RE: Burn Out

Subject: RE: Burn Out
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 06:02:05 -0700 (PDT)

--- Jill Waite <jwaite -at- criticaldevices -dot- com> wrote:
> I am a brand new member of this listserv. I was a long-time lurker
> on one other (very active!) listserv in the past. Reviewing recent
> comments and comparing the "feel" of this listserv to the other, it
> appears some techwhirlers on this list seem almost intimidated,
> afraid to post, or afraid of others' postings.

You make a very interesting point here. There are a lot of smart people
on this list, and there are a lot of, how shall I say, very
self-confident people who post here as well. Yet there are many people
who worry, over much in my opinion, that they will be criticized for
the content, or lack thereof, in their posts. It does happen, which
again in my opinion reflects more poorly on the responder than on the
original poster. This list is generally very well-behaved and
respectful. But there will always be a few individuals who have
strongly held--if ridiculous--opinions

> I want to quote Sanjay here, but I am not suggesting that Sanjay
> feels the way I am describing. I apologize to Sanjay if I give that
> impression. His comment provoked some introspection and evaluation
> on my part, and my intent is to use his comment as a springboard to a
> broader discussion.
> Sanjay said: "BTW, um, shouldn't we take this OT??" in response to
> Kevin's posting (partial).
> I received Eric's admonishment today, just like the rest of you. I
> had been amused by the brief back-and-forths about curling but I must
> agree, they really *were* off topic. However, the subject of Burn
> Out and what other techwhirlers do to combat it is, IMHO, most
> definitely a professional issue worthy of open professional
> discussion. First: why did Sanjay think it should be off-line?

I read Sanjay's question as a legitimate one. One we should ask
ourselves, if only from time to time. Eric and Deb are generally very
generous in their interpretation of what is on topic. In fact, we can
genarally bang away on lots of dubious thoughts for a day or so. When
it goes on too long or is too off-topic, then Eric will usually step in
with his reminder.

> Kevin's posting was witty, quirky, irreverent, and possibly skating
> along the edges of the listserv rules - so? Techwhirlers are
> *wordsmiths* - educated professionals who play with words, sentences
> and connotations all day long! It is no surprise that our wordsmith
> products among ourselves are less cut-and-dried, more fanciful even,
> than what we give to our clients and/or bosses. My private term
> among wordsmiths to describe this phenomenon is "word candy."
> Second: why did Sanjay think Kevin's word candy belonged
> off-line? Is word candy not permitted?

Again, there are a lot of people on this list with a lot of different
tastes and perspectives. Somebody has to police this mob. I know *I*
would probably be a lot more heavy-handed than the Rays, who IMHO are
not heavy-handed at all. Mostly, we're expected to police ourselves,
and mostly we do. Again, that's how I read Sanjay's question.

From time to time there is humor on this list, some of it quite
refreshing, original, AND on topic.
> I bring new eyes/ears to the Techwhirl listserv - are my observations
> completely off-base, or am I seeing something that long-timers don't
> because they've gotten used to it? Listserv rules and listserv rules
> enforcers play important roles and I am not advocating anarchy. I
> *am* an advocate for putting all the cards on the table, so everyone
> knows what the rules are.

I don't think your observations are off-base. This is a moderated list
serving a specific professional audience discussing topics that have a
specific relationship to that audience. There will always be gray areas
and disagreements. That's what we have moderators for. But I do think
it is a good thing for us to police ourselves and at least ask the
question about topics when their relationship to Tech Writing is
difficult to discern.

Tom Murrell
Senior Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com

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