TECHWR-L: Exclusively for Technical Communication

Subject: TECHWR-L: Exclusively for Technical Communication
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- GALAXY -dot- GALSTAR -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Nov 1995 08:33:23 -0600

Due to emergencies, I got about three days behind on reading
TECHWR-L. In short, get back on the topic of technical communication!

If you think profanity (discussion of, that is) relates to technical
communication, please discuss it at your next departmental staff
meeting and forward me the results off-line. Likewise for technical
aspects of ZIP drives and the rest of the drivel.

I sent posting guidelines out LAST WEEK. Did anyone read them?

I have not send my customary reprimands for the last few days. Just
because you didn't get one doesn't mean that you didn't deserve one.
By my count, two of every three messages since last Thursday
were WAY off-topic.

If you don't understand what to post and not to post, ask me first.
Posting guidelines (read RULES) follow, again. Please forward them to
anyone who might not read this. Please explain them when necessary.

Temporary end of rant. BTW, I can and will remove persistent
offenders from the list. If you care to make an issue of it
(freedom of speech or other legal aspects), I'll be happy to
refer you to the Oklahoma State University legal counsel.

TECHWR-L Listowner

Some of you (mostly recipients of my reminder notes
about off-topic postings) have argued for more
tolerance in "acceptable" topics. Many argue that they
are technical communicators and use, for example,
cc:Mail to do their work, therefore cc:Mail questions
should be appropriate. This is not the case.

TECHWR-L is the only list on the 'Net dedicated to
technical communication. Other lists exist to provide
other forums. If you have a question about using
cc:Mail, the question should go to a cc:Mail list or a
general E-mail list, but not to TECHWR-L. You wouldn't
post a technical communication question to CCMAIL-L on
the rationale that "many technical communicators use
cc:Mail, therefore, the cc:Mail list is an appropriate
forum for tech comm issues." Likewise, don't do the

I make exceptions for DTP or word processing packages
because they are central to what we as technical
communicators do. E-mail packages and operating systems
come and go, and are more in the category of generic
office tools. 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
topics. Obviously, asking about PREPARING DOCUMENTATION
on the above topics would be fine.

Original humor about technical communication is fine.
Never repost any "cute" stuff you found on the 'Net to
TECHWR-L. It's probably been posted before, and even if
if it hasn't, it doesn't belong anyway. Newsgroup
rec.humor exists for that.

Don't post virus announcements or similar warnings.
Most turn out to be overblown or bogus, but even if
they aren't, TECHWR-L isn't the appropriate forum for
them either. Dedicated newsgroups provide acceptable
places to look for or post these announcements.

Part 1:
* If it is about technical communication and of general
interest, post it.
* If it is about technical communication and original and
humorous, post it.

Part 2:
* If it doesn't relate to technical communication,
don't post it.
* If it is a personal message to a single subscriber,
don't post it. Even if mail to that person bounces.
* If you aren't sure, don't post it.
* If it relates to language use but not technical
communication, it probably isn't appropriate.
* If it continues an irrelevant thread in any way
(rebuttal, rebuke, rerun, revision, remark), don't
post it.
* If it is something cute, interesting, or funny that
you found on the Internet (e.g. Dr. Seuss on Tech
Writing, origin of spam), don't post it. I assure
you that most readers have seen it already.

Part 3:
* Direct all commentary about this message to my
address, not the list.

ejray -at- galaxy -dot- galstar -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner

Eric J. Ray
ejray -at- galaxy -dot- galstar -dot- com

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