[no subject]

From: Mitch Berg <mberg -at- IS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Mar 1997 16:22:54 -0600

Steven Warren echoed some of my own observations about this mailing list:

> Question:
>
> I am under the assumption that this is a list for technical writers to
> learn through their peers. I have been reading and participating
> occasionally for several months. Every time I try to be helpful or say
> something, other people on the list say oooh! here is a opportunity to
slam
> someone. Who cares that there in my profession or that they are trying to
> learn, or that they might not be as experienced as I am. I'll slam them
> anyway.
>
> Why?

* Like any place in life, there are insecure people who need to
validate themselves by invalidating others.
* This being an e-mail list, it is anonymous. There are fewer
inhibitions to acting aggressively or in a manner that, in
face-to-face communication, would be considered
unacceptable.

It's not a palatable combination.

> I feel this is the reason many people are afraid to give there comments.
> Are there any other people who feel the same way I do. Just curious?

This is true of ANY mailing list. Don't be afraid - there truly IS no
stupid question. For every bitter, small-minded dim bulb that trashes you,
there must be at least a few who respond helpfully - right?

That being said - I'm on a number of mailing lists. Some are vocational
(Techwr-l, UTEST, etc) and others are not. I find that, while I always get
useful answers on this list, the level of conversation descends very
quickly to fairly venal bickering - especially by the standards of
"professional" listservs. On the positive side, it means there is a lot of
interest in the list. On the negative side, it IS intimidating, and it
lowers the signal/noise ratio.

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