Re: MadCap Nightmare

Subject: Re: MadCap Nightmare
From: "John Cook" <john -dot- cook -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Thu, 10 Aug 2006 13:35:33 -0500

On 8/10/06, Frank Ellifsen <frank -dot- ellifsen -at- gmail -dot- com> wrote:

List members, I've been asked by a friend to forward this message to the
list. My friend wishes to remain anonymous, and I offered to post the
message on her/his behalf.

Please do as the poster requests and send all replies to the list.


Ah, ye-olde drive-by rant. Nice.

I would normally direct this sort of response directly back to the
author offline, however, as that avenue has been removed, I'll respond
to the list as requested.

Be careful what you wish for.

Frank, posting your friend's screed like this looks like cowardice on
their part, complicity on your part, and unprofessional behavior from

Contact the vendor first instead of anonymously posting a vitriolic
screed on a public forum. That looks dangerously close to character
assassination, and doesn't solve anything.

Unless that was the point.

Fellow Techwr-lers!

Sorry for the anonymous post, but I don't want this to come back and haunt
me somehow (you know it will).

If you, anonymous coward, were having second thoughts before you sent
this to your friend, I suggest that you should have taken a deep
breath and edited yourself. If you don't have the wherewithal to
contact the vendor in question directly, maybe you should do what I do
on occasion when I'm angry about something:
* write your message,
* wallow in the emotions that it elicts,
* delete the message, unsent, for it has already accomplished the most
positive thing in the writing that it will ever aspire to

Then, having worked out the emotion, you can sit down and write
another message, this time leaving out all the unproductive and
unprofessional digs. If you are a technical writer as you claim,
write out the situations, conditions, and results of the problems you
are having and submit them to the vendor. If you find something new
and hairy, your message may help bring about improvement in future
software, a positive effect that will benefit everyone. On the other
hand, if the problem was a user error, you'll be able to receive
instruction without feeling foolish. Either way, you will end up with
a happy ending, and won't have to avoid being haunted by the manner of
your complaint, and your friend will still be your friend.

Bottom line - discretion is the better part of valor. It is most
appropriate (and most effective) to start at the source, not at the
watering hole.

John Cook
Technical Writer / Help Author
john dot cook at gmail dot com

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MadCap Nightmare: From: Frank Ellifsen

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