Re[2]: SGML, new media, and other hot issues

Subject: Re[2]: SGML, new media, and other hot issues
From: Bonni Graham <Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- RELAY -dot- PROTEON -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Nov 1993 11:10:00 EST

NOTE: I AM NOT flaming Marguerite -- I'm just noting some of the
thoughts I had as I read her posting. With that out of the way:

Marguerite makes a bunch of good points. She also writes:
"For goodness sake, haven't we beaten the old chestnuts to death yet? "

Well, since we're still talking about them, I guess not (they seem to be still
twitching, if not actually getting back up and walking around). Until the
problem is fixed (or declared unfixable), some people are going to talk about

You know, if we're all careful about subject lines, we can pick and choose
what we read. If you're (the generic, plural you: y'all) not interested in a
particular thread, DON'T READ POSTINGS ABOUT THAT THREAD (this is a note to
ANYONE who has complained about the content -- it's what my boss does, and it
seems to work quite well for her). To quote Joe Bob Briggs, "I'm surprised I
have to explain this to you people." For some people, these are not old
chestnuts, they're important issues that apply to their lives. I don't
remember anyone defining this forum as anything but a forum for discussing
issues of interest to technical writers. Based on the volume of replies, I'd
say we're interested in this.

"How about your ideas on how the new technologies and techniques are affecting
your thinking and your work life? What about ISO 9000 and TQM? Are you ready
to push the state of the art?"

a) I seem to remember a couple of threads about TQM and ISO 9000 (they died a
quick death because they were informative and no one said anything
inflammatory), and b) I'm ready to meet my deadlines so I can continue to make
my house payments. I'm willing to implement the state of the art, but not to
discover it. That's why I'm in business and not academia. The ones who have
the liberty and station to push the state of the art are often the
academicians. If they do the research, we have something to point to and a
place to go for support. I had trouble convincing management not to use Times
Roman and Helvetica as the manual fonts in my last book, and at my last job,
actually had to spend a week doing benchmarks to show why I should have a 386,
not a 286, to run Windows and Ventura for Windows. That's my state of the
art. TQM? ISO 9000? They don't even do that for the software, and doc is
just a necessary evil by comparison. I can only shout down a well for so long
before I get a sore throat and run out of patience (granted, I'm not exactly
Super Patience Woman). I'd love to hear more about these things, but I just
don't know enough to initiate a discussion, and I suspect, neither do a lot of
us. Maybe we should be asking questions, then, but we're not. TO ANYONE WHO
WANTS TO SEE A NEW THREAD: start one! Ask a question, make a statement, post
and article title and ask for discussion, whatever. Don't just wait for
"somebody else" to do it.

Also, it's a big assumption to say that because we're not discussing TQM and
ISO in this forum that we're not concerned or that we're not, even as I write
this, working on them. Maybe we're doing, not talking?

OK, that should get some bits and bytes flowing in those electronic veins.
Let's hear from you folks.
Thanks, I needed the adrenaline rush. I think she has a point -- we need to get
ADDITIONAL threads going to address these issues (among others). Often, this
kind of forum is the only place for some of us to even consider such things.

Since we're kvetching, what I'd like to see more of is brainstorming ways to
address and/or fix the problem, rather than just defining it several different
ways. There's a lot of talent and smarts in this group -- can't we use them to
FIX things? (Do you see a theme here? My last couple of postings have been
about this -- I guess it's been on my mind :) .)

Bonni Graham |
Technical Writer | em dash, n. A hyphen with
Easel Corporation, ENFIN Technology Lab | delusions of grandeur.
Bonni_Graham_at_Enfin-SD -at- relay -dot- proteon -dot- com | --Ezra Shapiro
President, San Diego STC |

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