ADMIN: Verdict and long this

Subject: ADMIN: Verdict and long this
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Sun, 7 Mar 1999 06:38:43 -0700

<Back from a business trip now...>

Ahem...Listowner rant beginning...
Good grief folks--we get messages asking for dog names
and specious "kava kava" comments about how-to-use-Word
queries that should themselves have gone directly to MS Help pages or
a dedicated Word group, and even YET ANOTHER
replay of one versus two spaces that's in the archives and
featured on the TECHWR-L site, and I don't get a complaint
at all, then Andrew posts something _on_topic and my mailbox
fills? What's wrong with this picture?

Andrew Plato stays. (For now, AP--don't get cocky.) Here's why:

First, his message was on topic. As Sharon aptly pointed out,
it was a failed attempt at humor, but it was on topic.
Second, unbidden (at least by me), he posted an explanation
of his purpose and intent, which is a good way to save yourself
from TECHWR-L excommunication.
Third, IMHO Andrew has been making a concerted effort to stay within
the bounds of the letter and spirit of the rules, while applying
his peculiar brand of humor to topics that obviously bug him as much
as the actual issue of one versus two spaces bug others.
(Note that his concerted attempt to stay within the rules puts him
a step ahead of EVERYONE who posted a message about if he should
stay or go.)

I refuse to silence anyone for posting on-topic messages, even when
the messages are not what others want to hear. I'd say that
mocking current tech writing "issues" is as appropriate as anything
else I've seen this week. Additionally, as listowner, I'd really like to
see a whole lot more discussion of higher-level topics than the
trivial issues that style guides should settle. Andrew's comments
on issues are one (not the only, not the best probably, but one)
way to move in this direction. There's a lot of value in looking
at WHY we're concerned about issues, rather than which side of
an issue is "correct". I'd interpret Andrew's comments on many
issues as listening to people discuss if they should turn left or
right at the next intersection, then asking if they're on the correct
street or even in the correct city to start out with. It's not a
popular comment, but often has some merit.

I've been informed directly by some list members I particularly
respect that if Andrew stays, they go. I'll be really sorry to see
them go, because their contributions have been consistently
valuable over the years. However, that's just the way it'll have to

If you dislike Andrew's postings (and many are objectionable),
learn to use mail filters to delete his messages sight unseen,
or filter his messages and all replies into a special folder.
(Filter on his email address, so you don't inadvertently filter
a message from Andrew Jones about Plato's relation to tech
writing into oblivion.) No, I can't tell you how to do this in
your program, and it's not appropriate to discuss on the list.
Read your documentation.

BTW, while I'm ranting...I'm getting awfully tired of hearing about
rude and unprofessional messages (20+ per occurance) being sent off-list to
people whose postings apparently didn't meet the standards of
other list members. I cannot realistically get into policing off-list
postings, but am just appalled at the lack of professionalism
this shows, and more than a little miffed that these members
are deliberately driving out others. IF YOU SEND RUDE MESSAGES
KNOCK IT OFF. Most people who complain to me name names,
and I'm a firm believe in Karma Eric Style (that is, what goes
around comes around). If you're a recipient of these messages,
complain to the recipient's ISP (postmaster -at- offendingdomain -dot- com)
and cc: me on it. Holler off-line for tips that will help ensure that the
egregious offender loses the email account.

End rant, for now. Don't reply to this on list, but you're welcome


Eric J. Ray TECHWR-L Listowner
ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

Syndicated columnist: Rays on Computing
Technology Department Editor, _Technical Communication_
Co-author of _Unix Visual Quickstart Guide_, _Mastering HTML 4_,
_Dummies 101: HTML 4_, _HTML 4 for Dummies Quick Reference_, others.

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