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Of all the unmitigated gall... L. Thomas Stuckert takes the prize. To those
of you apologizing for the group, I'd suggest you don't.
I, for one, believe that the regular subscribers to this list have nothing
to apologize for, and the instructor is way off base. "Malicious defamation"
my eye. Get a grip, pal. And if you want further mail to your e-mail
address, maybe you'll want to provide it?
First of all, Arlen was very calm in telling the student to take the caps
key off. Having crossed swords with Arlen in the past and required first aid
for the effort, I thought he was very restrained.
Second, the "big-boned ladies" post was ridiculous. If that student passes
the course, I'd like to know why. Most of the rest were vague or silly. I've
been going through the posts that I can identify from that group (no sig
lines, general silliness), and they are all over the map. A question on
surveying. A question on where to find addresses for a great proposal idea.
One on campus recycling programs. One in all caps looking for information on
dolphins. To say that most weren't any more off-topic than some of the posts
here over the last year is ridiculous. And if my memory isn't fading, I'd
say most of the posts here that were judged inappropriate were flagged by
Eric or soundly thrashed. Or both.
Third, the "take my marbles and go home" ploy is as childish as they get.
"Waaah!" We went through this on the Dinosaurs list last year; a lot of
students seemed to be trying to get their homework done on the 'Net. The
gentle paleontologists refused to answer requests such as "Can anyone tell
me everything there is to know about Permian trilobites?" Instead, they
answered questions such as "Is there any fossil evidence concerning whether
or not dinosaurs were color-blind?" In other words, specific questions were
welcome; general survey questions were not. In a stunning similarity to
this group, a high school paleo instructor came on the list after about six
homework requests were refused and apologized to the group for his students'
behavior. Note that he didn't whine the old bromide "I'm not responsible.."
Subsequent posts to the group were on-topic and well-received.
Fourth, the grammar, punctuation, and spelling in this group is some of the
best you'll find. Sure it could be better. We thrashed out a thread
concerning exactly that a few months ago, despite the professor's
protestations to the contrary. As professionals, most of us long ago figured
out that a typo really gets in the way of good communication. So does poor
grammar. Why a technical communication instructor would tolerate gross abuse
of the English language is beyond me. I would certainly be wary of graduates
from that program.
I agree that future technical writers have to come from somewhere. Some even
have to come from Findlay. I have no doubt that the program produces some
darn good writers from time to time. I just hope the one that posted the
"big-boned ladies" query applies where I work.
gromaine -at- radisys -dot- com
"There is iron in your words of life."
- Ten Bears, in "The Outlaw Josie Wales"