Tablet with genre listingThere is nothing better than having Fanz readers who not only spot mistakes but who also tell us about them!

One of our most avid readers, using the pseudonym Maxine Jordan, first complained to us about technical problems with one of our online courses. When she started to submit writing as a Fanz writer, she complained about errors she discovered in the editing or uploading of her work. Then she picked up errors in the uploading of the book Trinity Rising, errors in some of the questions and answers on an online reading course, and – most embarrassingly – grammatical errors in one or two of our tips for writers.

She was vociferous in her complaints, expressing frustration and – at times – a lack of trust in our organisation and its literacy work. It could have been a disaster… but it wasn’t.

Her complaints were invaluable. They made us realise how much pressure our small team was (and is still) under thanks to the large amounts of content we are continuously creating and uploading. In these circumstances, human fallibility and mistakes are inevitable. But it has also helped us to devise strategies to streamline internal processes, and to make changes to the roles of staff members so that they play to their strengths and capacities. Her complaints have also helped us to locate bugs in our technical system, that have now been fixed.

Thanks to her relentless quality control, we’re picking up errors faster and correcting them faster too. We cannot thank her enough for her eagle eye for detail!

Due to this growing relationship, I asked staff to flag any emails coming from her and to send them to me, in particular her creative writing work, so that I could edit it and provide her with feedback personally. This meant that I had the opportunity to view first-hand her creative writing, which she’d been submitting to the Fanz section. I could see that she had a wry sense of humour, delighted in wordplay, had an insatiable curiosity about the world, and had an eye for a juicy plot.

The upshot of all of this engagement is that her latest story submitted – Food Fight – will now be featured as a professional FunDza Friday short story treat for our readers on Friday, 27 April. So, keep an eye out for it!

So, a big thank you to Maxine Jordan for valiantly pushing us to do better and for persevering with the relationship – even when she may have felt that the effort wasn’t worth it. We so appreciate her detail-oriented eye, her unrelenting pursuit of quality, and her love for FunDza and the written word. We hope to see more stories from her in the future. And, we hope that she continues to read on and complain quickly whenever we get it wrong!