RE: ADMIN: Civility and content

Subject: RE: ADMIN: Civility and content
From: "HALL Bill" <bill -dot- hall -at- tenix -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Jul 2003 15:47:30 +1000 (EST)

I agree with Eric that Techwr-l has a problem. Despite the fact that the
list has been very valuable to me and that I have made a number of
contributions I hope have been of valuable to others, on most days I am
so busy writing about or implementing content and knowledge management
systems, that I just delete the whole techwr-l digest without even
bothering to open it. Although most of what I write is now either
academic or what might be called meta-documentation (i.e., about how to
structure and manage technical documentation systems), techwriting is
still the underlying foundation for what I am doing now, and I think I
can occasionally contribute something of value to the profession.

I have had some very useful debates with Andrew Plato, where he has been
his well known acerbic self and where we were on absolutely different
sides, but on this issue I think he has cut to the crux of the matter
Eric raised. Andrew's suggested solution is thoughtful, mature, novel
and practical. I love it!

Techwr-l is too valuable to let it become a chat room for frustrated,
irritable and angry techwriters with too much time on their hands (yes I
know the job market is bad and technologies are changing, but this
doesn't change the fact that what frustrated hot-headed people write
generally isn't worth reading). Limiting the number of posts people can
make is a very interesting approach. I agree with many that Andrew's
idea of limiting posts to one per person per day might be too limiting
(but would be interesting to try!), 3-5 would inhibit the chatterers if
not the name callers, but if the Ray's software is sophisticated enough
I love Kat Nagel's ideas of providing him with a decrement button he can
use to blip those who persistently waste bandwidth. Perhaps a loop could
be added that would gradually relax the restriction if the decrement
button wasn't pushed again.

For an example of one of the best forums around, check out, which is an Australian based KM
forum initially focused on KM issues relating mainly to government
organisations that has attracted some of the leading knowledge
management personalities in the world to our little country at the
bottom of the world. The forum probably averages no more than 5-10 posts
a day - but the thought in those posts is gold. Presently, Techwr-l
would do well to have one to two valuable posts amongst the 100+
responses a day (at least on those days when I bother to look), and by
the time I have found them I certainly haven't any time left to draft a
response of my own.

Anyway, I think Techwr-l has a genuine problem, and I think Andrew and
Kat between them have an idea for an approach that will substantially
improve the state of play. Eric is a very good moderator, and the idea
of giving him a decrement button ought to work very much like the
moderator rods in a nuclear reactor. When things start getting too hot,
incrementally sliding in the moderator rod slows things down a bit to
achieve an optimum rate of reaction.


Bill Hall

Documentation Systems Analyst
Strategy and Development
Tenix Defense
Williamstown, Vic. 3016
Email:bill -dot- hall -at- tenix -dot- com

Honorary Research Fellow
Knowledge Management Lab
School of Information Management & Systems
Monash University
Caulfield East, Vic. 3145
Email: william -dot- hall -at- infotech -dot- monash -dot- edu -dot- au


Create professional Help systems that feature interactive tutorials and
demos with all new RoboHelp Studio. More at

Mercer University's online MS Program in Technical Communication Management:
Preparing leaders of tomorrow's technical communication organizations today.
See or write George Hayhoe at hayhoe_g -at- mercer -dot- edu -dot-

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


Previous by Author: RE: pinpointing a web page
Next by Author: Organizing DTD <element> and interface information?
Previous by Thread: Re: ADMIN: Civility and content
Next by Thread: RE: ADMIN: Civility and content

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads