Why flames?

Subject: Why flames?
From: geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA
Date: Mon, 31 Mar 1997 10:30:27 -0600

Steven Warren wondered why we're so snippy at times on
techwr-l. I'd have to put it down to the "Tina the Fragile
Techwriter" syndrome (Source: Scott Adams' Dilbert comics).

Many tech. writers are working under tons of stress: no
recognition, heavy responsibility with little accompanying
authority, tight deadlines, an ongoing fear of being
downsized, recalcitrant colleagues (particularly subject
matter experts), and not much time to wade through long
digests of material on issues we've already seen addressed
dozens of times before.

That explains the behavior, but doesn't justify it. It pays
to remember that even if you're an expert, not everybody
is, and that you probably asked your share of naive
questions or proclaimed one or two irritating generalisms
when you were getting started. It doesn't take much more
effort to gently and politely correct someone than to flame
them for pressing one of your buttons. It also pays to take
a deep breath and wonder what you really gain by putting
someone in their place. (I'll now don my own
flame-resistant costume and await the traditional dose of
brimstone and invective.)

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Disclaimer: Speaking for myself, not FERIC.

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