Re: Slashdotted

Subject: Re: Slashdotted
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 01 Mar 2005 18:15:33 -0800

Kelley wrote:

Link! Link! Link! (too lazy to go look myself.)

The original article is at:

It's hard to abide by that if you pride yourself on accuracy and/or if you identify with the community to whom you're writing. It's also hard to abide by it in the midst of a negative publicity crisis -- as I often observed when chaos broke loose.

From my observations, he broke free of that because he had a drive for financial success at any cost. I'm not sure you're that far gone Bruce. :)

Me? I'm still left sputtering feebly, "But I didn't say that!" or "Didn't that jerk read the article?"

So often, the comments seem to have no relation to what was actually said.

The other thing is probably something you're already familiar with: the academic ideal of criticism, where knowledge is understood as a collective, if agonistic, enterprise. Where criticism is meant to advance knowledge, not tear it (or individuals) down. (AS I said, it's an _ideal_. :) I've had the good fortune to know marvelous role models who graciously accepted really harsh criticisms. I suspect it's a lot easier to do when you are not running "You & company" and when you have tenure. heh.

That's also the theory behind open source, and the forums on places like Slashdot. In fact, open source is really based closely on the academic ideal.

And, in theory, I agree with that. But I admit that I find the practice can be excruciating when directed against me personally.

But, in the few months that I've been doing journalism, I've developed a slightly tougher skin. For example, to keep me from forever jumping into the comments, I mostly just let the comments flow. When I do reply, I restrict myself to two answers to anything that anyone says (it's a good policy for any discussion where there seems to be a fixed opinion on the other side, in fact).

Completely divorcing your sense of self from your writing doesn't doesn't always work to good effect (e.g., hacks), so what I mean is being able to maintain but.... From reading you over the years, it's clear that you probably know all this. But, I thought it might help to remind you of what you already know, as you imagine pyrannas circling. :)

I think the trick (and I'm paraphrasing a quote that I can't track down here) is to take the work seriously, but not yourself - and then let go of it once you've sent if off.

Another perspective: One of my favorite musicians Ray Wylie Hubbard, does a long monologue on an album about his misgivings on having written the song "Up Against the Wall Redneck Mothers" thirty years ago. He complains about always been asked to sing it, and about being known mainly for that song. He concludes with, "And then twice a year, I walk down to my mailbox and take out a cheque -- and, suddenly, life doesn't seem so bad."

Or, in my own case, I may be misunderstood and attacked, but I'm also paid.

Remember: Any publicity is good publicity. Any publicity is good publicity. repeat after me. :)

Any publicity is -- go --

No, sorry. Can't say it, quite.

Bruce Byfield 604-421-7177


Accelerate the document lifecycle with full online discussions and unique feedback-management capabilities. Unlimited, efficient reviews for Word
and FrameMaker authors. Live, online demo:

Doc-To-Help 7.5 Professional: New version with new features, improved performance and reliability, plus much more! Download your free trial today at

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


Re: Slashdotted: From: Kelley

Previous by Author: Re: Slashdotted!
Next by Author: Re: Latest in voice recording devices?
Previous by Thread: Re: Slashdotted
Next by Thread: Re: Slashdotted

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

Sponsored Ads