Good Enough? (Was Using the Web for Documentation?)
Mjccmc01 at aol.com
Tue Oct 29 09:46:42 PST 1996
Gunnora, thanks for the kind words. Diarmut, I don't know that anyone has
the "right" to chew anyone a new orifice, since I am a firm believer that bad
behavior doesn't justify more bad behavior in return.
My brief philosphy on the evaluation of research papers: I don't care which
style manual is used, and I am opposed to the idea of designating "the" style
to be used for SCA competitions, primarily because I would find it very
annoying to have to reformat the bibliography, etc. of an academic paper I
wanted to enter in an A&S competition. At the same time, when I am
evaluating a research paper, part of the criteria has to be how well the
entrant made use of the materials available to him. If I can't find a work
cited because the appropriate information isn't included in the paper, I
can't very well do that, can I?
A research paper is ideally a specialized form of communication. If a paper
is unintelligible due to poor spelling and grammar or unhelpful because the
reader cannot locate the sources, the paper has failed to communicate. On
the other hand, if someone has uncovered previously unknown information about
the proper way to make a Merovingian widget and presents it in a clear and
interesting manner, who cares about a comma splice here or there? Not me.
But, to play devil's advocate for a moment, I want to see an artisan produce
the best work they can. After you've put hours and hours of research into
producing your masterpiece, doesn't it seem a little foolish not to spell
check it? You wouldn't spend countless hours producing the quintessential
Elizabethan garment and put the hem in it with duct tape, would you? (OK, so
I did, but I was in a hurry, I knew it was wrong, and I DIDN'T ENTER IT IN
I really don't want to be the dreaded comma Nazi laurel, but I do feel I have
an obligation to encourage artisans to do their absolute best, not their
absolute "good enough." As a general rule, if I spend a long time judging a
work and dwelling on details, it is a tremendous compliment to the artisan,
because I see them as already having basic competency in the field and ready
to move on to gain expertise. "God is in the details." (Anybody know the
architect who said that?)
So, how about some discussion? Do you want the judging at an A&S competition
to push you to greater heights, or is it more important for the judging to be
kind? Please, please, please, do not let this devolve into a "bad judge"
Looking forward to seeing you at Laurel Prize.......
Siobhan ni'Breoghan Fitzlloyd
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