June 9th, 2018


The Larger the Type, the Harder the Proofreading

Back when I was chair of the Worldcon bid for San Francisco in 2002 (later San José in 2002), we published a bid pre-progress report, and thought it would be clever to distribute it in person at the 1997 Worldcon, LoneStarCon 2 in San Antonio. We even made cards for every pre-supporting member who we could find on the LSC2 membership list and "pinned" them on the Voodoo Message Board with a card saying, "Come get your Progress Report!" We were feeling pretty pleased with ourselves.

Until one of our members said, "Did you notice that on the cover, it says SAN FRANISCO IN 2002?"

Gaah! Perhaps twenty committee members proofread that PR before it went to the printer, and none of us noticed the gigantic typo in huge bold print on the cover.

A similar mistake is in the printed paper copy of the Hugo Award Final Ballot Voting instructions for this year's ballot. Lisa asked me if she'd missed the deadline (she actually mailed a paper ballot last week). I said, "No, of course not. The deadline is July 31."

She held up the printed ballot directions (a separate sheet from the ballots themselves). The instructions (not the ballot, and not the online ballots, and not the announcements on the web site and on social media) have the deadline left over from the nominating ballot, as we started with that document before modifying the instructions as needed for the final ballot.

Again, the date is in giant bold type, and it's wrong. Apparently headlines and large bold text is more difficult to proofread than the main text, although in fact we made the same mistake there as well. We'll fix it in the PDF soon, and there's a statement out there on the Hugo Awards and Worldcon 2018 Twitter feeds (and we'll put it other places) saying that of course the deadline is actually July 31.