New Theater Editing Policy
posted by Ross Melnick on February 11, 2008 at 10:50 am
In order to improve the consistency and quality of Cinema Treasures, we have crafted a new editing policy for the site.
If you’re submitting new theaters or adding information to existing theaters, you should definitely take a moment to read the policy. And your suggestions are welcome, too. Please post any comments, questions, or suggested additions to this thread.
It is worth noting, of course, that we will do our best to retroactively edit our nearly 20,000 listings, but this will be a long process.
I think these new rules will cause problems for the grammar- and spelling-challenged among us!
The new policy is intended to be a guideline for submission. Spelling errors and other mistakes happen, but we’re aiming for a little more uniformity throughout the site. Over the years, a number of the issues listed in the new policy have been debated on the site. We’re hopeful that the “new rules” will at least outline what we would like to see ideally. Our illustrious editors will also help us keep the new and previous submissions in line with the new policy.
Thanks for taking the time to review it!
I did not know it was possible for me to edit an existing theatre page. How do I do this?
(Also, shouldn’t movie and book names be in italics, rather than quotes?)
I think that it’s an excellent idea. Some submissions are virtually impossible to read.
For now, the editing rules are for our theater editors. This is to make the editing process transparent to our users as well.
You are welcome, of course, to send us updates about problematic entries to date. (Clearly the first 19,750 will not have followed this policy.)
As stated, if the official name of the theater includes the word “theater/theatre,” then it should stay in. When using the word theater in the description, we use the Americanized spelling for American theaters. Cinema should be used outside of North America.
Sometimes theatre names end with nouns other than theater/theatre, such as Hall, Music Hall, Auditorium, Cinema, Forum, Archive,and the like.
Movie and book names should ideally be in italics not quotes, but it’s technically more difficult to do that given our current system. We’ll hopefully be able to change that soon. Also, it’s difficult for users to italicize something when they submit the theater given the current forms.
I am all for better editing. (Hey, I’m an editor for a living …)
This quotes/italics debate surprises me. As an editor and English major, I’ve always been instructed to put book and movie titles in quotes. This might be because I am a strict follower of AP style vs. Chicago Manual. Doesn’t bother me one way or the other — as long as we have some consistent editing and better spelling and grammar. Yay!
You are indeed correct. There are inconsistencies as there are with all user-generated content. As you know, we rely on our users' knowledge when they submit a theater and everyone else’s for subsequent edits. Thus is the nature of collaborative knowledge. That nimble structure has enabled us to have detailed information and photos (thanks to you as well!) on roughly 20,000 theaters. Editing is a huge job and one we can hopefully do over time (a long time).
You hit the exact right note: consistency. More than anything else, a consistent standard is what we all need. Hopefully, we’ve taken a big leap forward today. :)
Perhaps it would be useful to let people who are very familiar with certain localities edit theatre descriptions in their areas? This would lessen the burden on Ross and the other site admins.
Why are we limited to the “Chicago Manual of Style”? I use the “Oxford Style Manual”. I think we should have some diversity here.
Also for those of us who use British spellings, are we going to be deleted?
When someone fills out the forms to add a new theater, will s/he see this style guide somewhere along the way? If not, it may not do much good.
I think theater vs theatre is a regional thing. Here in Boston, the ‘-re’ spelling is nearly universal.
This is about Descriptions, not comments.
@Manwithnoname – Your fellow users are correct. We’re talking only about descriptions. Feel free to comment as you normally do.
@Kirk J. Besse – The new policy applies to all theaters on Cinema Treasures. That said, for anything that was not specifically mentioned, feel free to use the Oxford Style Manual if that makes you more comfortable. (Presumably, UK entries should defer to British rules of grammar, etc.)
@Ron Newman – We just added some links from the Add Theater page and Theater FAQ.
Great to have guidelines. No disrespect meant for the wonderful people running the site, but it is not so good feel like Editing Police landed on the site. I’ve added many theaters, so I’ve got a few comments.
Why must we spell out numbers? That feels too picky.
In many countries, the word “cinema” isn’t their word either but given the name of this website, using “cinema” might work.
Cineplex became a commonly used term long ago.
Vertical sign is ok. There’s nothing wrong with blade or vertical marquee. I prefer vertical sign, but this instruction truly is too picky.
As of today, Cinema treasures itself is STILL classifying megaplexes (Look at “Number of Screens” at 10 screens or more (which I’ve never understood) yet when we use the term they must be 16?
You want us to telephone any theater (sorry, cinema) in the world to verify??? Who is going to pay the bill?
How do we add new styles? I thought we can’t?
So far as I know, the hyphen 924-seat is not proper grammar. It might be, but it doesn’t sound right.
I agree with you about the numbers. The theatre closed after 45 years, not after forty-five years. It celebrated its 75th anniversary, not its seventy-fifth.
LOL…YOU GUYS DONT KNOW WHAT YOU STARTED!
These are guidelines, Howard.
While they’re mostly intended for new submissions, I think we’ve crafted a pretty reasonable policy here. There are no editing police.
As for phone numbers, we’re not forcing anyone to make phone calls. But if you’re adding a local theater, a phone call would be free, of course. (And, of course, there are many other ways to verify an official phone number.)
Also… we are probably going to phase out the multiplex / megaplex labels on the screens pages, so that’s why the guidelines address that issue.
Change is always difficult.
Manwithnoname… theater or theatre… I have always placed the latter spelling when writing about an actual place; Strand Theatre. Otherwise the Strand is a nice theater -ER not RE!
However, it should be spelled how the actual owner prefers it.
I just got the same number for theater…
Can’t really understand why so many people are getting their feathers ruffled at the ‘requirements’…and yet I do, I most certainly do.
I applaud the efforts here, aimed at raising standards as much as trying to ensure consistency of entries. Just as there’s a quite-intriguing tendency to ‘proprietorship’ on the part of moviegoers regarding the fare they watch, so is there one on the part of members of Cinema Treasures regarding the site itself. But it’s not ours, we’re merely visitors using the resources provided us.
Good luck to all those involved.
You are far more than a “visitor” using these resources. Cinema Treasures is truly a collaborative website and all of our users are an important part of whatever goes on here. It is for that reason that we posted the editing policy and solicited your feedback. Your advice, questions, and suggestions are of great importance to all of us.
This policy is put in place, in part, to try and curtail the endless debate about theater/theatre on this site and many other stylistic and content-related issues. While some of these will be debated until the end of the time, we wanted to make our style and policies transparent so that changes/edits are understood as part of the site’s guidelines and not the arbitrary opinions of one site administrator or another.
Thanks for all of your input. We have already made changes to the policy based on your feedback.
Hopefully they update the status of the Tenplex to closed, and pretty soon the Newton theater will be open again. Maybe in the near future they should allow Youtube clips and maybe a myspace link to some of those commentators so that users can add fans as a friend. It’s a great thing that CT is not owned by some big wig company like Time Warner or soon a Microsoft Yahoo company that wants to put lots of ads on it.
The main opposition against CT is a site called CinemaTour, and there are other sites that want to be the next site tracking old places…CinemaTour’s info is very accurate even though it doesn’t have the new policy like C Treasures does.
They aren’t “opposition”, they are complementary. Their information is much less accurate (from what I’ve seen) but they have lots of great photos.
I’m glad to see a policy put in place, I do wish there was additional rules for posting comments. Often you’ll see too much repetition that doesn’t contribute to the overall knowledge base. On one hand I’m interested in reading about a theater’s history, further plans, crazy/memberable experiences and over all quality.
While on the other hand rants over cinemas not adopting DPL projectors or not programing certain films, as some members choose to write about have made certain threads painful to read. I’m glad the site has remained “open” – open access is a good thing, while other sites are highly moderated for a professional audience (Film Tech), however I do think a general guideline should be drafted for member comments, firmly stating the mission of Cinema Treasures. Regardless, as a fan of the site I do realize resources are too limited to moderate each and every post for usage and I’m glad to see steps are being taken to enhance the consistency of information. Also, I think where applicable information provided by a member should accompany a citation, either credited to a staff member at a given theater or a news article. Too often roomer and speculation is inaccurate and clouds actual facts leading to misinformation, I have found myself frustrated with information provided by members.
Would the British spelling be changed to American spelling?
re: John J. Fink
Here’s how I see Cinema Treasures: This is a combination ‘Wiki’ and discussion board facility. (I wish we did have actual discussion boards, it might actually provide the environment you’re looking for. That is, having them might maintain the ‘integrity’ of the actual listings, while still providing a chance for members to ‘chat’ .) The idea of moderating every comment is a little much. In its present form, the site provides a chance to offer up information about some admittedly esoteric locations, as well as exchange viewpoints and memories. It’s not a ‘pure’ arena. And unless the site’s intent is changed radically, it never will be. Yeah, there are some times when things get a little hairy…a little off-topic…but so what? This isn’t an academic site. And as with everywhere else on the Web, you always have the right to ignore posts, skim others, and respond to those that intrigue.
You’re right. Cinema Treasures existed way before Wikipedia changed the way we read info about stuff. Wikipedia doesn’t even have a listing for Clearview Cinemas, it’s only mentioned once in the Cablevision wiki. There are wikis for other theater chains as well.