Re: Request for change

Subject: Re: Request for change
From: Laura Myott <lmyott -at- SVCDOC -dot- MC -dot- XEROX -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 9 Feb 1996 07:44:30 PST

In response to Tom Tadfor Little's post on Thu, 8 Feb 1996:

> I've subscribed to this list for months, and I hardly ever post.

> Why?

> Because the list owner seems to actively discourage postings:

> First, there is the default "reply to" that goes to the poster rather than
> the list. This is insulting and a damn nuisance. It says we don't
> have enough judgment to determine for ourselves when something should
> be taken off-list.

> Second, there are the common wrist-slappings whenever a posting doesn't
> satisfy the narrow, anal-retentive conditions of relevance to technical
> writing.

> Now, there is the assertion that posts about how to choose correct
> words and write a literate sentence are not appropriate in a discussion
> of technical writing. NEWS FLASH! For some of us, technical writing
> involves _writing_, not just pondering the deep philosophical issues
> of communication theory.

> How 'bout a little slack?

> (Or run a moderated, invitation-only list for the five or six people
> who think writing is off-topic on a writing list)

I agree. His reason for not posting often is the same as mine. I always
worry that the few times when I do post, I'll be scolded like a child for
asking simple, non-philosophical questions. If my questions or comments
were not related to technical writing/communication (at least what I think
those topics involve) then I would not post them to this list.

I think of the people on this list the same as I think of my other colleagues
physically in the building. We discuss issues related to work--some are
deep in theory and thought-provoking, while others are simple questions with
one-line answers. We also like to share little clips and sayings that we
find comical (most are related to either our jobs or technical communication
in general). In general, I look as this list as another resource to assist
me with my job, but I also enjoy the comical postings, because they often
provide me with the relaxing, stress-relieving break I can really use.

If a group of colleagues are discussing an issue that does not interest me
or has no relation to what I do, I simply don't get involved in the
discussion. Similarly, if a topic on this list doesn't pertain to me or my
personal job duties, I press that wonderful thing called a delete key. The
point is that what I find relevant on this list is not necessarily what
someone else would find relevant, so there's no good way to restrict postings
as long as they relate to technical writing/communication. To restrict the
postings as the list owner seems to suggest would eliminate several discussions
that I find relevant and helpful, thereby also eliminating my reasons for
subscribing to the list.

For me, a recent college grad just starting her career as a technical writer,
I find this list to be a valuable resource; it keeps me current with issues
in the technical communications world and it is also helping to develop
my style of writing by pointing out and breaking bad habits before I have
a chance to develop them. There is a LOT of experience and expertise to be
found on this list and I think that those people who are willing to take the
time to contribute their ideas and experiences with others should be thanked,
not constantly criticized for the relevancy of their posts.

Just my opinion,

Laura Myott
Technical Writer (I can finally call myself one!)
Interim Technology Professionals
lmyott -at- svcdoc -dot- mc -dot- xerox -dot- com


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