Re: Grammatical/Punctuation/Spelling Errors and Technical Communicati on

Subject: Re: Grammatical/Punctuation/Spelling Errors and Technical Communicati on
From: Sarah Stegall <stegall -at- TERAYON -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 8 Mar 1999 11:48:51 -0800

Stupid me. I just assumed that simple
professional and personal self-respect would make
one *wince* at the prospect of posting a
misspelled, poorly phrased message. Words are our
only tool, our face to the world. To treat them
carelessly *at any time* is show disrespect not
only to the profession but to ourselves. A
programmer who posted incomplete code would get
called on it by her peers. Why are we so
supersensitive, so special, that we can't show
every day that we know what the hell we're doing?
If I'm not the mistress of my craft, how can I
expect an engineer, SME, or other colleague to
treat me as a professional?

Sure, it is important to get the subject matter
right. But it should go without saying that before
we tackle the technical aspects of our job that
relate to other people's work, we should
demonstrate mastery of our own sphere. Engineers,
etc. can get away with spelling errors, but not
design mistakes. They're expected to know their
jobs, and don't have (and shouldn't have) much
respect for those who don't.

Sure, I make posting errors. Who doesn't? The
trick is to not get defensive about them, and do
better next time.

My mother used to teach English composition in
college. Time and again, she was confronted over
an assignment with "Will spelling count?" She
would peer over her glasses at her student and
answer, "Yes. Now, and for the rest of your life."

--
Sarah Stegall || Senior Technical
Writer
Terayon Communication Systems ||
stegall -at- terayon -dot- com
2952 Bunker Hill Lane || voice
408-919-5893
Santa Clara, CA 95054 || fax 408-727-6204


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