STC Articles Online

Subject: STC Articles Online
From: Liz Babcock <Liz_Babcock -at- JDAM -dot- CHINALAKE -dot- NAVY -dot- MIL>
Date: Thu, 9 Nov 1995 17:00:20 -0800

Mail*Link(r) SMTP STC Articles Online

Several messages on this list in late October discussed whether the Society
for Technical Communication should publish complete newsletters on the Web or
whether doing so would erode benefits that members pay to receive. Mike
McGraw, Betsy Maaks, and Michael Uhl were among those who challenged STC's
leaders to respond.

I forwarded several of your messages to STC President Saul Carliner and STC
Internet Committee Manager Rich Julius. In return, Rich sent me the following
message to post to the list. Please note that Rich invites dialog.

Some of you may be saying as you read this, "I thought STC *had* an Internet
policy spelling all this out." Well . . . no. Earlier this year, our president
widely distributed a *draft* Internet policy. One of the jobs of the Internet
Committee is to look at what changes that draft needs before it can become
policy. As it stands, it has never come before the STC Board for action and
therefore cannot be considered an official Society policy.

A number of you have pointed out inconsistencies with that draft policy and
other services STC provides. So here's your chance to influence that
policy--and as Rich says, he invites your ideas.

Liz Babcock
Immediate Past President, STC
liz_babcock -at- jdam -dot- chinalake -dot- navy -dot- mil
- - - - - - - - - - - -
And here's the pertinent part of Rich's message:
- - - - - - - - - - - -
I confess I'm not sure what our policy should be. I can only provide my

I think that chapters should decide for themselves whether they want to post
entire newsletter articles on the Web. Personally, I see nothing wrong with
it. First, I think it's a nice benefit to members. I get several chapters'
newsletters and I file them in boxes, mouldering in my basement, where I
usually forget about them. If these articles were on the Web, I could toss
out all that old paper and netbrowse at will. Of course, we have to be
sensitive to copyright issues. In general, we should caution chapters not to
post copyrighted stuff on the Web.

Meanwhile, non-members would get to read these same articles. Will this keep
them from joining? I doubt it. If anything, it's good PR, and it's more
likely to attract members. Frankly, I think that people join STC for the
networking, not because you get a newsletter. The benefits of membership are
significant, not the least of which is being able to participate as a
volunteer or an officer (and listing STC membership and activities on your
resume). In most chapters, meetings cost more for non-members, and there are
significant discounts on other things, like conferences and seminars.

Sure, we can't discriminate between members and non-members on job hotlines
and such. In Berkeley, our policy was "no discrimination, but we don't go out

of our way to get information to non-members." It was a matter of convenience

and accessibility. If you're a member, you're part of the "in crowd." You
get timely notice of events and information, like job leads. If you're not a
member, you can still take advantage of lots of STC info and events, but it's
up to you to figure out what that stuff is, where it is, and when it is.

STC membership is downright cheap, considering the value. That value is not
in newsletter articles. The real value has to do with being a part of an
organization dedicated to promoting knowledge in the field of technical
communication. I can't see how we degrade members' value by sharing

Rebuttal from responsible parties welcome! e-mail address:
rjulius -at- us -dot- oracle -dot- com
Rich Julius Oracle Corporation
Senior Manager, Documentation Box 659107
Workgroup Solutions Division 500 Oracle Parkway
(415) 506-4971 Redwood Shores, CA 94065

Chair, Internet Policy Committee, Society for Technical Communication
Technical Writing Instructor, UC Berkeley Extension

"The advantage of a classical education is that it enables you to despise
the wealth which it prevents you from achieving." --Russell Green

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