisation
check/cheque
behavior/behaviour

I'm not a linguistics expert, so I'm not sure which should be considered the "correct" spelling of certain words, but I do know what's "correct" here in the US.
--
You're the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
Origins (5.00 / 1) (#36)
by M0dUluS on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:52:17 PM EST

I'm not a linguist either, but here is a rationale for spelling some things the US way.

Many of these words were originally loan words from Classical languages that passed through the British academy. The Brits (especially the Oxford University Press) though of France as the seat of all culture and learning. The French (who also thought of themselves in those terms) liked to change the suffixes.

Latin
-or became -our
-er became -re
Greek
-ize became -ise

However, the spelling of "cheque" I don't know about. Anyway, it's a good argument for any time a UK-ian starts attacking your spelling. On the other hand we have dumbed down stupidities like "ether" for "aether". This was originally supposed to make spelling easier, the result has been that people have changed how they say it!



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
Weird! (none / 0) (#56)
by tenpo on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:09:50 PM EST

I might be wrong in this, but I'm under the impression that the North American continent was colonised by the British and the French. Surely at that point British British and the American British were fairly similar in spoken and written word. How did the colonies then come to speak the purer (as in, closer to classic roots) English? Surely they'd have to back peddle? Or did the British English changes to spelling occur after the two populations seperated? At what point did the divergence occur?

[ Parent ]
You're right (none / 0) (#59)
by M0dUluS on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:42:51 PM EST

It's the latter of your suggestions: the result of divergence from a common root with the original branch becoming mutated and the scion remaining static. The colonization predated the chasing of French derivations. American English continued on with the older endings whilst British English diverged and reformed its spelling. I think this is quite recent and was only brought up as an issue in the C19. I guess the reason for the "evolution" of British English is the relatively larger number of influences upon it during this period.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
How strange. (none / 0) (#74)
by tenpo on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 06:08:41 AM EST

Both replies to my earlier comment appear convincing, yet are contradictory. You're stating that American English remained static while the British English reformed their spelling. siobibble states that Webster altered the American ways of spelling. Is it possible that both have changed their modes of spelling?

[ Parent ]
I could always be wrong (none / 0) (#76)
by M0dUluS on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 11:56:34 AM EST

Shocking thought! But I am merely relaying what I remember being told years ago by a Classicist. To remove one potential source of confusion: I am not claiming that all aspects of American English remained static, merely the verb endings.

"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
It's Webster! (none / 0) (#69)
by siobibble on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 11:19:18 PM EST

At what point did the divergence occur

It's Noah Webster (You know Webster's dictionary? Same guy.) who changed around all the spellings of words. I.e. from colour to color. His reason for this was he wanted to make words be spelled like how they sound. Interesting fact, he tried to convince people to spell friend as frend, but it didn't catch on.

Webster's essay on this here.

[ Parent ]

Error (none / 0) (#60)
by M0dUluS on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:47:31 PM EST

I should have written:

except the OUP



"[...]no American spin is involved at all. Is that such a stretch?" -On Lawn
[ Parent ]
"Here" is not the US (3.33 / 3) (#37)
by ShadowNode on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:58:01 PM EST

Given the international nature of the net, wouldn't the international terms be more correct?

Besides, it's pretty hard to take you seriously on these matters, given that you usually give similar arguments for not using the standard metric sytem. ;P

[ Parent ]
Since we are being picky ... (none / 0) (#85)
by Rizzen on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 02:27:14 AM EST

... centre and center are both correct as they have different meanings. Center is the center of an object whereas centre is place to go to (a shopping centre for example). At least that's the way it is in Canada.

The major differences between bastardised ... er ... American English and the English spoken by the rest of the world can be summed up as:
- use "z" in place of "s" such as in organisation
- use "or" in place of "our" such as in colour
- reverse "re" with "er" as in centre
- shorten words and remove letters to spell things as they sound as in "nite" and "lite"

There are bound to be more. :) Personally, I'd advocate for the use of International English and the metric system. Maybe that way the language skills of the Americans will improve. :)
The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
Should THIS be a subject of a k5 stylebook? (none / 0) (#91)
by fr2ty on Mon Apr 15, 2002 at 08:28:11 PM EST

I'd love to see style hints for k5. But imagine this discussion made clear in a style book - awful.
--
Please note that are neither capitals nor numbers in my mail adress.
[ Parent ]
ahem (4.33 / 3) (#8)
by Da Unicorn on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:34:37 PM EST

Just like honour is honour not honour. was one of those supposed to be "honor"?

/tongue in cheek

[ Parent ]

D'oh (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by ChiefHoser on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:53:39 PM EST

Probably. But lets not nickpick :)
-------------

Chief of the Hosers
[ Parent ]
No problem (4.33 / 3) (#10)
by Wah on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 03:59:10 PM EST

I'd be happy to use a style guide, right after I receive my first pay check for submitting an article.
--
Choas and order, flowing down the drain of time. Ain't it purdy? | SSP
It wouldn't be mandatory (none / 0) (#24)
by sigwinch on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:57:58 PM EST

It would just be a tool for people who want to submit better stories, but don't have a lot of practice writing.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

Grammar (4.50 / 8) (#11)
by Ebon Praetor on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:00:06 PM EST

Before we look at style, we ought to consider basic grammar. I have seen far too many posts which mix up there, their, and they're on this site. After we teach people proper English/Spanish/Japanese (I can handle all three), then we can look at writing style.

I also don't see a significant issue with alienating people who speak english as a second language. It is not my first, but I realize that if I want to post on a site where the predominant language is English, then I need to be able to communicate effectively in that language. I would not mind seeing articles or comments in another language, and I believe there are enough people here who could translate.

On a side note, I won't mod someone down because they use poor grammar, spelling, or mechanics. On the other hand, I am less likely to take someone seriously if he does not use something that resembles a properly written language. That in turn (along with content) will influence how I rate someone's comments or articles.

If we as a community do decide that we want a style guide for english, we do not have to look any farther than Strunk and White's venerable The Elements of Style.



-1, too much work, not enough gain (4.12 / 8) (#12)
by Elkor on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:05:31 PM EST

Given fact that people can't even follow the submission guidelines, why would they take the time to read, learn and follow a style book for a site that they aren't getting paid to submit articles to?

All the examples you cite are institutions that pay their writers for submission, so they have leverage over them. If they don't follow the guide, they won't get published. They don't get published, they don't get paid.

Here it would be: If you don't follow the guide, you might not get published if enough other people notice you didn't follow the style guide and decide to hold it against you.

If you don't get published, then you can get fed up with the restrictive rules and go someplace else and complain about how you left because k5 was getting too restrictive on the material they would accept for publication.

Sound like another site we know of?

Regards,
Elkor


"I won't tell you how to love God if you don't tell me how to love myself."
-Margo Eve
-1? (3.00 / 3) (#67)
by PiMaster on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:39:33 PM EST

I agree with you. However, I don't know - I might be misinterpreting the spirit of story moderation - but it seems as if you feel the issue is worth discussing and would like to voice your opinion on it. That isn't a problem with the story itself, it's with the idea. I don't think disagreeing w/ the content of a story is a reason to mod it down, perhaps it would be more helpful mod it on worth/interest and then comment based on the content/your feelings.

Just a thought,
Pimaster


And in the silent, sometimes hardly moving times,
When something is coming near,
I want to be with those that know secret things
or else alone.
--Rilke

[ Parent ]
ESL users (4.60 / 5) (#13)
by quartz on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:12:47 PM EST

Could we alienate our ESL users by using one?

I don't see any reasons why. I'm an ESL user, and while I suck at writing K5-style stories (which is why I don't submit any), I do expect from the stories in the queue the same level of quality that I would expect from a book or a newspaper. Especially as an ESL user, I want my English to improve, not to devolve into some obscure, gramatically-impossible AOLesque dialect, so I support any efforts to improve the overall quality of k5 stories.



--
Fuck 'em if they can't take a joke, and fuck 'em even if they can.
a thought... (5.00 / 1) (#16)
by jeffy124 on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:28:15 PM EST

from reading your post, it doesnt appear to me that you're an ESL'er. You write a lot better than those who have ESF (English as a First Language). Perhaps you should try submitting articles and make an editorial post asking for comments that might be related to ESL-ness.
--
You're the straw that broke the camel's back!
[ Parent ]
You obviously don't have a problem. (4.50 / 2) (#50)
by scanman on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:33:11 PM EST

Your command of the English language is clearly above average even for native speakers. If you were to submit an article, I doubt it would be shot down for grammatical errors.

"[You are] a narrow-minded moron [and] a complete loser." - David Quartz
"scanman: The moron." - ucblockhead
"I prefer the term 'lifeskills impaired'" - Inoshiro

[ Parent ]

A flexible style guide? (4.73 / 15) (#14)
by opendna on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:18:00 PM EST

The style guide is an interesting idea, but I have some concerns. I oppose standards, but support guidelines. Some thoughts I have on the matter:

SPELLING: I love the visual flavor of the British and American dictionaries, I see no reason to standardize one against the other. (I have to admit my favorite is Canadian English - the refusal to decide between one and the other. e.g. "I saw the Canuck's new center as I was coming our of the theatre last night. He was leaving Harbor Centre." hehe) I suspect adding a Spellchecker to the POST page would help.

GRAMMAR: I know there's all kinds of rules about using the passive voice and all that jazz. But damnit, grammar reflects the author's voice. All you have to do is cruise through the diaries; do we really want to squash that in the sections? I don't think I could handle many articles written in a homogeneous, detached, pseudo-authoritative voice like the major media adopt.

LENGTH: I wouldn't mind a guideline for minimum and maximum length. I've seen stories voted down for going outside of these unmarked boundaries. (I prefer under 1000 words.)

QUOTES: I'd support some sort of standard for how much of the article can be quoted from other sources. Canadian Oil Company Allegedly Requested Assault on Villages is an excellent article, IMHO, but it kinda bothered me that 30% of it was block quotes (660 of 1970 words). 100% quoted is not acceptable, so what's the upper limit?

CITATIONS: I'd support a guideline for citations. I'm not happy that The Narco-State Cometh's RELATED LINKS are so funky (darn). The RELATED LINKS act as a bibliography so it would be kinda nice if they were descriptive of the source.

GENRE-SPECIFIC: Is there a difference between a post summarizing a report or event and a review or news story? i.e. I felt that opposing views should have been included here but weren't appropriate/necessary here. Was I wrong? This is a guideline I would certainly appreciate.

Yes, guidelines (4.50 / 2) (#26)
by StephenFuqua on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:00:59 PM EST

Guidelines, as opposed to rules, sound like the order of the day for this online forum. This forum is intended for amateur writers, in some sense, and they (we) should not be held to the same rules as real journalists. I like the above suggestions.



[ Parent ]
Length (4.00 / 3) (#28)
by sigwinch on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:01:49 PM EST

I wouldn't recommend a particular length in number of words. Some goals demand a lengthy treatment, others demand a couple of hyperlinked words. We've had spectacularly good submissions of both kinds and I'd hate to scare authors away.

--
I don't want the world, I just want your half.
[ Parent ]

We don't refuse to choose ... (none / 0) (#86)
by Rizzen on Sun Mar 24, 2002 at 02:32:23 AM EST

... we just use them in their appropriate places. After all, the center of an object is different from a shopping centre. :)
The years of peak mental activity are undoubtedly those between the ages of 4 and 18. At age four, we know all the questions; at eighteen, all the answers.
[ Parent ]
Edit process (4.50 / 4) (#15)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:25:56 PM EST

I like the idea of a style guide, but I think that it will not get used as much as it should. The one thing that I think will vastly help story submissions is some sort of editorial process. Where you can submit stories and then edit them as you get editorial comments. The biggest problem I have had is not being able to change a story after have submitted it to the queue. The only option, if there are glaring errors, is to resubmit the story. Then chances of getting a story voted down are much higher on the second submission than on the first.

The danger of this, is that someone can significantly change the content of the story after voting has started on the story. That's a bad thing.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen

Yes (5.00 / 2) (#18)
by rusty on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:33:46 PM EST

The one thing that I think will vastly help story submissions is some sort of editorial process.

theantix was working on that. I don't know what the status is, but I hope we have it soon.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Outline? (4.66 / 3) (#21)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:46:18 PM EST

Do you have an outline of how the process would work? I have had some ideas about how you can do it, but they aren't very fleshed out.

Stories get submitted to an editorial queue. Comments (only editorial) are permitted there. The story can be edited as many times as necessary by the author. In the editorial queue, there is no voting on the story. At some point, the author is satisfied, and clicks some magic button to move the story from the editorial queue to the submission queue and all comments are stripped.

From there, I guess the process can go on as it does now. The only thing that would seem out of place would be getting editorial comments in the submission queue at that time. Like I said, not very fleshed out.

What did you guys have in mind?

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

Like that, but a little less complicated (5.00 / 1) (#27)
by rusty on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:01:07 PM EST

I think the idea was that you'd submit your story, and set a length of time for it to be "in editing" (up to an admin-set maximum). People can comment but not vote. You can edit as much as you want, or pull the story completely if you decide to. When you hit the "Ok, go to voting" button, or when the editing time runs out, the story opens for voting.

This would all take place within the regular queue.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Queue clutter (4.33 / 3) (#29)
by HypoLuxa on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:11:31 PM EST

The only problem I see with this is the submission queue getting to be large and unmanageable again, which is why I would suggest a second queue. I would think that 24-36 hour editing time would be average, which would balloon the queue back up to 20 stories again. Also, it kind of forces a real time attention to the process. A user who works up a story, submits it, checks back once or twice over the next few days will not have much of a chance to use the editorial options without setting the time limits even longer.

The other two potential problems I see with an editorial process are a lowering of initial effort and editor backlash. The first being that people aren't going to do as much work on their own since they know that they have a grace period to make changes. We are going to see a lot more "rough draft" stuff in the queue. The second would be k5ers voting down stories because their editorial suggestions weren't taken. I'm not sure there is anything to be done about that.

--
I'm guided by the beauty of our weapons.
- Leonard Cohen
[ Parent ]

OT- Lobster sex (2.00 / 3) (#32)
by wiredog on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:20:32 PM EST

Graphic description thereof, and stuff on lobster fishing, from the Atlantic. In my diary.

I figured that, being a Maine Islanduh, you'd get into lobster stuff.

Peoples Front To Reunite Gondwanaland: "Stop the Laurasian Separatist Movement!"
[ Parent ]

Wikis? (none / 0) (#58)
by infinitera on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:42:01 PM EST

It would be cool if we had a wiki-like method for collaborative stories. I have a feeling a lot more quality stories would result from a few people working on one. That, and some people are good at research, some at analysis, etc.

[ Parent ]
Maybe (none / 0) (#72)
by jesterzog on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 02:03:54 AM EST

That'd be quite an interesting thing. If it was ever implemented, I'd like the original author to be able to set a flag locking other people out of changing it, though.

Sometimes I write things and I like them to be completely from me, whether other people like them or not, and I don't necessarily want it to end up being read when it's by me and then edited by five other people.


jesterzog Fight the light


[ Parent ]
I don't think so. (4.60 / 5) (#17)
by gauntlet on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:31:50 PM EST

I voted in favour of the story, beacuse I think it's a good question, with good arguments on different sides. I am on the side of the status quo.

Firstly, I do not want there to be a consistent style to the articles of K5. I don't see how that benefits anyone. It forces authors to write in a style that isn't theirs, and limits the diversity of writing style for the readers.

Secondly, it would only do those things if it could be enforced, but I don't know how it would be enforced other than by editorial comments that we use now anyway. And if we were to enforce it that way, it would be asking people to implement editorial standards to which they may not agree, so what we're really going to end up with is what we have.

More consistent spelling, grammar, and punctuation would make the writing less distracting, but there is already a method of dealing with this when it happens. First, if there are errors, you will get blasted for them by the whatever-nazis. Secondly, the current system will already dump articles where the problem is significant enough.

What I would like to see is a spell-check on the story preview system, a link to a list of common grammatical errors, and a punctuation guide.

Into Canadian Politics?

For those of us that are stupid (1.33 / 6) (#19)
by etherdeath on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:34:14 PM EST

I'd like to see an option where whenever I post something, it first does a preview before I post.

I know, maybe I'd get used to having to go through the preview and I'd ignore it. But remember, I'm stupid, so I can't selectively ignore stuff. Also thinking about this aspect goes further than I someone such as myself can typically take a train of thought.

if you can't be bothered... (4.66 / 3) (#20)
by cicero on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:43:00 PM EST

honestly, if you can't be bothered to hit the well marked, well lit, well documented "preview" button, then what makes you think that forcing you to click "submit" twice would help you at all?

also, what about those messagesthat just don't require a preview.


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
what part of "i'm stupid" don't you unde (5.00 / 1) (#22)
by etherdeath on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:47:56 PM EST

just kidding... good point there, smarty, you're right we don't need it. All the buttons kind of look the same after i've been up for over 48 hours or so.

[ Parent ]
phew.. (5.00 / 2) (#35)
by cicero on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:33:28 PM EST

I was donning my flame suit as I clicked the link to your reply...


--
I am sorry Cisco, for Microsoft has found a new RPC flaw - tonight your e0 shall be stretched wide like goatse.
[ Parent ]
Stylesheet, perhaps (5.00 / 1) (#51)
by nstenz on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:41:43 PM EST

How about we add a bit to a K5 stylesheet that would make the Preview button red and the Post button green or something?

[ Parent ]
that would be pretty cool (1.00 / 1) (#62)
by etherdeath on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:52:14 PM EST

and maybe a first for scoop/slashcode style software.. the ability for users to specify external style sheets.

[ Parent ]
Most browsers already do this. (none / 0) (#83)
by nstenz on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:53:55 PM EST

IE and Mozilla both let users specify their own external style sheet to override all others. All Scoop needs is unique indentifiers on the buttons, and a user could make a style sheet without any more help from the K5 gurus.

[ Parent ]
Ah ha (none / 0) (#84)
by etherdeath on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 06:18:36 PM EST

I was thinking that we'd need the identifiers.. but I didn't realize the external style sheet would work with those... duh!

[ Parent ]
Unnecessarily large solution (4.66 / 9) (#23)
by DrJohnEvans on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:49:47 PM EST

Firstly, a grammatical reference would be redundant. The most common grammatical errors made (i.e. "it's" being used for "its"; "their" being used for "there") are violations of more or less universal grammatical rules, and are explained in the many grammar guides found online.

Secondly, with reference to layout and structure, I don't think concrete rules are necessary. We already have a solid base of good writers and critical readers; can good style not be taught by example? If you're unsure about your story in progress, hang around the submission queue for a little while. See which stories gather points quickly and which ones don't, and why. Good stories will quickly post, normally with comments praising the quality of the writing.

It seems that a full-fledged style guide would require too much effort for the improvements it could make (as already mentioned, those least likely to read it would be those who need it the most). A better solution might be a question or two added to the FAQ, dealing with general ideas of structure: introduction, explanation, delving, and concluding to evoke opinion and dialogue on the subject. Essentially, this would be an artistic addition to the more technical story creation questions already there.

Yes, the problem exists; however, there's no need to repeat what's already been written well on more general rules of writing. For problems specific to Kuro5hin, some standardized help could be made available, but a stylebook would be overkill.

Solution size (4.50 / 2) (#31)
by jacob on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:18:28 PM EST

Firstly, a grammatical reference would be redundant.

Yes. Grammar doesn't need to be in a style guide.

We already have a solid base of good writers and critical readers; can good style not be taught by example?

No. Style covers a lot of things most people just won't think about: do you capitalize all words in your story title or just the first? For what acronyms is it appropriate to not spell out their meanings on a first reference? How do you use people's names on a first reference? Subsequent references? Is it 'A.M.' or 'AM'? Do we use American-style quotation (period or comma goes inside the quotation mark regardless of the source's punctuation) or European-style (period or comma goes outside if not in the source quotation) or some other style entirely? What voice is appropriate and when? What gender pronouns are appropriate?

If you read the articles on K5 long enough, you find that there is no consensus on these issues and dozens of others like them. As an anal-retentive bastard with a little bit of journalism/editing experience in my past, this sort of thing irritates me to no end. If it doesn't bother your aesthetic sense, then there's no reason I can give you why you should; however, you should be aware that style includes much more than just vague organizational or artistic principles.



--
"it's not rocket science" right right insofar as rocket science is boring

--Iced_Up

[ Parent ]
Spelling mistakes (none / 0) (#52)
by awgsilyari on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:51:49 PM EST

The most common grammatical errors made (i.e. "it's" being used for "its"; "their" being used for "there")...

I think those are spelling mistakes, not grammatical errors. The two sentences "It's a beautiful day" and "Its a beautiful day" are different only when written. In speech they are indistiguishable.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Grammar and Spelling (none / 0) (#78)
by vectro on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 03:36:57 PM EST

A spelling mistake is not necessarily one that would not be pronounced. For example, "excape" would be pronounced differently from "escape", but would nonetheless be a spelling error, and not a grammar error.

I would say that the most telling difference in the few cases where there exists overlap is that a grammar error is one where the incorrect word is actually a word (albiet a word which fails to parse), whereas a spelling error is one where the incorrect word simply does not exist.

One might also add that there is an important difference of intention: If one meant to write "their", but was simply incapable of spelling it, and instead penned "there", it would be a spelling mistake -- not a grammar mistake.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
I agree with you... (5.00 / 1) (#79)
by awgsilyari on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 04:50:25 PM EST

In addition, people who consistently get "their" and "there" confused (for example) aren't necessarily making grammatical errors, but instead simply have trouble remembering which word is spelled which way. It isn't quite a grammatical error, and yet isn't quite a spelling mistake either. I often confuse "your" and "you're" when writing quickly, but that doesn't mean I'm unaware of the distinction. Lysdexia, anyone?

My personal view is that spoken language is natural, while written language is an intellectual construction. I tend to be much more forgiving of errors in written language than in the spoken word for this reason.

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

Natural vs Artifical language (none / 0) (#81)
by vectro on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:15:50 PM EST

I disagree. Spoken and written language are both clearly artificial -- any brief glance at a child's development shows that they are both learned.

I would argue that written language tends to come less naturally for the same reason a second language does -- it is learned later in life.

It would be an interesting experiment to try and raise a child on written language alone (e.g., with a slate or something), but there are a lot of interesting experiments you could do in the abscence of ethical considerations.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]
Spelling vs. Grammar, "their" vs "t (none / 0) (#82)
by vectro on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 05:33:08 PM EST

Well, if you buy into the argument that written and spoken English (for example) are in fact two seperate languages that merely have quite a bit in common, then it's easy to once again say that mistaking there for their is a grammar problem, not a spelling one.

If you buy this argument, then mistaking the spelling of words which are pronunced the same is equivalent to the error of mistaking words in a second language which map to the same word in one's native language. An excellent example of this is an error common amongst native English speakers trying to speak Spanish: Mistaking "estar" and "ser", which both map to simple "to be" in English. I imagine that a native Spanish speaker might have difficulty with the word "Evil," which simply does not exist in the Spanish language (the closest translation is "Malo", meaning simply "Bad").

In this case, I maintain that mistaking one word for another in written language is a grammatical mistake. Of course it's not an error in intent: I doubt that anyone writing "no" instead of "know" actually is unclear about the difference.

An example which leaves a little more little ground can be found in Spanish, where "Gusto" has a different meaning from "Gustó" ("Taste", "I am pleasing", or "I please" vs. "It was pleasing" or "It pleased") because the difference is only the presence or abscence of a single accent, which would be easy to omit.

“The problem with that definition is just that it's bullshit.” -- localroger
[ Parent ]

+1sp, but no (2.80 / 5) (#25)
by BushidoCoder on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 04:58:59 PM EST

I'm not a fan of style books when liberal thinking is needed. Unlike a logical form, style doesn't add to an argument, it simply makes it look better or worse irregardless of its logical merits. Therefor, I don't think it will contribute to better quality thinking per say, but it will lessen the individuality of the posters.

Besides, with the volume of ideas posted here, one of my shortcuts is to stop reading a post if the grammar or style is horrid. Take that away, and I'll have to read what EVERYONE says, and that interferes with my doctrine of laziness.

\bc

No comment (2.25 / 4) (#57)
by Macrobat on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:30:09 PM EST

Besides, with the volume of ideas posted here, one of my shortcuts is to stop reading a post if the grammar or style is horrid....

irregardless of its logical merits...

Therefor, I don't think it will contribute...

"Hardly used" will not fetch a better price for your brain.
[ Parent ]

Never write posts on 2 hours sleep, never ... (2.00 / 2) (#75)
by BushidoCoder on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 11:27:24 AM EST

See, if you had followed my system, when you saw a guy do a horrid job with his spelling, you should have ignored him. Instead, you wasted time on my opinion. I'm sorry.

\bc

[ Parent ]

Suggested guides (4.16 / 6) (#30)
by orlkorrect on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:13:15 PM EST

The Economist has an insightful and rather witty style guide. Informative and entertaining, it is well worth the read. Somewhat antiquated, but just as intelligent is the invaluable H.W. Fowler, whose King's English is a good read and often a good laugh; no doubt the Economist took their inspiration from his guide and his Dictionary of English Usage. Both are rather UK-centric, I suppose.

The sad fact, though, is that we in the US, when finally inclined to devote ourselves to things grammatical, tend to do so rather seriously. Witness the Chicago Manual of Style: the best of the bunch in the Manual department, but a bit, well, let's just say "unstylish" in the Style department.

non-working link (2.00 / 1) (#34)
by shellac on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:29:23 PM EST

The economist link is broken. Please post a good link.

[ Parent ]
no it isn't (3.00 / 3) (#39)
by nodsmasher on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:27:10 PM EST


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Most people don't realise just how funny cannibalism can actually be.
-Tatarigami
[ Parent ]
A collection of links might be useful (4.00 / 2) (#42)
by QuickFox on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:55:37 PM EST

A collection of links to guides like these might be useful. But then it must be pointed out that people don't have to read all of that material and follow all the guides, that it's just optional help for those who want to improve their chances. Else it becomes too strict.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.



[ Parent ]
A few points (4.33 / 6) (#33)
by TheophileEscargot on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 05:28:52 PM EST

  1. I don't think it's really worth having a style guide. The bad writers are already too lazy to spend a few minutes reading the FAQ or even a few seconds spell-checking: I can't see them bothering to read a style guide.
  2. I don't think a style guide for printed prose would work very well for the web. It's a lot harder for the reader to keep his place on a scrolling web page, so I generally use shorter paragraphs and more sub-headings for a web article. Also there are extra issues like the links that make sense in the related-links box. Finally, web articles seem to be permitted to be less formal than printed articles: I think "don't" and "wouldn't" are fine on the web, but I wouldn't use them in formal print.
  3. At the moment, all but the most blatantly awful stories get voted up. There are always going to be people submitting low-quality stories. I think improving the quality is better done by trying to influence the voters, rather than the submitters.
  4. Finally, a word to ESLers. Respect for submitting articles in a foreign language! But one point: I am a native English speaker, but I still preview my articles in the diaries so people can catch the errors: if your English isn't so hot you might want to do the same.

----
Support the nascent Mad Open Science movement... when we talk about "hundreds of eyeballs," we really mean it. Lagged2Death
Thanks for the style guide, but... (none / 0) (#41)
by QuickFox on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:41:28 PM EST

It's a lot harder for the reader to keep his place on a scrolling web page, so I generally use shorter paragraphs and...
A concise style guide. Useful. Thanks.

But doesn't your little style guide contradict your first point?  :-)

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.



[ Parent ]
Style guide or no style guide? (4.77 / 9) (#38)
by gblues on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:14:57 PM EST

What is the purpose of a style guide?

The writers who contribute to the New York Times (and other newspapers) are essentially writing with the voice of the newspaper rather than their own individual voice. Authors are not giving their own view, they are giving the view of the newspaper they work for. The idea is that, with marked exceptions, all news stories should read as if they were written by the same person.

Contrast this with K5. Kuro5hin is a discussion web site where individuals contribute their own personal views on world events and technology. They are not speaking with the voice of K5, they are speaking with their own voice. It is not expected--and should not be expected--for stories to read the same.

The purpose of the style guide is to create that unison voice where the many writers of the newspaper convey the singular voice of the newspaper. K5 has no need of this unison voice, and therefore does not need a style guide.

Nathan
... although in retrospect, having sex to the news was probably doomed to fail from the get-go. --squinky
Style guides aren't just for newspapers (4.50 / 2) (#54)
by majubma on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:02:27 PM EST

K5's community-contributed content fits the mold of a journal more than that of a newspaper. Many journals have their own style guides. In fact, one of the most widely used sets of writing guidelines is the so-called "APA style," which originated in the stylebook of the Journal of the American Psychological Association.

Style guides for journals do not exist in order to provide a "unison voice." Contributors are each representing their own viewpoints. If an important result is published in Nature, accolades and recognition go to the authors, not to Nature.

In journals, the purpose of a style guide is to help the reader by presenting a more consistent way to read articles. This is so that readers can extract meaning from your writing without being distracted by punctuation, grammar, and stylistic inconsistencies.

The other purpose of the style guide is to encourage writers to check over their work, so that it will encounter fewer editorial complaints and will be more likely to be published. How many times have you seen a potentially great article that went through the queue so many times that everyone got tired of it? I'm in favor of anything that will cut down on the minor editorial nagging encountered in the queue; I shouldn't have to tell people to spell correctly and use coherent sentence structure.

It's not about stifling writers' individual voices; it's about encouraging writers to express their individual voices in a way that everyone will read.


--Thaddeus Q. Thaddelonium, the most crookedest octopus lawyer in the West.
[ Parent ]

Fascinating diversity (4.50 / 2) (#40)
by QuickFox on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 06:27:31 PM EST

I would be sad to see the diversity that we have here replaced by a uniform style. I like the diversity.

Still I think it would be a good idea to offer advice on how to write better and thereby improve your chances of getting voted up. The intent would not be to limit everybody to one specific style, but to offer suggestions to those who find that their style does not appeal to the readers.

This way we could offer help without sacrificing this fascinating diversity.

Give a man a fish and he eats for one day. Teach him how to fish, and though he'll eat for a lifetime, he'll call you a miser for not giving him your fish.



Heh heh heh (3.87 / 8) (#43)
by wji on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:09:05 PM EST

Almost every article submitted to k5 today either has some grammatical or writing flaw in them.

Heh heh heh.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.

them is plural your subject was not (4.00 / 1) (#44)
by dfcalvert on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:16:02 PM EST

them is plural your subject was not
Douglas Calvert
[ Parent ]
Parallel construction? (4.00 / 1) (#61)
by MilTan on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:49:33 PM EST

Almost every article submitted to k5 today either has some grammatical or writing flaw in them.

Ok, so I'm not entirely sure about this, because my 10th grade English teacher was never entirely clear on the subject, but isn't there a problem with parallel construction in this sentence as well?

It seems like it should more properly read:

Almost every article submitted to k5 today has either some grammatical or writing flaw in it

The way the sentence currently reads, I keep expecting something after the "them," like:

Almost every article submitted to k5 today either has some grammatical or writing flaw in them[sic] or teaches you how to build a thermonuclear pile in your backyard

Note: Feel free to criticize the grammar in this comment, as such criticism would be my just desserts for being a grammar maven

[ Parent ]
Very good! (4.50 / 2) (#66)
by wji on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:33:48 PM EST

I noticed that as well, before I noticed the "them / article" issue. "has either" sounds better but doesn't really eliminate the problem, as the sentence breaks down like this:

Almost every article submitted to k5 today has either (some grammatical) or (writing flaw) in it. "some grammatical flaw or some writing flaw" works, but is clumsy. I would suggest "Almost every article submitted to k5 today has at least one grammatical error." I mean, is not a grammatical flaw a writing flaw? And why is "flaw" better than "error"? To me, an "error" implies a bug that can be easily fixed, such as a sentence problem, while "flaw" implies a problem in the underlying construction.

In conclusion, the Powerpuff Girls are a reactionary, pseudo-feminist enterprise.
[ Parent ]

Yep (4.00 / 1) (#70)
by MilTan on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 12:13:03 AM EST

Yeah, I thought of that as well. But I came upon the same issue with clumsiness. To avoid writing the sentence entirely, I went with my current solution. At least this way there is no ambiguity as to where the "either" applies.

[ Parent ]
What is parallel structure, you ask? (4.00 / 1) (#71)
by Skwirl on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 01:37:35 AM EST

Parallel construction isn't a grammar issue, but a style issue. Sentences flow better with parallel construction.

For example: "I like strawberry ice cream, cars that are red and I like green beans," is bad parallel structure. It will flow better if it reads, "I like strawberry ice cream, red cars and green beans." However, both these sentences are grammatical.



--
"Nothing in the world is more distasteful to a man than to take the path that leads to himself." -- Herman Hesse
[ Parent ]
Erm no. (4.33 / 6) (#45)
by codespace on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:16:56 PM EST

The submission queue is a good enough stylebook for me, thanks. That's why we have 'voting', 'editorial comments', and the ability to resubmit an edited article.

_____
today on how it's made: kitchen knives, mannequins, socks and hypodermic needles.
I'd be happy if the writing were decent (4.00 / 3) (#46)
by Delirium on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:18:28 PM EST

I'd be content if every k5 story submitted was at least decent. Capitalized letters where appropriate, properly spelled words, acceptable grammar, etc. A style book is for when your stories are all already correct, but differ in style; I don't think we're at that point.

And even if we were, I don't see a stylebook as desireable. There's no reason to force the Australians to write in American English (or vice versa) or to force someone who is writing a first-person conversational article to conform to a 3rd-person detached style (or vice versa).

Allow Retroactive Editing (3.57 / 7) (#47)
by grout on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:25:58 PM EST

Better, let people go back and edit their posts, as long as a link is available to the original text so abuses can be detected.
--
Chip Salzenberg, Free-Floating Agent of Chaos

Grammar Book (3.50 / 2) (#48)
by dfcalvert on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 07:31:36 PM EST

Hello, Does anyone have any recommendations for a good grammar book. Not a reference manual but more of a book that can be read from front to back without feeling like an encyclopedia...
Douglas Calvert
Elements of Style (4.75 / 4) (#49)
by kraant on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:10:05 PM EST

Elements of Style by William Strunk, Jr.
--
"kraant, open source guru" -- tumeric
Never In Our Names...
[ Parent ]
I'll Second This (5.00 / 2) (#64)
by underscore on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:14:03 PM EST

There's nothing to rival 'Elements of Style'. The book is wonderfully small and easily accessed. The instructions come off more like the injunctions of a good, basic cookbook. The book has seen so many editions a paperback copy can usually be had second hand for a buck.

Having said this, I am against a style manual for K5. I can't see that the effort to clearly express oneself would be furthered by a set of artificial constraints, and I would worry that the content would be penalized in favour of towing the line stylistically. While I'm sometimes embarassed by my own efforts and enraged by the efforts of others (I find myself so much more forgiveable than others :)) I always take something positive away from having successfully mastered the style of another.


a geek possessed of animal cunning
is a most fearsome adversary

[ Parent ]
Lapsing into a Comma (5.00 / 2) (#63)
by mister slim on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:06:29 PM EST

Lapsing into a Comma: the Curmudgeon's Stylebook. It's by a Washington Post Copy-Editor. Good read. I haven't bought a copy yet (Portland, OR Library) so it hasn't completely filtered through.
__

"Fucking sheep, the lot of you. Yeah, and your little dogs too." -Rogerborg
[ Parent ]

Bill Walsh (5.00 / 1) (#68)
by krait on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 11:15:01 PM EST

is the name of the editor who wrote Lapsing into a Comma. He has a website on line. The sharp points section is well worth a read, and is rather amusing.

Other links I have in my favourites are



[ Parent ]
Solution to overwhelmed editors problem (4.00 / 2) (#53)
by tenpo on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 08:57:21 PM EST

As an alternative to everyone emailing the editors with their stories people might make a regular practise of posting their drafts to their diary section first. I've found that users are more than willing to post helpful criticism and point out flaws when in the moderation queue and i'm sure that people would be equally helpful when reading diaries if asked for feedback.

That's an existing system that can be used. If we need something new, more specialised, what about a system of 'trusted proof-readers' similar to the current 'trusted users' scheme. I make no suggestions as to how they would be selected. Perhaps 'trusted users' could also act as proof-readers. Apart from that the system i envision working something like this:
There exists a pool of 'trusted proof-readers'. After writing a story for submission there's another option alongside 'submit' and 'preview' - 'request proof-read'. This would show up in a list page of stories awaiting proof-reading. The link to the list page would be under where the 'Review Hidden Comments' link is (above 'User Info'). The proof reader reads the story and then submits it again, with any changes, back to the author of the story who is alerted by email that someone has proof-read his story. The author is then taken back to the 'submit story' page where they again have the option to 'submit', 'preview' or 'request proof-read'. Anyone care to comment on that idea?

Editing (4.00 / 6) (#55)
by PresJPolk on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 09:08:53 PM EST

I woudln't worry about a style manual until we have in-place editing (whether it resets the voting or not) that makes it practical to edit deviations from that manual.

Yes, to an advisorial style-book. (3.50 / 2) (#65)
by mister slim on Wed Mar 20, 2002 at 10:24:31 PM EST

I think a collection of basic rules/guidelines would be good. I would also like to see some basic system for helping authors with their writing (I'm not a great writer, but I'm a better editor). I think that the abilities of a writer are not as important as getting different perspectives. Access to posting is already limited to those with use of a computer (and an internet connection). I don't want to shrink that to those with almost-journalist-level writing skills. And if I feel metaphorical meta-fiction gets my point across best, I'm gonna go for it (and it's more fun). The reason I come here is the freedom. Wide-angle perspectives on different issues. Some are written poorly, but of those some views are expressed by none of the other posters.
__

"Fucking sheep, the lot of you. Yeah, and your little dogs too." -Rogerborg

Content over style... (4.50 / 4) (#73)
by kimpton on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 04:19:45 AM EST

The important factor is the content of the story, whether it's interesting and will it generate discussion. Grammar Nazis are only going to put people off submitting stories if they don't write well or don't have the time to edit in detail. A style guide will only it make it more of an effort to submit a story. Submitters should write as well as they can, but not give style priority over the story itself.

If style gets in the way of content... (3.00 / 1) (#77)
by pin0cchio on Thu Mar 21, 2002 at 02:31:58 PM EST

The important factor is the content of the story

However, if style problems such as misspellings and completely unparseable sentences get in the way of the content <cough>CmdrTaco</cough>, the submitter needs to fix the style.

I would find it interesting if the style guide prohibited all forms of "to be" outside quotations.

Grammar Nazis are only going to put people off submitting stories if they don't write well or don't have the time to edit in detail.

And risk losing Mojo. For example, I would rate down any editorial comment by a grammar national socialist that uses harsh language toward a submitter.

A style guide will only it make it more of an effort to submit a story.

I don't see a big problem with a little "more effort" in some cases. For example, in programming, writing an application in portable C++ with gtkmm as opposed to Visual Basic takes more effort but produces a tighter, more portable result.

Submitters should write as well as they can, but not give style priority over the story itself.

If an author feels the need to use some stylistic license, she can justify it in an editorial first post.


lj65
[ Parent ]
K5 is too good for a styleguide (4.00 / 3) (#80)
by maroberts on Fri Mar 22, 2002 at 03:16:07 PM EST

K5 has a rich and varied range of articles, from the weird to the informative. A styleguide could unnecessarily cramp some of the freedom that exists on K5.

For one thing, there's the type of english to be used. Would you insist on American English, much to the probable annoyance of the large band of UKians on site ? Or would you piss Americans off totally by telling them to spell "centre" correctly and use "ise" at the end of words instead of "ize" ? Whether its pavements or sidewalks, we're all intelligent enough to work out our linguistic differences without the constraints of rules.

And then there are Style Nazis. The sort of people who post useless replies on Usenet about top/bottom posting. If you want such people to take over your site, just have some rules they can be pernickety about and they will be round faster than pigs after truffles.

In summation, its my opinion that one size certainly does not fit all and K5 should be kept as rich and varied as it is.
~~~
The greatest trick the Devil pulled was to convince the world he didn't exist -- Verbil Kint, The Usual Suspects
I can't see how a style guide can be applied (4.00 / 1) (#87)
by eviltwin on Mon Mar 25, 2002 at 03:31:27 AM EST

I am the first person to admit my spelling and grammar suck but I question a style guide being the best solution.

The thing that attracted me to K5 is the diversity of stories and opinions and I feel personally that a style guide can't be applied on freeform comment like this sites.

I have a style guide on my desk here, it it the one I was given at 18 when I started work as a journalist. Despite choosing a different career I have never thrown it out (I could never part with a book !).

But having it doesn't mean I would apply it as there are many components of a style guide that only apply to the particular place its written for.

The purpose of a style guide is to ensure that all writers adhere to a 'house style' - a set of rules such as the capitalisation of words or the treatment of names like McDonald etc. This is fine when the people using it are staff but in K5's case they aren't.

The application of a style guide will hamper people without an education in English - that is second language people and will result in more and longer class wars on here than anything.

As an Australian we use a different dictionary to the U.S. - We were taught different rules; For example "isation" and "ise" words (capitalise, capitalisation) - see we use 's' instead of z, or Hyphenation - we were taught to never hyphenate expect where absolutely unavoidable.

Now which dictionary do we chose, American English, British English ? Australian English, Canadian English ? Who passes judgement?

I have been pulled up for mis-spelling words and the argument is that i have used an 's' instead of a 'z' which is wrong - no its not I was taught that way.

A style guide is I think going to far and will encourage an elitist K5, if thats what you want then fine but you will cut off a lot of new people with orignal thought.

Maybe some guidelines would be a better starting point - and perhaps you could even discuss in them that capitalisation and capitalization are BOTH correct.

All generalisations are false, including this one.
style guide (none / 0) (#88)
by Mutant on Wed Mar 27, 2002 at 03:23:26 PM EST

Why "burdon" non-comformist with comformity? - Peace -

[ Parent ]
NO, NO, NO style guide (5.00 / 4) (#89)
by r00t on Mon Apr 01, 2002 at 12:48:11 AM EST

"I feel that it would lend to a more consistent writing style."

I come here for the exact opposite of this.I come to K5 for the diversity in ideas, opinions, and knowledge. Spelling and Grammer mistakes happen, its rare and not a big deal.


-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov

Give me a break. (none / 0) (#90)
by RickySilk on Thu Apr 04, 2002 at 10:34:46 AM EST

This isn't the new york times or time magazine. It's a site who's content is derived by it's users. Everyone has a different style. Some write better than others. Isn't that what makes the content interesting? My vote is no style guide.
RickySilk
kung foo let us waste your time
Should k5 have an official stylebook? | 91 comments (90 topical, 1 editorial, 0 hidden)
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