Materials writing conversations #12: Comments

This is a completely imaginary conversation. No characters in the convo are based on real people – I’m just bored and imagining conversations I might have with editors, etc…

(Draft 1)

1. Discuss the questions in pairs*.

• How often do you find yourself dealing with lengthy comment threads in documents about things that interest you a lot less than the more creative aspects of your role?
• How quickly do you resort to embedding puns or unproductive comments into such threads just to entertain yourself?


Development Editor: the in-house style is ‘Discuss the questions with a partner’. Please change.

Pete: Ok done.

Commissioning Editor: There have been changes to the style guide. It should read ‘Discuss the questions’ only.

Development Editor: Noted. @Pete please change to ‘Discuss the questions’

Pete: Changed.

Editorial Manager: Hi @Pete. Please check the style guide. This should say ‘Discuss the questions with a partner’.

Commissioning Editor: The latest edition of the guide says the rubric should be ‘Discuss the questions’.

Editorial Manager: @CommEd the style guide was updated again last month. The direction line should say ‘Discuss the questions with a partner’.

Commissioning Editor: @EdManager there’s been an update? Sorry I didn’t know. Can we update the style guide docs in Sharepoint so all authors are aware? @DevEd2, are you managing the Sharepoint docs for us?

Development Editor #2: Not me. In fact, I still don’t have access to Sharepoint. There was an email back in May about who is doing what. I think @WindowsUser is in charge of that.

Windows User: Hi. By the way sorry everyone, not sure why, but I show up as Windows User in the comments. Anyway, I’ll upload the docs to Sharepoint. Note: there was an edit to the style guide. The correct rubric should be ‘Discus in pairs’. Thanks.

Windows User: Apologies, ’Discuss in pairs’

Pete: You want us to discuss what we think the direction line should be in pairs? I think it would be easier if we just comment here… 😁

Windows User: Please amend to ‘Discus in pairs’

Windows User: Grrr sorry ‘Discuss in pairs’

Pete: @WindowsUser we could just keep ‘Discus’ there – good recycling from the unit on the Olympics 😁 By the way, who are you?

Pete: I’ll make the change at Draft 2 stage just in case there are further comments!

Ray: Hi. I’m getting lots of notifications for new comments in this doc. Please someone amend that rubric! And please change the settings in the doc so I don’t get alerted. Thanks.

Editorial Manager: Sorry Ray!

Pete: Who’s Ray?

Editorial Manager: Ray is the document creator.

Ray: I just got another three alerts.

Editorial Manager: Ray, the advanced options box shows that the only person who can change the notification settings is the document creator.

Ray: Okay thanks, I think I’ve sorted it.

Pete: Is this a good time to ask whether it’s better to use ‘rubric’ or ‘direction line’? Or ‘instructions’… that kinda sounds better.

Jill: Direction line.

Editorial Manager: Thanks @Jill

Pete: Who’s Jill???!

(Draft 2)

1. Discuss the questions*.


Development Editor: Please use the correct direction line. Refer to the latest style guide in Sharepoint. @Pete

Pete: Sorry. I just lost myself in that really interesting comment thread from before. I panicked, picked a random rubric/direction line that was mentioned and hoped you wouldn’t notice… Maybe you could just change it this time to save another thread?

Development Editor: @Pete you are responsible for delivering clean and accurate copy in line with our style guide.

Pete: @DevEd yeah okay, I get that, but we’ve already typed like 400 unnecessary words between us for a minor edit.

Commissioning Editor: I think @Pete’s direction line works better actually. @EdManager maybe we could just use this?

Pete: I’ve made the changes in line with style guide, all fine now. @DevEd

Development Editor: @Pete did you just @ me to make a point because you are now following the style guide accurately?

Pete: @DevEd no. Yes.

Editorial Manager: @CommEd I guess we could use Pete’s direction line, if it’s consistent across modules….

Pete: Arrrrrgh! No! And no more comments!

Ray: Sorry, but I’m still receiving notifications, can someone else check the settings?

Jill: Please stick to the style guide.

Commissioning Editor: Noted @Jill

Managing Editor: Thanks @Jill

Development Editor: Noted @Jill. @Pete please check the direction line matches the example in style guide.

Pete: Okay, done. Again.

Pete: So, moving forward, who’s Jill? And do we always just listen to Jill? Maybe Jill could just make the first comment so we don’t get bound up in these threads? I can’t remember what the unit topic is now to be honest.

Editorial Manager: The unit topic is on ‘Effective and Efficient Workplace Communication’

Pete: That was it. I can’t believe I found a way to link this to a previous unit on the Olympics. Who mapped this book?!

(Editorial Manager gave this comment a thumbs down)

Pete: @DevEd @EdManager who is Jill? They seem to get stuff done.

Development Editor 2: @Jill please can I get access to Sharepoint?

Ray: @Jill please can you turn comment notifications off for all users? Thanks

Pete: @Jill can you tell everyone to avoid trying to solve their own issues in a comment thread about one instruction line?

Commissioning Editor: Jill says to refer to them as direction lines.

Pete: Who is Jill?!!?!?! Why does everyone listen to Jill? And why won’t anyone answer questions about Jill? And why do all these new people I’ve never heard of (yet everyone else seems to know) just keep appearing in comment threads from nowhere?

(Comment liked by Jill and Windows User)

Categories: General, materials writing

Tags: , , ,

5 replies

  1. Blog reader 1: @Pete – Share far and wide with literally anyone who has ever worked in ELT publishing, especially anyone who’s ever worked with one of ‘The Fantastic Four’.

    Blog reader 2: @Pete @Blog reader 1: It’s the ‘Big Four’ not the ‘The Fantastic Four’. ‘The Fantastic Four’ is The Thing, Mister Fantastic, Invisible Woman, and the Human Torch.

    Blog reader 3 @Pete @Blog reader 1 @Blog reader 2: I have it on good authority that it’s actually just ‘The Big Three’. The only people who call it ‘The Big Four’ work for REDACTED and they tagged themselves on the end to sound more impressive.

    Etc. etc. continues forever.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I remember Lindsay Clandfield saying in one of his talks that a common typo of his was to write “Discuss in paris.” Love that.

    Liked by 4 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: