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Please stop using *asterisks*!

I've been taken to task, and rightfully so, for using and *abusing* asterisks in my posts. I'm going to break myself of that habit, and please yell at me if I do it again. (Except for the one above). I've spent too many years having to mark up my own plain text using asterisks for emphasis, and now I keep forgetting that the beautiful and wonderful Typepad give me tags for italics and bold! (So even worse, I mix the two--real tags and fake ones--throughout each post.)

I cannot promise that I'll do any better at spell-checking, but I'll work on it. I'm a horrible proof-reader, but at least I know enough about the brain to let myself (and all the *other*, I mean other bad proof-readers) off the hook--your brain sees what it knows you meant, not what's necessarily there. It's just one of those lovely ways in which the brain thinks it's doing you a nice big favor (why should I bother her with those pesky little typos? It's not like she doesn't know what it means...) and it's really hard to switch that off. People who can proof-read well should be paid a lot of money.

I also can't seem to get the Typepad spell-checking interface to work for me, but that's a different matter. Maybe I'll try pasting my posts into my little text editor and let it spell check, or maybe I'll try one more time to read the damn thing before I post it. I appreciate the feedback on this, and I really will make a better effort, but then, "I was told blogs weren't subject to the same expectations people have when they read articles." That's the excuse I was using, anyway. And maybe if I cut out all the asterisks and *fake* emphasis and stick with the tags consistently, people will be more inclined to look the other way on my typos.

I'm trying to find the balance so that I don't start treating every blog entry as an article, and start editing the hell out of it and reducing the number of times I'm willing to post. This is still new to me, and I'm trying to put an emphasis on posting more frequently rather than agonizing over it as I would an article. (Which is not to say I'm any better when I write articles, but at least then I have a real editor.)

So, thanks for being patient, and I really appreciate the feedback (thanks Fred!). I'll try to do better.

Posted by Kathy on December 27, 2004 | Permalink


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OK, now I feel like a total bastard. But the asterisks *had* to go ;) I think book author(s) should be careful how they present themselves; I would absolutely assume the writing I see in this blog is like the writing in the book(s).

To prove I'm not a complete bastard-- I do own a copy of Head First Design Patterns. Haven't had time to read it yet, but I totally agree that a new way of writing tech books is very welcome. At least as far as I'm concerned-- and I'm 34 ;)

Posted by: Fred Sanford | Dec 27, 2004 9:35:32 PM

Fred: "To prove I'm not a complete bastard-- I do own a copy of Head First Design Patterns."

Well...I'm almost convinced... maybe if you picked up another copy for a friend, that would do it ; )

Fred, you did me (and anyone reading anything here) a huge favor. I'm just grateful you said something sooner rather than, say, two months from now. You're the *best*! (Sorry... special dispensation for comments?)

Cheers Fred! Disaster narrowly averted...

Posted by: Kathy Sierra | Dec 28, 2004 6:02:23 PM

To be a really good proof reader you just read things upside down as it forces you to look at every word. But as far turning your monitor upside down that is a pain. So you can either print it out and read it upside down or just let the grammer nazi's pick out your mistakes.

Posted by: Proof Reader | Dec 30, 2004 12:17:21 AM

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