Notes from the List Owner

Subject: Notes from the List Owner
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 3 Jun 1993 09:47:31 CST

John Sanders said:
>I cannot express strongly enough how opposed I am to some administrator
>collecting and condensing the messages for this list. Despite a certain
>amount of drek, which is inherent in ANY human communication, this list
>has been invaluable, informative and interesting. I wouldn't want someone
>else deciding what I find invaluable, informative and interesting;
>particularly when some of what I find i,i,i are the attitudes and opinions
>of other people.

I too agree. As I have said before when this topic came up, I will not moderate
this list in any way, shape, or form. Yes, this group does have a bit of noise,
but not nearly as much as many if not most other groups. Part of the confusion
may well be the fact that this group has a significant number of people who have
little or no experience with listserv lists or newsgroups, and a few people who
are making their first foray into the Internet because of this list. Until
people monitor (read lurk) for a while, they are not aware of the immense
quantity of garbage out there. Relatively speaking, we are doing OK.

Personally, I would prefer less discussion of trivialities and more discussion
of technical communication, but I knew when I started this list that it would
not be purely good and juicy tidbits of technical communication. Just as few of
us read every word of Tech Comm every month and often skip entire sections
because of lack of interest, we can also do that with this list.

I generally pound the delete key pretty hard when I read my E-mail, but I
consider that the price I pay for the valuable tips and suggestions I get.

Possible solutions to general frustration include:
Use USENET or Network News (contact your system administrator, not me): Most
news readers allow you to "kill" messages (sight unseen) based on subject,
sender, and other criteria. If a thread starts that you don't care about, kill

Pay careful attention to where your reply is going. Ask yourself if the comment
will interest many people on the list, or if only a few people will care. If it
is only a few, send it to them individually.

Be tolerant. I will bet my next paycheck (for what it's worth 8-)) that EVERYONE
on this list has inadvertently sent something to a list instead of to the single
intended recipient. If you haven't ever done that, you will. A considered reply
to the sender *only*, advising them to check the setup of their mail program
because the personal message leaked to the list can work wonders.

Use accurate, up to date subject lines. On the Pagemaker list, many users add
TAN: at the beginning of the subject to indicate something which is tangental to
the list, but might interest some people. Internet instructions and queries pop
to mind as candidates for that on this list.

There, I am off my soapbox. Please, let's return to the regularly scheduled
program. Does anyone who will be in Dallas have any interest in getting together
and putting faces to signatures? I will be getting in about noon on Sunday and
staying at the Loews Anatole Hotel. I'll be there until Thursday.

ejray -at- okway -dot- okstate -dot- edu
Techwr-l List Owner

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