My Complaint About Amateur Writing

from the venting dept

Okay, I’m going to be very mean now and pick apart someone’s amateur content. OSOpinion submits stories to Techdirt every night. Almost every night I don’t post them because they either have nothing to do with Techdirt or they’re poorly written. One of tonight’s submissions was about the whole Napster/RIAA case. It’s an interesting topic, and lots of people have different viewpoints. I’m always interested in hearing different, and interesting thoughts on the matter. However, this article is so full of factual mistakes that I began to wonder what case this writer had been following. For example, the RIAA (which is an association, not a company) is not worried about people burning MP3s onto CDs “for profit”. Also, the main argument of the article is that “business has taken this MP3 thing too far” is not really supported in any way. It seems like there’s at least one factual error in each paragraph. My point isn’t to ridicule this particular article, but to point out that for amateur content to be taken seriously it needs to reach a certain level of quality. There are plenty of good things to be said by amateur writers, but the message gets lost if the writing is poor, and there are distractions such as factual errors. One of the reasons for putting up Techdirt was to encourage free discussion, and so I hope this is seen as a piece of constructive criticism and not an outright attack on that particular article. Feel free to rip me apart in the comments if I was too harsh.

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Comments on “My Complaint About Amateur Writing”

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Penguin says:

No, you are right

Not techdirt material. Seems to me this author was just repeating the thoughts and opinoins of others without fully understanding the problem. Not to mention the numerous gramatical erros that were made throughout the article. This article struck me as a free-flowing thought, rather than an insightful article.

Anyone else here believe in proof reading?


Grammar police says:

Re: et tu, Penguin

uh-oh, busted: grammatical has two ‘m’s, Penguin. When casting stones about proof reading, make sure to spell check! I’m chuckling only ’cause I’ve done the same thing myself — called someone illiterate and left out an ‘l’, which led to “who’s the illiterate?” embarrassment… ; )

Grammar police says:

Re: Re: Re: Penguin Redux

Penguin, take note — this post was worse than your last:
– writting? try writing (spell check)
– if i was? it is called the subjunctive: if I were (8th grade English)
– writter? again…
How you write and speak are important; many may judge you on that basis rather than on the merits of your arguments.

mhh5 says:

He's just a sophomore...

I’ll admit I’ve never read OSO before, but if that’s a typical example of its content then my opinion is that OSO has its own “niche” in the amateur “reporting” realm. Would you read MacOSRumors for unbiased information on the latest Intel chips? Opinion is the key word in OSO. So I think the readers of OSO know that the opinions stated are only opinions based on whatever the author happened to read somewhere. Not techdirt material because
1) it’s not cynical enough,
2) it’s not really “new” news,
3) it’s an opinion based on no real fact (um, Ryan may be slightly guitly of this, but at least he takes a clear stance based on observable trends),
4) it has a lot of glaring factual errors,
5) and there’s no real message behind it.

So maybe you were a little harsh on the guy, but it’s not techdirt material. It might be if he corrected the facts, made it more cynical, pointed to an observable trend or justified his point…

But as it stands, it’s just a random opinion. Suited for sites that like to publish random opinions or rumors. A perfectly legit forum for amateur writers. But that’s kind of why they’re amateurs…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: He's just a sophomore...

Heh. Well, I don’t think cynicism is required. I’m more than happy to publish opinion pieces if I think they’re interesting, insightful or can help give people a different and useful perspective on something. The factual errors were the thing that bugged me the most. Especially from someone who claims he did a lot of research for the article. I just feel if you’re going to post something like that you should be ready to accept it when people criticize what you wrote.

robin paul says:

Re: Fair go.

There’s not much new in what he wrote.
And, I guess, there’s a few grammatical errors.
Admit it – what really got up your craw was the word ‘sophomore.’
They should be unseen, and out of sight.
As to the facts of it, I have little idea.
Nevertheless, to claim that MP3 has “CD quality” is laughable. MP3 is shit quality audio, in the most cases. For silence, it works fine.
Yours, Robin, Moscow, Russia.

Ryan says:

Re: He's just a sophomore...

The article sucks just because he doesn’t seem to understand the space he’s talking about. As most of you know I’m a fan of stating my opinion on occasion (which often leads to Mike pulling out some hair and mhh5 questioning my sanity) but usually I feel I have a reasonable understanding of an area and have at least a general trend in the market place to back me up.

The article paid very little attention to the specifics of the digital music arena. However, it’s a start (however bad that it may be).

P.S. B2B kicks ass (observable trend or pure opinion you decide!)

Ryan says:

Re: Re: He's just a sophomore...

My advice is for the writer to write an amazingly detailed and knowledgeable account of another space (one less well known) and then to submit it to techdirt again. My current flavo(u)r of the month is Robotics or B2B. You never know we might really like it.

P.S. the (u) was on purpose as UK=flavour US=flavor (you decide! Ha!)

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