Re: LISTBIZ: Consistency in Topic Headings

Subject: Re: LISTBIZ: Consistency in Topic Headings
From: "Parks, Beverly L." <parksb -at- HUACHUCA-EMH7 -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Fri, 12 Jul 1996 08:57:00 MST

I love the simplicity of the stumpers-l tags, but I'm afraid there just
aren't enough of them to make them really useful. Also, any professional
tech writer will think that his or her reply is an "authoritative
answer." After all, that's how they make their living! Just because
someone's comments aren't published, doesn't make them less
authoritative, right? ;-)

I've subscribed to copyediting-l in the past (well, I'm still subscribed,
just "postponed" right now) and have used their tags. The system works
when the system is used. Unfortunately, I think the list below goes
overboard in the opposite direction from the stumpers-l suggestions. Too
many tags! Who wants to scan a list of 18 tags to determine which one to
use every time they post a message? True that frequent posters will get
used to the core group of tags they use often and won't have to refer to
the list that much, but the majority of techwr-l posters are not
"frequent" posters.

If the tag list can be narrowed down to 6 or 8 tags that maybe we can
list on a little yellow sticky and stick it to the front of our PCs, then
they just MIGHT get used. Here's one crack at shortening the list:

USAGE (language/grammar issue)
STYLE (format/style issue)
WORK (process, relationships, etc.)
JOB-OP (employment opportunity)
CONF (conference/meeting announcements, call for papers)
TOOLS (all; includes books and software)
ESSAY (general thoughts on a tech writing topic)
QUERY (question that doesn't fit another tag)

**** For limited use ****
LISTBIZ: list process discussions like this one <grin>
CHAT: chat or humor specific to technical writing

**** Restricted use *****
ADMIN: used only by listowner for official announcements

Bev Parks
parksb -at- huachuca-emh7 -dot- army -dot- mil
Kat Nagel/MasterWork[SMTP:katnagel -at- EZNET -dot- NET] contributed some ideas from
other lists for subject tags on messages:
stumpers-l uses a handy typographical shortcut to indicate queries and

? is the first character in the subject line for a QUESTION

! is the first character for a fact-based answer
(NOTE for TECHWR-L: this means
'answers from a specific reference'---
In our case, a dictionary or ref. book quote,
CMS, AP, Fowler, Words Into Type, house style guide, etc.)

% is used for opinions and answers based on memory
or personal experience, not authoritative references

COPYEDITING-L has a set of tags that have been very helpful. I have
edited them to make them more appropriate for this list, and added a few
TECHWR-specific suggestions as well:

Practical help needed/offered:
Specific problems:
USAGE: usage or grammar issue
STYLE: style issue
?RW: Rewrite needed; cry for help that doesn't fit into either
usage or style
WORK: work-related issue (process, relationships, etc.)
SOFT: software
(NOTE: for recommendations or limited discussion only;
extensive troubleshooting should be handled off-list or
to the appropriate software-specific mailing list or
BOOKS: reference book recommendation/discussion
TOOLS: writing/editing tool that isn't a book or software
(actual products, techniques, www sites, mailing lists,
newsgroups, etc.)

JOB-OP<location>: employment opportunity
CONF <location>: conference of professional society meeting
SURVEY <topic>: request to participate
(NOTE: request, description of topic, and email address or URL
please don't post entire surveys that are more than 2 or 3
questions long.)

General on-topic discussion
ESSAY: general thoughts on a techwriting topic
JOURN: newspaper- or magazine-writing/editing issue
TRIVIA: bit of knowledge only a writer/editor would want
QUERY: question that doesn't fit a standard subject tag

**** For limited use ****
ADMIN: used by listowner for official announcements
LISTBIZ: list process discussions like this one <grin>
CHAT: discussion loosely related to editing
HUMOR: humorous writing/editing chat

TECHWR-L List Information
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E-mail to TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU -dot- Send administrative commands
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