Should students be allowed to post

Subject: Should students be allowed to post
From: Melissa Hunter-Kilmer <mhunterk -at- BNA -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 1995 11:05:09 EST

On Fri, 27 Oct 1995, Traci Eyer <teyer -at- HOLLY -dot- COLOSTATE -dot- EDU> wrote:

> I'm a student. I have also published and edited for money; I went back to
> school at age 29 to learn more and to get the damn piece of paper. In my
> mid-twenties, I was a computer animator for one of the top forensic
> engineering firms in the country.

> I have classes with plenty of other very serious, accomplished writers.
> Even the younger (normal aged!) undergraduates in our upper level classes
> work very hard; they have to, or they couldn't cut it.

> Would this list exclude people like me, simply because I'm a student? Or
> maybe only undergraduates?

No, no, a thousand times no!

I think the reason a lot of us got irritated with the Findlay bunch was that
they swarmed onto the list en masse without any prior research and immediately
began inundating us with largely uninformed questions. The Findlay students
reminded me of a kids' field trip to the firehouse. "Can I sit on the fire
engine? Do you have any nudie calendars? Where's your dalmatian?" That's fine
if you're expecting a field trip, but we weren't. We aren't set up for that.

If you read the list FAQ and lurk for about a week, you can write a thoughtful
post that should get you some good responses. Even if you're a clueless newbie
at tech writing, there are ways to phrase your question so that you'll get a
good answer.

Age or degree status doesn't matter at all. The way you write matters
enormously, because we're writers here. The Findlay students, again, in large
part posted messages with hideous spelling errors, etc. But I can see where a
fifth-grader might post to the list and the posting might be just as worthwhile
as the posting of a writer with fifty years of experience and a PhD in tech

I didn't answer any of the Findlay students on line, because I didn't think the
answers I had to give were germane to the list. But I e-mailed two of them
privately. One had a good question, and I hope I gave him a useful answer. The
other one, who has since made a lovely apology to the list, I toasted. (I wrote
him again after he apologized, because I think he has a lot to offer the list,
but he hasn't answered.) It didn't matter to me that they were students.

> I know graduate students who are both younger
> and less experienced than I. You can't weed people out by age, because a
> 22-year-old here in town in our tech writing program owns or co-owns a
> couple of publishing and internet services businesses, and he's certainly
> neither immature or flippant about his skills and education.

You are absolutely right.

> On the other hand, I have worked with too many "professionals" with
> degrees who knew and cared relatively little about their field. Physics
> graduates who couldn't do physics, math graduates who didn't know what
> the CRC Math Handbook was, and graduates in computer animation who had to
> be retrained.

Yup, and if they post dumb messages here, they'll get flamed, too.

> College isn't a phase like puberty, where irresponsible behavior can
> pretty well be expected. Sure, there's plenty of college students who go
> to college for the wrong reasons, or whose focus changes while their
> there.

What's wrong with focus changes? Mine has changed several times since I was in
college, and it changed while I was there. You don't need to follow one career
single-mindedly to be valued on the list, or in life. I doubt many of us
started out as tech writers and have never done anything else.

And some irresponsible behavior is fine -- but there's a lot wrong with it if it
shows up on this list!

> But the rest of us are plenty serious and talented, and just may
> have a lot to offer to a list like this. So if you're going to look at
> e-mail addresses to find the college students, or check into everyone's
> background, you're going to end up excluding people that should be on
> this list.

Anybody who checks all e-mail addresses for the telltale .edu has way too little
to do. OTOH, when we got several short, poorly written, do-my-research-for-me
posts in a row, I checked to see if they were .edu, because it sounded like a
class assignment: Post to this list. We're not here for that. Posting for the
sake of posting is _not_ what lists are all about, and lurking for a week would
have taught the students that. I guess their instructor didn't give them a

> Sorry if this sounds cranky. I haven't had my coffee yet this morning, nd
> I've had too many bad experiences lately being shrugged off because
> people find out I'm a college student without finding out the more
> important stuff about me.

This is a different issue. I'm not sure it's one for this list. I'd be
interested in corresponding with you privately on this, Traci.

> Thanks for letting me speak my mind on this one.

Hey, diversity of opinion is a great thing! And you were so polite about it,
too. Who can object to that? :)

> Traci Eyer
> teyer -at- holly -dot- colostate -dot- edu
> P.S. I turn 31 this Sunday; you're all invited via e-mail!

Happy birthday! i x 31 -- belated candles for your cake

Melissa Hunter-Kilmer
mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com

Previous by Author: Re: MS Word & BMP's
Next by Author: where to use large graphics (e.g. image maps)
Previous by Thread: Re: Should students be allowed to post
Next by Thread: Re: Should students be allowed to post

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads