Bad Scholarship

The Scout Mindset by Julia Galef quotes a blog post:

“Well, that’s too bad, because I do think it was morally wrong.”[14]

But the words in the sentence are different in the original post:

Well that’s just too bad, because I do think it was morally wrong of me to publish that list.

She left out the “just” and also cut off the quote early which made it look like the end of a sentence when it wasn’t. Also a previous quote from the same post changes the italics even though the italics match in this one.

The book also summarizes events related to this blog post, and the story told doesn’t match reality (as I see it by looking at the actual posts). Also I guess he didn’t like the attention from the book because he took his whole blog down and the link in the book’s footnote is dead. The book says they’re engaged so maybe he mistakenly thought he would like the attention and had a say in whether to be included? Hopefully… Also the engagement may explain the biased summary of the story that she gave in her book about not being biased.

She also wrote about the same events:

He even published a list titled “Why It’s Plausible I’m Wrong,”

This is misleading because he didn’t put up a post with that title. It’s a section title within a post and she didn’t give a cite so it’s hard to find. Also her capitalization differs from the original: “Why it’s plausible I’m wrong”.

The book has many other flaws but it’s primarily the misquote that changes the wording that I wanted to share. BTW I checked archives from other dates. The most recent working one doesn’t have any edits to this wording nor does the oldest version.

What is going on? This book is from a major publisher and there’s no apparent benefit to misquoting it in this way. She didn’t twist his words for some agenda; she just changed them enough that she’s clearly doing something wrong but with no apparent motive (besides maybe minor editing to make the quote sound more polished?). And it’s a blog post; wouldn’t she use copy/paste to get the quote? Did she have the blog post open in her browser and go back and forth between it and her manuscript in order to type in the quote by hand!? That would be a bizarre process. Or does she or someone else change quotes during editing passes in the same way they’d edit non-quotes? Do they just run Grammarly or similar and see snippets from the book and edit them without reading the whole paragraph and realizing they’re within quote marks?

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