Re: ADMIN: TECHWR-L Scenario Reminder

Subject: Re: ADMIN: TECHWR-L Scenario Reminder
From: Laurin Kinville <lak -at- CGRAMS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 17 Dec 1997 12:28:51 -0500

Eric - I do agree with many of your points here - there is a lot of
ego-wagging that goes on. And I often just want to send that unsubscribe
message so I don't have to read reiterations of the same dead-horse ideas.
BUT - as a newbie to this list myself, I am very uncomfortable with the idea
that any posting I place here will be deemed inappropriate to someone, and
therefore fodder for your posting scenario. I guess I would just like to
see a community sharing ideas with respect, a little humility, a sense of
humor, and willingness to see the other side of an issue. But this scenario
you just put up makes me very reluctant to get involved.

-----Original Message-----
From: Eric J. Ray <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wednesday, December 17, 1997 12:16 PM
Subject: ADMIN: TECHWR-L Scenario Reminder

>Last updated 3/15/97.
> You are in a large lecture hall full of people in your profession.
> Included in the audience are students, educators, professionals.
> You cannot make out their faces, but they could reasonably
> include your employers or potential employers, your coworkers,
> and the ever-present violently obsessive technical writing
> groupies.
> Most of the audience members sit quietly as one member at a time
> gets up, walks to the podium, and shares information or advice or
> asks questions. Some of it is rich and detailed, some cursory but
> helpful, some trivial but relevant in a roundabout way. Somewhere
> in this stream of information, someone expresses an opinion or
> gives a piece of advice that you feel obligated to respond to.
> You get out of your seat and walk to the front of the room,
> everyone's eyes upon you. ...
> (Listowner's note: At this point, the paths may diverge.
> Some of the following unfortunate cases have been played
> out over the past few years.)
> A) You approach the podium, clear your throat, and say "Me,
> too." You are greeted with a combination of quizzical,
> patronizing smirks and incredulous silence.
> B) You relate that really good joke about Microsoft and operating
> systems that you overheard at the restaurant last night. Some
> laugh. Some wonder why you just now heard it. Many wonder why
> you'd use their chance to discuss technical communication to
> tell a old joke.
> C) You take your turn at the microphone to clarify a point. One
> of the previous speakers had mentioned, in the context of
> developing and using context-sensitive, interactive help files,
> that they used MS Word v3.0. Obviously, that's incorrect, therefore
> you clarify that they MUST have used a different version because
> that one didn't even exist. Not only that, but the incompetence
> of anyone who could make such a mistake is certainly astounding.
> It only takes you about 10 minutes to impress upon everyone that
> you know far better than the speaker what versions of Word exist.
> (You don't make any points about the issue at hand, but your
> audience has already made their assumptions about your knowledge
> in that area.)
> D) "Does anyone know how much the cheapest Internet service provider
> in Kansas costs?"
> E) You replay the entire videotape of the MS Word v3.0 speaker,
> including the introduction, the walk to the podium, and the walk
> back to a seat. The quality isn't all that hot, but it's important
> to make sure everyone knows the context in which you speak. 12
> minutes later, you point out that there is in fact a version of
> MS Word v3.0 and you had used it once, briefly, but didn't like
> it much and would always choose Frame. Furthermore, anyone who
> uses any version of Word is a certifiable idiot and if your company
> or clients require Word, you should quit and find a real company.
> You return to your seat satisfied about your demonstrated TW
> proficiency and wonder about the copy of "How to Win Friends and
> Influence People" that ended up on your chair. (Thanks to Jim Barton
> for the initial suggestion and Arlen Walker for the quibble.)
> F) You take your chance at the podium to publicly mock the
> pronunciation and diction of the three speakers before you, not to
> mention their poor spelling on overheads. As you return to your
> seat, someone passes you a note pointing out that one of the three
> is hard of hearing, one is not a native speaker of English, and
> that many people in the world don't see a problem with spelling
> "defense" as "defence". Whoops! Oh, well, you think, they'll get
> over it.
> G) You walk up to the podium and say "I'm glad you all
> finally stopped talking about that subject, because you were wasting
> everyone's time. I'm so relieved we're not discussing it any more."
> (Thanks to Tracy Boyington for this one.)
> H) You reach the microphone and say the exact same thing that all 8
> people before you have said because you didn't bother to listen to
> them. (Thanks to Chris Boehm.)
> I) You piously denounce the majority of subjects that have
> been discussed thus far as irrelevant to the original
> scope of the conference, berate the conference organizers
> for allowing such irrelevancies to be introduced into the
> dialogue, and announce that you will leave the auditorium
> if discussion of such issues continues.
> J) You complain that the seminar does not provide a wide enough
> scope for discussion of your particular interests (which may
> be of only cursory interest to a minority of people attending
> the conference), accuse the conference organizers of promoting
> censorship, and ask if anyone knows of another conference
> organized by nonfacists. (Thanks to Bill Burns for these last 2.)
> As you walk back to your seat, you try to make out the faces around you.
> (Thanks to Lisa Higgins for the original scenario)
>Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
>TECHWR-L Listowner
>, or
>, or

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