CR formatting

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Continuing on the subject of incredibly minor issues with the CR that practically nobody cares about and probably nobody's noticed except me, what's up with the continual minor formatting changes and rechanges from version to version?

For example:
  • The title line of the Innistrad release of the CR is "_Magic: The Gathering_ Comprehensive Rules", using the underscores as a substitute for bolding or italics. In the Dark Ascension release, the underscores were removed from the title, only for them to return in the very next release.

  • In the Dark Ascension release, (most) URLs are surrounded by angle brackets; in the Avacyn Restored release, they're not, but they're (mostly) once again in brackets for the Planechase release.

  • Over the course of the Innistrad block releases, the CR goes from referring to Oracle as "Oracle(TM)" to "Oracle (TM)" to "Oracle_(TM)".

  • In the Innistrad release only, references to multiple consecutive sub-subrules are listed with spaces surrounding the hyphen, for example "603.7d - f" rather than "603.7d-f".

I've been comparing consecutive versions of the CR to each other for a long time now for use in my Primer, and these kinds of minor changes keep happening, with new releases changing things, later releases changing them again, even later releases changing them back, over and over and over.

Why do things like this keep changing? Do the editors keep sparring over proper formatting practices? Do different editors use different text editors at work that each render formatting differently? Does search/replace keep going awry?

(I feel so conflicted about bringing this up--on the one hand I've been wondering about this on and off for years and would really like to know, but on the other it's such an incredible nitpick I'm almost ashamed that I care.)

Come join me at No Goblins Allowed


Because frankly, being here depresses me these days.

I would speculate that the master copy of the rules is not a text file and the conversion process is not completely automated.
No, I am not a judge. That's why I like to quote sources such as the rules that trump judges.
zammm, I've noticed and it has bugged me.  It makes using the command "diff" come up with all sorts of false positives when comparing previous versions of the rules.  But since I most often focus on the most current version of the rules, I try to forget about the inconsistencies.

I would speculate that the master copy of the rules is not a text file and the conversion process is not completely automated.


I've thought something similar to zammm in that the process is handed off to a different person in altering releases and each person as his or her own method of parsing the links.  One would think that with a good revision control software that such changes would be made most clear.

Some output from...

diff MagicCompRules_20120201.txt MagicCompRules_20120501.txt

one space versus no spaces
4840c4860
< An ability that restricts what creatures can block an attacking creature. See rules 509.1b - c.
---
> An ability that restricts what creatures can block an attacking creature. See rules 509.1b-c.

two spaces versus one space
5182c5205
< A spell or ability is "modal" if it has two or more options preceded by "Choose one  -- ," "Choose two  -- ," "Choose one or both  -- ," or "[a specified player] chooses one  -- ." Each option is a "mode." See rule 700.2.
---
> A spell or ability is "modal" if it has two or more options preceded by "Choose one -- ," "Choose two -- ," "Choose one or both -- ," "Choose one or more -- ," or "[a specified player] chooses one -- ." Each option is a "mode." See rule 700.2.

email in angled brackes vesus not
5880c5906
< Email: <wizards@hasbro.be>
---
> Email: wizards@hasbro.be

URL in angled brackes vesus not
5882c5908
< Visit our website: <magicthegathering.com>
---
> Visit our website: magicthegathering.com


If you want to compare documents, I suggest using one of the other file formats.

There's no continuity between one TXT version of the Comp. Rules and the next. Someone on my team does the plain-text formatting from scratch each time based on a checklist, and the whole process takes less than ten minutes.

Del Laugel

Editing manager, Magic TCG