RE: HUMOR: I Need Help

Subject: RE: HUMOR: I Need Help
From: "Carnall, Jane" <Jane -dot- Carnall -at- compaq -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 13:18:28 -0000

Arlen.P.Walker wrote:
>Answers always take longer than questions; that's the nature of the beast.
>When you ask an ill-formed question, you are announcing to the world that
>your own time is more important than mine, because you didn't have the time
>to even frame a good question, while you expect me to take the time to
>frame a good answer. Not even Dale Carnegie can pull you out of *that*
>How you ask your question is just as important as what the question is.

Absolutely true. But it does take *practice* to frame your question in the
right way. A little while ago I joined a list that provides answers to
medical questions for fiction writers, started by a small group of
experienced medical professionals who were *very* tired of reading stories
in which someone gets shot with X gun one minute and is up and at 'em the
next. I read the guidelines, which recommended asking specific, detailed
questions. I framed my questions (one about aspirin, the other about broken
ankles). I got not a single response: then I tried an unspecific nondetailed
question, got a couple of interested "More details", and eventually got an
answer. The first two questions had been *too* detailed: people reading them
had given up. Asking a nonspecific obviously "newbie" question got
attention, and then I asked a question with the right amount of detail to
get a good answer. I now have a better idea how to use that resource when I
need an answer.

>A roomful of 4000 writers is *not* a mentor. If you're going to shout in
>face of 4000 writers, make the questions polite, succinct, and specific,
>and don't throw a tantrum if you don't get the answer you want.

I've never seen any newbie throw a tantrum on this list for not getting the
answer they wanted. (I've seen several experienced and long-term users throw
tantrums for the list not *being* what they want, and a few months ago I
switched from digest to individual e-mails so that I could send e-mails from
a regular tantrum-thrower direct to the Deleted Items folder.)

Be gentle with newbies: you never know where they've been... <g>

Jane Carnall
Technical Writer, Compaq, UK
Unless stated otherwise, these opinions are mine, and mine alone.

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