It is each author’s responsibility to create the best possible essay, and we expect them to double check their submissions for readability, grammar, and punctuation. However, even the best writers can use a different perspective, a fresh look at their writing, and a second pair of eyes to look for mistakes.
Also, remember that submissions to Earth Chronicle must be of the highest quality in all respects. So if you find editing, research, or public domain issues, chime in; those are your secondary responsibilities. If you notice an idea or quotation that isn’t properly cited, go ahead and address it! Don’t hope that someone else will catch it. If you recognize a paragraph that has been plagiarized from a magazine article or a book that the researcher hasn’t read, then you're our only hope. Ideally, you will work collaboratively as part of a team whether you get a chance to meet them or not.
In general, we follow MLA format with only a few modifications. MLA format follows mostly common sense rules, and once you are familiar with it, it is rare that you need to refer back to the manual. This "lighter" style makes it preferable to more "scholarly" guides like the Chicago / Turabian style. MLA is also published by a national organization, and while the University of Chicago is one of the finest institutions in higher education, it lacks the broad authority and membership which the Modern Language Association can claim. The only other serious contender for a style manual is AP style. The international character of the AP was very attractive, as was the copious practical instances for handling international and multi-lingual issues. However, in the end this was also it's Achilles' heel. While I would have liked to use AP, it's SO practical that I find myself having to refer to it frequently. AP doesn't have the same sense of structure and rules underlying it which makes MLA so simple to use. MLA feels like the rules are part of an organic whole, while AP feels like it was thrown together by reporters in dozens of different news rooms. This also leads to some strange and unexpected rules, the most bizarre being AP's practice of dropping the final serial comma. So while MLA needs some help to be formally extended in some cases, it provides a much smoother, solid, sensible foundation on which to build.
Now... if that just bored the hell out of you, maybe you would consider becoming an editor for our articles. Editors are concerned with maximizing the readability of articles. Or perhaps you can help out in other ways.