Certification Straw men and FAQs

Subject: Certification Straw men and FAQs
From: Tim Altom <taltom -at- IQUEST -dot- NET>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 1996 08:53:00 EST

Stephen Victor wrote, oh so sensibly:

>I've been silently observing this certification discussion, and I really
>don't intend to offer an opinion at this point, other than to ask a
>question and make some observations. First the question: who the heck
>has suggested that a person's salary would ever enter into the
>certification process?

>This discussion reminds me of the debate over the Equal Rights Amendment
>some years ago. Opponents of the amendment raised all sorts of
>groundless objections: women will be forced to fight on the front lines,
>bathrooms will become unisex, etc., ad nauseum. The bottom line was that
>emotional attacks won the day, and a simple statement that women would
>not be denied equal protection under the law was not added to the U.S.
>Constitution.

>I don't mean to suggest that the certification discussion is anywhere
>near as momentous as the ERA debate, but I would like to ask that we try
>to keep the discussion as rational and focussed as possible. Straw man
>arguments accomplish nothing other than muddying the waters, raising the
>tide of hysteria to even greater heights (certification requirements
>could include having a four year degree, I don't have a four year
>degree, I won't be certified, I'll lose my job, I'll lose my house, the
>world as we know it will come to an end). OK, I'm exaggerating here, but
>I hope you get my point.

>I wonder what exactly certification would entail? Does anyone know this?
>I don't believe that STC has made any formal proposal of certification
>requirements, and the possible requirements bandied about on this list
>have been vague at best. To facilitate this discussion, perhaps
>proponents of certification could make some concrete suggestions of
>certification requirements. Then we could discuss THOSE suggested
>requirements, rather than introducing with each post new horror stories
>about the possible results of certification.

Haven't offended me. Thanks. Your analogy to the ERA hadn't occured to me,
but it's apt. And if you're interested in a list of requirements, we could
start with the list being compiled by the Professionalism Committee of STC.
If those weren't comprehensive enough we could expand outward.

You're right. I've been constantly amazed at the straw men being stacked
into the group. Yet there are any number of other organizations that have
successfully certified. I keep saying that I was a member of one, the
Society of Manufacturing Engineers, that developed an excellent program
years ago that didn't cost anybody a job and effectively separated the
drones from the stars. That's all it did. Companies continued to hire and
promote drones and use them effectively. The thing worked. Yet I've seen
many fearful postings here worried that THIS program will turn out to the
ONE THAT DESTROYS CIVILIZATION AS WE KNOW IT. Having been an SME member has
admittedly colored my thinking, since it saw certification work and prosper
and be recognized. The dread apprehensions I've seen expressed here didn't
happen. So if I seem a bit cavalier, it's because I've been there and seen
the process in action. It's not that I'm unthinking or uncaring. I'm just
experienced here.

As to my comment about drones, being a drone, and knowing that you are, is a
time-honored way of getting into many professions that are unregulated. Most
companies give drones every opportunity to get the experience and knowledge
that will elevate them to star status. I started as a drone. So did just
about everyone. Every company needs drones to develop and do low-grade work,
but nobody wants to be one. The implication many people see, and fear, is
that not being certified will be the equivalent of being stamped with
"drone" across the forehead. But some separation is inevitable when a
two-tier system is implemented. I just think it's time to implement one
before somebody else imposes one on us.

I'd like to see a FAQ or other document developed giving both sides, or
maybe two documents. We could then post both periodically, or keep them on a
voluntary FTP anonymous site. That way we could cease burning straw and
start making light. (That didn't quite come out right, did it?) People
asking for this or that clarification would be referred to the FAQ. Or maybe
it would be a FDP (Frequently Defended Points). Anybody willing to host
these things, or develop them?

Tim Altom
Vice President
Simply Written, Inc.
Technical Documentation and Training
Voice 317.899.5882
Fax 317.899.5987
WWW: http://www.iquest.net/simply/simplywritten/


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