Off-Topic Posts

Subject: Off-Topic Posts
From: "Elaine R. Firestone" <elaine -at- CALVAL -dot- GSFC -dot- NASA -dot- GOV>
Date: Mon, 28 Oct 1996 14:11:16 -0500

Hi all. I'm a little late on reading my digests, but I've been following
this most recent thread with a lot of interest. Admittedly, Techwr-l is
not the primary list I subscribe to, but I do occasionally depend on it for
information and have corresponded with a number of members off-line. I
won't got into pros or cons for off-topic posts since it's been done ad
nauseum already. What I do want to bring out, are a few things that
haven't been stated.

1. Technical communicators, whether writers or editors (like myself) are
often on tight schedules and have to meet tight deadlines and might not
have the patience or time (or money on their server account) to go through
the archives of the list to find an answer, so they post a message to the

2. Topics, if left alone, usually die a natural death without anyone

and last, but most importantly,

3. When you are a member and participant in a professional list, such as
this one, you get to _know_ people---their likes, dislikes, areas of
expertise, etc. Because of this, when you've been with the list for a
while, there is an element of trust that develops between you and other
list members. Thus, although you have a question that may be better off on
a different list, you don't know those other people. You don't know what
their backgrounds are, whether they really know what they're talking about,
etc., and therefore, you don't trust them enough to give you good advice.
You therefore post a message to techwr-l that might not be on topic per se,
but you know that the information you'll get will be from people for whom
you have some regard.

Just my $0.02 worth.


Elaine R. Firestone
elaine -at- calval -dot- gsfc -dot- nasa -dot- gov
elaine -at- seawifs -dot- gsfc -dot- nasa -dot- gov

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