A thoughtful response

Subject: A thoughtful response
From: Karen Kay <karenk -at- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 28 Jan 1995 12:20:37 GMT

John M. Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com) wrote:
: Just last night I was at an STC meeting. When I mentioned something I'd
: seen on this list *all* the listeners--working, professional technical
: communicators--were amazed that I bothered to subscribe, since they felt
: there was so little of value on it.

A lot of people feel that way about the net in general. Imho, they
have unrealistic expectations.

: I explained that I thought it was
: important that technical communicators have a place in cyberspace free from
: the restraints, constrictions, and noise of the commercial world; a place
: where a recommendation meant that someone unbiased had used the thing
: recommended and wanted to share it; a place where communicators could share
: lore and experience about our common craft--without clearing it with
: management.

I agree with you. Techwr-l started a while back when I was thinking
about changing careers, and I saw it as a Sign from Heaven. It's been
the best indoctrination into tech writing I could get--it gave me a
realistic feel for the world of tech writing.

: My listeners replied that they'd heard that the only sensible
: way to use the list was to *not* subscribe but simply to post questions to
: it (in fact, that was even suggested in the local chapter newsletter).

A lot of people say this about the net. I've been on the net since
1981, and I've heard people say this over and over again. This is one
way to go about it. Or, as Aahz's sig says, you can post incorrect
information and stand back and watch people disagree with you. Both of
these are perfectly valid ways to be on the Internet. That doesn't
mean *I* have to be that way.

: Which is the logical result of letting advertising in; people are educated
: to think that the list exists so *they* can get what they want (their
: problem solved, their ad on the net) while they ignore the wants and wishes
: of the rest of the list members.

Eep!!!! Non sequitur alert. I don't see the relation between people
selfishly using the list and advertising. 'Selfish use' was going on
long before advertising was permitted. It's one way that people react
to information overload.

Also, I don't see what any of this has to do with Bonni--she's been
doing this, evidently, since before you were on the list, and was
begged to do more of it.

: Ads are simply the ultimate form of this,
: and will simply drive out all other content and the list will work no more
: except for advertisers.

Excuse me while I ROFL. Straw man!! The net doesn't work like that.

: I hope
: you will send me a note, explaining how you think lists and newsgroups can
: function if advertising is allowed. I'd like to understand what you see
: that I don't.

I see that the net hasn't changed much since the ban on advertising
was lifted. Yes, there are spams now and there weren't before. Those
are annoying, true. But I don't believe they have affected the
essential community spirit of the net.

I think your fear is misplaced. Advertising is too much part of the
American way of life. One may as well argue that product placements
have ruined the American film industry. In fact, if the American film
industry is ruined, that has little to do with it. If we worried about
advertising being in our lives, we should have stopped the FCC when
they decreased the number of minutes a show had to run advertising
free, or developed state-run newspapers so we wouldn't have to deal
with the advertising in those pages.

karenk -at- netcom -dot- com

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