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Would you still buy a book with a spelling mistake in the title?

yes
no

Author Topic: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?  (Read 7220 times)

Offline Peter Burgess

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"History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« on: July 25, 2008, 09:03:21 am »
This stems from other threads that are currently active. I am curious about your perceptions on wrongly spelt literature. I don't want to provoke a debate about spell-checkers, importance of proper grammar etc. But I would like to know this: If you were interested enough about a particular cave to want to buy any books written about it, would you be put off if the book title had a common spelling mistake in it.

"Allum Pot" or "Swildens Hole", for example.

Please be totally honest - it is a simple question - would a wrongly spelt cave name put you off buying a book?

Offline ditzy

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #1 on: July 25, 2008, 09:25:22 am »
i personally wouldnt be put off by it at all, afterall everyone makes spelling mistakes and just because of a single error doent make the book anything less as good as one that had no mistakes.

Offline Cookie

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #2 on: July 25, 2008, 09:42:26 am »
"History of Swildens Hole".

Does a book with such a title exist, or is it made up?

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Offline menacer

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #3 on: July 25, 2008, 09:52:44 am »
There are lots of "localisms" (is that a word??) on names of caves, such as Gaping Gylle Gyle or Gill.
It wouldnt stop me buying the book though....
It does seem the "more mature" generation of cavers seem to be a little more pedantic on the correct Spelling or punctuation of anything written....
Do you suppose the way English is taught now has put less emphasis on this or are the younger generation just more tolerant..???

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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #4 on: July 25, 2008, 09:55:32 am »
Purely hypothetical, Cookie.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #5 on: July 25, 2008, 09:59:01 am »
There are lots of "localisms" (is that a word??) on names of caves, such as Gaping Gylle Gyle or Gill.
It wouldnt stop me buying the book though....
It does seem the "more mature" generation of cavers seem to be a little more pedantic on the correct Spelling or punctuation of anything written....
Do you suppose the way English is taught now has put less emphasis on this or are the younger generation just more tolerant..???



At the risk of leaving the main path of the discussion, I think many young people are LESS tolerant. Less tolerant of their peers who want to try their best. Is it not cool (especially for boys) to be seen to be part of the lowest common denominator of achievement? Are those who want to try hard seen as nerds and geeks?

Offline chriscastle46

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #6 on: July 25, 2008, 10:07:59 am »
I would have absolutely no interest in such a book and would not even take it off the shelf. If the author could not  spell the name in the title correctly the text would have no credibility.

Offline rsch

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #7 on: July 25, 2008, 10:09:17 am »
If someone couldn't even get something as important as the name of the cave right in the title of a book about that cave, I'd be somewhat reluctant to part with cash to find out what else they could or couldn't get right. This applies more to caves I am not familiar with where taking the information at face value would be necessary, as opposed to places where I can tell for myself whether anything other than the name is obviously inaccurate.

This is distinctly different from cases like one particular example I can think of where a mis-spelling on the relevant OS map has been copied over into a small section of popular usage. But in that case, as well as being informed enough to know that fact, I'm also informed enough that I'm likely to have had some input into any book on the site in the first place, and I'd have asked the question about which spelling was intended to be used.

Offline Tony_B

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #8 on: July 25, 2008, 10:09:45 am »
Absolutely not. Any book, whether commercially or self-published, should have gone through some sort of editing and proof-reading process. If something as basic as the cave name in the title is wrongly spelt, then it is extremely unlikely that anything else in the book is even vaguely correct.

The internet, wonderful medium though it is, is largely to blame for the spread of the idea that correct spelling and fact-checking are no longer necessary. As self-publishing becomes ever easier and cheaper via the online route (lulu.com and the like), books such as "History of Swildens Hole" are going to be out there, without having been subjected to the rigorous processes that accompany traditional publishing. They'll be about as reliable as Wikipedia, and many of you will no doubt be familiar with the Ronnie Hazlehurst story from, I think, last year: when the bandleader and composer (famous for writing many of the most familiar TV theme tunes of the 1970s and 80s) died some wag added an entry to his Wikipedia page stating that he came out of retirement to write 'Reach For The Stars' for Steps or SClub7 or whoever it was, which was bollocks. The next day many of our national newspapers, including the broadsheets, carried this' fact' in his obituary. See what happens when you don't check stuff?


Offline graham

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #9 on: July 25, 2008, 10:21:48 am »
Tony_B is absolutely correct. The lack of a proper editorial process implies, correctly in my view, that the content will be unreliable.
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #10 on: July 25, 2008, 10:27:54 am »
What if the peer review was undertaken by people who shared the author's belief that spelling was not important, but confirmed that the factual elements of the book were well-researched? All hypothetical of course.

Offline graham

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #11 on: July 25, 2008, 10:31:06 am »
What if the peer review was undertaken by people who shared the author's belief that spelling was not important, but confirmed that the factual elements of the book were well-researched? All hypothetical of course.
Then I wouldn't believe them. Anyone who is that sloppy about one thing is, quite probably, equally sloppy about other stuff.
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Offline whitelackington

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #12 on: July 25, 2008, 10:41:49 am »
Recently it was banded about that The Current President of Zambia had died,
he had not.
The President of South Africa sent his condolences.
How bad is that.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #13 on: July 25, 2008, 10:48:21 am »
Very bad. Thank you for your highly relevant contribution.  :-\

Offline langcliffe

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #14 on: July 25, 2008, 10:55:18 am »
There are lots of "localisms" (is that a word??) on names of caves, such as Gaping Gylle Gyle or Gill

I've seen "Ghyll" (a nasty piece of Victoriana!), but never "Gylle". Where did you come across the latter?

Offline langcliffe

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #15 on: July 25, 2008, 11:06:19 am »
Do you suppose the way English is taught now has put less emphasis on this or are the younger generation just more tolerant..???
Standards have declined - according to a survey of vice-chancellors half of English universities now supply remedial classes in literacy and numeracy. "Poor mathematical skills were the biggest problem facing the universities, but the vice-chancellors also complained about declining writing skills, their students struggling with basic grammar and unable to write essays."

(ref: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/education/main.jhtml?xml=/education/2004/07/24/tenedu18.xml)

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #16 on: July 25, 2008, 11:59:23 am »
A highly unscientific survey maybe, but if 5 out of 14 cavers wouldn't buy it, any serious author is going to make sure his English is up to scratch, or lose a very significant amount of sales. Saying that spelling isn't important, just becasue the majority might think so, isn't always going to be most sensible stand to take!

Offline Rhys

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #17 on: July 25, 2008, 03:17:15 pm »
I think the results of this poll may be in doubt. I wanted to say no to the question posed in the title of the thread, but needed to vote yes in the actual poll. I got confused and voted the wrong way intially...

Rhys

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #18 on: July 25, 2008, 03:23:01 pm »
I think the results of this poll may be in doubt. I wanted to say no to the question posed in the title of the thread, but needed to vote yes in the actual poll. I got confused and voted the wrong way intially...

Rhys

How embarrassing! I have changed the question in the poll accordingly. To all who have voted - you have the option to review your choice and change it if you want to. Sorry!

Offline Charlie

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #19 on: July 25, 2008, 03:34:14 pm »
I have changed the question in the poll accordingly. To all who have voted - you have the option to review your choice and change it if you want to.

How? I dont see an option to change my vote, which is now wrong because my origional yes should be a no with the new question.
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Offline graham

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #20 on: July 25, 2008, 03:41:40 pm »
I have changed the question in the poll accordingly. To all who have voted - you have the option to review your choice and change it if you want to.

How? I dont see an option to change my vote, which is now wrong because my origional yes should be a no with the new question.
Which just goes to show that when attempting to communicate with others, which is, after all the primary purpose of Language, there is no substitute for clarity.  8)
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Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #21 on: July 25, 2008, 03:44:47 pm »
Eh? I don't understand. When I set it up I left it with the option to change your vote. And I remember seeing it. But now that option has gone and I can't set it again. I think the option to change your vote probably only lasts as long as the normal option to edit your posts. What a nonsense. Sorry people, I messed up. It's probably not worth setting up again - the point I wanted to make was in an earlier post, that as long as there are significant numbers of people who wouldn't buy a book if the spelling was poor, then it is in an author's best interests to get it right.

Offline Peter Burgess

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #22 on: July 25, 2008, 03:46:03 pm »
And anyone who wants to make pompous or self-righteous comments at my expense - this is your chance....

Offline kay

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #23 on: July 25, 2008, 03:58:14 pm »

At the risk of leaving the main path of the discussion, I think many young people are LESS tolerant. Less tolerant of their peers who want to try their best. Is it not cool (especially for boys) to be seen to be part of the lowest common denominator of achievement? Are those who want to try hard seen as nerds and geeks?

It's not so much the 'trying hard' as the being interested in anything remotely academic. It's OK to try hard at sport. But even being interested in something that is not physical sees you labelled as 'sad'.

Quote from: langcliffe


Standards have declined - according to a survey of vice-chancellors half of English universities now supply remedial classes in literacy and numeracy. "Poor mathematical skills were the biggest problem facing the universities, but the vice-chancellors also complained about declining writing skills, their students struggling with basic grammar and unable to write essays."


Standards at uni doesn't say anything about standards in the population as a whole. Bear in mind getting on for 50% of young people now  go to uni compared with ?3% 50 years ago, and that all post A-level institutions (polytechnics, teacher training colleges etc) are now classed as universities.

Similarly, 16 year olds now take an exam designed for virtually the whole spectrum rather than one designed for the top few per cent, so it's not surprising that I look at GCSE mathematics work and am horrified at the lack of numeracy.
 
That said, I'm appalled at the sloppiness of 'shop window' information from many large and reputable organisations  - brochures intended for the public, web pages, with elementary mistakes like "it's" instead of "its", ad "complimentary" instead of "complementary". I tend to the view that sloppiness in spelling and grammar means a sloppy approach in general, and a 'do as little as we can get away with' approach.





Offline langcliffe

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Re: "History of Swildens Hole" - would you buy it?
« Reply #24 on: July 25, 2008, 04:55:19 pm »
Standards at uni doesn't say anything about standards in the population as a whole. Bear in mind getting on for 50% of young people now  go to uni compared with ?3% 50 years ago, and that all post A-level institutions (polytechnics, teacher training colleges etc) are now classed as universities.

You are right of course, but the fact is that society in general (i.e. the government and taxpayer) now has a very low regard for academic excellence, and have compromised standards to get bums on seats and reach that iconic 50% target.

Similarly, 16 year olds now take an exam designed for virtually the whole spectrum rather than one designed for the top few per cent, so it's not surprising that I look at GCSE mathematics work and am horrified at the lack of numeracy.

As an employer, I became very confused by all the changes made to secondary education qualifications.

As the years went by, I learned not to trust paper qualifications, and I used to conduct numeracy and literacy tests at the time of interview. Quite often I used to come across people who had good A-levels and reasonable degrees but who couldn't express themselves in writing, or work out a percentage.

I was technical director of a large software company at the time, which developed pretty sophisticated system software. It was vital that my software engineers could communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly in writing both to their colleagues, and to those who came after them. Excellence in developing software was not enough.