Re[2]: Just FYI

Subject: Re[2]: Just FYI
From: Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM
Date: Thu, 24 Oct 1996 08:56:00 -0600

OK. I wasn't going to post again on this, but this was too delicious to
pass up. After doing this, I promise I'll go back out to the car and get my
will power pills and take a few more, and so be a Good Boy again. Follow-
ups to /dev/null.

Only Eric is in a position to do this and, (and this is only my
opinion) he does so too often.

Here's where we disagree. From where I sit, if he did it any *less*
frequently, he'd never do it at all.

If they feel so strongly about this that they leave - fine;
it's a loss to the list, but the greatest loss is to them.

It's a nice sentiment, but hardly related to reality. If there's too much
dross, digging out the gold ceases to be beneficial. How much crap you have
to dig through subtracts from the value of what you find. Make the pile of
crap high enough, and it doesn't pay to dig at all. Doing without what
isn't worth digging for is hardly a loss.

The pro-restriction lobby is a minority on this issue - therefore
their requests (and in some cases, demands) shouldn't be followed at
the risk of alienating the majority.

It's a lot like the budget-balancing debate over here. The majority wants
to balance the budget, but the majority evaporates when the discussion gets
down to cutting specific spending programs. Likewise, it seems to me the
majority, not the minority, of this list thinks it spends excessive amounts
of bandwidth on off-topic discussions, but once the discussion comes down
to which particular topics are out of bounds, the majority once again

Rather than moaning that the list doesn't come up to their
expectations, have they ever considered the point that it is their
expectations which are out of synch?

Ever considered that this is *precisely* the conclusion they reached when
they decided to unsubscribe?

The list is there, we should fit it rather than it fitting us.

Are you asking us to fit ourselves to the list, as it was originally
concieved, or, as it seems from the rest of the post, to fit ourselves to
your privately-held conception of the list?

And if they do feel SO strongly about it, start a new list which
discusses what they want it to.

Oh, this *is* amusing! Let me see if I've got this right: Anyone who feels
that a list uniquely dedicated to tech writing (for which subject there
exists no other list) shouldn't be used to discuss topics for which there
already *are* lists in existence should start a new list, to be uniquely
dedicated to tech writing. Lovely! I'm impressed.

I am part of a group (which arose from
this list) which was started because we felt that this list was too
restrictive: the 'on-topic group' could quite openly initiate a list
of their own which focuses on what they want.

There's a lack of consistency in your words. Follow:

You say:

1) We should allow this list to roam much more freely than it does, or was
ever intended to by those who created it.

2) We should adapt ourselves to the list as it is.

Now, in case 1 & 2 aren't hard enough to reconcile, you toss in:

3) Anyone who disagrees with me about this should go away and start a new
list, with the same stated purpose as this list.

And finally:

4) I've joined a list which is far more free-ranging and less restrictive
than this list.

Outside of the obvious contradictions in your own positions, there's a
solution pratically staring you in the face. In fact (since I was here when
the off-topic list started and remember *why* it started) it's Old News to
me, but perhaps you don't see it, yet.

Take the topics that don't fit this "too restrictive" list off to the other
list, which was formed *precisely* to be a home for that attitude. Then
this list can go back to being its "restrictive" little self about tech
writing, and we can *all* be happy, instead of having a war periodically
about how *this* list should behave *exactly* like another list. Let the
two lists each serve their own purpose and their audience as best they can.
Let the diveristy happen, instead of imposing a uniformity on *both*

Exactly. It's been said over and over again - use the delete key. I
know that some list members get the digest, and therefore can't
select individual messages, but there's nothing that can be done
about that.

I *love* that! "I don't see why people can't just hit delete; oh, I know
many of you can't but because *I* can *you'll* just have to lump it! You
should be just like me, adapt yourselves to *my* workhabits instead of
thinking for yourselves." A more hypocritical position it'd be hard to

Not yet - it may come though. I wouldn't mind betting that - at some
point - someone complains about the plethora of 'on- or off-topic'
discussions, on the grounds that these are themselves off-topic.
After all, if you have a debate, someone will always try to stifle

Well, now that we've managed to dredge ol' Tail-Gunner Joe up, we're just a
short step to Hitler and perhaps finally killing this thread. ;{>} Still, I
must thank you. It's always amusing to hear someone rant for long while,
wishing that people would just stop reminding us of the purpose of a list
and let it be as free and open as it was never intended to be, and then
conclude by accusing anyone who might dare to say they want to stop
discussing the purpose of a list and get back to the actual reason the list
was created of being a censor, a fascist or a nazi.

Thank You! The irony is delightful!

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 224

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.
Opinions expressed are mine and mine alone.
If JCI had an opinion on this, they'd hire someone else to deliver it.

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