Joe Clark: Accessibility ¶ Design ¶ Writing

Copy-edited versions of Community Advisory Panel report

The independent Community Advisory Panel released its recommendations for Pride Toronto on 2011.02.17. This typographic-error-strewn, unstructured document is available solely as a 2.3 MB PDF (with internal malformations and no tagging or bookmarks).

I am producing a copy-edited version of the report in valid HTML, ePub, and, I eventually hope, typeset tagged-PDF versions. You will then be able to read the documents online in a convenient way, carry them around in your iPhone or equivalent, and read them on your iPad or Kobo Reader or equivalent.

I am doing this very much against the wishes of at least one member of the Panel, who seems to think the amateur production values of the published report represent “integrity.” They don’t.

Later I’ll explain just why any objections to my plan have no basis, but for now all I’ll do is insist you contain your outrage. I really can improve this document and I will do that even if you object.


  1. (2011.05.18) I have begun uploading copy-edits to a separate blog to which only CAP members and the chair and executive director of Pride Toronto may comment. Anyone may read, of course.

  2. (2011.03.22) I have finished entering my initial paper-edits. The first 58 pages required about 900 edits, so please don’t try to tell me there wasn’t anything to correct. (Running those numbers is error-prone. I’ll discuss the methodology after the whole thing is done.) Take a look for yourself.

    From this point onward, I’m just going to read the printed version and make edits in the electronic version. I hope to have everything done by the two-month anniversary of the report, April 17. That just means the HTML version will be done and ready for comment, as described below.

    It is extremely troubling to note that 19 of the report’s 133 recommendations have serious issues of sense and cannot be understood, let alone implemented, as written. (Xtra, dumb as a mule as ever, went right ahead and republished one of those incomprehensible recommendations – luckily, it was an easy one to fix.) I found a dozen other errors of sense in those first 58 pages. All these will be posted for comment later.

    The obvious fact that this document was banged out by a series of nonexperts is making the problem worse, because none of the authors knew what they were doing and quite clearly each author’s work was not read by anyone else before publication. (This is particularly apparent in the “Trans Lens” chapter, which appears to have been angrily banged out with two fingers.)

    In fact, by the time this is done I expect I will be the only person not affiliated with Pride Toronto who has read the entire report. From what I can tell, that includes the actual Community Advisory Panel. It’s not just that the report is a lot to read. It’s that the report repels readers through its horrific typography and error-prone copy.

    And just to head off one bit of idiocy at the pass: Copy-editing is not censorship. I am simply not going to engage in any argument that begins from the perspective that bad copy needs to be preserved so that the report’s “integrity” also will be. I also won’t entertain the contention that I am somehow unable to objectively edit a document. (Maybe you couldn’t, but I can, I have, and I will.) Only Toronto would be mediocre enough to defend misspellings and text you can’t even read.

  3. Second pass at structural markup, 2011.03.02. Full document without appendices marked up as valid, semantic XHTML 1.0 Strict. Almost no inline-level markup, like CITE and EM, attempted. Almost no copy-edits. No images, tables, or converted footnotes (the latter of which do not exist in HTML).

    This, incidentally, should have been the original and canonical form of the document. This version is not done yet and is merely an indication of document structure. I’m just using my own in-house CSS.

Updated: 2011.05.18 13:44

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