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Paywalling the style guide? [With poll]

By johnboy 4 February 2013 6

Government news has a story on moves to charge for online access to the Style Manual.

Desperate gouging or reasonable cost recovery?

Paywalling the style manual

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6 Responses to
Paywalling the style guide? [With poll]
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Gungahlin Al 11:56 am 06 Feb 13

Primal said :

If they want it to have clout, it should at least be a PM&C publication.

Fair point.

Primal 10:58 am 06 Feb 13

Gungahlin Al said :

By having it as a high-cost hardcopy, it is not ubiquitous. Departments go making their own versions of online style guides, they are all different in many key points (often actually wrong/in conflict with THE guide), and they are subject to the whims of individual ministers.

And I’ll wager they’d still do that, even if it was available online and free of charge. How may chief executives do you really think would go to the wall over a grammar issue if the minister’s office insisted that it should be done otherwise?

If they want it to have clout, it should at least be a PM&C publication.

Gungahlin Al 9:48 am 06 Feb 13

IMO ridiculous. In this day and age, the entire content should be online and accessible to all public servants of whatever government/level.

Why is there even a hard copy version?

With the last edition being 11 years old, so much has changed. For instance, it is solid on requiring non-breaking spaces instead of commas in numbers over four digits. DEEWR has now dropped that (yay), and I assume others have too. Online is easy to update to keep it current when the language changes. It could even account for modern comms methods like (heaven forbid) social media…

By having it as a high-cost hardcopy, it is not ubiquitous. Departments go making their own versions of online style guides, they are all different in many key points (often actually wrong/in conflict with THE guide), and they are subject to the whims of individual ministers. Who remembers DEWR’s “fun” with Sharman Stone insisting that “program” be ditched in favour of the archaic “programme”? And of course it was ditched as soon as the government changed.

I realise that to people outside the public service, debate over commas, dot point characters, fonts, while over whilst, and the like might seem absurd. But most of us write for a living, and our writing goes out to the public with the Government’s signature on it. It *should* look good and consistent, and lack of same would be noticed and criticised.

So put it online, available to all, with the ability to bookmark your key points. Perhaps this is something AGIMO should square away? You’d think it should reside under APSC, but they don’t even seem to be able to figure out how to put suburb locations in the online job ads…

tonkatuff82 9:46 am 06 Feb 13

Does anyone actually use this anymore?
I thought it went out with the typing pool

dtc 9:09 am 06 Feb 13

Surely if you want people to follow a set of rules, you need to give them the ability to access to the rules….

Although I guess in reality it means that each Dept coughs up $50k per year, or something, and all staff get access. So its really DOFAD saying ‘we are sick of paying for this out of our budget, we are going to make each department pay a little bit out of their budgets’.

davo101 8:25 am 06 Feb 13

Apparently 90% of rioters think “We’ve already paid for it!”. If any of them had bothered to check the tender they would have found that in fact we haven’t. The tender is for a private company to produce a new style guide with a pay-per-view financing model instead of the old up front payment method that was used for the last edition.

Oh, and by the way, the Style Guide has never been free.

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