Re: Tech writers, comments about.

Subject: Re: Tech writers, comments about.
From: "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 23 Mar 2004 10:45:31 -0700

Donald H. White wrote:

> Andrew may be right and he may be wrong sometimes: 'Andrew' is not the
> point. The point is, how we treat each other when we contribute on this
> list. And, if that treatment is such as to drive someone away, well, that
> ain't right.

Sorry, Don, but I have to challenge your point. Please don't be hurt or
angry or anything, 'cause I still think you're a fine human being and we
should all get along, OK? ;-)

No one is ever "driven" from this list (unless there have been some mobs
with torches and pitchforks that I don't know about). I'm a big fan of Miss
Manners and agree that politeness and pleasantness are useful "social
lubricants" that benefit us all. I agree with the rules that Eric (our local
"Miss Manners") reminds us of from time to time, and I _usually_ manage to
more-or-less abide by them, sort of... :-)

But I reject the notion that any contribution which "drives" someone from
the list is, ipso facto, "bad" or "wrong." Sometimes, the best possible
advice you can give someone is "get over it" or "get back to work, you" --
and the recipient's failure to appreciate the value of that advice doesn't
change that.

A while back, someone left the list, announcing that she'd been driven to
tears by it. Personally, I think that people who are driven to tears by
brusque, rude, or non-supportive email messages should ask their family
physician about a counseling referral or appropriate medication. But that's
just me...

You're asking the members of this list to be responsible for _someone
else's_ feelings, which we have no control over and which may or may not be
_appropriate_. And you're giving that someone -- anyone -- veto power over
our communications.

This is the problem with a lot of the PC BS, such as campus speech codes and
harassment rules. There is no objective standard. What's prohibited is
anything that anyone _feels_ (after the fact) is hurtful, offensive, etc. I
have several problems with this:

-- It encourages and rewards hyper-sensitivity and victimhood, giving such
people inordinate power over others.

-- It holds you accountable for something you have no control over -- the
reactions, or over-reactions, of others.

-- It makes it impossible to know beforehand what is or isn't "acceptable."
It's like having an unposted speed limit, where the police say you'll know
you were going too fast after they give you a ticket.

-- And worst of all: In some contexts (not this list -- at least, not yet),
it encourages and further enriches lawyers. ;-)

"It's my opinion and it's very true."


Richard G. Combs
Senior Technical Writer
Voyant, a division of Polycom, Inc.
richardDOTcombs AT polycomDOTcom
richardDOTcombs AT voyanttechDOTcom
rgcombs AT freeDASHmarketDOTnet


ROBOHELP X5 - ALL NEW VERSION. Now with Word 2003 support, Content
Management, Multi-Author support, PDF and XML support and much more!

Now is the best time to buy - special end of month promos, including:
$100 mail-in rebate; Free online orientation on content management
functionality; Huge savings on support and future product releases;
PLUS Great discounts on RoboHelp training. OFFER EXPIRES March 31!
Call 1-800-358-9370 or visit:

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archiver -at- techwr-l -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Some of us are victims and some aren't (was Re: Tech writers, comments about.)
Next by Author: Re: FYI, FM for the Mac is Done.
Previous by Thread: RE: Tech writers, comments about.
Next by Thread: RE: Re: Tech writers, comments about.

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads