Bite your tongue?

Subject: Bite your tongue?
From: "Geoff Hart" <geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca>
To: TECHWR-L -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Thu, 16 Dec 1999 08:29:40 -0500

Debbie Packer bemoaned the fact that <<Many times, I will get
copy from "someone above me" that they would like to use. I'm
usually asked to read through it and correct any errors before I
publish it... [Sometimes] The person had taken the text I had put
on the page, updated it with some extra copy and added back in 4
or 5 of the errors that I had corrected.>>

Happens all the time, particularly with managers and (as in a
current contract job we're doing for the feds) government
bureaucrats. About the only strategy I've ever found that works (and
not well) is to meet briefly with the person (or telephone or e-mail if
they don't have an open-door policy or live in another city) and
explain why I made the original changes. Sometimes, they give in
and accept the change on the spot; sometimes I have to negotiate
a different solution or coax the author into providing something
better; and sometimes I just have to cave and let them have their
way. They're the client, and if I can't persuade them they're wrong,
that's pretty much it: bite my tongue and be glad it wasn't my
name on the article. It's particularly frustrating when they insist on
being sent the wordpro file rather than working on paper, so you
have to re-edit the entire manuscript to catch their insertions.

--Geoff Hart @8^{)} geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca (Pointe-Claire, Quebec)
"If you can't explain it to an 8-year-old, you don't understand it"--Albert Einstein

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