Monday Morning Stepback: ACX, NetGalley, Criminal Element, Zappos and Sex Positive Feminism 101

The weekly links, opinion, and personal updates post

Link of Interest

Why Academics Should Blog: A College of One’s Own, at The Neuro Times via (The Durham U Center for Med Humanities Blog)

But most importantly, scholars need to make everything they do count in multiple ways: those blog book reviews can become the foundation of essay reviews or serve as literature reviews for new articles. They can also act as brief and searchable notes for teaching purposes that help to maintain a critical and cutting-edge classroom. Similarly, brief critical reflections on recent articles and books can develop with time into abstracts for conferences and workshops, which can become the basis for further grant applications or new articles. The joy of reading a new primary source can be shared with others who have read it and also enjoyed it.

As an aside, I liked the post, but it’s kind of remarkable how the post traces the rise in the benefits of social media to a decline in some aspects of academic life brought on by the demise of the traditional model of the scholar-bachelor or scholar-family man, without ever explicitly mentioning women: either the implied “faculty wife” or the women in the faculty.

*****

Seth Godin is getting some flack for his post on The Future of the Library. Writing as if no one has yet to do it, he suggests:

There are one thousands things that could be done in a place like this, all built around one mission: take the world of data, combine it with the people in this community and create value.

@GleCharles had this to tweet:

*****

Also via @Glecharles: Library Journal and NetGalley Announce Partnership for Reviewing Romance E-Originals:

New York, May 16, 2011 — Library Journal announces today that it will accept review submissions for romance e-originals through NetGalley.

Starting immediately, Library Journal will consider for review book-length romance e-originals, with plans to expand to book-length e-originals in other popular genre fiction and, eventually, novellas and original nonfiction works. This expansion of review coverage is necessary to address the skyrocketing popularity of ebooks in U.S. public libraries (72 percent currently offer ebooks, according to Library Journal ‘s 2010 “Ebook Penetration Survey”). Library Journal will use NetGalley to give editors and reviewers access to secure digital galleys of said e-originals. At this time, simultaneous print/ebook titles are not eligible. E-originals selected for review will run online in Library Journal Xpress Reviews and, in most cases, in the print Romance column—which publishes six times a year (Feb. 15, Apr. 15, Jun. 15, Aug. 15, Oct. 15, and Dec. 15).

Hopefully someone more knowledgeable (*cough* DearAuthor *cough*) than I am will tell us what this all means for the reader.

*****

Are you a book blogger planning an event for June? Felicia the Geeky Book Blogger would like to know. She’s compiling them for Fresh Fiction.

*****

Author Diana Gaston is over at Risky Regencies sharing her view on What Is A Romance Novel, with lots of links to others’ views.

*****

The best source for reporting on audio romance books continues to be AAR’s column Speaking of Audiobooks. This week, the topic is Audible’s Game Changer:

If you haven’t heard about Audible’s new venture, Audible Creation Exchange (ACX), have I got news for you. On May 12th Audible announced a dynamic online audiobook rights marketplace, audiobook production platform, and online sales system. Its aim? To increase the number of audiobooks by offering a place for audiobook professionals to connect and produce audiobooks. There’s much more to ACX, but what it means to us as listeners is greater selection.

ACX is groundbreaking in that it allows any professionally published book, new or old, to become a professionally produced audiobook. It provides authors and publishers access to talented actors/narrators and studio professionals who know how to deliver a well-produced audiobook. There is even training for an author if one wishes to narrate their own book.

It figures that I just canceled by Audible membership yesterday.

*****

Ever wondered about the difference between Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance? Larissa over at Heroes and Heartbreakers gives her take.

*****

Was Nancy Drew My first victim? a meditation on violence against women in mystery/suspense novels, by Wendy the Super Librarian, over at Macmillan’s new crime fiction blog, Criminal Element. I confess my own view is closer to Magdalen’s in the comments than to Wendy’s but I rarely read the genre, so what so I know?

*****

So many people sent me this link. They must think I really need my confidence bolstered. Need Innovation? Hire A Humanities Grad, at a leading business blog (reporting on an article in the Harvard Business Review):

Their resumes may never make it past your HR department, but Golsby-Smith argues that people who studied literature, philosophy and the like offer key skills your organization probably lacks.

*****

From Beauty Schooled, Enough With the Fat Hate:

Yes, there is lots of research linking obesity to serious health issues. Although it’s worth noting that most of that research is based on correlations, not causations. And there is also plenty of evidence to show that it’s not the fat itself, sitting on your body, that makes you sick — it’s unhealthy lifestyle habits like eating junk food and never exercising, which can be practiced by people at any size, as Ragen regularly and patiently explains.

But even if science steps up and finds a rock solid connection between pounds of body fat and deadly diseases — why has the “war on obesity” become a war on obese people, even children?

*****

The Independent reports on a new special issue of Granta out this week, in Is Feminism Relevant to 21st Century Fiction?

Granta magazine will publish The F Word (£12.99) next Thursday: an issue dedicated to reflections on gender, power and feminism, in which Lydia Davis, Rachel Cusk, Jeanette Winterson, AS Byatt, Helen Simpson and Téa Obreht, among others, write wide-ranging pieces on women’s places in the world, the place of feminism within storytelling and shortfalls of the Women’s Movement of the 1970s. John Freeman, editor of Granta, feels this latter aspect is a positive outcome: “I think political movements must always critique their own legacies – otherwise they become cults. Writers in the issue are doing what’s natural after decades of believing in a cause – they are observing the victories and defeats, and taking stock of how this idea has infiltrated life and culture.”

Winterson, reflecting on the love affair between Gertrude Stein and Alice B Toklas, bemoans the loss of romance in our post-feminist age.

I am alternately terrified and looking forward to reading the issue.

*****

At Slate, Awsum Shoes: Is it ethical for companies to fix grammatical and spelling errors in internet reviews?

By cleaning up its reviews, Zappos is hurting shoppers as it helps its bottom line. The lowercase reviews, the all-caps reviews, the Internet speak, the subject-verb-agreement manglings, the sentence fragments, the pathetic attempts to spell chic—all of these are factors to weigh when considering someone’s opinion of low-top Chuck Taylors. Or, to be more earnest about it, our mistakes are what make us human. On the Internet, it’s important that other people can tell if you’re an idiot.

I occasionally fix errors in comments made here, if in my judgment the error makes the comment too hard to understand. I would like to fix many more, but I hold back. Now I am wondering: is this wrong? Should I get permission first? What do you do on your blogs?

*****

At The New Yorker’s Book Bench, Are You a Reader or An Owner?, a short piece linking to Shelf Awareness, who linked to a WSJ piece in which the Penguin Group C.E.O. John Mankinson said this:

There is a growing distinction between the book reader and the book owner. The book reader just wants the experience of reading the book, and that person is a natural digital consumer: Instead of a disposable mass market book, they buy a digital book. The book owner wants to give, share and shelve books. They love the experience. As we add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience.

*****

I love my Kindle but I have always HATED with a passion the clipping, copying and pasting limit. This really minimizes the extent to which I can use Kindle books for research. As Galley Cat reports, some Kindle users at MobileRead are trying to get the limits removed.

*****

A manifesto on Sex Positive Feminism at Feministe, by Clarisse Thorn. 49 comments make it an interesting discussion. Really long, but really interesting. I may use it as a basis for discussion in feminist theory in the fall.

One commenter had this to say in criticism:

I can’t embrace the term “sex-positive” because it does, in fact, reinforce the existence of the strawman of the anti-sex feminist.

*****

I am sorry to say this link is evidence that there are some dead horses I enjoy beating: The Future of Book Reviews: Critics versus Amazon Reviewers” at The Daily Beast:

Ozick noted, Amazon reviewers hold two principles in common: “First, a book, whether nonfiction or fiction, must supply ‘uplift.’ Who wants to spend hours on a downer? And even more demandingly, the characters in a novel must be likable. Uplift and pleasantness: is this an acceptable definition of what we mean by literature? If so, then King Lear and Hamlet aren’t literature, Sister Carrie isn’t literature, Middlemarch isn’t literature, nearly everything by Chekhov isn’t literature, and on and on and on.”

Really? Cuz it took me all of 3 seconds to click over to Amazon, find Middlemarch and see that 123 Amazon reviews have given it an average of 4.5 stars.

*****

Having trouble meeting your goals? From Reason, Self Control in the Age of Abundance, a report on a new website designed by an economist which allows you to make “precommitments” to your goals, and suffer penalties (like forcing yourself to donate to political causes you despise) if you fail (via Arts and Letters Daily):

The concept is fiendishly simple. StickK.com (the second K is from the legal abbreviation for contract, although baseball fans will detect a more discouraging connotation) lets you enter into one of several ready-made binding agreements to lose weight, quit smoking, or exercise regularly, among other things. You can also create your own agreement, which many of the site’s 100,000 registered users have done. You specify the terms (say, a loss of one pound per week for 20 weeks), put up some money, and provide the name of a referee if you want one to verify your results. Whenever you fail, stickK.com gives some of your money to a charity or friend that you’ve chosen. Whether you fail or succeed, stickK.com never keeps your money for itself aside from a transaction fee.

*****

Personal

I’ve been watching Game of Thrones on HBO. I have never read the books. I like it, but I don’t love it, and I think I figured out why: I feel like a bystander watching a lot of interesting events which do not concern me. Having so many different storylines, and changing point of view every scene, make this viewer unable to really have that bonding experience with any character that keeps me fully engaged. That everyone keeps telling me most major characters will be killed off keeps me at even further a distance. I like GoT, and I admire the acting and production values, but so far, at least, it is not a show that gets under my skin.

Another busy week ahead, but hoping to get some Rachel Gibson and Anne Stuart reviews up.

HAPPY WEEK!

32 responses

  1. I occasionally fix errors in comments made here, if in my judgment the error makes the comment too hard to understand. I would like to fix many more, but I hold back. Now I am wondering: is this wrong? Should I get permission first? What do you do on your blogs?

    Hmm. Well, your blog is, in some ways, representative of you, so I would think cleaning up typos and such would be within your purview – in particular since you might use the blog for educational purposes.

    Is it like seeing a smutch on someone’s jacket, and brushing it off for them?

    Like

  2. I’m beyond addicted to Game of Thrones. I like how some of the women are worthy adversaries alongside the men and the importance of family ties. Peter Dinklage as Tyrion should win an Emmy. He is one of the best characters along side Sean Bean as Ned Stark and his bastard son, Jon Snow played by Kit Harington, a new to me actor. Michelle Fairley as Stark’s wife is amazing as well.

    Like

  3. I occasionally fix errors in comments made here, if in my judgment the error makes the comment too hard to understand. I would like to fix many more, but I hold back. Now I am wondering: is this wrong? Should I get permission first? What do you do on your blogs?

    It’s fine if you’re talking about fixing typos in your own comments, but to correct typos in someone else’s without their knowledge? Yes, I feel it’s wrong. Even if your typo fixes are likely to improve their comments.

    If a respondent doesn’t understand a comment due to a typo or such, then they should ask the original commenter for a clarification. This could spark a new and interesting branch of an ongoing discussion. So fixing a typo would be depriving the others a chance to interact.

    My responses tend to be riddled with grammatical errors and Engrish lapses, but I think people who are familiar with my writing would understand what I’m trying to say. They can always ask if they don’t.

    I don’t edit other people’s comments on my blog. I didn’t even think of considering this until your post today. In fact, more I think about it, more I rebel against the very idea as it seems to violate the principles of the Internet.

    All that said, it is your blog. I feel, though, you should put up a notice to let respondents know. This way, they will understand that by responding to your blog, their comments may be subjected to your fixes without their permission and knowledge.

    Like

  4. @Victoria Janssen: Well, I don’t know about the blog as educational. I feel it is less and less connected to my academic work, actually, except in those posts where I explicitly

    @KB/KT Grant: I wish I felt that way! I also really like Snow character.

    @FiaQ:

    it seems to violate the principles of the Internet.

    Oh, were these decided when I wasn’t looking? Perhaps you can let me know where they are posted? *laughing*

    I have maybe done this maybe a handful of times in 3 years, and typically only to regular commenters. I don’t mean to have alarmed you. But I’ll put a note in my about page right now, though.

    Like

  5. Oh hey, thanks for the shout-out re: my Criminal Element post.

    @glecharles hits the nail squarely on the head for me regarding that Future Of Libraries post. In fact, it’s probably the single greatest thing that annoys most about all technology talk online. EVERYONE seems to assume that EVERYONE “out there” has equal access to all these neat-o gadgets and what-not. There is still a big ol’ digital divide in this country (I’m talking USA). Folks, I know countless people stil using dial-up….not because they don’t want high-speed access, but because they lack options.

    Like

  6. @FiaQ: I didn’t mean to upset you. I was just trying to make a joke. I personally think that this question is a bit more open than your first comments suggests, and that’s what I was trying to get at.

    I used to have a comments policy at the bottom of the blog, but when I changed templates several months ago that disappeared and I was very remiss not to have reposted it.

    I have now updated by About page to reflect my comments policy, and I apologize that to you and anyone I may have mislead in the meantime.

    Like

  7. I would vote to not correct grammar or spelling in any comment – or in anything which will look to have been written by somebody else. It seems just wrong. Plus the very good argument that improper grammar can be revealing about author´s, if not character or education level, at least if they are in a hurry or not. If something is too incoherent to be understood, then I think you have the right to screen it and not post it. But to edit somebody else´s PoV in comments, no. I have never seen a Terms of Use which allowed that, and ToU are just an example.

    About A Game of Thrones, I have not seen the tv series, but I am a big fan of the books. Your comment is very interesting, it approaches the crucial gap between literature and other media. In the books, we are in the character´s PoV. The author can fail to make it convincing or the character likeable (intentionally or not), but when done right it can engage much more directly. I do think the books are done right, part of what makes this series (the books) such fandom favorites is that fans seem to identify with ambiguous characters in many different ways, which makes for a very lively fandom.

    Like

  8. I just started Game of Thrones on audio because that’s the only way I could imagine taking on such a dauntingly long book right now. But I don’t know whether I can keep track of all the characters and plot lines that way–it made me realize what a visual learner I am (I need to SEE those names) and also how often I zone partly out with audiobooks. I think I might have to read this in paper, so I can flip back and forth easily to remind myself of what’s going on. Or try pairing my audio with wikipedia summaries, perhaps.

    I like how Cynthia Ozick acknowledges that the kind of people who leave amazon reviews are the “real” readers, the ones who read a lot, buy a lot of books, and want to talk about what they’ve read, but then bashes their tastes. As if, back in the day when criticism was the domain of published intellectuals, MOST people weren’t ignoring them and reading and talking about other things. Amazon reviews can be excellent criticism, and I like having a range of reviewing voices, from amazon to NY Review of Books, available to me.

    Also, I find Middlemarch uplifting and I like a lot of the characters (my son is named Caleb partly because of Caleb Garth–it’s a name I had good associations with because of Eliot). Guess I’m a freak. According to classical theories of tragedy, isn’t catharsis “uplifting” in some way? It’s not easy uplift, sure. But I’m sick of people who say “easy” reading has nothing meaningful to offer us or talk as if wanting uplift and “pleasantness” is a bad thing. I think those are among the things people have always sought from art.

    Like

  9. I strongly agree with Fia. I would never edit someone’s post. Of course each blogowner has the right to run it as she sees fit. But I have always thought one of the strengths of the internet is that you are what you write, not your background or credentials or whatever. Changing someone’s grammar or spelling w/out their permission is not a trivial act if you believe in each contributor’s autonomy.

    Like

  10. @T:

    I would vote to not correct grammar or spelling in any comment – or in anything which will look to have been written by somebody else. It seems just wrong.

    @Sunita:

    Changing someone’s grammar or spelling w/out their permission is not a trivial act if you believe in each contributor’s autonomy.

    This is not something I do as a matter of course. Far from it. As I mentioned, I may have done it a few times over 9000 comments on this blog, specifically, if I am in the comment window and I see a regular commenter — whose typical writing style and ability I am familiar with — has written something like “Oh my Gos I can’t believe she did that”. In the moment, it probably seemed like a nice thing, a helpful thing, to do for a regular contributor, to change the “s” to a “d”, not an attempt to take away someone’s right to free speech. I guess I do think of that as a trivial act — trivially kind.

    I would hate it — and be kind of depressed, actually — if as a result of admitting this, somehow people got the impression I am randomly and frequently editing everybody’s comments without a lick of sense or judgment.

    I completely understand the arguments against doing it as a matter of course the way Zappos does it (to enhance their profits), and that’s why I linked to the Slate piece in the first place. I was asking for opinions, and I appreciate them.

    Like

  11. I assume when I post a comment that the blogger(s) will do whatever they might want to it–remove it, edit it, whatever–and that they will exercise the sort of care with other people’s words that they would want applied to their own. I trust the values of the bloggers on whose blogs I post; otherwise, I don’t comment.

    Like

  12. I think there is a huge difference between fixing a typo and editing content. That said, I don’t consider a blog public space. I agree with Pam Regis. If I didn’t trust a blog, I could simply take my words elsewhere.

    Like

  13. I would hate it — and be kind of depressed, actually — if as a result of admitting this, somehow people got the impression I am randomly and frequently editing everybody’s comments without a lick of sense or judgment.

    I didn’t assume you edited frequently, randomly, or without judgment. But I do consider editing someone else’s comments, without their knowledge, to be putting words into their mouth. Maybe they are the words the person meant. But unless they ask you to change it, you’re making a decision for them. You feel you’re being kind. But you don’t give them the option of refusing.

    It’s quite different, in my opinion, from deleting comments or banning commenters. The latter are presumably in accordance with the blogger’s view of what her blog should represent, and the threshold is pretty high.

    But then I have never been comfortable with Crooked Timber’s approach to managing comments. I understand that political blogs get a lot of crazy commenters and Godwin’s Law debates are triggered really easily. But I’ve seen the contributors/moderators of that site get both overzealous and self-righteous about maintaining “civil discourse.” The one policy I do like, and I wish more blogs adopted it, is disemvowelling rather than deleting.

    Like

  14. @Sunita:

    The one policy I do like, and I wish more blogs adopted it, is disemvowelling rather than deleting.

    Why is that? (Curious, not critical here).

    I once deleted a comment on my blog that was an offensive and extremely random rant – I did hesitate for some time before doing so. In the end it was because it had nothing to do with the post itself (or indeed anything I ever blog about – just a subjectless rant) that I chose to do it. I wouldn’t delete an offensive comment that related to the post/blog, though I would close comments.

    I’ve never considered not commenting somewhere on the basis that my comment might be edited. Naively perhaps, it’s never really occurred to me to think that might happen. However, I suppose I don’t comment many places anyway, for time constraint reasons.

    Personally I’m not troubled by Jessica’s disclosure that she fixes the odd typo – but I admit that’s because I know her and trust it wouldn’t be more than a typo.

    Like

  15. @Tumperkin: I like disemvowelling because it is transparent. It makes clear that the comment is outside the bounds of what the blog owner or moderator considers appropriate, but it leaves both the bare bones of the comment and the name of the commenter out there for everyone to see. It also means that responses to the deleted comment don’t become incomprehensible.

    It’s not a strong preference, I just think it has certain advantages. While I have never understood the blog-as-private-space argument for open blogs, I fully agree that the person who hosts, pays for, and moderates the space has the right to set whatever rules she wants. I think I come at this issue from a different angle; as a political scientist, I don’t evaluate policies according to whether I trust the policy maker, but according to whether I think, in general, they are effective policies. My trust/distrust, like/dislike is orthogonal to that.

    I’m also motivated by my concern about the digital divide and the English/non-English divide. If people who are hesitant about their ability to express themselves in English are already less likely to comment, having an explicit policy of correcting typos, grammar, and comprehension is unlikely to come across as encouraging their participation.

    Like

  16. @Sunita:

    But you don’t give them the option of refusing.

    That is true. I obviously assumed (wrongly) that, since I wouldn’t mind (in fact, I’d be grateful) others wouldn’t, either.

    But I’ve seen the contributors/moderators of that site get both overzealous and self-righteous about maintaining “civil discourse.”

    Unfortunately, I think no policy is is perfect. I also think no policy enforcer gets it right every time.

    @Tumperkin:

    Personally I’m not troubled by Jessica’s disclosure that she fixes the odd typo – but I admit that’s because I know her and trust it wouldn’t be more than a typo.

    Thank you for saying that, and you too @Pam Regis.

    I guess, though, to play my own devil’s advocate, even in the example I gave, it is technically possible that the person who wrote “gos”, the regular commenter who I thought was a secular humanist misspelling a common epithet, really IS a strong believer in a religion I have not heard of, called “Gos”, and that while I thought I was merely helping her by correcting a typo, I was, in fact, changing her religion.

    Edited to add: I am serious about this last example, or at least about the kind of problem it exemplifies.

    Like

  17. I always wondered what it would be like to watch Game of Thrones without having read the books first. I wonder if a lot of people feel as you do. I only know my perspective which is one of having read the books (years ago though) and loving them and the TV show almost serves as a refresher course for what I’ve half-forgotten. As for “most” of the major characters getting killed off, that is not the case, although you’d better watch out who you develop a tendre for along the way. I appreciate more that characters who are utterly repulsive in some actions can later become downright heroic and vice-versa. I hope you stick with it. The show has a long way to go!
    I have to agree with KB about Peter Dinklage; he has excelled as Tyrion and my fears about one of my favorite characters being mangled on TV have been blown away!

    Like

  18. I occasionally fix errors in comments made here, if in my judgment the error makes the comment too hard to understand. I would like to fix many more, but I hold back. Now I am wondering: is this wrong? Should I get permission first? What do you do on your blogs?

    I agree with those who think comments should be left as is, though it wouldn’t particularly bother me if minor typos or errors in punctuation were fixed in the interests of clarity. In general I think the standard of literacy in the romance community is very high. You want to see real garbage, read some of the comments on political blogs. It makes one despair for the future of the country if these are the politically engaged.

    Like

  19. I know you’ve been grilled already about the comments but since you asked what we do on our own blogs: nothing. I don’t edit a thing except maybe the HTML elements. I’ve been tempted but I just don’t. I understand though what you’re doing. Let them fix their own typos or explain what they mean.

    Curious to see how you will find the other Rachel Gibson books. She’s more miss than hits for me. You’ll also find that her heroes are all pretty much the same. Anne Stuart books – won’t touch with a ten foot pole. The heroines in her books drive me crazy.

    May I ask what you are using to get that Twitter screensnap? I used to have something that did that but I lost the link. Thanks!

    Like

  20. I have come to hate the word post-feminism. What does that even mean? Did feminism stop? Is there only one kind of feminism? Who the heck decided we were post-feminist? I have the same problem with sex-positive. What the heck does that mean? I’m positive about sex when sex is positive. But what about when sex is mediocre? You know what, I’m sex-mediocre. Can we get some kind of blog going about sexual mediocrity? We promote lukewarm attitudes about sex and sexuality. “Eh, you know . . . it was, like, okay. I guess.” Whatever-ivity. While I understand the ideological drive behind both terms, and even mostly agree with the article, I really dislike what both terms imply. I’ll have to think about that more.

    I would love to live in a world where I am not plagued by the vicious regularity of my typos even after I’ve edited numerous times. Feel free to help me live in that world.

    Like

  21. I think Keishon mentioned the only case in which editing a commenter´s post typos would feel OK to me – to correct some space or wrong character in a HTML element. Particularly say a tag which has no closing one and where blogging software allows that to affect subsequent comments. Ick. Exception found.

    I have never submitted a comment thinking the blog owner could edit it – I always just assumed they could only delete it, never edited it. This is not to criticize, just to give my two cents on what it makes me feel.

    On the “oh my gos” case, nevermind the divinity called gos (or some inside joke, sort of like pwned that the blog owner might not be aware of, but which other commenters or readers might be aware of), for most users even a typo has some added meta (if it can be called that). If coming from somebody who usually does not do typos, it might mean they are on a mobile device or have little time, and might give added value that their reply is not as considered as usual. Plus dunno, some people might be offended by God as profanity and not be offended by the misspelling, and you would be making people be offended with poster when they might not have been. This is all just hypothetical examples, just because I find your question very interesting, and for once I have a position on a question!

    Like

  22. @Jessica: No need to apologise as you didn’t upset me. Rather, I lost my sense of humour when I read your response because I was already annoyed with myself over the time and effort I took to write a response in a way that it’d be clear without appearing offensive or specific, bearing in mind that English is not one of my strongest skills. I’m usually self-conscious when I make a response to a blog like this one and when your reply seemed flippant towards my response, I didn’t appreciate it. That’s my problem, not yours, though, so I apologise. Thanks.

    Like

  23. @Jessica:

    anyone I may have mislead in the meantime.

    Would that be “misled”?

    Yeah, I have a REAL problem with it, especially if someone deems my grammar incorrect, then corrects it, and the correction is WRONG.

    I guess I do think of that as a trivial act — trivially kind.

    It is not trivial nor kind.

    I’m sorry for the tone, but this is a serious hot-button for me because it’s happened to me more than a few times (and WITHOUT NOTATION!) and I have left places over it. I mean what I say and I say what I mean, even if it comes with unintentional grammar and spelling errors.

    *HTML is an entirely different thing.

    Like

  24. I’m only upset that you haven’t edited my comments! I could always use a grammar check and a bit of polish.

    All joking aside, I’m against it. I’d rather “own” my typos. But ditto @Tumperkin: : “Personally I’m not troubled by Jessica’s disclosure that she fixes the odd typo – but I admit that’s because I know her and trust it wouldn’t be more than a typo.”

    I had to look up “disemvowelling.” Fascinating! It’s never occurred to me that anyone would edit one of my comments for any reason. I’ll have to think about that. My gut reaction is that deletion is best when comments are off topic and offensive.

    @lazaraspaste: LOL at everything you just said.

    Like

  25. I have been thinking about this because my arthritis often means my fingers muddle on the keyboard. My thumbs no longer hit the space bar hard enough and I have to go back and put in the spaces – I just did 3 fixes on this sentence :) It also means I transpose letters because I don’t touch the keyboard with equal weight. On one hand I wnat my posts to be legible and understandable but on another this is my reality and I am doing my best and thank Gos(Our Lady of the Gossip) you have a spell checker on your bolg. I feel sorry for those blogs without one when I comment, if I don’t read through properly. So I find it fascinating all this comment about judging people by the quality of their spelling and the worth of their ideas by their grammar. I am sad when I read a blog thread and a commenter begins by saying that English is their second language so that they can try and circumvent this.

    Like

  26. @Moriah Jovan:

    Would that be “misled”?

    LOL! I’m with Lazaraspaste: I hereby cede to anyone to right to correct my spelling. But I do understand how you feel. It’s clearly a very important issue for several people, and I am sorry that I did not see the potential for misuse right away.

    It’s interesting to me how different the arguments here are (violation of free speech, curtailing autonomy, diminishing the commenter’s individuality or voice, etc.) from some of the arguments against editing put forth by the Slate writer:

    Is it appropriate for Zappos to fix its users’ grammar? If a bunch of illiterate people like to stay at a certain hotel, well, that’s information that would be useful to have. (No one likes to walk into a Jersey Shore situation without an adequate supply of tequila.) And, if someone can’t spell the word awsum, we may be inclined to devalue his opinion of trailrunning shoes.

    From this perspective, editing comments is wrong because it makes it harder to tell which commenters’s viewpoints to dismiss.

    @FiaQ: I was being flippant. That particular line in your first response just seemed so funny to me when I read it. But I needed to pay more attention to how seriously you took the matter and I am sorry for not doing so right off the bat. As an aside, I have no idea what bar you have set in your own mind, but I find your comments to be clear and helpful every single time.

    @Merrian: Thanks for sharing your perspective.

    Thanks everyone. The best policy, I realize now more clearly than I did when I wrote the post, is to give commenters the tools to do the best they can with their own comments, such as spell check and an editing window, and make changes later only if the commenter requests it.

    As for disemvowelling, I had never heard of it before Sunita made her comment. Now that I have looked into it, I can see the attraction, but … I do think it’s censorship (not that I have a problem with that, necessarily, just that we should call it what it is), and it seems kind of harsh, like … shaming the commenter. Just a gut feeling.

    @lazaraspaste: What’s that bumper sticker? Something like, “I’ll be post feminist when we’re living in post patriarchy”?

    @Keishon:

    May I ask what you are using to get that Twitter screensnap? I used to have something that did that but I lost the link. Thanks!

    Er… Command — shift — 4? MacBook Pro baby!

    @Miranda Neville:

    In general I think the standard of literacy in the romance community is very high.

    Agreed.

    @pamelia:

    I hope you stick with it. The show has a long way to go!

    Oh, I plan to. Maybe I just need to keep watching to keep attached. And I do love Dinklage.

    Like

  27. It never occurred to me that you could edit comments. Blogger, as far as I know, doesn’t have that capability. I know WP and other platforms are far more advanced, but I don’t really need anything complicated.

    As for whether I would…probably not. I’ll delete comments that are pure spam, but otherwise I’ve never felt the need to mess with them. Although I cringe at my typos (and do go back and edit them out of my own posts) I think it’s important to keep the comments as written. And if someone does edit comments, even for clarity/typos, it should always be noted in the comment itself. Even as a footnote that says [edited by JT to fix typos] That could be embarrassing for the original commenter, but it acknowledges that the blog owner has tinkered with the comment as posted.

    As for the whole definition of literature…that argument makes me smile. As someone who OD’d on the “classics,” I can honestly say that I got very tired of what English professors decided qualified as “literature.” There’s a happy balance in there somewhere. A book doesn’t have to be depressing to tell us something profound about ourselves. It doesn’t have to be uplifting either.

    As we add value to the physical product, particularly the trade paperback and hardcover, the consumer will pay a little more for the better experience.

    Um….oh hell no! I’m not willing to pay MORE for a trade paperback than they already charge. I’m not sure what “value” they are adding to the formats. I’ve been unimpressed with the quality of hardcovers and trades for quite some time.

    Like

  28. As for disemvowelling, I had never heard of it before Sunita made her comment. Now that I have looked into it, I can see the attraction, but … I do think it’s censorship (not that I have a problem with that, necessarily, just that we should call it what it is), and it seems kind of harsh, like … shaming the commenter.

    Well yes, of course it’s a type of censorship, although it’s not always difficult to decode what the commenter was saying if you want to take the effort. But deleting a comment is also censorship (in the loose sense we are using the term). If we think of disemvowelling as shaming a commenter, then the analogy for deleting a comment is erasing her. But while deleting is always erasing, disemvowelling only succeeds at shaming if the audience agrees with the moderator/blog owner. There are cases where disemvowelling has spurred criticism of the moderator rather than of the commenter. Interesting general discussion here and debate over disemvowelling and then banning in a specific case here.

    On book owners v. readers, what Amber said. I am so tired of publishers fetishizing the printed book. There’s nothing wrong with loving books as objects and collecting them, but can we all agree that publishers have an economic interest in getting us to do that? I’ve written on this before so I won’t go on and on here.

    Like

  29. @Sunita:

    Well yes, of course it’s a type of censorship,

    Ok, so we agree on that. When I Googled, it, it seemed like a lot of people were touting it was a way to improve the discussion “without censorship”, which puzzled me.

    @Sunita:

    disemvowelling only succeeds at shaming if the audience agrees with the moderator/blog owner. There are cases where disemvowelling has spurred criticism of the moderator rather than of the commenter

    Oh, this is a good point. I was just thinking how embarrassing it would be to have my name up there with my mangled comment.

    Like

  30. Wow, lots of controversy. Like Amber, it never really occurred to me either to edit comments on my blog or that others could edit my comments elsewhere.

    I think it was on RRR that I saw a link about intellectual property “rules” around comments and established a comments policy for my blog. Again, it never occurred to me that I even *could* edit comments, but if it had, I think I would come down on the side of not doing so, since I state that “Other than deletion scenarios covered above, comment author retains rights to the content of the comment.”

    Like

  31. When it comes to editing comments: it does appear (and I have run into the same offline, as well) that for a lot of people, to correct their spelling/grammar/punctuation is tantamount to pointing a finger and say, “you suck!” I think it’s somehow tied to a sense that you’re putting on airs, or demanding they be someone other than their ordinary, “real” selves. It’s not seen as assistance (to make them better), but as direct insult (that they lack in some way).

    A lot of the work I do that’s related to web development is focused on the issues of internationalization and localization: making the internet (or a web application) available/accessible to as many people as possible — and sometimes (well, a lot of times) that means keeping in mind that not everyone speaks English. Some folks are passable, but trying; others are barely passable, and trying even harder. A comment that’s full of misspellings and typos and off-grammar and misused punctuation is going to leave those non-native readers absolutely out in the cold. (So will colloquialisms, but that’s a lot harder to remove from my writing-voice, to my ever-loving frustration.)

    I suppose the question, then, is: whose involvement is more important? Is it to let the original commenter stand, warts and all, or is it to make sure the comment is accessible to as many as possible? As someone with two secondary languages, it’d be a lot easier reading those non-English sites if I knew someone was at least making sure the posts made sense. (Hard to convey the full extent of my frustration in spending almost an hour trying to parse a sentence, only to finally have a native-speaker friend tell me that the person must’ve fumbled-fingered the characters, and the “I want to know but this makes no sense at all” was not just me.)

    Then again, like I said, I don’t take it as you putting on airs (or pointing out my inferiority) if you happen to correct my spelling or add punctuation where I missed it. (But then, I never consent to feeling inferior, anyway.) Perhaps if one is comfortable assuming all readers/commenters are English-native, then it’s less of an issue (however wrong-headed I may argue that assumption to be). If one prefers to presume (or already knows) a blog has many non-English readers, then perhaps under “leave a reply” there might be a polite reminder that spelling/grammar counts, to make it easier for non-native readers.

    [Not to mention that if you misspell, or screw your grammar, screen readers will only read what's there. Or what's tehre, just as translation programs will consider the word or phrase "unfindable" or "untranslatable" -- so you could also encourage spelling/grammar for the sake of the blind/visually impaired, as well as for non-native visitors.]

    Like

Bkwurm.com

Bkwurm: /book*worm/ n. a person devoted to reading and study

VacuousMinx

Blog in Progress

Nyssa Harkness

Media and Cultural Studies with a focus on Genre Fiction, Gaming and Creative Society

Shelf Love

live mines and duds: the reading life

Love is the Best Medicine

Harlequin/Mills and Boon Medical Romance Authors

Blue Moon

Audiobook reviews and book reviews. Occasional opining.

specficromantic

reviews by a speculative fiction romantic

Centre for Medical Humanities

News, updates and insights from the Centre for Medical Humanities, Durham University

Miss Bates Reads Romance

Miss Bates is the loquacious spinster from Austen's Emma. No doubt she read romances ... here's what she would have thought of them.

Badass Romance

heroes, heroines, and books that demand to be taken seriously

bad necklace: not quite pearls of wisdom

mala, media, maladies, and malapropisms

Thinking in Fragments

but making connections too

Tales from the Reading Room

A Literary Salon Where All Are Welcome

momisatwork

thinking about teaching, learning, home and family

Feminist Philosophers

News feminist philosophers can use

Fit and Feminist

Because it takes strong women to smash the patriarchy.

Fit Is a Feminist Issue

(previously known as "Fit, Feminist, and (almost) Fifty," but we're not going to be "almost fifty" forever!

Heloise Merlin's Weblog

Virtual people read books, too!

Victoria Janssen

Just another WordPress.com site

Bblog Central

Your source for book blogging.

Insta-Love Book Reviews

Deflowering romance - one book at a time

A Striped Armchair

Bookish thoughts from a woman of endless curiousity

Sonomalass's Blog

Another day in paradise

RR@H Novel Thoughts & Book Talk

Featuring Author Interviews and Commentaries

Something More

my extensive reading

Yet Another Crime Fiction Blog

Crime Fiction Reviews

The Romantic Goldfish

"Cheapest mother fucking goldfish on the planet"

Shallowreader's Blog

...barely scratching the surface of romance literature, reading and libraries

Joanna Chambers, author

Historical romance

THE DAILY RUCKUS

ROYALTY, ROMANCE NOVELS, AND A LITTLE RUCKUS

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 2,353 other followers

%d bloggers like this: