Re: Has the Web advanced the written word? -Reply -Mnemonics

Subject: Re: Has the Web advanced the written word? -Reply -Mnemonics
From: Mary Lynn Kostash <mkostash -at- CYGNUS -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 1998 19:25:40 -0700

Peter Collins wrote:
>By the way, I have NO IDEA what STC means, and YES, I know there is an
>incomprehensible convention that the use of capital letters on the web
>is rude. Sorry, but many readers have email that does not support
>underline, bold or italics, and I want ALL of MY readers to understand
>what I write - right down to where the accentuation lies.


Thought I would help out with two points that you raise here.

First of all, the STC is the Society for Technical Communication. The
organization originated in the United States, but it now has chapters in
many other countries, including France, the U.K., Japan, New Zealand, and
here in Canada. There do not appear to be any chapters in Australia (at
least not yet). The STC includes writers, editors, graphic
artists, educators and managers that work in the field of technical

At a regional level, the STC runs meetings and holds seminars concerning
different aspects of technical communication. In addition, there is a
large conference once a year that STC members from around the world (and
non-members, also) can attend. Usually the conference is in the US,
although it was held in Toronto a couple of years ago.

I've attended two STC conferences, and thoroughly enjoyed them. They are
an excellent opportunity to meet and learn from fellow writers.

In addition, STC members receive a magazine called Intercom (which you
may have seen mentioned on this forum). I also find it to be a valuable

You can find out more about the STC at

The STC has quite a number of Special Interest Groups (or SIGs) that are
dedicated to certain aspects of technical communication, such as writing
online help, or working as a lone writer, or indexing. Many of these
groups have their own newsletters and meetings.

As for your second point--the difficulty of emphasizing what you say in
emails--I agree that it can be very frustrating. I personally use an
email program that does not show bold or italics. And like you, I don't
want to be interpreted as a SHOUTER. :-) I've seen a couple of ways
around this problem, and I actually think they are rather creative.

One thing I've seen people do is _underline_ what they want to
emphasize. What I tend to do is use *asterisks* to stress something
that I want stressed. The trick is to not overuse either method. Both
can be rather annoying if used extensively.

Hope this information helps...

Mary Lynn

Cygnus Solutions - Toronto office

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