Re: Horton hatches an egg?

Subject: Re: Horton hatches an egg?
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 11 Aug 1993 09:50:42 -0500

Mark Levinson responds to one of Horton's points with a question:

> 4. The amount of criticism of a publi-
> cation is inversely proportional to its
> true value.

> ** That is to say, the more it is criticized, the less
> valuable it really is? Is Horton saying the opposite
> of what he meant to say, or is he pointing out that
> people waste a lot of time criticizing documents
> that aren't really important anyway?

You could look at this several different ways:

- Assuming criticism is good (as in the kind you get for review
comments), this point is a variation of Murphy's Law - you get
the best response for the least important work, and the worst
response for the most important.

- This could be a charge to the writer to "blow off" excessive
criticism, since it generally concentrates around unimportant
issues (how many people who review your stuff point out the
misspelled words, and how many catch the subtle logical error
that invalidates the progression in your last five chapters?).

- Be happy if nobody criticizes your stuff, since that means it's
really valuable. But if every person, and his or her Uncle Fred,
has something bad to say about your stuff, you write fluff.

No matter how you look at it, I think Horton just stuck this in because
it sounded neat rather than because it contained any universal truths.
Naturally, I *never* do anything like that 8-).

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer | "The fish." |
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA| -Salvador Dali |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.

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