This could be a pre-election post on Italy, where the subject line would fit. But it is not.

It is about a really annoying error I just noticed in Votes from Seats. The heading for Table 3.5 is WRONG.

Obviously, Japan uses MMM, not MMP. Not only do I know that (as does my coauthor, Rein Taagepera), but we say so in the text just below this table (not shown in the image). So this made me want to check the document that we submitted to the press for production.

Pretty clearly we had it right! The error was introduced in a later stage. Perhaps partly due to confusion with the preceding table, 3.4, which shows an example from MMP (New Zealand, 2008), and is titled correctly.

I post this not to shame the press. These things happen. It is a lesson in checking proofs, and re-checking them. Do it. Carefully. Of course, we did. Both of us. And still this got through. It happens. Publishing is imperfect. But errors like this in the final print version are so very annoying.

13 thoughts on “MMM not MMP

    • I once heard a noted political philosopher at a conference (two decades ago) mention how the proofreader for his latest book had “corrected” every single mention of John Rawls’ “maximin” principle to “maximum”.
      Have also seen “pro[-]life” in at least one US law review rendered as “profile”.
      Both incidents would have predated word processors, ie these would have been typewriter manuscripts.
      Hyphens, Americans, hyphens! (And while you’re at it – the metric system, preferential voting, votes of no confidence, and gun control for military[-]grade weapons)…

      • The lack of hyphens often bugs me, too. I really do not like the look of some terms in the book, like “nonlist” and “subdistrict”. I want to put hyphens in those. But press style dictates otherwise. Yes, even Cambridge press style.

        They do, however, use the Oxford comma. Just don’t call it that. It is the serial comma.

      • Hyphens, apostrophes and (to a sightly lesser extent serial commas) are grammatically useless and constitute profound social evils. All were invented very late in the development of English and have as their principal function demarcating one form of English as superior because it applies irrational rules of grammar and orthography.

        Is there the slightest difference in meaning between ‘Shugart, Round, and Mussel’ and ‘Shugart, Round and Mussel’?. Does anyone pronounce or read that list differently according to the presence or absence of the comma?

        Staggering back to my desktop under the weight of the Cambridge Guide to Australian English Usage (2007) I read, at p157, a reference to the serial or Oxford comma as older practice and then:

        Yet Webster’s Standard American Style Manual (1985) admitted that the serial comma was as often absent as present in its citation files. The Australian Government Style Manual (2002) recommends using the final serial comma only when it is necessary to prevent ambiguity.

      • The classic case for the Oxford Comma is “I’d like to thank my parents, Ayn Rand and God.”

  1. I went back through all our versions of copy-edited docs and proofs.

    We submitted it correctly identified as MMM, on both the actual table title and the separate list of table titles (which is printed at the front of the book).

    It seems the copy-editor changed it in the front list and we did not catch it. The copy-editor left the actual table’s title alone.

    We saw two versions of proofs, because there were some fairly extensive changes needed to the first batch. (Normally you do not expect to see the corrections again, but we asked for it and our editor agreed.) Both sets of proofs, I can now confirm, repeated the inconsistency: “MMP” in the list of tables, “MMM” in the actual table. But after we returned the second proofs, someone at the production company (out-sourced) noticed the inconsistency and somehow came to the absurd conclusion that in the case of conflict, go with the front list. And don’t enquire with the authors. So the first time it appeared with “MMP” in the table was in the print version.

    I think I moved beyond my original not wanting to shame the press (and its contractor). Because this should not have happened.

    I can amend my rule above: Be sure to proofread, and re-proofread, your front matter!

    • It is slightly more complicated than I just related, but not in a way that changes the point or the culpability.

      From the multiple versions saved, it seems that we actually had “MMP” in the our own title in a version just before submission. However, I can confirm that I caught the error, literally hours before sending a Dropbox link to the press, and that the version that they received had “MMM” in both locations.

      I guess I probably saw our error when I made up the list of table titles, because I did that by copying and pasting from the actual titles. Going through table by table, it would have jumped out at me. This just makes it even more annoying that at some point, someone thought “let’s go with what is in the list of tables”. That list is totally derivative of the actual tables’ titles, and it is the latter that should be governing if there’s a conflict. Of course, an even better protocol should be to reach out to the authors. Or see what it says in the text of the chapter referring to the very table that is in question; on the same page in the final version (and therefore the proofs): “Table 3.5 shows an example of MMM…”

      • Current fear: That there may be other places where something similar happened and we’ve not noticed yet. Please tell me of anything you find. If there’s ever a second printing, we want blatant errors this like corrected.

        And maybe it is possible to correct the e-book versions now. I will have to ask.

    • Sigh. It sure does. Fortunately, the same line also has the square root, which I hope makes it clear what we intend.

      This is most likely our error. I am going to guess we had “.5” and inserted a 0 to make it “0.5” but somehow ended up with two zeroes in there.

      • It’s a strange case. I checked my files from various stages, and the first place the error in Eq. 13.2 seems to appear is in the proofs. I mean the initial proofs, so we had a chance to correct it and just missed it.

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