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[I'm sure you've all heard about my problems with the latex list.  I've
received several old messages during the night, so perhaps the problem
has been solved.  Those kind souls who have forwarded things to me:
please continue to do so for a couple of days until I'm sure I'm getting
everything.  Thanks.  Now back to the regular discussion.]

> Phillip Helbig wrote:
> > least spelling, whether to italicise foreign words, use of punctuation
> > in abbreviations and the placement of \caption in figures and tables.
>
> I don't think spelling, abbreviations etc. should be handled by the
> document class.  The reasons are simple: It will almost surely create
> a large amount of infrequently used macros that the average author
> will not want to remember (or look up every time), assuming he/she is
> aware of their existence at all.  Moreover, it is easy to accidentally
> not use the macro, so that the publisher will still be required

I agree that it is not near as big a problem of front matter (not yet
solved) and citations and references (natbib and custom-bib can do the
job).  The advantage of doing this, however, is that there would be a
STANDARD set of macros to do it.  If this does not exist, many people
will roll their own, and run into problems when these conflict with
other macros etc.  If one for some reason does NOT want to use them,
fine, this is no problem.  An author is always free to explicitly code
things like \textit{et al.} rather then using something like \etal\ if
he wants to.  If he resubmits to another journal, or recycles part of
the text for something else, he is free to get rid of the italics by
hand if the style requires it, whereas I would prefer just redefining a
command (or have the .cls do it for me.)  Proofreading will always be
necessary, since with ANY macros some authors will do something wrong.

> So while frontmatter/bibliography standarization is very desirable
> and necassary, I don't see any reason to promote the proliferation
> of a large number of trivial macros

Again, you're free not to use them if you don't think the effort is
worth it.

> which increase the author's

If you don't want them, don't take them---no burden to you, but a burden
for me if they don't exist (as I have to roll my own, always making sure
they don't conflict with anything else etc).

> and don't decrease the publisher's workload.

Again, proofreading is necessary in either case.  By using the macros,
the general quality would probably improve, so that fewer corrections
would be necessary.

Whether or not this is formally a part of a .cls or an additional
package doesn't really matter.

--