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Clarifying who “I” refers to in a collaborative, staff-written article

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This is an incredibly minor bit of feedback, but I was browsing this Eye on iOS: Volume 10 and under the entry for Secret Files: Tunguska, it says “I’ve always been a fan of this game and its ambitious plot conceits.”

Seeing the word “I” arouses my natural human curiosity as to who is saying it, but the article is credited collaboratively as AG Staff. (This makes sense, as it covers several games and presumably those games were split up amongst multiple writers.) At the end of Page 5, it says “Stephen Brown, Evan Dickens, Randall Rigdon, and Pascal Tekaia contributed to this article,” but there’s no indication of who wrote the Tunguska section.

Not sure what solution would be best in instances like this—perhaps giving a separate byline to each section to indicate its author? It’s certainly not that important, and I imagine you’ve thought about this and there’s a good reason you’re handling it as you currently are. But just thought I’d give some quick feedback on my reading experience.

Much love always,
Caliburn

     
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Yeah, usually I try to avoid the “I’s” in collaborative articles, but there were just too many this time around to weed them all out.

I’ve used bylines in the past; seems to just confuse some people (who think they’re developer names).

So, because these aren’t even full reviews, I left it as is this time. Really, are people that attuned to individual writers that the distinction matters? (Beyond, as you say, simple curiosity.)

     

Editor-in-Chief, some obscure little site called Adventure Gamers

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Jackal - 27 October 2014 03:53 PM

I’ve used bylines in the past; seems to just confuse some people (who think they’re developer names).

Good point, yeah, that potential for confusion occurred to me, too.

Jackal - 27 October 2014 03:53 PM

Really, are people that attuned to individual writers that the distinction matters? (Beyond, as you say, simple curiosity.)

No, it probably doesn’t matter much. I imagine that the readers who recognize the names of individual AG staff writers are in the minority. I’ve been visiting AdventureGamers since 1999 or so, thus I’ve picked up on some of the names and this sometimes does give me a small idea of how writer X’s tastes may differ from writer Y’s. But in the case of the Eye on iOS article, the curiosity that reading “I” raised was definitely just on the order of “Hmm, I wonder who ‘I’ is?” rather than feeling like I was going to read the comments any differently if I knew.

So since the byline suggestion doesn’t seem like it will work out, and since I like the fact that AG writers have the ability to refer to themselves when needed rather than always be impersonal, I’d say just don’t worry about my feedback and keep doing what you’re doing. Smile

     
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Maybe putting the author’s name at the end of the blurb instead of the beginning would be less confusing from a byline standpoint?

Like:

Article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text article textarticle text article text article text article text article text article text article text article text in conclusion this is the best game ever.

-Joe Author

Followed by a horizontal line, and then the next blurb?

Maybe you’ve tried something like this already, just a thought…

     
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Don’t get me wrong, Caliburn. For full reviews, I think it’s very important that people are familiar with who’s writing what. But for the smaller round-ups, which are meant to be less opinion pieces (opinions allowed, but not the primary focus) than information pieces (freeware, iOS, etc.), I don’t think the names are generally quite as important.

Emily, not a bad suggestion. Might be worth a try. If not that, I may just go back to the original byline idea when necessary. I doubt it confused that many people, and surely the confused ones will catch on soon enough.

     

Editor-in-Chief, some obscure little site called Adventure Gamers

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Just another thought, but if you like having the byline underneath the game title, you could also put “Written by Joe Author” (much like the top of the article has “Written by AG Staff”) to hopefully help clarify that Joe Author’s the journalist and not the developer.

     

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