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With all due respect to my fellow professional associates, I suggest the
following comments for consideration.
The R-E-S-P-E-C-T issue has very little _to do with_ sensitivity. It has
more _to do with_ civility and responsibility. We _technical communicators_
are the pioneers of an evolving techno culture. This is our _hay-day_.
It is our responsibility as professional technical communicators to set the
standards for electronic communication in this new culture.
Think about it for a moment. If we could start our existing civilization all
over again, wouldn't we avoid _pet names _ for ethnic identification even
though we may think it's acceptable? Wouldn't we rethink addressing female
executive assistants as _my gal Friday_? I've heard the term _word monkeys_
used for word-processors, data entry specialists and apprentice technical
writers. Usually behind their backs.
If you called 10,000 editors _idiots_ and 9,995 were offended, but 10 didn't
mind, and even embraced the term, does this mean that it is practical to
call all editors idiots and expect them tall to accept it and not to be
_sensitive_ to the designation?
Believe me people, you can call me anything you like. My skin is thick, my
emotions are under control, I'm very objective.
The point here is that we are the leaders. We set the standards. We are
supposed to represent the top ranks of technical communication.
My recommendation is to keep our house in order. I know anarchy exists many
places in this electronic world, but we can keep our area of responsibility
free of it. If there is _any_ group which should champion the cause of
appropriate electronic communication and civility it is us.
Michael J. Maloney
President, EPIC Creative Services
President, ISTI (International Society for Technical Illustrators)
US Distributor - IsoDraw http://www.epic-isti.com/epic