Why Two Places?
Christian Heaven Would Be Hell!
Joe E. C.

Graphic Rule

From: "Positive Atheism Magazine" <editor@positiveatheism.org>
To: "Joe E C"
Subject: Re: Great site, a few comments
Date: Thursday, April 12, 2001 12:55 AM

• Editing, Grammar, and Such •

I post most of the letters according to the formatting in which they came, and seldom second-guess the writer. Sometimes if a letter is patently unreadable, I'll do such things as format the one huge block of text into paragraphs; convert the rows of dots to real punctuation, etc. Usually I run a quick spell-check on it, but not always. In this case, though, I may make an exception and take the editorial liberty of making the changes. I try not to make any but the most rudimentary changes, such as obvious typos, because I risk being accused of changing what somebody said. Sometimes, when the writer is a pompous ass, showing off his intellect and education and accusing me of being stupid, I'll leave the letter strictly as is -- the misspellings, the lowercase "i" as a proper noun, the rows of dots, the single long paragraph and all -- just because to leave it alone is, on my part, an editorial statement.

Graphic Rule

• Color Schemes: Damned if You Do or Don't •

As for the formatting and color schemes, I do the best I can to please everybody with the website: some say that black on white is too bland, so I spice it up with a pale blue background. Someone says that pale blue is hard to read, so I come up with the light brown background. This got boring for me, considering that I have spruced up several letters (such as the short thank you from the brilliant Kysa Braswell, which I set to the scheme she had on her website at the time, and a few others that came on fancy stationary, so I reproduced the stationary on the web).

So, I developed several color schemes.

At first, most of them were ripped off from other websites -- the yellow background one is from the Disney site, for example, and our first FAQ background is quite common, being, I think, part of a commercial set. But as time went by I started to get bored and began to create new tile backgrounds and to experiment with colors. any more, even if I grab a tile from elsewhere, I'll improve on it or change it around. Mostly I'll improve on it if I grab it at all, because I am so often appalled at what passes for acceptable work in the Web design business.

For example, this background (tilefiraindkgrn.gif) has absolutely nothing to do with the tile I grabbed -- except, perhaps, the size. I couldn't do anything to fix the original, so I took the color table and made random dots using each of the colors they'd used. This still was no good, so I darkened it several times. This one clicked, and here we are.

Remember, though, even if I stick with black on white, I'll get complaints.

Most of the preset schemes in DreamWeaver are, in my opinion, patently unreadable. I discontinued the yellow and purple schemes, and several of the ones I found hard on the eyes have been meticulously replaced (such as the purple background with blue lettering that I originally developed for a letter from a gay man). I still have a few that the proofreading team thinks is okay, and I have left them up -- albeit very sparingly. What I'd like to do is create a few dozen style sheets, with color schemes to color the quoted material, links, backgrounds and text. What prevents me is the fact that many of our readers are in the Third World, using systems that we in the West "recycled" ten years ago.

If there are any in particular that you think must be replaced, let me know the URL and I'll consider discontinuing that scheme. Right now, though, I have over 400 letters files that need to be converted and posted. Also, I need to finish the job of updating the formatting on about half the letters, setting the fonts to web-friendly typefaces and removing the coding that I once used to distinguish the writer from my responses. Today is one of those days when I'll be doing this, because the computer is acting up again and I have to reinstall all the software. Again.

Cliff Walker
"Positive Atheism" Magazine
Five years of service to
     people with no reason to believe

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