Re: Reading a draft for content only

Subject: Re: Reading a draft for content only
From: Emily Skarzenski <71220 -dot- 341 -at- COMPUSERVE -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 11:09:20 EST

Gary Gray wrote:

In general, however, I don't have a problem with anyone reading my documents
pointing out an error. Better a programmer in my company than a customer. I do
find that maybe one third to one fourth of all of the grammar related comments
are wrong... but often times, there is something awkward about the sentence in
general that makes the person thing the grammar is incorrect. It may be
grammatically correct, but it probably can use a bit of tightening up, and I
find myself revising those sentences a lot of the time anyway.<<

I have also found this to be true. Maybe some reviewers are intentionally
adversarial, but I try to assume that really are trying to help. Instead of
becoming offended, I realize they are raising red flags that I should pay
attention to. Like Gary, I find that the fixes they propose are sometimes wrong
(or at least not the best choice); but often the sentence/idea is awkward and
needs rethinking.

Sometimes they have problems with sentences that are both grammatically correct
and clear to me (whether or not I originally wrote them)--but this doesn't mean
their point of view is invalid. In this case, I usually try to find a rewrite
that satisfies us both. Why demand my way when I can make us both happy? After
all, I want their participation in the process (or why did I ask them to review
the doc in the first place?).

This brings me to something else. Getting a document reviewed properly (ie, the
way you want) requires a -relationship- between a writer and reviewer. As with
other relationships, you may have to invest some -work- in these--maybe even
psychoanalyze them a teeny bit. After all, people are people! I'm not suggesting
that we hire shrinks, just that it can be helpful to put your own feelings aside
momentarily and examine a situation from the other person's point of view every
now and then.

Emily Skarzenski
71220 -dot- 341 -at- compuserve -dot- com

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