P3 qualification

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DP Official Documentation - Proofreading
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For general information on qualifying to work in different rounds (e.g. P2, P3, F1, F2, etc.), see DP Official Documentation:General/Access Requirements.

Round Access FAQ

For detailed information about qualifying for the various proofreading rounds, please read Access Requirements -- P1, P2 and P3. (Please note that P2 access is automatic once the requirements are met and the request button is pushed). This article does not repeat what is said there, it is a collection of additional information gathered from the forums. (Some of the paragraphs are quotes from forum posts of past evaluators, such as DMkazoo, JulietS and yralih, hence the use of the first person.)

Basic Requirements

The basic requirements for P3 access are listed on the P3 page, just above the list of available projects. They are to:

  • have proofed 150 P2 pages across at least three projects. These pages should indicate proofreading proficiency covering a range of matter including footnotes, tables, indexes, illustration captions, poetry and/or sidenotes.
  • have formatted 50 F1 pages
  • have passed the Moderate Proofreading Quiz and Tutorial, Part 2 (quiz results expire after six months)
  • have joined DP at least 42 days earlier

Please note that an evaluator will check over at least 50 of your recent P2 pages that have been completed in P3. (Except for special circumstances, we do not review pages until they have been through P3!) Due to the extra abilities a project manager has over his or her projects, pages proofread in projects in which the project manager and the applicant are the same will not be eligible for evaluation.

Once you meet these requirements, you can request P3 access via a link on the P3 page, below the list of requirements.

Why F1 pages?

F1 pages are considered a necessary requirement before working in P3 so that the proofreader is aware of the formatting guidelines, what is included in formatting, and consequently what not to do when proofreading. To date no other way of measuring this skill has been formulated. Some have said that working in F1 has helped make them better proofreaders because, for example, they know they

  • can ignore long strings of asterisks in a row by themselves in P3 and don't have to add them to the proofread text in order to "match the scan" because the formatters will add a <tb> tag instead
  • should leave small caps text as it comes to them because the formatters will change it to mixed or upper-case as appropriate
  • should leave only one blank line between paragraphs, headings, subheadings et al. without having to match the extra space as shown in the original image
  • will recognise a series of short lines to be a list and don't need to worry about adding or removing blank lines between items on the list
  • most importantly, don't need to be concerned about diffs that are due to formatting issues

Evaluation of Pages

After you request access via the P3 page, an evaluator will check over at least 50 of your recent P2 pages. If you didn't miss too many errors, then you will be given access to P3. If you missed too many errors, then you will be asked to proof more pages and try again. Either way, you should receive a PM informing you of the status of your request and listing which pages were used for evaluation. If you apply before 50+ pages have gone through P3, the wait for results can be over a month.


Check the list of DP administrators for currently-assigned evaluators. If none are listed or responding to queries, you may contact the General Manager via email (dp-genmgr at pgdp dot net).

Which pages?

We cannot do an evaluation until at least 50 eligible pages across three different projects have been proofread by you in P2 within the last 100 days and have been proofread in P3. To be eligible, a page needs to have valid diffs in either or both P2 and P3. Pages that come perfectly from P1 are not eligible.

The way we do the evaluations is by looking at what the P3er found that you overlooked. Waiting for enough pages to get through P3 is usually what takes the longest.

We always work backwards from the most recent to the oldest. We might go back more than 50 pages for P3 because if we start looking at a project, we always look at all the pages from that project (which means if somehow 100 pages from one project made it through to P3, which does happen in LOTE, then we'll look at more than 100 pages). We assume that your work will improve over time and simply won't consider your application if you don't have some fairly recent work available.

Also, if the last 55 pages are all in fiction and the next 15 are in non-fiction, we will look at those as well, just because there are different skills involved. (Similarly, if the last 55 pages are from several parts of the same project.) The more pages the better, but 50 is an absolute minimum. If this is a re-application, no work done prior to the last evaluation date will be considered at all, only fresh pages done after the applicant was made aware of problems.

A wiki page with a list of projects has been set up by a team of volunteers interested in helping applicants find projects that contain the required range of material and that are likely (but not guaranteed) to progress through the rounds in a timely manner.

How many errors?

Before we added another proofreading round (then called P2alt), the cutoff for P3 access was one serious error in 5 pages (averaged across 50+ of course). Since virtually all the pages that were considered were from P3 Qual projects, we were able to keep them roughly the same size. We have decided to keep this error rate (1/5) for the time being. This means that we divide the number of evaluated pages by the number of errors found, and will generally approve applications where the resulting number is greater than 5.

For example: MickJagger has proofed 323 P2 pages. Of these, 162 have been proofed by P3. Of those 162 pages, 72 have no changes made by either P2 or P3, leaving 90 eligible pages for evaluation. Unfortunately, MickJagger did not catch 41 errors, giving him an error rate of 2.195 and he does not pass on this try. IggyPop has proofed 157 P2 pages, of which 121 have been through P3. Only 6 had no diffs, leaving 115 for evaluation. IggyPop is a born DPer and has left only 8 errors, giving him a rate of 14.375 and a welcome into P3.

The evaluators do keep in mind the overall difficulty of a page. Some pages will just be disregarded for qual purposes if they have substantially more than the usual number of OCR errors to correct. Also, generally speaking, pages that are not in your native language (if we can figure that out). We might either ignore very long pages or count them as several pages. The evaluations will always have notes about any of these things. This is yet another reason why we have humans doing the evaluations.


But, knowing that even this might be too much for a small community (such as languages other than English with a very small volunteer base at Distributed Proofreaders), we have left an alternate path for P3 or F2 access in such cases. You may send the General Manager a PM with the DP usernames of people you think should be able to work in either P3 or F2 or both, and, provided the General Manager approves, the appropriate Evaluator Team will do a special review of their access. Please note that this recommendation has to come from someone who already works in those rounds (or has a sound knowledge of the work involved) and that this process applies only to tiny communities which require language knowledge that very few of our volunteers have.

Improving Your Proofing Accuracy

If you're not happy with the quality of your diffs, there's no need to apply just to clear things out. You can just keep working on your proofreading until you think the last 75–100 Qual diff pages look good, then apply. However, if you want an official review of your work complete with proofreading suggestions tailored to your particular potential areas of improvement, by all means go ahead and apply.

Qual projects, while excellent and appropriate for taking your proofing temperature when you're trying to beat a problem (or for accumulating enough pages to get an evaluation), are not the best place to work that problem through. Think of them like water: something necessary and which you're welcome to use. Don't leave it running and walk off, though.

If any P3 candidate has a besetting fault, spend time concentrating on it in the regular projects. Pick a book that will be around for at least a couple of days. Try out your new proofing strategies on it. Go back the next day and look at the pages again with fresh eyes. If you're finding things on the second pass that you missed on the first, try to figure out what and why. Maybe ask for feedback from a P3er.

After you think you've made progress on that front, by all means do 5 or 10 Qual pages to get P2–P3 diffs and see if they're lining up with what you thought they'd say. If all is well, do more Quals with an eye toward accumulating enough to apply. If problems are showing up, go back to practicing on regular projects, and dip back into Quals to check your progress.

You can find other strategies in the Tips'n'Tricks on improving proofing accuracy thread.

Related Wiki Pages

Access requirements

Am I Ready For P3?

To comment or request edits to this page, please contact jjz or John_NZ.

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