Personal POV

Subject: Personal POV
From: "Doc" <doc -at- vertext -dot- org>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 17:48:24 -0400

I've seen a couple of comments on the list recently about threads
deteriorating. As one who possibly contributes to this perceived entropy.
I'd like to make a personal comment.

I am a great believer in the positive effects of discussion and even
argument. Only through the continuing give and take of intelligent minds who
see the world, and our profession from different angles do we progress.

I see the world from the point of view of someone who has more than 20 years
in the field of software documentation as a writer, editor and manager.
Prior to that I developed training, worked the phones in technical support,
and yes ... worked as a professional programmer. I have seen, made, and
corrected thousands of mistakes in that time.

My opinions are strongly held and often vehemently stated. I may, at times,
sound monolithically arrogant. Sometimes that is because I do believe that I
have the only right answer, but often it is a rhetorical ploy to see if
anyone can punch a hole in it.

At times I catch myself being a bit over the top and remember the professor
in the movie "The Paper Chase" saying something like, "at times you may feel
that you have the right answer, I assure you that nothing could be further
from the truth."

It seems to me, from Eric's occasional rule postings that this board is
meant for this kind of discussion. If it were limited to questions about
tools and other operational questions this would be a boring place to hang

Certainly, if you find the discussion of single-source (Andrew you're just
plain wrong <g>) or that concerning what kind of technical knowledge is
needed for the job (Andrew ... oh ... I already said it didn't I) then you
should feel free to ignore them.

I know that I not only enjoy them, I get educated by them. I can think of
little that I would enjoy more than to sit across the table from Andrew, or
any of the others who may take issue with the content of my orations, with a
glass of Laphroaig (preferably the 16-year-old) and spend an evening
swapping war stories and dueling over the philosophy of technical writing.

But, we live and work in a world that is made small most effectively by this
medium, so TECHWR-L becomes the tabletop, over which I raise my glass and
toast my partners in crime.

Please, if you don't like the arguments, don't read them. But don't
disparage them either, this is the way some of us learn and grow.


David 'Doc' Lettvin
"Versatile Text for reusability and globalization"
vox: +1.978.468.1105
fax: +1.775.248.0508

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