Professional Humor

Subject: Professional Humor
From: Ronald Lee Stone <ston0030 -at- GOLD -dot- TC -dot- UMN -dot- EDU>
Date: Thu, 23 May 1996 12:16:20 -0500

It seems that an issue of humor in techwriting may be more serious
than may be initially intuited. I certainly don't know so much
about humor yet find this to be a critical issue. So thought I'd
throw this out.

It is my belief that certain uses of humor may empower techwriters
in acheiving their objectives. So far there is no simple consensus
on whether humor is good or bad and so a sense of a skillful and
appropriate use of humor is worth the consideration of professionals.

Perhaps the greatest power of humor is its ability to reveal. What
is revealed? Would it be knowledge or information particular to
reader or writer? How much confidence can a writer have in an
audience, or an audience in a writer? These concerns are more
complex than any writer may be comfortable with.

Humor can serve as a means of sharing knowledge or information. Yet
I know that in many cases I won't agree with what others regard as
humor. Writers need to be aware that humor can fail. It is one thing
to be able to get a punchline, but I think that it may be quite
another to be able to define what a punchline is in
professional communication.

Until later,

Ron

Ronald L. Stone : (612) 644-9706
email to ston0030 -at- gold -dot- tc -dot- umn -dot- edu (until the account closes--soon)

"There's a third world--a world of objective contents of thoughts..."
The Orb, u.f.orb 1992

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