Monday, November 22, 2010

What a Mahalo Editor Looks For

There are many content sites on the Internet. As a freelance writer, I've written for many of them. Some of them have editors who review material, and some don't. I can say from experience, however, that the editorial team at Mahalo does the most thorough job that I have experienced.

Mahalo editors check for formatting, ensuring consistency in layout and style which standardizes the content's look and feel. They also check for grammar - are commas in the right places? Are words used correctly? Is everything spelled correctly? Does the writer know the difference between affect and effect?

We also check for AP Style - since it's not intuitive, a QC of a page may send an editor to the AP Style Guide as part of their review.

All of those things are pretty standard, however. Mahalo editors also check to see if the material flows in a logical manner that is understandable to the reader. Is language simple and concise? A reader's time is precious, so the page needs to be scannable, with only relevant information - no filler or repetitive language to waste time.

The most important part of the quality control check is for accuracy. Citations are checked - both to ensure the source is authoritative, and that the information on the page accurately reflects what the source says.

Mahalo How Tos

There are many "How To" sites on the internet, with varying degrees of credibility. At Mahalo, every How To writer is required to source--and cite--their information from reliable authorities, and every How To is reviewed and edited by a staff member before being published. So, if you're looking for information on how to make sure you get an exit row seat on a plane, Mahalo is a great place to start. Here are a few other How To's you might enjoy browsing:
* How to Become a Dentist
* How to Become a Lawyer
* How to Become a Mystery Shopper
* How to Make a Friendship Bracelet
* How to Get Pregnant
* How to Draw Manga
* How to Become a Pharmacist
* How to Get a Free Credit Report
* How to Get Out of Debt
* How to Buy Gold
* How to Become a Substitute Teacher
* How to Play Golf
* How to Speak Spanish
* How to Throw a Spa Party
* How to Buy a Timeshare
* How to Make Simple Syrup
* How to Protect Your Computer from Viruses
* How to Use Frequent Flyer Miles
* How to Get Rid of Bad Breath
* How to Write a Grant Proposal
* How to Buy Your Own Health Insurance
* How to Become a Caterer
* How to Get a Car Loan

If the Mahalo How To doesn't address all your questions, you can use the question box at the bottom of the page to ask for additional information on the topic. The interactive nature of the page is another way that Mahalo How Tos stand out from the rest of the How To sites on the net.

Happy browsing!

This Week on Mahalo

One of the benefits of working in Quality Control at Mahalo is getting to learn alot about a diverse group of topics.

This week gave me an intense Korean lesson. I learned how to say many things in Korean- including how to say "I'm angry", "I miss you" and "Good luck." Whereas most language lessons teach you the basics you need to go to navigate in society- where's the bathroom? How much is it? Do you speak English? The Mahalo language pages are much more nuanced.

I also have been looking at pages describing the details of Black Friday Sales and deals. I learned that some stores released their Black Friday discounts at the beginning of October- almost two months ahead of Black Friday. Other stores, such as Walmart, keep their deals under wraps until the last minute - increasing the number of Internet searches for those "secret sales."

I'm constantly amazed at the names people come up with for cocktails. While a Texas Tea is obviously a cousin of the Long Island Iced tea-- where did the Old Lay originate? While the Mahalo page doesn't explain the drink's origin, it does explain how to make this variation of the cherry Margarita.

The Best Cranberry Sauce

One of the most important things on the Thanksgiving dinner table is one of the easiest to prepare. A bag of fresh cranberries will cost less than $2 at the grocery store in November. They are only in season for a few months, so it makes sense to stock up while you see them. You can toss the bag in the freezer, as is, and use them throughout the year to prepare fresh cranberry sauce whenever you roast a chicken. has detailed instructions on how to make cranberry sauce, including a number of variations.

My method is very simple. I combine a bad of cranberries with a cup of sugar and a cup of water in a saucepan. I bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes. I do this several days ahead, and refrigerate it in a microwave safe bowl. I then warm the sauce for a minute before serving.

If I want a slightly more "interesting sauce, i add 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/4 teaspoon of allspice, and a tablespoon of chopped crystalized ginger with the cranberries before I bring the mixture to a boil. This variation goes particularly well with pork.

The Busiest Travel Day of the Year

Thanksgiving means many things to many people...but unless you have your loved ones close by, Thanksgiving may mean travel. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving is known as the busiest day of the year. When many people think of Thanksgiving Travel they think of long lines at the airport. That is especially true this year, as there is talk of a massive "opt out" of full body scans across the U.S., with the goal of causing massive delays as a way of "sending a message" about the new TSA screening procedures. I'm not flying this year, so that won't affect me.

Actually, the only year I did fly, it was to St. Thomas for a very un-traditional Thanksgiving - and travel was not an issue at all.

Most of my Thanksgiving travel has been to probably the most difficult place to drive to to on Thanksgiving - the metropolitan New York area. My route took me down Route 495, to Route 290, to the Massachusetts Turnpike, to Route 84, to Route 95, to the Cross Bronx Expressway, to the Belt Parkway, and finally to the Southern State Parkway. A drive that was normally less than 3 and a half hours could take 8 hours on the day before Thanksgiving. It was worth every minute, though, to spend the time with family!

Talking About Thanks...

Some families say grace before Thanksgiving Dinner, others share things they are personally thankful for, and others share inspirational quotes. While searching for some great Thanksgiving quotes, I found these on Although the collection includes luminaries such as John F. Kennedy and Cicero, my favorite is the gem by Erma Bombeck at the bottom.

"An optimist is a person who starts a new diet on Thanksgiving Day."—Irv Kupcinet

"As we express our gratitude, we must never forget that the highest appreciation is not to utter words, but to live by them."—John Fitzgerald Kennedy

"A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues."—Cicero

"There is no sincerer love than the love of food."—George Bernard Shaw

"There is one day that is ours. There is one day when all we Americans who are not self-made go back to the old home to eat saleratus biscuits and marvel how much nearer to the porch the old pump looks than it used to. Thanksgiving Day is the one day that is purely American."—O. Henry

"What we're really talking about is a wonderful day set aside on the fourth Thursday of November when no one diets. I mean, why else would they call it Thanksgiving?" -Erma Bombeck