Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Read the rules ("rules")

McDonalds is running a Monopoly-themed promotion. I hope you all understand the rules ("rules").


I've just ordered some items of a personal nature for an elderly person who is not online. Amazon suggest I share the news on social media.

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Don't blame me for typos - I'm only human

Cheryl Stevens has started in interesting discussion on her Plain language, please Facebook page, about responding to clients who complain bitterly about trivial typos. Her point is that typos are actually inevitable because perfection in any kind of quality control is elusive. She cites the guru of quality management, W. Edward Deming.

I responded with an anecdote from my time working at the Open University.

I recall that one of our mathematics textbooks was found by students to contain quite a number of errors which had escaped the proof-readers. The errors were corrected and it was reprinted. The students then found further errors but fewer of them. This went on for several editions, and the story goes that the authors then used the declining number of errors in each edition as an exercise for students to calculate the probable number of errors still remaining.

As if to prove the point, just after I wrote the paragraph above I noticed a typo, so went back in to edit. The next morning I noticed another error and did the same thing. Immediately I noticed yet another... oh dear.

Adrienne Montgomerie responded by drawing attention to Ray Panko's website reviewing research on human error. He includes a list of research on proofreading - none of the studies found 100% of errors caught.

Monday, April 04, 2016

Rupert Bear: the fan club grows

Thanks to Paul Morgan for a namecheck in a nice blog post about the Rupert Bear books, pioneer exemplars of multi-layered communications. Paul was Communications Director for SANE Australia (the mental health charity) for many years, but is now independent.