10 commandments of judging

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Who says a training PowerPoint can't be fun? I created this to show, through humor, how "not" to judge an entry in the Society for Technical Communication's annual competition. As I presented each slide, I invited the experienced judge to share their stories. The response was lively.

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10 commandments of judging

  1. 1. The 10 Commandments of Judging Paul Stregevsky
  2. 2. <ul><li>“ Before thou judgeth an entry, readeth its entry form .” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky “ Yeah, yeah, you’ve seen one entry form, you’ve seen them all.” “ It says the author had to use the big boss’s Foreword verbatim. I’d better go gently on grammar and style.” Right: Wrong:
  3. 3. <ul><li>“ Judgeth not an entry by its cover ; nor by its Foreword; nor by its Table of Contents; nor by its nationality, but by the sum of the parts.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky “‘ Forward ’! Stupid foreigners! This one’s a loser!” “‘ Forward ’? I guess they don’t emphasize spelling in their ESL classes. I must say, his grammar is impeccable.” Right: Wrong:
  4. 4. <ul><li>“ Thou shalt writeth detailed comments, citing examples and references .” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky Right: “At times, the passive voice made it difficult to know who’s to do what. On p. 16, for example, we find: If the alarm “trips,” it must be reset. “ Reset by the user? A technician? Or either one?” Wrong: “The style seemed awkward; some procedures were unclear.”
  5. 5. <ul><li>“ Chooseth thine words kindly; offereth specific ways to improve; for not all that is thought must be writ.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky Right: “Consider using wider left and right margins; your readers will be grateful. To help readers scan your headings, try using twice as much space before each heading and a sans serif font, such as blue Arial Bold to contrast the body text.” Wrong: “The formatting is amateurish, with insufficient white space, equally spaced headings, and ill-chosen fonts.”
  6. 6. <ul><li>“ Reveal not your impressions to thy fellow judges , lest they hesitate to disagree.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky “ Hey, before you judge that online tutorial from Capital, make sure you have Maalox handy; you’ll need it.” “ What did I think of the tutorial? I’ll be glad to talk about it after you’ve finished writing your evaluation.” Right: Wrong:
  7. 7. <ul><li>“ Verbally explain thy numerical scores.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky “ See comments.”
  8. 8. <ul><li>“ Judgeth not with thy head, nor with thy heart, but verily, with head, heart, and ear as one.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky “ I had to assign low marks for formatting and navigation. Too bad that clever illustrations and graceful, engaging writing aren’t judging criteria.” “ That was fun. True, I had to score it low in several categories. But it was a joy to read; I couldn’t put it down! In my book, that makes it at least a Merit winner.” Right: Wrong:
  9. 9. <ul><li>“ Thou shalt check thy spelling ; check thy grammar; check thy punctuation; check thy pagination; or judge not; for all that ye deliver shall reflect good or ill on the Society.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky Wrong: “I dont undestand why Section Two is formated differently than Section 1 .”
  10. 10. <ul><li>“ Thou shalt contact not the entrant, no matter how noble thy reason.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky Dear Entrant: “ I was judging your STC entry when a glaring typo caught my eye on page 6. I hope there’s time to correct it before your next release. If you need a full-time copy editor, I’m available.”
  11. 11. <ul><li>“ At the Consensus Meeting, thou shalt bargain, not bully .” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky This entry sucks ! There’s no way I’m letting the two of you give her an award.” Right: Wrong: To be honest, I still don’t feel she deserves an award. But since both of you feel she deserves “Excellent,” can we compromise on “Merit”?
  12. 12. <ul><li>“ Delay not until the final days, or verily, the hours will be too few.” </li></ul>The 10 Commandments of Judging — Paul Stregevsky

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