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Mark Nelson

Dr. Dobb's Bloggers

My New Year's Resolutions

December 31, 2009

Back in the era of print, anything I wrote for Dr. Dobb’s Journal was meticulously edited by Jon Erickson, who boldly corrected my flawed text in matters of both style and substance. You, dear reader, were the beneficiary of a process that had been in place for hundreds of years: editorial oversight.


Those days are gone. You now read basically whatever the hell I type into the infernal blog composition pages, whether I am in a creative frenzy or a drunken stupor. There is some goodness here, but there are problems as well.

Given the lack of editorial oversight in the blogosphere, we have to do some self-policing. And for the year 2010, I have a set of personal resolutions that I plan to adhere to regardless of temptation, ignorance, or a desperate need to pump up my word count.


  • I will not use the phrase perfect storm. When Sebastian Junger used this in a book title, I’m sure he had no idea how seductive a bit of wordplay he turned out. Try typing it into Google News, any time, any day, and you’ll find it being applied to everything from actual weather phenomena to football scores.
  • I will use no variation of in case you just crawled out from under a rock. Yes, there are times when a post has to do a little recap of material that virtually every reader is already aware of. I believe I can do so without making your flesh crawl.
  • I will not say don’t get me wrong. Usually this is employed just after trashing some person, place, or thing, in an attempt to detach one’s self from the damage. To see it at it’s worst, observe how frequently the often-maligned blogger Jeff Atwood uses the phrase.
  • I will never use the word GASP surrounded by asterisks, square brackets, or whatever. I am not ghosting for Nancy Drew.
  • I will never use a hook from a beloved but hopelessly out-of-date song as a section header. Examples: Ch-ch-ch-changes, or the gratingly banal what a long, strange trip it’s been. (39,600,000 hits on Google with double quotes!)
  • I will never write: random-city-person-or-company, we have a problem.
  • I will never start an explanation with the phrase let me explain. I mean, what are you going to do, stop me?


Please feel free to use the comments section to add to the list. Oh, and that reminds me:


  • I won’t finish an article with any variation of what do you think? Please use the comments section to add your opinion. 

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