Friday, December 16, 2011

The perils of being a guest


Yesterday's post entitled "Vintage" was created for "Vision and Verb" a website which features writing and photography from women (like me) who have reached a certain age.  I was the "guest blogger" scheduled for December 15th, so I submitted my copy and photo via e-mail to Marcie, the site administrator, a week in advance.   I expected that the process for uploading my words and image would be a simple, foolproof copy and paste, without any alteration or editing. 

I checked the homepage of the host website on December 15th, feeling like an honoured guest, proud to be part of a global circle of articulate, creative contributors.   My mood changed when I discovered that my story was published on the site as a dumbed-down version of itself, riddled with typos, omissions, spelling errors and changes in punctuation; an embarrassment that unfortunately carried my byline and circulated on the worldwide web to a large group of readers.  The post made me look like a semi-literate, sloppy idiot who couldn't be bothered to proofread, or was too lazy to use a basic spellchecking program.  What sort of interference had turned the original clean text into a total mess?

Administrator Marcie claimed that she had a "glitch" in the website uploading function, and consequently had re-typed the entire text for my story.  She was sorry about the glaring errors, and promptly corrected them.  There was no public apology posted, however, and the damage had already been done.  

One lesson learned the hard way:  Never submit your writing for publication on another website unless you know exactly how it will be handled by the host.  If re-typing, correction or editing of your work is required, you should certainly be informed that changes have been made and be permitted a preview of the revised version. 

I believe that guests deserve gracious treatment.  As Kahlil Gibran said, "If not for guests, all houses would be graves." 

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