ADMIN: RE: leaving

Subject: ADMIN: RE: leaving
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 08:45:57 -0600 (MDT)

On Fri, 21 Sep 2001, Michael Collier wrote:

> Did I hear a door slam or something?
> > -----Original Message-----
> > Body: Just a post to say goodbye to all of you. I've decided to leave
> > TECHWR-L for
> > other lists that actually foster a sense of community.

Yes. It was a rather more public than most realization
that rules apply to everyone, and that they're applied
evenly to everyone on the list. For some reason,
there are some (mostly former) list members who think that
their situation/background/whatever exempts them
from the rules, or who think that they are somehow
owed something from Raycomm by virtue of their
membership in the list. Usually enlightenment comes
quietly, but not always.

Speaking of which, we seem to be due for some reminders.
Following is a whole bunch of information--much of the same
stuff that's sent out to new subscribers. Please read
and file somewhere where you can find it when you
need it. Thanks.

ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner

Revised 1 March 2001


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Brown for this one. EJR)

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Q: Dear Listowner, I inadvertently deleted some Techwhirl
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POSTING RULES FOR TECHWR-L (for Technical Communication issues)
Revised 21 April 2001

I strongly encourage everyone to read and understand these
rules before posting to TECHWR-L. TECHWR-L has nearly
5000 subscribers and many more readers, so it is necessary
to maintain a fairly tight definition of acceptable behavior.
Any list member may be removed from the list, at the
listowner's discretion, for flagrant or repeated infractions.
Additionally, if you are abusive to the listowner or other
list members, you may be removed from the list.

In addition to these rules, all users agree to abide by
the TECHWR-L Terms of Service, a copy of which is available at

Send all announcements, job ads, and similar messages to
ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com--do not post them to TECHWR-L directly.
What's an ad? See

CHECK THE ARCHIVES BEFORE POSTING! Archives are available at and at

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Don't post it.
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Writing, origin of spam), don't post it. I assure
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Revised 31 July 1998


(Listowner's Note: The "thanks" notations are for the
contributions to the scenario, not pointed digs at
people who committed these infractions.)

You are in a large lecture hall full of people in your profession.
Included in the audience are students, educators, professionals.
You cannot make out their faces, but they could reasonably
include your employers or potential employers, your coworkers,
and the ever-present violently obsessive technical writing

Most of the audience members sit quietly as one member at a time
gets up, walks to the podium, and shares information or advice or
asks questions. Some of it is rich and detailed, some cursory but
helpful, some trivial but relevant in a roundabout way. Somewhere
in this stream of information, someone expresses an opinion or
gives a piece of advice that you feel obligated to respond to.

You get out of your seat and walk to the front of the room,
everyone's eyes upon you. ...

(Listowner's note: At this point, the paths may diverge.
Some of the following unfortunate cases have been played
out over the past few years.)

A) You approach the podium, clear your throat, and say "Me,
too." You are greeted with a combination of quizzical,
patronizing smirks and incredulous silence.

B) You relate that really good joke about Microsoft and operating
systems that you overheard at the restaurant last night. Some
laugh. Some wonder why you just now heard it. Many wonder why
you'd use their chance to discuss technical communication to
tell a old joke.

C) You take your turn at the microphone to clarify a point. One
of the previous speakers had mentioned, in the context of
developing and using context-sensitive, interactive help files,
that they used MS Word v3.0. Obviously, that's incorrect,
you clarify that they MUST have used a different version because
that one didn't even exist. Not only that, but the incompetence
of anyone who could make such a mistake is certainly astounding.
It only takes you about 10 minutes to impress upon everyone that
you know far better than the speaker what versions of Word
(You don't make any points about the issue at hand, but your
audience has already made their assumptions about your knowledge
in that area.)

D) "Does anyone know how much the cheapest Internet service
provider in Kansas costs?"

E) You replay the entire videotape of the MS Word v3.0 speaker,
including the introduction, the walk to the podium, and the walk
back to a seat. The quality isn't all that hot, but it's
important to make sure everyone knows the context in which you
speak. 12 minutes later, you point out that there is in fact a
version of MS Word v3.0 and you had used it once, briefly, but
didn't like it much and would always choose Frame. Furthermore,
anyone who uses any version of Word is a certifiable idiot and
if your company or clients require Word, you should quit and
find a real company.
You return to your seat satisfied about your demonstrated TW
proficiency and wonder about the copy of "How to Win Friends and
Influence People" that ended up on your chair. (Thanks to Jim
Barton for the initial suggestion and Arlen Walker for the

F) You take your chance at the podium to publicly mock the
pronunciation and diction of the three speakers before you, not
to mention their poor spelling on overheads. As you return to
your seat, someone passes you a note pointing out that one of
the three is hard of hearing, one is not a native speaker of
English, and that many people in the world don't see a problem
with spelling "defense" as "defence". Whoops! Oh, well, you
think, they'll get over it.

G) You walk up to the podium and say "I'm glad you all
finally stopped talking about that subject, because you were
wasting everyone's time. I'm so relieved we're not discussing it
any more." (Thanks to Tracy Boyington for this one.)

H) You reach the microphone and say the exact same thing that all 8
people before you have said because you didn't bother to listen
to them. (Thanks to Chris Boehm.)

I) You piously denounce the majority of subjects that have
been discussed thus far as irrelevant to the original
scope of the conference, berate the conference organizers
for allowing such irrelevancies to be introduced into the
dialogue, and announce that you will leave the auditorium
if discussion of such issues continues.

J) You complain that the seminar does not provide a wide enough
scope for discussion of your particular interests (which may
be of only cursory interest to a minority of people attending
the conference), accuse the conference organizers of promoting
censorship, and ask if anyone knows of another conference
organized by nonfacists. (Thanks to Bill Burns for these last

K) You try to leave the auditorium, but forget how, so instead of
looking for exit signs or asking the usher, you go to the front
and ask everybody. (Thanks to Lorin C. Ledger for this one.)

As you walk back to your seat, you try to make out the faces around
you. (Thanks to Lisa Higgins for the original scenario)

TECHWR-L Listowner

Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com


A landmark hotel, one of America's most beautiful cities, and
three and a half days of immersion in the state of the art:
IPCC 01, Oct. 24-27 in Santa Fe.

+++ Miramo -- Database/XML publishing automation. See us at +++
+++ Seybold SFO, Sept. 25-27, in the Adobe Partners Pavilion +++
+++ More info: +++

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RE: leaving: From: Michael Collier

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