Pedantic and Prescriptive Editors

Well, I handed my article in (to a FLOSS magazine) after getting a reminder from my editor. I guess I can now look forward to the eventual petty arguments on grammar usage, format, and maybe variant spelling occur … as I recall from the time I handed an essay in to Axis Mundi, a scholarly journal written by University of Alberta undergrads. No, I’m not writing for them.

In reference to this past event, I never did hand my essay in to Axis Mundi. I chose to opt out than to submit to anal rules such as, “You can’t use two short dashes to set aside dependent clauses. You must use one long one on each side”. Well, I thought I was missing something because as hard as I checked I couldn’t find long dashes. I later found out my word processor (Apple Works at the time) didn’t do long dashes.

Of course, there were numerous other issues along similar lines between me and one editor in particular. I was really tiffed and so I did a bit of research on these points of dispute. The long dash is a Microsoft Word imposed convention. I don’t even think that long dashes even exist on regular type writers, but two short ones do and they were/are used in the above case. What Word does, last I checked, was to unite the two short dashes and thus create one long one.

I think I sure was intolerant towards being straddled by pedantic and prescriptive thinking, but then again it was prescriptive thinking, something I detest, I was struggling against. I surely thought these guys were off their rockers for insisting on Word idiosyncrasies as having consensus. To pick up on dashes is nitpicking, and to pass it off as convention when it’s not –well, you can see why this might act as a deterrent to offering material for publishing.

I’ll report back as to when, where, and whether it even gets published.

Maurice Cepeda


I’d like to report my experience with the said magazine is nothing like my experience with Axis Mundi. I will report on when the issue with my article gets released. I can’t wait!

UPDATE (May 23, 2008)

My article been published by FSM (Free Software Magazine) at <>.

This is licensed under the Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported Creative Commons License. All brands mentioned are properties of their respective owners. By reading this article, the reader forgoes any accountability of the writer. The reading of this article implies acceptance of the above stipulations. The author requires attribution –by full name and URL– and notification of republications.


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