I'll take intellectual integrity over good typing any day!

Subject: I'll take intellectual integrity over good typing any day!
From: Lisa Higgins <lisa -at- DRDDO1 -dot- EI -dot- LUCENT -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 1997 09:54:03 +0000

> Yes you did.
> John


Theodora Mazza posted my email.

I am posting this now to request that you people please think before
speaking. I've had several brushes with this lately, and frankly, it
puts the whole "typos" thread into an interesting light.

Let me summarize the events of this week:

1. A list user sent me an emailed flame quoting a sentence I'd
never seen before. (Needless to say, I didn't write it, either.)
Ironically, though, the sentence quoted was something to do with "not
knowing your stuff." The person who emailed me flamed "my" grammar,
then accused me of not knowing MY stuff.

It was beautiful, really. A self-righteous 'grammar' flame (the
'offense' in question was a pointless and pedantic old convention,
rather than a true grammar issue) accusing me of incompetence. Sent
to the wrong person entirely, though.

2. Theodora Massa's awkward simile about a hiring a surgeon who'd
cut off the wrong foot to do heart surgery struck me as particularly
sloppy. Analogies are wide open. They're free and they're plentiful.
To compare a typographical error in a resume to cutting off the wrong
foot is just plain sloppy, as I see it. Maybe it's just me, but I'd
prefer to see an elegant analogy with typos or misspellings in it.

So I sent her a flip email in the form of a stupid joke. Yes, that's
right: I sent HER an email. I did not send it to the list.
It was not intended for the list, and it did not go there.

She proceeded, as you're probably figuring out by now, to forward the
email to the list, completely misinterpreting the content along the

3. John Posoda followed up to T. Mazza's post quoting my private
email, claiming that I did indeed post it to the list, despite the
fact that it never appeared there, and explicity states in the text
that it did not.

Now, if anyone's still with me here, I'll get to the point:
There are a lot of vitriolic, accusatory flames running through this
newsgroup over petty little grammatical and typographical issues.
Plenty of sniffy, self-congratulatory posts over good typing
and all-out attacks against those who don't consider typing to be
the be all-and the end-all for technical writers.

Are usage, spelling, and typing skills REALLY what you need to be a
technical writer? Sure, they're useful, and to some degree necessary,
but nobody's strong in every possible area; and I, for one, would
prefer to hire a writer whose grammar and spelling needed heavy
editing than one who failed to research and carefully think things
over before charging ahead with unfounded assumptions, faulty logic,
and sloppy reasoning.

Lisa Higgins.
lhiggins -at- lucent -dot- com

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