Pete's Alley - Curation
Written by Rich Morin.
Precis: how we perform curation for Pete's Alley
One of the major selling points of Pete’s Alley is the fact that the content is “curated”. In broad terms, this means that careful attention has been paid to ensuring that it is readable, reliable, etc. Getting to specifics, this means that the textual content should be clear, concise, relevant, and free of editorial problems. Technical content, such as hypertext links, should also be correct. Having set this as a goal, our next challenge is to implement it.
As a crowd-sourced social media platform, we have three major resources at our disposal. The first is automation: if a program can detect a problem (e.g., a broken link), repairing it is generally trivial. The second is manual effort: an author and editor can collaborate to bring the writing up to our standards. The third is social policy: if an author cannot (or will not) contribute in an acceptable manner, their efforts will be rejected.
We perform a number of automated checks on our input files. For example:
- The Markdown and TOML are checked for syntactic correctness.
- Field names (e.g., tag types) are checked against a schema.
- Hypertext links are checked to determine whether they resolve.
Assuming that a contribution makes it past the automated checks, it still has to pass some manual checks. Basically, this means that an editor has to “sign off” on the content being free from errors in grammar, organization, punctuation, spelling, word choice, etc. There are also some site-level manual checks that need to be performed. For example, if a tag value appears for multiple types, it may need to be clarified.
This is the trickiest part of the solution. If an author and editor can’t work together productively, perhaps another editor will be willing to try. However, if a succession of editors gives up on an author, this may indicate that there is an unresolvable problem.