ysabetwordsmith: (Fly Free)
[personal profile] ysabetwordsmith
Here is today's freebie, courtesy of a prompt from Zelofheda. It belongs to the series Love Is For Children.

"Byzantine Perplexity"

What Phil Coulson hated the most
was not bullies or hackers or even HYDRA.

It was poorly designed paperwork.

He had attempted to explain this
with words, with numbers, with charts --
how it cost everyone in terms of time
and energy and money that could
have been spent on better things --
but he rarely made much headway.

So Coulson simply accepted
that if he really wanted to fix
the Byzantine perplexity
of SHIELD's paperwork,
he'd have to do it himself.

People often asked him
why he bothered, and he
would sigh and try again
to explain that bad forms
yielded bad information

which tended to put agents in
the wrong place at the wrong time
or without the necessary ammunition,
and left people languishing in Medical
with no care for their condition, or worse,
care that exacerbated the problem
instead of improving anything.

It made him anxious in a way
that he could never quite describe,
an eternal gnawing fear that someday,
somehow, his assets would get hurt
or even killed because he had failed
to request the crucial data clearly.

So Coulson made his way through
the maze, one bad form at a time
clearing each level as he came to it.

He merged or separated related forms,
changed conditionals to specific questions,
and clarified countless instructions.

His coworkers smirked and
called him the Red Tape Ninja,
joking that Coulson was in love with
his paperwork, but they never realized

how often he saved the world with it.

* * *


Byzantium was not the first bureaucracy in history, but it remains one of the most famous, its very name synonymous with arcane convolutions of procedure. Its complex titles and voluminous paperwork are remembered to this day.

The cost of poorly designed paperwork is ruinously high and affects everyone, even those who never have to fill it out. Consider the design principles of effecient paperwork. If you have any influence over your workplace's paperwork, use your power wisely. Nobody will notice you saving the day, but at the end of the day it will in fact still be saved.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-06 09:48 pm (UTC)
sixbeforelunch: jarvis holding an umbrella, text reads "ready for new adventures" (mcu - jarvis adventures)
From: [personal profile] sixbeforelunch
That's very clever. Bad paperwork and bureaucracy has indeed killed people.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-07 01:13 am (UTC)
alatefeline: Painting of a cat asleep on a book. (Default)
From: [personal profile] alatefeline
\o/ We need an ARMY of Phil Coulsons.

I should have known ...

Date: 2016-09-07 04:26 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
Thank you! :-)

I should have known this would be Phil's pet peeve. It's so obvious now that you point it out. But it's so true that bad forms yield bad information.

Now you've got me wondering just who it was who ended up in medical with care that actually exacerbated the problem instead of helping. *cough*Clint!*cough* :-)

Here's to the Red Tape Ninja, saving the world one piece of paperwork at a time.

*walks away beaming happily*


(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-07 06:26 am (UTC)
thnidu: Red pen. Text: The red penis the editor's friend; editing mark "insert space" in "penis". from lj:stormsdotter (editor's friend)
From: [personal profile] thnidu
I'm certainly not saving the world, but this message I sent a couple of days ago to my freelance employers may save some trouble and error, in projects to come:

Notes on the guidance docs (which I've put in all-caps):


City will be translated except when it is part of the name of a city (XXX City, YYY City), or if it is a type of district, such as ZZZ City School District.

I've shown underlining as in CHECKLIST, and it's misleading. "ZZZ School District" is positioned in the sentence as if "City" in it is a type of district, not part of the name of the city— which it is not, according to LIST_OF_CITIES. "City School District" should be underlined, not "ZZZ" and certainly not "ZZZ City".

Also, the “City” and “Valley” sections are exactly parallel in meaning but not in wording. It would be helpful to group them together and unify the wording: make it easier to remember.


PUNCTUATION says for KHM colon:
Khmer colons should always be written as ៖ and preceded by a space.

But there's also a KHM diacritical mark that looks like a European colon, the reăhmŭkh ( ៈ).
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Khmer_alphabet#Modification_by_diacritics . I started correcting those till I checked. Meseems it would be well worth adding a warning about that to PUNCTUATION and KHM CHECKLIST.

In PUNCTUATION, spacing after a comma is shown only for CHN, FAR, HIN, and JPN. All the other languages — KHM, KOR, SPA, TAG, THA, and VTN — show only "x," with no indication of what happens between the comma and the next word. We can suppose that the two Latin scripts, SPA and TAG, work the same as ENG, but for the others we're left to guess.

The Project Manager replied

Thanks for the feedback. It is actually a document we received from the client, so it is not really ours to revise. (Project Leader) would need to send them the question and let them advise. I know she is really busy right now, so this will probably need to be re-visited after (the current deadline). I will put it in the list of things to work on at that time.

I answered her

Oh, pressure, yeah.

Well, this is the sort of nitpickery that comes in handy for proofreading or our kind of QC. I'm glad it'll probably be of help.
Edited Date: 2016-09-07 06:28 am (UTC)

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-07 06:44 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I enjoyed this. I can see he and JARVIS getting on quite well over The Great Paperwork Battle, later in the series. Thanks for posting another LifC, it's my go-to snuggle series. -KellyC

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-08 12:41 am (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I loved this :) I really like the way you portray Phil - as an ordinary person doing extraordinary things. I think all of the characters in LIFC have that same feeling of being relatable. This is one of my favorite series, and I was so excited to see a few more installments! The Endnotes are always interesting as well. I usually end up learning something new by the time I finish a post! Thanks so much for sharing with us.


(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-13 02:36 am (UTC)
ephany: (Default)
From: [personal profile] ephany
thank you for the wonderful addition i love how it ties in to you other story about Phil and the forms


Date: 2016-09-17 11:46 pm (UTC)
pinkrangerv: White Hispanic female, with brown hair, light skin, and green eyes, against a background of blue arcane symbols (Default)
From: [personal profile] pinkrangerv
It's not always the ones on the front lines who save the world. (When's the next time I can prompt something with a signal boost, btw? I might have money soon, but I know I can always signal boost you. :) )

(no subject)

Date: 2016-11-04 10:43 pm (UTC)
From: (Anonymous)
I really like this.
(Like I always do.)

It was interesting to see Phil's fears in relation to the paperwork as opposed to the calming de-stessing method. And the fact that bad paperwork can and should be *fixed* is something a lot of people don't think about and/or deal with.

(no subject)

Date: 2016-09-10 02:49 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] janetmiles.livejournal.com
I think ... I think you have just turned Phil Coulson into my very own personal patron saint. Now I wonder which god/dess he's an avatar of.

Also, the design principles you linked to are amazing. I'm going to send that link out to pretty much everyone on my floor.

Thank you!

Date: 2016-09-10 03:08 am (UTC)
From: [identity profile] ysabetwordsmith.livejournal.com
>> I think ... I think you have just turned Phil Coulson into my very own personal patron saint. <<

:D Yay!

>> Now I wonder which god/dess he's an avatar of. <<

Hmm, someone in charge of organizing things. Spider Grandmother, perhaps? She oversees the World Wide Web, obviously. Tehuti would be another logical option, the god of scribes.

>> Also, the design principles you linked to are amazing. I'm going to send that link out to pretty much everyone on my floor. <<

\o/ I've had several people tell me that they're doing things like this. It makes me so happy when I can help with the tikkun olam. Even a little bit of paperwork improvement can save enormous amounts of time, energy, and money.


ysabetwordsmith: Cartoon of me in Wordsmith persona (Default)

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