Saturday, 14 January 2017

IT'S ALL A MATTER OF MODERATION. OR: 'CHANGE' ISN'T ALWAYS CHANGE...



couple or so years ago I became, for a brief time, a
member of a British comics forum.  The forum had an 'edit'
option on its comments page, which meant that, however care-
ful the writer had  been during composition, any errors in spel-
ling, punctuation or grammar he'd missed could be corrected
after submission.  Naturally, it would be stated that the
comment had been edited, and precisely when.

It's a handy thing having such a facility, and I've
never tried to hide the fact that, on this very blog of mine,
I continually edit and revise my posts - not only for the sake
of clarity and conciseness, but also to make the overall shapes
of paragraphs more aesthetically-pleasing to the eye.  In fact,
I've seen myself revising a sentence and thereby reshaping
a paragraph, more because it makes the result look
better than because it makes it read better.

Most changes are mainly of style rather than
of content.   When it comes to corrections, it varies.  If
I notice a mistake, I usually just amend the text, rather than
adding an updated footnote.  This is simply because any future
readers might bail out halfway through a post, taking the error
with them as fact.  If anyone draws my attention to an inaccu-
racy, I'll fix it, and acknowledge the contribution in the com-
ments section.  I've even been known to do all those things
at once:  fix the goof, add a footnote saying I've fixed
it - and mention it in the comments section.

So back to the afore-mentioned comics forum.
If I spotted a typo or grammatical error in one of my
comments, or just saw a way of saying the same thing in a
clearer way, I'd sometimes 'edit' my comment.  Not to alter
the meaning, but to polish the presentation.  I'm sure I wasn't
the only one.  There was one lengthy comment I kept refining
as, no sooner did I think it finished than something else occur-
red to me to say.  However, as it was in the early hours of the
morning, it was unlikely to have been read (and it certainly
hadn't been replied to),  so I continued to sculpt and to
mould it 'til I was satisfied.  However, I didn't alter
its tone or intent - no back-pedalling.

Now, as I was later advised by the site-owner,
one of the moderators had never wanted me to be al-
lowed to join in the first place, and was prejudiced against
me.  He suspended the edit facility for every member,  then
tipped off another member that he'd done so because of me.
When I enquired about the missing edit facility, the favoured
member jumped in to say it was because I 'kept changing my
comments', thus demonstrating that he had inside (though
inaccurate) information.  The site owner later conceded
it appeared obvious that the individual was being
privately supplied with internal info.

Regular readers know what eventually happened
next, so I'll skip past all that to avoid repeating myself.
(Details can be found here.)  No doubt you'll be wondering
why I'm airing the topic again  Well, about a year or so ago, I
received an email from a comics-blogger who'd once been an
editor at a prominent publishing company.  He explained that
he objected to something I'd written and had taken the 'pre-
caution' of taking a screen-grab, as I was 'well-known' for
'rewriting' my blog posts - 'something we all do', he later
stated, seemingly unaware of the glaring absurdity
of his inconsistent double-standards.

When I challenged him and asked him to provide
even one example in support of his claim, he recanted
and apologised, though his subsequent attitude caused me
to doubt the sincerity of his apology.  However, I was left to
wonder whether there was a link between his mistaken per-
ception that I altered my posts for the unethical purpose of
misdirection or deception, and the malicious misinfor-
mation promulgated by a disgruntled, disingenuous
moderator on that other comics forum.

So, I freely admit (and always have) that, in my
fruitless quest for 'perfection', I edit, revise, correct,
update and polish my blog posts, to make them as factual,
informative, entertaining, and as visually appealing as they
can possibly be, but I don't alter them to say the opposite
of what I'd originally published in order to escape any po-
tential embarrassment, consequence, or legal penalty
which might ensue from anything I'd written.

And yes, I may well edit this post - if it occurs to
me how to convey the exact same 'content' in a better,
smarter, funnier (and shorter) way than I have.  However,
the purpose of the post and the message contained therein
will remain intact.  Improvement of expression is no bad
thing - so long as the original spirit or intention isn't com-
promised.  Some people would do well to bear that in
mind before making unfounded  accusations.

******

(And indeed, I've now pruned it back, as there was
 too much repetition of details provided in the link.) 

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