The Shakespeare Conference: SHK 23.0461  Thursday, 15 November 2012


From:        Hardy M. Cook <This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.>

Date:         Thursday, November 15, 2012

Subject:     A Word about Pre-Formatting


Dear SHAKSPER Subscribers,


Thanks to all the contributors in the “Play Length” thread; it is proving, except for my smart aleck remarks, to be an interesting discussion. (NB: I really cannot stand for a long time, and I was not trying to impose my view of the present with that of Elizabethans and Jacobeans: I was trying to be funny.) 


I would like to pause for a note about pre-formatting on the new platform I am using for SHAKSPER and for mounting and preparing postings for digests. 


Under the old system (1990 to April-May 2011), I could only use the basic ASCII character set. Now, using Joomla, I can provide posting with most symbols (like £), characters [in English or in other languages if appropriate, including italic, bold, underlining], and other formatting. 


Part of my job in preparing postings under LISTSERV© (old system) was to make sure that I was distributing posts using only the basic ASCII characters. With Joomla (new system), I find myself including italics, bolding, and other formatting features. However, I do try to preserve formatting, as well as spelling (such as formating, colour, favour, labour, neighbor, and generalise) and punctuation (Dr) from those using British conventions, and I DO use the “Oxford/Cambridge” comma in a series. (I learned most of what I know about formatting, punctuation, and usage from “Strunk and White” and the EDITOR program.)


If your e-mail client can provide italics, bolding, underling please do so and save me some time. If you e-mail client does not allow formatting options, there are several other pre-formatting tasks you can do to ease my load. 


If you want to use italics, for example, you can use the underscoring convention: _italic_ . If you wish to have bold, you can do this: *bold* . I can easily convert these.


Other formatting options I employ are “smart quotation marks” rather then "straight quotation marks"; superscripts (1st) rather than ordinals (1st); fraction characters (½) rather than straight factions (1/2); symbol characters (—) rather than symbols (--); and I try to provide ‘live’ hyperlinks rather than I keep paragraphs single-spaced and flush with the left margin with a space between paragraphs rather than using indentation. I also word-wrap paragraphs rather than have hard returns at the end of each line.


Finally, from the Netiquette page:

  • If your name does not appear in the FROM line or does not appear correctly (i.e., account is in the name of a spouse, partner, companion, alias, etc.), sign your name at the bottom so that I can cut and paste it next to your e-mail address. You may include your title, academic affiliation, geographical location, or similar information, but signatures should be kept to a maximum of three lines.
  • Do not copy and re-send the message to which you are replying or automatically include the entire original post or digest. Quote, paraphrase, copy and paste, or cite your correspondent by name; give as much of the context as you can to clarify the nature of your reply.
  • If you “cut and paste” information from another Internet or electronic source, which often results in irregularly spaced lines of text, then pre-format that text to be sure that the information is word wrapped and does not require me to spend extra time re-formatting the text for distribution.
  • Avoid the temptation of simply cutting and pasting entire online articles and reviews and forwarding them directly to the list. Posters should judiciously quote and summarize and then provide the URL.


These little steps on your part will enable me to provide professionally looking digests for you and for the web site, which currently gets 150 to 300 visits a day, usually from new visitors to the site.


One other thing I would like to remind you of is that I can now also, on occasion, include attachments for distribution. This ability is particularly useful when you are sending in an announcement with a flyer. Announcements are made available on the web site under the ANNOUNCEMENTS tab as well as under the CURRENT POSTINGS tab.


I deeply appreciate the support I receive from subscribers and wish everyone well during this New Year’s celebration in many parts of the world.




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