Re: Purpose of list

Subject: Re: Purpose of list
From: Len Olszewski <saslpo -at- UNX -dot- SAS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 9 Feb 1994 14:03:56 -0500

Eric Ray writes about the purpose of this list:

> Good question. Are forums for professionals and
> educational forums mutually exclusive?

Eric answers himself later, suggesting that valuable voices (his
included) would not be here if that mutual exclusivity were enforced to
the advantage of us old "pros". (Or is it "we old pros"? 8-)

I might suggest that education takes many forms in many forums. For
example, it took me a while in this field before I recognized that
*everyone* is an editor, whether they do it for a living or not. Not
everyone is a particularly *good* editor (even including some I know who
*do* it for a living), but that's really the point. As a technical
writer, I was far more able to interpret editorial criticism objectively
(from editors and non-editors alike) when I discovered that everybody
does it, and that *a lot* of it is horse manure. As a writer, a "pro" no
less, I like to think I can tell the difference. When I was just
learning this stuff, I really couldn't.

Now, to the extent that some folks can't control those urges (and I'm
not saying that's the case on this list), there are certainly times when
it might be more *appropriate* to give in to them, and other times when
it's better to hold your mud. Sometimes, though, even *that* distinction
isn't real clear to a lot of folks *all* the time. I bet almost
everybody on this list probably did it one time when they shouldn't
have. A number of *those* people maybe never did it again, because they
learned from their mistakes, and now they know better. Some people,
however, never learn.

It might have happened in a professional context, but that sure sounds
educational to me.

I've always felt that when you start making up rules to control
problems, you don't always solve the problems you wanted, and you
usually make a whole new bunch of other problems you didn't think about.
I've always advocated free exchange and minimal rules in forums like
this. People are generally smart enough to blow off the flotsam, and the
ones who aren't really need to learn it the hard way. IMHO, of course.

I don't think, however, it's very nice to nitpick on someone else's
post; I never do it myself (where's that halo...8-). However, I'm not
you (and you've got more to be thankful for there than you know), and
how you do it is *up* to you. I'll draw my own conclusions on what

If a few of you drop this list after being offended or brow-beaten
by something you read here, that's a mistake. If you stopped reading
before I posted this, you stopped too soon to read me saying that.
Nothing I can do about that. You'll be missing some educational stuff
from the "pros" too. Nothing I can do about that either.

And for all of you who want to industriously notice when I split
infinitives, knock yourselves out. I'll figure out who you are and stop
reading what you write if your signal-to-noise ratio gets too low,
believe me.

|Len Olszewski, Technical Writer |"That boy's about as sharp as a sack|
|saslpo -at- unx -dot- sas -dot- com|Cary, NC, USA|o' wet mice." - Foghorn Leghorn |
| Opinions this ludicrous are mine. Reasonable opinions will cost you.|

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