Certification -- why not use the obvious?

Subject: Certification -- why not use the obvious?
From: John Gear <catalyst -at- PACIFIER -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 15:01:00 PST

re: Certification, John Renish said

>As others have abundantly and intelligently demonstrated, establishing
>rational criteria is impossible; therefore, a certificate would be
>meaningless-- ... <snip>

There is much to what you say but I don't think *establishing* rational
criteria is the problem. The issue is, as always, figuring out which people
meet those criteria accurately and reliably. Most of the comments on this
thread don't take issue with the various criteria proposed.

That is, I don't think many people are opposed to certification *on
principle* -- by that I mean that if there were some
not-on-this-planet-perfect (nonbiased, accurate, reliable, low-cost, etc.
etc. etc.) system for sorting out people by their ability to communicate
technical information clearly and elegantly (and awarding some form of
recognition to those who met the highest standards and demonstrated the best
capabilities), I don't think many people would object.

Perhaps that STC has the closest approximation to it that we are likely to
ever have already -- the publications competitions.

Those who win (in their own category, in their own language, country, doing
the kind of work they actually do in their own life) can be advanced to a
higher membership status, which we can award on the basis of their having
won the competition.

What's it do for people? Not much--but not any less than any other form of
certification might do -- and it has much less chance for alpha or beta
errors than any other form of certification requirement than I can think of.
And it would give the winners a rudimentary form of certification, based on
peer-evaluated work. If you think that STC publication competition winners
are those that do superior work then it seems like a good
platform/foundation for some form of certification.

(If you think the chapter competitions are too biased or not serious enough
or whatever, then perhaps the standard is that the judges have to be truly
"blind" -- as in, not know the entrants names and disqualify themselves if
they suspect they know who did the work. This would probably mean small
chapters would have to work out an exchange program where they could mail
their entries to judges in another small chapter, in return for the same favor.)

As an aside, I think STC should jettison the current "senior member"
status--which certifies only that the possessor kept breathing and sending
in $95 for five years--and the special membership status only to those who
have earned a top-level award in the chapter publications competition, as
described above.


John Gear (catalyst -at- pacifier -dot- com)

The Bill of Rights -- The ORIGINAL Contract with America
Beware of Imitations. Accept No Substitutes. Insist on the Genuine Articles.


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