Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ

Subject: Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ
From: Debra Kahn <kahndebra -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com, neilson -at- windstream -dot- net
Date: Sun, 28 Sep 2014 21:40:47 -0600

For some reason, my last post didn't go through. Here it is again.

I, too, read the WSJ article as well as the WSJ review of Pinker's book (along side that of grammarian Neville Martin Gwynne) and the Q&A with Pinker in today's NYT's book review.

See the WSJ book review here: http://online.wsj.com/articles/book-review-gwynnes-grammar-by-n-m-gwynne-the-sense-of-style-by-steven-pinker-1411765107.

See the NYT's Q&A here: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/28/books/review/steven-pinker-by-the-book.html?_r=0.

Pinker appears to be an interesting fellow, who likes to stir things up. Without having read any of Pinker's books (and so relying on this current crop of articles), two things strike me about this psycholinguist: He hasn't read many of the classics of modern (post 18th century) literature. And he considers tech writers to be plaid-wearing babblers, which means that he seems also to have missed the increasing influence that usability testing and user experience (UX) awareness has had on the profession over the past two decades.

I might lack context here, but, then, in some ways so does he. And isn't plaid "in" again this year?

Sunday thoughts...
Deb K

**

On 9/28/2014 7:26 PM, Peter Neilson wrote:

On Sun, 28 Sep 2014 13:16:56 -0400, Dave C <davec2468 -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote ion part:

Our golden rule of testing: EVERY feedback comment is valid; dismiss any one at your peril.

Gold. Yes, gold.

When my wife worked as a quality engineer for a product line at Gillette they treated every customer complaint letter as if it were a $20 gold piece that someone had thrown over the transom. The customer had actually taken the trouble to let Gillette know about a problem!

It's so easy to dismiss complaints and comments as "ignorance." But isn't it our job to try to help reduce the ignorance?

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References:
The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ: From: Mike Starr
Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ: From: Dave C
Re: The Source of Bad Writing - WSJ: From: Peter Neilson

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