I’m Not Really Capable of Making Typos

The proud pedant behind @nyttypos is, as his Twitter bio proclaims, an “appellate lawyer and persnickety dude.” While working for a government office on appeals for the federal courts of appeals and the Supreme Court, he has diligently, competently, and caustically grammar-policed the paper of record in his spare time, producing more than 20,000 tweets over the past 11 months. His account is a cross between an ego trip, a crusade, and a compulsion. His quixotic quest to flag the words that weren’t fit to print has attracted roughly 8,000 followers, yielded countless corrections, and made its anonymous owner the object of some fascination within the walls and Slack chats of the Times, while exposing the trade-offs in copy quality that competitive publishing in the age of algorithms demands. One Twitter Account’s Quest to Proofread The New York Times [The Ringer]
posted by chavenet (11 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
“He knows not to [sic] where he eats.”
posted by Kadin2048 at 12:07 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]
This is exactly, exactly what I’d expect from an appellate lawyer. Fucking. On. Brand.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:12 PM on August 19 [8 favorites]
“I can tell the difference between an italicized and non-italicized period,” he once bragged.

Like, this is basically a standard-issue appellate lawyer power. Ask any junior lawyer who has ever worked for one. df;alie;elkfjadslkdf.
posted by joyceanmachine at 12:14 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]

I bet this guy is really fun at parties.

No, really – I bet I’d enjoy talking to him. I know that being fussy about grammar and typos and whatnot tends to get a bad rap these days, but I prefer people who care deeply about these things than those who are unconcerned.

I write and edit copy for a living. I’m not really a great copy editor, but I do tend to be very good at spotting other peoples’ typos. Spotting my own, that’s another story. The lawyer I sometimes work with for review is amazing at spotting typos and things I’ve missed. I consider it a badge of honor each time I send something her way and get “no comments” back.

Generally I’ll give people private feedback (I have an author friend who writes for a major tech pub with no net, er, copy editor) but I’ll take public or private feedback. I’d rather be lightly embarrassed in public than ignore a mistake.
posted by jzb at 12:16 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]

“I can tell the difference between an italicized and non-italicized period,” he once bragged.

” => italicized space
” ” => non-italicized space
There are threee mistakes in this paragraph.
posted by klausman at 12:20 PM on August 19 [3 favorites]

Christ, what a comma-fucker.
posted by Earthtopus at 12:21 PM on August 19 [2 favorites]
One of the reasons we gave up on our local paper was the increasingly frequent grammatical errors.
Basic errors, not even esoteric depends-on-what-style-guide-you-use types of errors.

Our basic feeling was, if you can’t bother to look for mistakes in the prose you are directly involved with, how much effort are you putting into fact-checking the articles you are printing?

(Posting a comment in a thread about typos is surprisingly nerve-wracking.)
posted by madajb at 12:36 PM on August 19 [6 favorites]

I didn’t know the NYT had eliminated its copy desk. Christ, that’s depressing.
posted by Paul Slade at 12:46 PM on August 19 [1 favorite]
ya…..tell me, aboout, eet!–
posted by sammyo at 12:47 PM on August 19
There were 37 errors in the previous comment.
posted by sammyo at 12:47 PM on August 19
My favorite NYT typo from the last few years was a headline that included the word “deptartment.”
posted by anhedonic at 12:56 PM on August 19

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