RE: Arrogance (Was single spacing...)

Subject: RE: Arrogance (Was single spacing...)
From: "Bill Swallow" <wswallow -at- nycap -dot- rr -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 May 2004 21:42:16 -0400

::: Some people on this list fail to understand that what we're
::: discussing is
::: professional minutia, the same sort of details that a
::: graphics artist
::: might ask in a Photoshop list regarding the use of one filter over
::: another.

Number of spaces after a period is *barely* professional minutia, but I'll
admit your right to discuss it. But over 2 days on one minutia topic?

::: This list is a great resource because its members
::: come from so
::: many disciplines that just about any writing-related question gets
::: answered. My original post was simply a request that those
::: who don't see
::: why a topic is relevant to their jobs respect the
::: contributions of those who do.

How is discussing the relevancy of the importance of the number of spaces
after a period disrespectful?

::: As for writers obsessing on the spacing issue: if a writer in my
::: department was wasting hours discussing the finer points of
::: spacing, he'd
::: be on my short list for replacement, too. But I doubt
::: that's ever the case
::: and people making that argument are exaggerating for
::: effect.

As a hiring manager, I keep track of names and threads of what I consider to
be worthwhile and pointless topics. I tend to question the productivity and
team compatibility of people who dwell on minutia or who adamantly defend
their opinion on a matter of minutia. Justified perfection is OK, but
really, if you and someone else with whom you have no direct working
relationship disagree on a matter of minutia such as number of spaces after
a period, I gotta ask... Does it really freakin' matter?

::: As for your
::: hypothetical future employer wondering why we're beating
::: this subject to
::: death, I'm sure he or she will appreciate how it
::: demonstrates dedication
::: to excellence in our profession.

To sum up my previous statement in response: nope.

::: Finally, there are scads of rules for proper design--some
::: of which I've
::: mentioned in previous postings--but none of the rules
::: require more than a
::: moment's thought to do and the results are worth the
::: effort. Granted, many
::: technical writers can do their job and never worry about whether the
::: document design or typography is correct, but, as several
::: people have
::: pointed out, the job market is tight, getting tighter, and
::: the more you
::: know, the more likely you are to be employed.

The more you know about technology, industry, and the like. Bring business
and technical acumen to the table. Leave your minutia and ego in the glove

Bill Swallow
wswallow "at" nycap "dot" rr "dot" com


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