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Mistakes in Van Rennes article

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Eric Cox31/10/2010 09:58:38
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The need for a sub-editor has never been more apparent than the publication of James G Rizzo's article in ME4389. This is not intended as a criticism of the author but was there any reason to publish an article full of so many mistakes.
The text referred to the hole in the base plate as being positioned on the centre line ie. 50mm from the edge but the diagram shows it at 60mm.
The thread in the column is referred to in the text as 3/8 x 26 tpi (10 x 1mm) instead of M10 x 1 and subsequent references as 3/8 ins or 8mm. The components were described as Fig 5 thro Fig 10 but these reference numbers were not attached to the drawings and the descriptions of the components in the text flowed from one to another without being separated by a sub heading.
The sooner we have a sub-editor the better and hopefully we shall have error free articles

ady31/10/2010 10:37:27
612 forum posts
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I get the impression ME isn't exactly making everyone concerned with it into a millionaire, but involves a huge amount of absolutely critical details not normally associated with a hobbyists publication.
 
There needs to be an easy way people can pool the errors found, where an error can be recorded as easily as a complaint, but the writing effort results in a positive input instead of a negative output.
 
So the heading of this thread is MEW 1234 and the problems found are recorded forever and easy to search by all concerned.
A new topic list on the main forum board "MEW errors/ommissions" would be the fastest way of achieving this.
 
IMO Something as complex as MEW is only ever really going to be complete with the participation of its subscribers.
 
 
kinda thing...so to speak...2 cents

Edited By ady on 31/10/2010 10:43:06

Stub Mandrel31/10/2010 10:53:10
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There is already a topic called "Drawing Errors and Corrections" in which you can start a thread for any project in ME or MEW. Apparently once the errors are corrected your thread will become 'sticky'
 
Neil
Ian S C31/10/2010 10:57:40
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Maybe I'm lucky, Even if I build such a motor , the plans are just a guide, and when it comes to threads I use what I'v got. A motor like that would be OK with anything from 5mm/3/16" up for the collumn, 3/16: unf is the basic thread that I use on my hot air engines(just got the latest one going about 1/2 an hour ago).1/8" whit is another thread I use a lot of. I tend not to complain about things like a few wrong dimentions, we are lucky to get some of these articals, and I don't think English is James G. Rizzos' first language, but he knows his subject. Ian S C
blowlamp31/10/2010 11:31:23
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It's also a good reason to use a CAD system to generate your drawings that are preferably auto-dimensioned as well.
 
Perhaps the original DXF files could then be made available on this site, which would allow easy corrections  and modifications to be made and distributed.
 
It might also be possible to take original, but basic 2D drawings and let them be updated to 3D solid models by members here and resubmitted for the benefit of us all.
 
Martin.
Andrew Johnston31/10/2010 11:41:04
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Unfortunately supplying dxfs with articles doesn't completely eliminate errors, as they are re-drawn to a certain extent.
 
Regards,
 
Andrew

Edited By Andrew Johnston on 31/10/2010 11:41:27

Steve Garnett31/10/2010 11:52:23
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Posted by Eric Cox on 31/10/2010 09:58:38:

The sooner we have a sub-editor the better and hopefully we shall have error free articles

 
I got the impression that it was an assistant editor they were looking for, not a sub. There's a considerable difference in the roles, but I think that what you are describing might be something that was undertaken in this instance by a Technical Editor, if one was available.  But Ady's obviously correct - there simply aren't millions to be made by either ME or MEW, so by that route, I don't think that this level of employment is going to happen.
 
There is an alternative though - one that a lot of other publications containing a lot of detail regularly employ, and it's invariably cheaper. It's sort-of what is happening in this thread, only organised slightly differently. What it amounts to is that from a technical point of view, both magazines use a peer-review process before publication. You assemble a team of peer reviewers (or ask for specialists if necessary), and give them the job of doing a technical vet of articles. I think that with the number of retired and experienced readers that both publications have, this might not be too difficult to organise, one way or another.
 
Apart from getting hopefully less errors into articles, it has other advantages too. The first, and most obvious one is that it takes some of the weight off the Editor's shoulders. The second is that with a little goodwill (like not giving any one individual a ridiculous amount to do), it's pretty cheap to run. Yes, there is one downside, but I think that this could be got around to an extent; and that is the process could potentially dissuade contributors from submitting. But if it was made clear that the process was more like sub-editing than peer reviewing actually is (in other words, the Ed has already made the decision to publish) then I wouldn't have thought that this would be too much of an issue.
 
Thoughts?
KWIL31/10/2010 12:32:57
3426 forum posts
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OK, the criticisms are valid and provided any ME who wants to use an article to actually make the item checks out the whole, before starting, maybe little harm is done by the "errors".  There is the real problem of the newbie and all other levels after that where the lack of experience can cause difficulties, however even if "we" create a "list of errors" in a place you can look up, unless the originals are corrected as well, the problem still remains. Personally I make a copy of all relevant drawings and figures by scanning and "mark them up" in the same way as I would let others know the errors, I  then work from these revised details.
 
The process/problems of Authoring is already enough that potential contributors have to be cajoled by our Editor from time to time to produce the goods. Lets us not be too critical of the amateurs who are the lifeblood of both magazines.
 
I would have no problem with receiving constructive comment and any observations/corrections/ideas about anything I chose to write about, in fact if that happened, surely any  Author would be only too pleased to coordinate the "changes"  with a view to making available an overall listing to those who expressed an interest.
Steve Garnett31/10/2010 13:23:34
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I should perhaps have mentioned that one of the snags with any form of error correction after the published event is that it disadvantages the people who published it in good faith, and also who don't have access to on-line corrections. And I'm afraid to say that in the current age range of potential readership, that number is likely to be higher than it would be in perhaps a younger readership. Also, on line corrections can easily get lost in the mists of time, so anybody coming to a design several years or even decades later may not find the information at all. Especially if they have to search for it, it would seem...
 
So I would say that the case for resolving as many of these issues as possible before publication was overwhelming. As for being critical - well, that's a perception issue. There are ways of presenting this as a means of support, rather than criticism, and I think that would be quite important.
 
It would be interesting to hear David's perspective on this.
Jeff Dayman31/10/2010 13:32:59
2178 forum posts
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I have seen many of Mr. Rizzo's articles over the years. He makes unique engines, but his drawings are abysmal. I skip the articles now, because I know there's not a hope I could work to his drawings.
 
He's not the only one. In the latest ME there is a gas engine article called Rina. The carburetor drawings are some of the most unclear I've ever seen. A section through the body vertically would help immensely. I think there will be a lot of scrap carbs and stopped projects because of those awful drawings. On the carb valve spring, no hints at all are given about appropriate dia, wire dia, or pitch. The text just says "light spring".
 
 In addition the ignition lever drawing in the same article is pretty much unintelligible and has at least one line that should not be there. I could make the assy from the photo but certainly not from the drawing.
 
Very disappointing.
 
JD
Billy Mills04/11/2010 01:12:53
377 forum posts
I cannot see how David can produce as many pages every month without the odd problem. There is  the dilemma of people- who are not natural writers- describing their ideas. Do you edit the article back into "house style" or let the writer ramble?  What do you do with drawings that miss out important details, have missing views or are inconsistent? How do you cope with howling errors without upsetting the writer? How do you do it all seamlessly, be all things to all men ( and women) , put it to bed every time without fail and keep smiling  while readers love to spot and spotlight the errors and omissions.
 
 David, you win my admiration for being able to do this and more on a long term basis. Steve does have a very good point however, a peer review panel is a feature of nearly all technical and scientific journals. To have several different people looking at  new material might just cost a few subs but would be a way of ensuring that the error count could be  reduced. With email the whole process of review and correction could be quick and painless. There are a lot of talented specialists on this forum,  they are just waiting for the call to arms.
Regards,
Alan.

Edited By Kelvin Barber on 04/11/2010 08:34:37

ady04/11/2010 01:26:07
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--a peer review panel is a feature of nearly all technical and scientific journals.--
 
Sounds like a good idea.
 
Lots of talent available, just needs an organiser.
Steve Garnett04/11/2010 02:38:47
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When I said "...it disadvantages the people who published it in good faith..." above, of course I really meant purchased in good faith.
 
Posted by Alan Gray 1 on 04/11/2010 01:12:53:
There is  the dillema of people- who are not natural writers- describing their ideas. Do you edit the article back into "house style" or let the writer ramble?  What do you do with drawings that miss out important details, have missing views or are inconsistant? How do you cope with howling errors without upsetting the writer? How do you do it all seamlessly, be all things to all men ( and women) , put it to bed every time without fail and keep smiling  while readers love to spot and spotlight the errors and omissions.
 
 
My personal take on this is that what a sub or peer reviewer is supposed to do in this context is as much to do with liaison and guidance as anything, and it's not really about trying to edit an article back into a house style as such, at all. Fixing the spelling and the odd grammatical slip is okay, but what seems to be most important is encouraging clarity, both in writing and drawing. And often that extra pair of detached but sympathetic eyes is just what's needed. Howling errors? I don't know how many of those actually occur, but of course the editor is still there, and he is also available as a go-between if necessary.
 
I think it's important that the process is perceived as being beneficial, and the only way that will happen is if it's carried out sympathetically. Often it doesn't need somebody who is expert in whatever's being written about - in fact it's often better to have an article that makes sense to a non-expert in the field, because then most people will be able to understand it if the non-expert can. But I think that in this context, the one thing that is an absolute requirement for all participants is a good understanding of how machine drawings work, and possibly the ability to 'build something in your mind'  from them, if that's not too fanciful an idea.
 
Ady, I don't think that it's really a 'peer review panel' issue in this context - the editor can make the publish/don't publish decision, but there again, it's not quite a sub job either. I see it as more like an editorial assistant job, only from the contributor's side.
blowlamp04/11/2010 10:00:25
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I am of the opinion that updated, downloadable drawings, should be made available on this site, even if it means making corrections ourselves and re-uploading.
 
Corrections published sometime later in the magazine are wasteful of valuable space as well as being unlikely to be found in time before construction has begun - putting them here, along with a link in the publication helps to keep things tidy and once the principle is established will become second nature. 
 
The web is a heaven sent gift for people to collaborate and deserves to be used by us to full advantage.
 
As more and more people become involved with CNC machining, I see a real need for a File Download area that we can place these drawings and believe attachments should also be enabled when posting to threads such as this.
 
Martin.

Edited By Kelvin Barber on 04/11/2010 10:06:07

David Clark 104/11/2010 10:04:11
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Hi There
We would need authors permission to add drawings to this website because of copyright. Also there is no budget to pay them for it especially CNC listings which could only be paid for if published in the magazine.
regards david

blowlamp04/11/2010 13:56:48
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Kelvin.
Can you tell me why you've edited my post please?
 
Martin.
David Clark 104/11/2010 16:01:59
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3357 forum posts
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Hi Blowlamp
I expect the text
With the recent appointment of a new Deputy Editor these problems should be greatly reduced.
Was the cause of the edit?
 
I don't see what difference a new deputy editor would make?
Kelvin is moving to another magazine in the group, a promotion in fact.
We are not gaining an extra editor, just a replacement for Kelvin.
 
We always strive to make a good magazine.
Inevitably there will be errors.
We are on a production line, 3 magazines every 4 weeks.
 
There are no facilities for a file download area built into the site.
Administrators can upload files but the general public cannot.
That is the way the site was written.
As all of our magazine sites interact with the template and each other it is unlikely to change.
regards david

 
blowlamp04/11/2010 18:42:37
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Hi David.
 
Oh, I see. I wasn't having a go at anyone with that comment, as I thought the magazine was employing an extra person to lighten the workload.
I took it from the general drift of the thread, that you had to do it all yourself.
 
It's a shame about the lack file upload/download facilities - it could be so useful.
 
Thanks for the clarification.
 
Martin.
John Olsen04/11/2010 19:09:36
1198 forum posts
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Well, there would be nothing new about a series having a few paragraphs added at the end, or even an addtional article later to cover things that have been found out along the way. No lesser person than Professor Chaddock had to provide a list of errata in one of the articles on the Quorn, and that series was followed later by an article by another writer strongly criticising the whole design, followed of course later by another article defending the concept. (Which seems to have stood the test of time, there are competing designs now but there are still Quorns being built and used.)
 
David I think overall you are doing an excellent job. The magazine looks good and there is a good variety of articles. I certainly look forward to it arriving in my mailbox each fortnight.
 
As you say, some mistakes and  ommissions are inevitable. I know as a writer myself, having only so far written up relatively simple projects, that it is very hard to make sure that you have covered every single item. What seems obvious to me may not be so obvious to a third party trying to build it, and will most likely not be apparent to a second party like an editor trying to check it.  A good set of photos will cover some of the uncertainties but there are still likely to be questions arising.
 
We can certainly overcome some of the problems  that occur with discussion on this site, especially where we can get communication going with the original writer/designer. It would not be a bad thing if some of the outcome of those discussions could be published the magazine to round out the series. We have enough extra information on Rina now to make a page or so, and this would help make the design more accessable to first time builders.
 
I don't know that it is necessarily too much of a problem if only administrators can upload files. This at least makes sure they have been vetted before going online, which will help keep undesirable material off the site. 
 
regards
John
 
 
Steve Garnett04/11/2010 19:53:27
837 forum posts
27 photos
Yes it's absolutely true that David is doing an excellent job. It's also almost certainly true that he's having to do a heck of a lot of work in the background to achieve this. The whole purpose of suggesting an additional approach is to try to save him and the new deputy editor from perhaps having to do quite so much in terms of quality control, and concentrate more on the magazines themselves.
 
I don't think that there's anything particularly radical about this; it's been going on with other technical magazines, and certainly technical books, for years. With the best will in the world, the editor shouldn't have to be going through every single article, checking every single drawing and trying to second-guess what all the comments will be - this sort of stuff really ought to be subbed out.
 
I think that all it would take in the first place would be a few people who indicated that they'd be prepared to help with this on an ad hoc basis, perhaps when the editor has looked at a submission and determined that it might help if somebody else went through it. From all the comments about issues of later correction, it seems almost inevitable that getting as much of it right in the first place is the way to go, doesn't it?

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