ADMIN: Back on track and an explanation

Subject: ADMIN: Back on track and an explanation
From: Eric Ray <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Tue, 28 Mar 2000 06:17:26 -0700

It's time to get off the linguistic and grammatical
discussions (as they can readily be solved with
the help of a good reference book or dictionary)
and also time to lay off the personal attacks on all counts.

If you have a point to make, by all means make it, but
there's no value for anyone in being rude to Andrew,
John, or anyone else you disagree with. You're welcome
to disagree with ideas or proposals, but there's a
disturbing trend to respond to, for example, Andrew's
caustic comments on the _profession_ or related areas
with rude comments on Andrew personally (or with
quibbles and nitpicks that have no value).

If you disagree with comments made _about the profession_,
by all means rebut them on the list. If you disagree with
Andrew's use of "gaggle of magic toads", take that up with
him off line. If you disagree with Andrew on principle and
can't find an appropriate way to articulate your specific
issues, don't post.

No, I'm not saying that Andrew has carte blanche to post
anything he wants--he doesn't--but I am saying that he's
perfectly entitled to air his on-topic opinions, even if they're
not what you want to hear. I think any of us who have
been in the profession for any amount of time can certainly
see where he could quite reasonably and justifiably
have drawn the conclusions he has drawn, even while disagreeing
with him, and I, for one, think that an outspoken
voice in this forum to say that "the emporor has no
clothes" is probably good for all of us, even if it does
cause a certain amount of introspection or painful

ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

--New on 31 July 1998--


In the ongoing effort to make this list as useful
as possible, I've recast the Posting Rules (which
do still exist) in terms of responsibilities in a
number of areas--I think this offers a more
constructive way of looking at the list and can,
I think, help make things run a little more
smoothly. Additionally, this reflects my
philosophical view of how the list _should_ run--based
on responsibilities, not explicit rules.

With that...


* Make sure that the list continues to run and
be a valuable information resource. This
includes stopping inappropriate discussions
and silencing posters who cannot or will not
respect other list members' needs and time.
* Help members and potential readers learn about
and use the list.
* Help members with administrative problems, like
changed email addresses or similar issues.
* Handle off-topic messages, spam, and inappropriate
or unprofessional messages, through either
private or public means, as needed.
* Forward (anonymously and confidentially) questions
and messages for the list that could be
career-limiting or embarrassing if the name of
the poster were known. Sending private replies
back to the original poster is unfortunately not


To Other List Members:

* Be nice. Attack ideas, not personalities, and
stay nice in off-line commentary as well.
* Be concise and clear in your postings, and
edit unnecessary content before sending.
* Stay focused on the topic. Other people didn't
subscribe to this list for anything other
than professional discussions about
technical communication, and it's your
responsibility to do everything in your
power to remain focused on that topic.
* Post only appropriate messages. If it's not
clearly about technical communication, it's
not appropriate for this list, regardless
of how critical or vital it may seem to
you. Make the connection explicit if necessary.
* Respect other people's time. If the correct
usage/word/information is in a standard
reference book that you have, look it up
rather than asking 4000 other people to
look it up for you. If you've already done
your homework, then say so explicitly.
* Post only accurate information. If you're posting
verifiable technical information, tips, or
instructions, take the time to ensure that
they're accurate. If you don't have the time to
ensure that your message is completely accurate
using authoritative sources, don't post it.
* Use the archives and don't post questions
that have been beaten to death recently.
If it's been posted, it's in the archives,
so don't ask others to do the archive
research for you.
* Remember that few absolutes exist--for every
_rule_ of technical communication that you
have always followed, someone else always
follows a contradictory rule. What you post is
usually an opinion, and will be better
received when presented as one.
* Fix your email problems on your own or with the
help of the listowner. The other list members
have better things to do than to delete your
test message.

To Yourself:

* Remember that your postings go to potential
employers, co-workers, and friends. Additionally,
they're archived forever in several places.
* Post valuable messages. I know of well over 100
list members who have gotten jobs as a direct
or indirect result of their techwr-l postings,
and they're all people who send substantive,
well-thought-out, constructive contributions.
(Yes, these are the people who post the messages
that you print out and file.)
* Post good questions. Although there is truth in the
old saw about "the only dumb question is the one
unasked", posting the same question that was
addressed at length in each of the last 4 weeks
(and thus answered at length in the archives),
is a dumb question.
* Learn to use your email program well, including
taking advantage of mail filtering, searching,
sorting, and filing features. Send only plain
text messages and no attachments to the list.
* Learn to use archives and online resources
effectively, both for technical communication
information and for other information.

To Listowner:

* Keep the list instructions and use them.
* Keep the list rules and follow them.
* Contact the listowner if you have problems,
questions, or issues.
* Send list messages to the list, send administrative
messages, questions, commentary, or complaints
to the listowner.

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