Re: A question/comment, or "rehearsing" email

Subject: Re: A question/comment, or "rehearsing" email
From: na-bor <NPARRY -at- COLGATEU -dot- BITNET>
Date: Sat, 8 May 1993 09:22:05 -0400


Good points. What you say about conciseness and consistencey being important
to non-native speakers must be true as well for non-technical speakers. The
newspeak of the information age is a foreign tongue for non-tech peoples. The
redundancy and fill that may not be required for understanding by techies,
would be helpful to non-techies.

Tech-speak will filter "down" into the cultural mainstream, but slowly, and
with the muddying that occurs when any foreign cultural tradition is absorbed.
Technical usage presents a particular problem during this process, however,
since it relies so heavily on exactness and sequence. This is a consequence, I
think of the fact that machine language is embedded in the language loop.
Machines, unlike people, cannot tolerate impreciseness, which is why there has
been so little progress with natural language and spoken interfaces.

Back to main point I was trying to bring out, I will rephrase: the best way to
"lose friends and infuriate people," is to criticize them. I want to suggest
that tech-writers want to avoid whenever possible the role of critic within the
organization. Everybody hates the critics, though they provide a valuable
service. Tech-writers might have an easier time if they assumed the role of
collaborators, rather than editors. If the tech-writer thinks of hiser work
with the line staff as a "conspiracy of understanding," things might go better.

Never publically correct the spelling of a person over the age of 12, and never
use a red pen for anything.

npArry -at- colgateu -dot- bitnet

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