Re: Moderated Techwr-l List?

Subject: Re: Moderated Techwr-l List?
From: "Wing, Michael J" <mjwing -at- INGR -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 21 Aug 1996 14:06:15 -0500


>Sorry for this--I just read through the thread on personal attacks and
>Oh yes it is.

>To the raucous 10%:

>That there would be a debate in a professional forum about whether
>personal attacks are appropriate
>is a stunning surprise. Professional people are frequently uncivil,
>but they're not often confused about whether that's a good thing.

Who's confused? I've not seen a single post describing personal attacks
as good. Nor have I seen a post where someone asked if they were good.
However, I have seen posts stating that to ensure that each of us is
free to express our opinions, we must also allow those who disagree to
express theirs. As I have stated before, some people call any
conflicting opinion a personal attack.

>To the rest:

>I have a suggestion--Would someone volunteer to maintain a moderated
>techwriter list? I know
>Eric is too busy, and I don't blame him for not wanting yet another
>baby to sit. Any takers?

Ahh, the call for censorship. It hits every electronic forum. You're
right. Off topic posts are a nuisance. Like others, I occasionally
find myself sucked into them. Last I looked, participation in them was

Maybe a bit of discouragement mixed with a good deal of tolerance is a
better than censorship. But if you insist on censorship, please add
boring, long-winded on-topic posts to the delete criteria. There are
only so many replies to topics such as possessive gerunds,
midnight/noon, click vs. select, double spaces after periods, and so
forth that can be made before these too provide no useful exchange of

How about a limit on how many times an on-topic question is asked within
a year (regardless of whether the person asking is new to the list)?
How many more times are we going to answer converting
Frame-to-Word-Frame-HTML, editing online documents, printing multiple
help topics, and so on?

How about censoring posts that have a deliberate marketing slant? These
are the posts who's main purpose is not to solve the problems posed by
the best means possible, they are the posts slanted to make the author's
goods and services seem like the only *intelligent* way to solve the
problem. Whether it actually is does not seem to be the intent of the
reply. These posts often instigate the off-topic tangents.

Censorship is always a fruit that looks good when picked. But it quickly

I know we're not here to be entertained, but a dash of entertaining
topics does add some spice to this forum's broth.

>This is not about the morality of behavior--Colorful people make the
>dullness bloom. The wonderful
>inventiveness and variety of this species is a constant delight. Makes
>me glad I joined. But I would sure love to split this list into its
>components and subscribe to one of them.

How about a filter on your mail? I have created filter rules that
automatically delete messages about RoboHelp, Acrobat, Ventura,
Doc-to-Help, and so forth because these topics have no bearing on my
situation. Although the filter is not fool-proof, it does provide
adequate weeding.

>It's kind of like wanting the people next door to stop throwing up on
>your sidewalk. I like them,
>they're fun to play with, but I wish they didn't live so close. And I
>kind of wish they didn't say--if
>you don't like the mess, clean it up (delete it) yourself.

Unlike the people next door analogy, you *do* have the option not to
open a message. If, for example, you do not want to read the latest
jostling on Word-Vs-Frame, the subject line may be enough clue to
determine the messages to avoid. If not, reading a few words into the
post and giving quick click of the delete key makes short work of
undesirable posts. Therefore, the mess to clean up is mess that you

>If there are serious takers, I'll do what I can to help.

>Thanks for listening,

>Tom Neuburger

Your intents seems honorable, but the results area slippery slide.

Mike Wing

>_/ Michael Wing
>_/ Principal Technical Writer
>_/ Infrastructure Technical Information Development
>_/ Intergraph Corporation
>_/ Huntsville, Alabama
>_/ (205) 730-7250
>_/ mjwing -at- ingr -dot- com

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