For the past couple of weeks in Serious Eats Talk, I’ve been meddling with Talk topic titles, trying to help make them more precise and reflective of what’s being asked in the thread.
In some cases, I truly think my meddling is helpful. For instance, “Need a butcher in Phoenix” is a better title than “Need a butcher.”
I’ve been following the conversation and commenting there over the last two days and have realized that maybe a large part of my headline meddling had to do with some of the recent off-topicality in Talk. We’ve gotten more than a few emails in the last couple months about threads going off-topic and becoming too filled with chit chat. And now I’m wondering if my playing with Talk titles was a way to try to correct that and steer things in a more serious direction.
SE member dbcurrie, who works at a newspaper, brought up AP style in the abovementioned thread, and it reminded me that I had been keeping Style Bites to myself. I really love talking about copy-editing and blogging and writing for the web (which is also why that Talk topic has been so fun to participate in). And now that I’m sharing the Style Bites blog, I hope to do more of it on Kublog/Style Bites.
You may wonder if some of the stuff that goes on in SE Talk drives me batty as a copy editor. And I have to admit that, yes, yes, it does. When people don’t put spaces between sentences—or between a comma and the following word—it just burns my eyeballs to look at it. When people use five exclamation points where one will do. Or five question marks. Or ALL CAPS.
We’ve always corrected excessive punctuation in titles and have lowercased ALL CAPS, but I think I’ve gone overboard with setting Talk titles in title casing and in changing them. But for the most part, I do try to leave the body of the Talk threads alone. I don’t expect that everyone has had the same copy-edit training that I have, so it’s sort of a live and let live thing. (Although if I do see obvious typos, I will fix them (“peal onions” to “pearl onions” in SE Talk is a recent example I can think of).
Anyway, for anyone not working for/with Serious Eats, Style Bites is more a behind-the-scenes look at what we do. For SE staff/contributors, it’s strongly suggested reading. And for other foodbloggers, it might be a helpful resource.
I’ll have to play around with the templates behind Style Bites to tweak some functionality, but I hope to add some more entries sooner rather than later.