ANSTHRLD - Where are the commenters?

Teceangl tierna at
Mon Sep 11 19:11:08 PDT 2000

I note that many inexperienced folks express an interest in commenting
but know not how.
I learned primarily by reading others' letters of comment and then trying
it myself.  For my first couple of months, I did nothing at all but
conflict check what was on the Internal Letter.  I was allowed access to
others' Letters of Comment and from them saw what they were doing and how,
and developed my own style.
So, if experienced commenters would be willing to put their letters out
where others can see them, that's worth a class or article on the subject,
and then some.
Hey!  I found some great resources for new commenters to get the feel of
Under the header "Submissions Process" one can find Internal Collated 
Commentary, which shows what commenters have said, and Letters of Comment,
which show a nice layout for a Letter of Comment, internal or external.  The
ICCs are especially helpful, as they break down what each commenter has said,
and therefore one can see the different styles at work there.  See also what's
published as Collated Commentary in the Gazette.

Each commenter should develop his or her own style, though, not just copy 
others.  Borrow from their content, realize there's a standard to the layout
(listing all entries by number and submitter name, putting the date of the
ILoI you're commenting on in the intro paragraph, that sort of thing), but
the tone should be yours.

I suggest to anyone willing and wanting to start commenting, pick up your
Gazette and conflict check.  See if it's insta-boing, or if it violates any
of the RfS.  If you're inclined to read Laurel precedents, go over them and
see if anything applies that will help the submission along or be cause for
return.  Double-check the summarized documentation to see if that name
really *is* on page X of some book you have, or at that listed URL, and if
so, are there dates or is it just listed?  (No dates = bad)

Here's a sample of something I might whip up, using a made-up ILoI entry:
Fictional entries:

   1.  Keith Malcolum Partridge (Loch d'Out)
	     New name.  New device.
       Quarterly Or and purpure, in bend two thistles and in bend sinister
       two partridges close proper.

       Documentation provided:
       Keith   Withycombe (2nd  p. 187 under Keith)
       Malcolum   Withycombe (2nd  p. 204 under Malcolm) date "Malcolum" to
       Partridge   Reaney & Wilson (p. 339 under Partrick) date "Partridge" 
	 to 1674.
       Photocopies:  None needed
       Changes:  No changes allowed.  Language / culture is more important
	 for 12th century Scottish Gaelic.  Desired gender is male.

   2.  Elaine Parr (Dun Fornow)
	      New badge.  Name registered 11/97
       Gules, a mascle argent.

My fictional Letter of Comment:

   Unto Asterisk Pursuivant greetings from Lady Teceangl Bach.  Herein
   please find my commentary on the Internal Letter of Intent dated
   Octember 2000.  All conflict checks were made using the online Ordinary
   on or before Septober 9th, 2000.

   1. Keith Malcolum Partridge - name:  Keith is indeed in Withycombe on the 
   page cited, however the entry states, "It's use as a christian name in
   England is fairly recent."  There are no dates and the name comes from
   "a Scottish surname derived from place-name".  This would indicate that
   Keith is not an acceptible personal name by the submitter's own 
   documentation.  Malcolum is found in Withycombe exactly as cited.
   Partridge is dated in Reaney & Wilson only to 1674 in that form, which is 
   post-period and after the grey area encompassing 1601-1650.  There are 
   dated variant spellings of Partrich 1260, Partryge 1332, and Partriche 1524.
   Since the submitter does not accept changes, this name will probably need 
   to be returned for further work.

   Keith Partridge - device:    This is afoul of RfS XI.3. with the appearance 
   of marshalling.  Straight quarterly division lines with non-identical 
   charges indicated quartered arms, which is not allowed.
   2. Elaine Parr - badge:  No conflicts found.

   Respectfully submitted this 9th day of Septober, 2000.

   - Teceangl

Do note that I write involved Letters of Comment.  Something as simple as:

  Greetings from Lord <Your Name Here>.  This is commentary on the ILoI dated
  Octoomber 2000.

  1.  <name>:  No conflicts found
  2.  <name>:  Conflict with <blazon> with only one CD for change of tincture 
       of the field.
  6.  <name>:  No conflicts found.
  11. <name>:  No conflicts found.
  14. <name>:  Possible conflcit with <blazon>.  One definite CD for change of
       type of secondary charges, but is there another CD for inverting the 
       doozit in chief?

  Submitted this 12th day of Decomptur, 2000.
  <sign your name here>

is also perfectly acceptible and useful.  Note that some entries weren't 
commented upon.  Fine.  Do what you feel comfortable with.

Nobody expects anyone to be perfect.  That's why there are two layers of
commentary.  Consider it the heraldic checks-and-balances system.  If I
miss something, someone else will probably catch it.  If everyone misses 
something, the world isn't going to screetch to a halt.  :)  And if your
commentary is the one providing the needed date, or catching the obvious 
conflict, you've just helped someone out.  (Yes, finding conflicts is help - 
it saves the submitter that extra 4 months at Laurel to fix the problem.)

And if you're still scared, email me and I'll tell you about my Really Big
Mistakes in commenting.  :)

- Teceangl, Dragon's Mist Pursuivant, An Tir
  tierna at
     To heck with a self-cleaning oven; I want a self-cleaning fish.
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