TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: Redlining From:John Oriel <oriel -at- NTSC-RD -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL> Date:Tue, 8 Jun 1993 08:57:00 EST
I'm glad you raised the subject, because it's one that I often feel
the need to discuss. I've been with the Government for about
18 years, having previously worked in the private sector for seven.
Needless to say, there were many times when I first came aboard that
my boss had to fill me in on the reasons for the seemingly bizarre
behavior the Government. Occasionally I still observe instances
where I can't figure out why things are done the way they are.
I can assure you, however odd their behavior may seem, in nearly
every case there is a legitimate reason why Government people do
things the way they do. In the case you cite, by not mentioning
the names of two software vendors, I was merely obeying a rule we
have about not publicly endorsing any particular vendor or product.
The rule is in place because we must maintain an impartial stance,
and give all offerors an equal opportunity to sell their product.
Imagine the problem I'd cause if I publicly endorsed product Y, and
shortly thereafter someone else in our agency purchased $10,000,000
worth of competitive product X. If you were the vendor for product Y,
you'd have cause to protest. Likewise, if the agency had purchased
product Y, then the vendor of X could protest that we had been unfairly
biased in favor of Y. We'd be in trouble either way. There are
further reasons for not mentioning product names, but this note
is already too long.
Big Brother? Yes, we're big. We can't help that, but we do make every
effort to abide by the principles of brotherhood, being as fair and
reasonable as possible to everyone in all our dealings.
I really enjoy working for an outfit that has such high ideals, despite
the seemingly odd rules.