RE: THANKS! Re: It's time to go (LONG)

Subject: RE: THANKS! Re: It's time to go (LONG)
From: "Grant, Christopher" <CGrant -at- glhec -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 15:43:47 -0600

I've been lurking on techwr-l for about 2 years now, and this is my very
first posting to the list. Normally I'd think that publicly responding or
contributing to an idea not directly related to technical writing is a bad
idea, but this particular topic certainly seems relevant.

Just by the nature of the list being a public forum (although effectively
moderated), I think we need to accept that on some days the list is helpful
to you, and on others, it may merely annoy you. I cringe at the notion that
we ought to "avoid all generalizations" (which itself is a generalization,
no?), and at the idea that one should _only_ contribute to the list as a
binary computing machine: "Do I know with absolutely incontrovertable
certainty the answer to this question, and can I present the answer in a
perfectly amicable and supportive way, while making sure I don't hurt
anyone's feelings? I better not post if I don't."

IMHO, an attitude like this will negate the percolation and maturation of
ideas on the list. The end result is that we're never challenged, we never
push on the edges, and we never think unconventially.

I see the list as an organism that has its own life, driven by the ebb and
flow of discussion and topics. You can't directly control it - all you can
do is watch, and learn when the opportunity presents itself. Or maybe it's
more like the stock market: some days it's up, some days it's down, but in
the longview, you get out of it more than you put in.

My point is, to take a cheesy line from the movie Cast Away: "Keep
breathing." Keep going, ignore the list when it annoys you, use the list
when it assists you, and contribute to the list when it intrigues you or
when it needs you. Don't obsess over the dips in quality you perceive it
taking: honestly, I personally have found the recent more theoretical
discussions to be incredibly helpful, as a 2-year technical writer, in
forming my "work persona."

(I might also add that in my experience, the "goodbye mailing list, it's
become too crazy, I'm leaving" letter is common to almost ANY mailing list.
I can't think of a single mailing list I've followed where eventually
someone gets fed up and leaves the list, IMHO in an attempt to illustrate
the severity of one's displeasure with the list. I admit I don't know if
that's part of the reason for this particular person leaving techwr-l, but
my point is that IMHO, these sorts of events are par for the course for
mailing lists. While we should certainly take note and ask ourselves why
someone would feel compelled to do this, I think it's hyperbole to then
assume the list is headed for the gutter.)

Thanks for reading, and please, everyone, keep posting, and keep the list
alive, warts and all. :)

-Chris Grant


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