Re: ADMIN: Why the Listowner's Such a Jerk, Again

Subject: Re: ADMIN: Why the Listowner's Such a Jerk, Again
From: Damien Braniff <Damien_Braniff -at- PAC -dot- CO -dot- UK>
Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 09:09:32 +0000

On the whole I agree with a lot of what Bryan has said. As in most
professions, I feel that there are a few really excellent writers out
there, a lot of good writers, l lot of so-so writers and a few really
apalling writers (standard normal distribution). I know I've read some
really terrible manuals (one user manual detailed chips used in the kit etc
- user content could have been reduced to a double side-sided A4 sheet!), a
lot of good manuals and a few I would describe as really excellent. And
where do we all fall in this breadth of writing? I don't know about you
but I consider myself to be a good writer (and hopefully getting better)
but I know that, over the years, I have written some right rubbish (due to
budget, time restraints or whatever) that I just didn't want to release.
I've also written stuff that has won awards and then the product has been
shelved with few people actually seeing my masterpiece! I'm sure you've
all had similar experiences.

Like Bryan, I feel that the list could be more focussed at times. On the
other hand, we're out to make money to pay the bills, deadlines to meet etc
and so things like "how do you do XYZ in Word" etc are probably important
to the people asking. It's a matter of finding a balance and I know we
don't always get it right. I can see where the getting frustrated can come
in but I'd urge Bryan to persevere. Personally, things like grammar,
abbreviations etc, I generally ignore (maybe look at the first in the
thread) unless thinks are quiet when I might follow it through to see what
people have to say. I totally agree that the CONTENT and how EASY it is to
access is the main issue. I do feel, however, that bad grammar etc
reflects badly on the profession. Having said that, if we're writers then
we should already know the basics of grammar. I don't know about in the US
but here in the UK when I was at school, formal teaching of grammar was
disappearing. I wasn't taught what the various participles etc were. I
learned what I know of grammar from other languages and from reading "good"
books - when I read something I may not know if the grammar is correct or
not but I DO know if it reads well, makes sense etc to me (I know something
can read badly and still make sense but it's unpleasing to the eye!).

I subscribe to the list to find out what is happening in the broader TW
community, hopefully keeping up to date with advances in information
creation, delivery etc. Over my time on the list I fell I have personally
benefitted quite a bit - problems have been answered, resources identified
etc. - and hopefully I have been able to put a little back into the melting
pot. I know we stray from the straight and narrow at times but, in part,
that's life.

As I've said, I hope Bryan perseveres. I receive anything from 30 to 100+
mails a day from the list and, generally, I'll read maybe (often scan!)
10-20% of these (the smaller the number the higher the % read!) depending
on the topics being discussed. Also, in my time on the list (from reading
everything when I first joined) I have got to the stage where I recognise
certain names who I've found to, generally, have something worthwhile to
say (I'm sure others do the same). Mails from these contributors tend to
get read regardless of the thread. What is is read depends on time
available and topics being discussed.

Damien Braniff
Technical Author
PAC International

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