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The BackpackGearTest.org Bylaws
v. 0609

This document changes over time. Please check back frequently if you have questions. If your questions are not addressed in this document, please send your questions to the group or to the Moderators for answers.  If you have suggestions for changes in this document, or would like to recommend a policy change, please email the Moderators.

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OTHER DOCUMENTS

The BGT Survival Guide
How to Become a Tester in Three Easy Steps

CONTENTS

Introduction: What is BackpackGearTest? 
Chapter 1: Requirements for participation

Chapter 2: Mailing Lists
Chapter 3: Owner Review requirements
Chapter 4: Tester applications
Chapter 5: Test report requirements
Chapter 6: Minimum Report and Review Requirements
Chapter 7: Sending files to the list
Chapter 8: Editing Reports
Chapter 9: Uploading files to the site
Chapter 10: Test Monitor Requirements
Chapter 11: Including Pictures in your Reviews 
Chapter 12: Beta Testing 
Chapter 13: Miscellaneous Rules and Regulations 
Appendices


Chapter 8: Editing and Editing Guidelines

Editing is often the most difficult job on the BackpackGearTest and BackpackGearTesters Lists.  It can also be the most controversial.  The following is intended to clarify and simplify the process of editing reports.  

When you post your report to the appropriate list, it will be checked for completeness, compliance with our standards, and composition errors (spelling, grammar, etc.)  This is known as Editing, and the person who edits your report will prepend the word EDIT to your subject line, and provide constructive feedback in the body of your report.  It is up to you to make the changes and either repost your corrected report to the list (in the case of Owner Reviews) or upload your corrected report to the website (in the case of Test Reports).  The Editors will check the reposted Owner Review, and then give you permission and instructions on uploading it to the website.  The editors will not enforce technical writing standards, and as long as you can write on a third grade level, you can write an acceptable report. 

Owner Reviews are edited by those persons appointed as Editors and Edit Moderators.  Test Reports are edited by the appointed Test Monitor.  Other List Members may also contribute COMMENTS after the appointed Editor has reviewed and edited your report.  The Edits made by your official Editor should be adopted into your report without fail.  If you require clarification or would like to discuss the Edit with your Editor, you may do so on the list.  This dialog should be polite and respectful. 

While comments by other List Members are usually treated as suggestions, it is in your best interest to make your Owner Review or Test Report as nice as possible. Edits and suggestions made by List Members should be considered as constructive criticism and adopted if the writer feels they are appropriate.

It is important to understand that the Editors and Test Monitors are here to help you, not to belittle you or to be a thorn in your side.  They do a difficult job on a volunteer basis.  The Editors approach their task with a positive outlook - to provide constructive criticism to Report and Review authors with an eye on helping to create valuable additions to BackpackGearTest.org.  If you work with them, and approach the edit you receive as an opportunity to refine your Report or Review, then everyone will benefit.

When you wish to make a comment on a report, ask a question, or seek further clarification, etc., from the Report or Review writer, you are most welcome to do so.  Such messages should be treated as normal postings to the group. The requirements below DO NOT apply. The following only applies where the focus of the posting is editing.  You should insert the word COMMENT at the beginning of the subject line of your post that is a comment, question, or request for clarification.

If you wish to discuss gear outside of the context of the report process, you are encouraged to do so on the appropriate list: BackpackingTalk

General Rules 

  1. Who can edit reports?
    1. Test Monitors and Editors can EDIT reports. Other list members may COMMENT on reports.
      1. ANY such Edit or Comment must follow these guidelines, and the list guidelines.
      2. The Editors are primarily responsible for Editing Owner Reviews.
      3. Test Monitors are primarily responsible for Editing Test Reports.
        1. If the Test Monitor does not edit a Test Report after five (5) days, the List Moderator will follow up.
      4. If any controversy arises from an Edit, the decision of the Chief Moderator and/or the Senior Edit Moderator shall be FINAL.
  2. All editorial postings (edits) are to be sent to the list and must contain the key word EDIT at the beginning of the subject line.
    1. This allows those who wish to use filters (electronic or human) to filter as deemed appropriate.
    2. You may Carbon Copy (CC) the author.
  3. Acceptable editing practices:
    1. Acceptable editing is considered to be suggesting fixes for typos, spelling mistakes and awkward phrasing or sentence and paragraph structure that does not seem to make sense.  Otherwise, let the writer's ideas and style stand.
    2. Editors and Monitors should check for required content in addition to spelling and phrasing errors.  They should make sure that the report meets all standards.
      1. Editors and Monitors may require additional explanations, clarifications, and more detail on an aspect of the gear.
      2. In the case of Owner Reviews, an Editor may actually reject the entire Owner Review outright if it does not meet standards.
        1. The Editor will provide an explanation of this rejection.
        2. It is normally suggested in this case that the writer work with a Mentor to help refine the review before reposting it.
    3. When replying with Edits and Comments only include the section of the original report necessary to get your point across. Do NOT include the entire original report in your editing mail unless you have truly made edit suggestions throughout the report.
    4. When mixing edits, suggestions, and comments in the same message, include differentiating tags.  For instance, the "EDIT>" flag at the beginning of an edit line, the "Edit>" flag at the beginning of a suggestion line, and the "COMMENT>" flag at the beginning of a comment line.
      1. An EDIT> is a change that the writer is required to make. 
      2. An Edit> is a change that the writer may optionally consider to improve the report.
      3. A COMMENT> is a point of discussion within the context of the report.
  4. Unacceptable editing practices:
    1. Both English and American spellings are permitted and should not be edited.
    2. Do not be overly trivial or petty.  
      1. Allow an author's style to stand.
      2. Only make comma and other punctuation edits when necessary.
      3. Fix basic mistakes, but do not try to enforce technical writing rules.
  5. Responding to edit suggestions
    1. After you submit a report, pay close attention to list traffic. List members frequently respond to reports with questions and comments.
    2. Questions asking about content or requests for clarification should be answered on-list.
    3. Depending on the importance and relevance of the information revealed by such discussion, you may also consider adding to (or clarifying the information in) your report.
    4. Edits by Editors or Test Monitors are considered to be required changes.
    5. Comments by other list members are considered suggested changes.
    6. The editorial changes you make to your Reviews and Reports based on the edits and comments received are entirely at your discretion, but be aware that if your Review or Report does not meet BackpackGearTest.org standards, it will be rejected.
    7. If for some reason, you feel the edit suggestions are inappropriate, you should calmly state your objections to the list for discussion in case further clarification is necessary. 
      1. If a List Member (who is not your official Editor or Monitor) makes an obviously unnecessary suggestion, just ignore it. These types of suggestions might just be suggestions for more popular spellings of words that may have multiple correct spellings. Examples might include spelling differences between English and American words such as colour vs. color, and optimise vs. optimize. Either spelling is considered correct based on dictionary entries.
    8. Responding to edits with a harsh or negative attitude will not be tolerated.  If you show that you are hard to work with, you may not be selected for future tests.
  6. Further explanations of these policies can be found in Appendix 2.
Chapter 7: Sending files to the list

BACK TO CONTENTS

Chapter 9: Uploading files to the site



Product tested and reviewed in each Formal Test Report has been provided free of charge by the manufacturer to BackpackGearTest.org. Upon completion of the Test Series the writer is permitted to keep the product. Owner Reviews are based on product owned by the reviewer personally unless otherwise noted.

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BackpackGearTest software copyright David Anderson