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>> Obviously, e-mail lacks the facial expressions and voice inflection
that normally clue us in to what a person is trying to say. Therefore,
it is important that we not jump to conclusions too quickly!
Kelly has noted an important point here, but I think responsibility for clear
communication lies on both sides of the medium. Readers need to be careful
about the assumptions they draw, but writers also need to take care in composing
their messages. I think we've all seen a few messages that seemed a bit
condescending or harsh when the author might really have been making an attempt
at humor. I also remember the thread in which half of the readers described
"begging the question" as circular reasoning or taking a conclusion as its
own proof, yet these messages kept referring to the fact that no one had
correctly defined the idiom, even though each had very clearly presented
the same points. Much of the frustration that arises between list
members, IMO, stems from these misuderstandings.
We are professional communicators, but even we can have difficulty communicating
clearly. If clear communication were easy, we'd be out of work quickly. I
think the key is to promote clarity and precision in all writing, not just
that which we do in the industry. (Please don't take this last point as a jab.
It's intended as a friendly reminder, not as judgement.)
Bill Burns * These are MY opinions,
Assm. Technical Writer/Editor * MINE I TELL YOU!
Micron Technology, Inc. *
Boise, ID * (not that they amount to much. . .)
WBURNS -at- VAX -dot- MICRON -dot- COM *