Proofreading

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Tucker512
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Proofreading

Postby Tucker512 » Fri Dec 12, 2014 8:58 am

Does no one proofread APOD anymore? There are three grammatical errors in the last seven days. One could be fixed using spell check. NASA wants to put humans on Mars in 20 years but is apparently unfamiliar with the fact that we have reached a level of technological advancement as a species that allows computers to spell words correctly for us... An error now and then is inevitable, but every other day seems unacceptable.

I mostly gave up on APOD long ago. Every time I see a cloud or tornado photo I weep for humanity. An impossibly vast expanse of mind-blowing universe is out there to capture people's imaginations. There are often fascinating pictures and I still look often at the site, but it breaks my heart to see so many errors in the descriptions and so many (meaning more than zero) non-astronomical images. (I love clouds and tornados, but you do know what the A in APOD stands for, right?)

I assume long-suffering interns are writing the prose, but shouldn't at least one other person proof things before they get shipped off to the Internet? Isn't inspiring new generations of scientists, engineers and astronauts a prime purpose of NASA? Is that not a primary goal of APOD? Along with education of the public? Sorry for the sarcasm, it's involuntary, but I do intend this as constructive criticism. I hope for better when it comes to science education.

Scott Tucker

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geckzilla
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Re: Proofreading

Postby geckzilla » Fri Dec 12, 2014 11:38 am

Let's bring you back down to Earth. APOD is curated entirely by two guys. One of them works for NASA. The other is a professor at MTU. APOD is not run by some immense and powerful monolith known as NASA. It is merely hosted on one of its servers. There are no interns*. Some of us proofread APODs but it usually happens after they are posted. Due to the nature of how APODs are spooled up, proofreading them ahead of time is difficult. Sometimes they only appear a few hours before they go live. Rarely, usually ahead of a holiday, there will be a queue of APODs which is ideal for an outside proofreader to come on, but this doesn't get done. Frankly, it's just not a priority and egregious errors get caught by the public, who eagerly post corrections in discussion threads. A faster way is for you to email the editors. Their email addresses can be found on the About page. I can confirm that the editors are also aware of this wonderful tool known as spellcheck, which also does not always work with total accuracy due to a variety of reasons, as you should know.

Regarding the choice of pictures: Relax, give in, and flow with the current. The will of the editors is strong, their reasoning for using many of these non-astronomical pictures is sound, and your emotions are wasted here. This is not going away.

So there you go. Cheer up, Scott. Everyone is doing the best that they can with limited free time.

*On rare occasions, Robert may recruit a student's assistance for some small task.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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Chris Peterson
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Re: Proofreading

Postby Chris Peterson » Fri Dec 12, 2014 3:25 pm

geckzilla wrote:Some of us proofread APODs but it usually happens after they are posted.

There are different kinds of errors, too, from simple grammar and spelling to rather subtle ones. All have occasionally led to interesting discussions in their own right.
Chris

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Tucker512
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Re: Proofreading

Postby Tucker512 » Fri Jan 02, 2015 6:45 am

Fair enough, but if no one is going to put forth the effort to spellcheck a single paragraph, expect criticism. I appreciate the effort required for two people to do this in their spare time. Thanks for pointing that out. I don't expect to influence anyone regarding image content; it's clearly a lost cause. I just wanted to express the not-uncommon opinion (certainly among astrophotographers, amateur and professional astronomers that I know) that the choices are often disappointing. I read your reply as "no one who controls the content cares what people think of APOD," so I guess the point of a forum for feedback is a bit defeated. As long as it has been acknowledged that pictures of light pillars and tornados on an astronomy site make me cranky, I'm good! ;)

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owlice
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Re: Proofreading

Postby owlice » Fri Jan 02, 2015 7:30 am

Tucker512 wrote:Fair enough, but if no one is going to put forth the effort to spellcheck a single paragraph, expect criticism. I appreciate the effort required for two people to do this in their spare time. Thanks for pointing that out. I don't expect to influence anyone regarding image content; it's clearly a lost cause. I just wanted to express the not-uncommon opinion (certainly among astrophotographers, amateur and professional astronomers that I know) that the choices are often disappointing. I read your reply as "no one who controls the content cares what people think of APOD," so I guess the point of a forum for feedback is a bit defeated. As long as it has been acknowledged that pictures of light pillars and tornados on an astronomy site make me cranky, I'm good! ;)

Tucker, my browser's spelling checker flags four words in your post; I leave for you the exercise of determining which one of the four flagged items is actually misspelled.
A closed mouth gathers no foot.

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geckzilla
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Re: Proofreading

Postby geckzilla » Fri Jan 02, 2015 8:02 am

Tucker512 wrote:I read your reply as "no one who controls the content cares what people think of APOD," so I guess the point of a forum for feedback is a bit defeated. As long as it has been acknowledged that pictures of light pillars and tornados on an astronomy site make me cranky, I'm good! ;)

That's been thoroughly considered in the past and what you have to understand is that your opinion is actually in the minority. Astrophotographers and amateur astronomers have a rather close-knit community and within that community there may be a large disagreement with some of the images shown on APOD but the overall opinion of those pictures being shown is overwhelmingly positive, with few exceptions such as the QR code which was overwhelmingly negative. Remember that APOD is a service to the general public and not a service to astrophotographers. Non-astronomy photos are only featured once or twice a month and their purpose is to bring people with broader interests into APOD. The editors have actually studied the effect they have on APOD's readership and found that it works. Knowing this, if you still want to be cranky, fine. But now you know why you get ignored. Crankiness will never get you what you want here. You'd have to come up with a well-reasoned post for why you think these decisions do actual harm to APOD.
Just call me "geck" because "zilla" is like a last name.

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rstevenson
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Re: Proofreading

Postby rstevenson » Fri Jan 02, 2015 1:21 pm

owlice wrote:Tucker, my browser's spelling checker flags four words in your post; I leave for you the exercise of determining which one of the four flagged items is actually misspelled.

My word processor's speel chocker doesn't flag any words as mis-spelled in Tucker's post. But then it's likely more forgiving, or has more options, than any browser's spell checker can be. For example, I have it set to ignore words in all-caps, so it did not flag "APOD", which your browser probably did. I'm curious which words your browser flagged...

Rob


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