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Subject:Goodbye, and thanks for all the .... From:"Everman, Daniel" <evermad -at- TTC -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 13 Nov 1995 11:57:09 EST
A Parting Message
It seems to me that most of the postings on this list have little to
do with tech. writing specifically. A lot of them have to do with
writing in general. Yet any given topic on any given day may or may
not be taboo. For example, the recent thread on profanity - oh sure,
I sprinkle my manuals with copious quantities of it. Don't we all?
It should be discussed ad nauseum.
About the 10/5/95 public posting "Acceptable Topics" (author Eric J.
* "...humor about technical communication is fine." Yeah, right.
Humor is the one surefire way to get flamed on this list.
* "Just as you wouldn't dream of asking TECHWR-L how to operate the
new Panasonic fax machine in your office, you shouldn't ask similar
questions for E-mail, operating systems, network software, or similar
I would probably ask the tech writer _first_ about operating the fax
machine because that's the person I would relate to the most. This
seeking out of like-minded individuals who communicate in a similar
manner is why the list gets all kinds of questions from well-meaning
individuals, who likely as not get trashed in return.
* "TECHWR-L is the only list on the 'Net dedicated to technical
communication. Other lists exist to provide other forums."
- and yet -
"I make exceptions for DTP or word processing packages because they
are central to what we as technical communicators do...operating
systems come and go, and are more in the category of generic office
No need to even argue the ridiculousity of claiming DTP packages are
not closely coupled to operating systems (ever try working on a PC?),
or that DTP packages and word processors are _not_ office tools.
To my way of thinking, the key word in the quote above is "I". Yes,
there is an "eye" up there making judgment calls on this list.
Perhaps censorship, even? I wonder, as I am sure that some of my
messages never made it to the list, even though sent correctly. Of
course, if censorship is off-topic, the question can't be asked. How
Speaking of a different "I" - me - I subscribe to other lists that are
wonderful experiences. Very professional. What happened to this one?
Or does TECHWR-L truly reflect the uglier realities of our profession?
Are we essentially entrenched in defensive positions, constantly
trying to prove how valuable we are, suffering from low self-esteem
from feeling "less than" our engineering peers, all of which causes us
to bicker constantly over trivial questions while criticizing others
for doing that very thing, and to attack those who try to address
bigger issues, such as integrating DTP packages into the workplace in
such a way that tech. writers are no longer mystified by them by
answering questions like Why won't Windows let me create a Frame
document over a certain size? What is a "zipped" file? How do I zip
and unzip documents to send them via email? What is the best way to
set up our network directories for accessing our tech. writing
packages with our current network software? What graphics packages do
you find to be the most compatible with the XYZ DTP package? What
file formats do you use for...?
Get my drift? Tech. writers can _not_ exclude technology from their
discussions as long as it affects them in any manner. I know of no
one who still uses a pencil and tablet to document with. I do,
however, know plenty of technical writers who don't have the basic
technological skills they need to do their jobs in today's
environment. If they can't turn to fellow tech writers them it's a
sad state of affairs.
Along those lines, for me, the quality vs. quantity ratio of this list
is way off, and I am tired of sifting through and deleting 50 - 100
messages a day, most of which say absolutely nothing. Very few have
content that relates to current tech. writing issues, most are purely
nit-picking blurbs, and many of those that do have tech. writing
content are trivial and not worth the time to read. Not all, and my
apologies to those who are unfairly flamed here. One thing is for
sure, though - it won't happen again, because I'm outta here.
And to those of you whom the shoe fits, please keep you "good
riddance" comments to yourself, if you have the self-discipline to do
evermad -at- ttc -dot- com
-- My comments are my own. --