Grammatical/Punctuation/Spelling Errors and Technical Communicati on

Subject: Grammatical/Punctuation/Spelling Errors and Technical Communicati on
From: "Comeau, Lisa" <Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- MOH -dot- GOV -dot- ON -dot- CA>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 12:24:00 -0500

Scott Havens said (among other things)
"It never ceases to amaze me how many contributors to this list make
systematic errors that any grade school student should be able to recognize
and avoid."

MOI> Yes, we all make mistakes from time to time. Sometimes they are obvious
errors. I think what we need to keep in mind are:
1) We all have projects we are working on, and often, posts to the list are
not high on our priority list for "perfection" in
grammar/spelling/punctuation.
2) Although this is a forum for discussion on tech. comm., it is basically
informal.
3) Most of these "grammar/punctuation/spelling incorrect" messages _should_
be mentioned offline - as a show of respect for the poster - why do we need
to publicly "humiliate" someone for a mistake _probably_ made in haste,
rather than ignorance.
That said, I also feel that it is the poster's responsibility to use
available spellcheckers (which, of course don't catch _everything_) just as
a point of consideration for those who feel mistakes are inappropriate or
reflect badly on TWs as a whole.

Personally, I feel that this listserv is a valuable resource for TWs. YES,
we may be subject to evaluation from peers and potential employers here, but
I don't think it's realistic to assume that by having the occasional error
in an informal post on a listserv for TWs is going to "bring us down".

Scott:"People on this list spend an awful lot of time bellyaching about how
we never get any respect. Some of the grammar I've seen (not only here, but
in published documentation as well) makes me think it's little wonder that
folks feel that way. We're paid to know what's correct and to make sure our
deliverables reflect that knowledge. If we can't do that, we don't deserve
any respect."

MOI>As for this part, I basically agree - when you're talking about the
_published documentation_, but in an email environment that most people
don't see as "business", we get sloppy sometimes. I'm guilty, and so are
many others. I think what we should be more aware of is that, obviously,
people are starting to use this forum in the way of a business. Our posts
are being judged more on technical merit and use of things not deemed
"appropriate" in technical communication (i.e. humor) than for what they are
- an exchange of information between peers.

Can we decide what we want here? No offense intended to the
grammar/spelling/punctuation mavens, but I can foresee a lot of people
refraining from posting if more merit is given to the WAY the post is
presented than the information within it.

My two cents, and YES, I used a Spellchecker..

Lisa Comeau
Account Representative; Y2K/Exchange Project
Client Services Group, Ontario Ministry of Health
Office (416) 327-1112
Pager (416) 715-9198
mailto:Lisa -dot- Comeau -at- moh -dot- gov -dot- on -dot- ca


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