Re: Distribution of the list

Subject: Re: Distribution of the list
From: lpraderio <lpraderi -at- CLIFF -dot- WHOI -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 11 Mar 1993 17:33:04 EDT

I agree with Eric, if you want a one-shot deal-fine, but if you like the
traditional list method you should have the option; I suggest keeping the
original method, and making the one-shot deal an option. I like the one
message at a time, because I frequently reply to the original sender and not,
necessarily, the whole list. If it were all one mail message, I'd have to type
in addresses instead of just hitting the reply key. (read: laziness to the
Nth degree)

BTW, (since Eric asked us to introduce ourselves) my name is Laura Praderio,
I'm an Information Systems Associate (aka technical
writer/editor/trainer/network person) at the Woods Hole Oceanographic
Institution (WHOI). I've been doing this for 3 years here and got a Master's
at Northeastern University (before that I was working in science).

Here at Woods Hole, my work is eclectic. Some days I write user guides, some
days I rewrite them, or write newsletter articles, other days I may edit a
student's Ph.D thesis, or edit scientific papers and reports. It varies every
week because I've set up a Technical Editing/Writing Service here and hire out
to different projects for varying lengths of time; so if people want to pay, I
do the work (I do turn down the jobs I know will never fly, e.g., I've got a
whole doc set that needs to be done on a robotic vechicle and I've got two
months to do it; can you write it from scratch? starting today?). Can you
believe this week, I'm doing job descriptions for marine personnel, lots of
people here go to sea to collect data; the oddest title I've seen so far on a
vessel is called "oiler".

Anyways, I made the mistake of being the first technical writer they've ever
had here at WHOI so there were no resources: training, orientation, you name
it, no Chicago Manual of Style, no dictionary.... I had pangs of sympathy when
I read Eric's first e-mail about his lack of resources and having to hit the
ground sprinting.

It's been good and bad here, thank God the bad is pretty much over; it was
really tough for the computer group here to standardize documentation, some are
still fighting it tooth and nail. But things are finally settling down and
there is a little improvement in the commitment to documentation aside from my
bodily presence. So, I hope all of us, as technical communicators, keep
whittling away at the misconceptions and through it all concentrate on one
thing: the user (or author or...). That's who I'm here to help and that's who
I keep in mind when it gets crazy around here.

Do other tech communicators have this kind of variety in their work? What do
you do when you know something won't fly but your boss demands you do it?

Laura Praderio
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
lpraderio -at- whoi -dot- edu

>I'd like to suggest very strongly that this list be distributed
>in digest form where articles are assembled throughout the day
>into a single file/message that gets sent once a day to anyone
>on the list. Constant messages are annoying and difficult to
>track or archive if someone is planning to store collected
>wisdom over the long term.

That's fine, but let's keep the immediacy of the current format available
I'm on several e-mail lists, and I find the interaction of these lists to
be very enjoyable. Constant messages are fine -- I just ignore my
computer's beepings when I don't have time to respond to them.

Eric Scouten Internet: scouten -at- staff -dot- tc -dot- umn -dot- edu
Research Projects Coordinator Bitnet: scouten -at- umnacvx
Student Affairs Research
University of Minnesota Compuserve: 74650,2242
110 Morrill Hall
100 Church St SE Phone: +1 612 626 0746
Minneapolis, MN 55455 USA Fax: +1 612 626 8131

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