Thursday, March 23, 2017

What is ACES?

I told my coworker I would blog about this, so this one's for you, Camilla. 

Let me just preface this post by saying that if you're the kind of person who has never been entirely sure what to do with a semicolon or which their/they're/there to use when you're writing, you might want to stop reading right now. We are about to dive deep into editing-land, and I want to save you from it. Consider this a trigger warning, of sorts. This post could cause extreme boredom, revulsion, and/or horrible flashbacks to English teachers and their red pens of pain that you have now spent years trying to forget.

For anyone still reading, welcome to the world of grammar geeks, style sticklers, and, of course, word nerds. This post is coming at you live from St. Petersburg, Florida, (enjoy the photos) where I have just spent the day reveling in the company of my particular tribe of nerds. That's because ACES stands for the American Copy Editors Society and I'm currently attending their annual conference.

This hotel is full of introverted, but unfailingly kind and knowledgeable folks, who are thrilled to be here listening to other knowledgeable folks talk about punctuation minutiae, explain how dictionaries are compiled, and recount hilarious anecdotes about misplaced modifiers. I kid you not. This is really happening.

For editors, this is a rare and exhilarating chance to hang out with people who get you. I've been to writers conferences and publishing conferences, but it's with my fellow editors that my loyalties will always lie? lay? reside.

Even though most of us walk around this conference in constant, quiet fear that someone will catch us committing a grammar faux pas, we love listening to the hum of quiet conversation about citation guidelines, style sheets, and word processing innovations.

Which brings me to my big news. Well, big if you're an editor who loves The Chicago Manual of Style (CMOS) as much as I do.

Today I attended a session presented by one of the main editors at the University of Chicago Press, which publishes said manual. The presenting editor's name is Carol Saller or Carol Fisher Saller if you're talking about her in an official author capacity. She is one of my editing heroes. When I rode the elevator upstairs with her yesterday I had to stop myself from gushing because that would have made us both uncomfortable, but she really is just that great.

Carol (as I like to call her, since that's how she introduced herself to me while we were waiting for the elevator yesterday), was there in the session this morning to talk about the brand newly announced forthcoming seventeenth edition of CMOS and a few of the changes and updates that have been made.

Knowing her audience was full of editors and journalists, Carol anticipated us wanting to share these updates with our fellow word nerd friends and only asked that in doing so, we did not offer our own personal interpretations of these new guidelines but simply pass them along, exactly as written. So that's what I'm doing. I took pictures of her slides, and here they are, complete with my terrible photography skills and some not-so-great conference room lighting.

I will say there are some changes that I'm super excited about. Some I'm ambivalent about. And others I think are a little bit of a misstep, but I also think that's to be expected, given the nature of the manual. I won't offer my personal thoughts and commentary here (mostly because I'm too tired right now to do anything but add pictures to this post and call it a night), but if any of you fellow word nerds want to chat in the comments or on Facebook, I would be happy to follow up with you there. Tomorrow. Or some other time when I'm not exhausted.

This hard-to-see picture is to illustrate the amount of red-lining that transpired during the writing of the type 2 singular they entry. Apparently the debate was "lively" but "extremely collegial."


And this concludes our terribly lit slideshow, people. I hope you appreciated it. I could go on and on about how much I'm loving this conference, but I am sure you all have better things to read on the internet or better things to do in general.

I do want to write a post sometime on the topic of accessible content, which topic I'm going to present on here at the conference on Saturday. But like I said, I'm too tired to write more right now.

In other news, there's a ship here that looks like a pirate ship and it was super impressive to me.

PS–Did I mention that I rode in an elevator with Carol Fisher Saller yesterday? Best. Elevator ride. Ever.

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