Technical Writer List Rules and Expectations
Before You Post to the Forums & Email Discussion List:Search the tech writer list archives. It contains well over 400,000 messages, and chances are pretty good that your question has been discussed before. The search tool on this site indexes our email archives, magazine and research portals for articles. We strive to provide useful and relevant content, and often you can find the answer to a question, or the facts to rebut a view you disagree with. Remember that the email discussion group and the forums serve as the central hub of a community of professionals. Trolling, list baiting, ad hominem attacks, and other disrespectful activities are not tolerated. Professional, civil and lively debate and discussion are encouraged.
What to Post:
- If it is about technical communication, content management (CM), or customer experience management (CXM), and it's of general interest, post it.
- If it is about technical communication, CM, or CXM, and it's original and humorous, post it.
- If it is a question about a subject or topic covered in the online magazine or research portals, post it. Our system allows you to post your comment directly to the magazine, via email, or online and continue the conversation seamlessly on the forum.
Vendors / Commercial & Non-Profit Organizations
- If you're a vendor or organization, you MUST identify yourself as a such in all posts.
- When answering questions posed by other forum participants, always answer the question as an SME, then if appropriate you can mention your product. Please contact us for guidance before posting.
What Not to Post:
- Anything you don't want a search engine to find. The email list archives are one of our most popular features and both the forums and the archives are searchable.
- If you're a vendor and your response is only an advertisement for our product or company, don't post it. Please consider advertising on us.
- If it doesn't clearly and directly relate to technical communication, CM, or CXM, don't post it.
- If it relates to language use but not technical communication, CM, or CXM, it probably isn't appropriate. Don't post it, or contact us for guidance.
- If it relates to computer use but not technical communication, CM, or CXM, it probably isn't appropriate. Don't post it.
- If it continues an irrelevant thread in any way (rebuttal, rebuke, rerun, revision, remark), don't post it.
- If you think it may require "OT" in the subject line, it's not appropriate. Don't post it.
- If it's a job ad don't post it--post it to our jobs site. If it's any other kind of ad, don't post it--contact us or read about our advertising opportunities. TechWhirl provides its services free of charge to all technical writers and content developers, and the way we pay for everything is with advertising. But we're not unreasonable, so please reach out to us, and we'll find a way to promote it to our communities. Be warned that we have very little tolerance for those who violate this rule, and we will ban you from posting on our site. We'd rather be poor than have our valuable community members bothered by rude people.
- If it is a personal message to a single member, don't post it.
- If it is a "me too" message that does not add new information or perspective to a discussion, don't post it. Instead, use the "Reaction" buttons on each discussion to show approval.
- If it is a test message, do not post it. Ever. Visit the support pages, or contact the TechWhirl Admin if you have problems posting, subscribing to the email list, or registering for the forums.
- If it's an announcement about an event, don't post it to the forums. Submit event announcements to our calendar.
- If it's a link to a survey, don't post it. Contact us directly, and we will work with you to determine if its appropriate and to announce it to the community.
- If it is something cute, interesting, or funny that you found on the Internet (e.g. Dr. Seuss on Tech Writing, origin of spam), don't post it. Rest assured, most readers have seen it already. If it's really funny, first search the archives or the forums to see if it's there. If not, contact us and we'll put it into Tech Writer This Week (which then gets publicized to the list). If it's original and funny, contact us and we'll immediately make you a member of the SWU.
- If you aren't sure, don't post it. When in doubt, contact us.
ExpectationsAs a contributor to Community Forums and Email Discussion List, you should:
- Understand that all posts are in the public domain.
- Check your facts on anything you post. Do not under any circumstances post virus warnings or anything else designed to be "forwarded to everyone you know" to list or the forum.
- Treat other members of the forums and email list with the respect you want to receive in return. You never know when you'll actually be auditioning for your next position. Please report bullying or any indecent behavior to us.
- Summarize email responses sent directly to you and post the entire summary back to the list. A summary should include attributions so others can pick up conversations offline if necessary with original posters. When you send a summary back to the list, use the word "SUMMARY" as the first word of the "Subject" line.
- Edit all unnecessary quoted messages and TECHWHIRL system-generated footers out of your email posts, and make sure that you send only plain text messages and no attachments to the list.
- Quote only the most relevant part of a previous post when you post to the forums.
- Make sure your email address is included in the body of the message you post to the email discussion list.
- Create a professional profile when registering for the forums. Do not use profanity of any sort.
- Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you find SPAM on the Community Forums/Email Discussion list. We ask that also mark it as SPAM in the online Forums, which have a community policing capability.
- Directly attack anyone for anything on the list. Take issue with ideas, not personalities. This is the easiest way to be evicted from our community.
- Point out other members' grammatical, spelling, or usage errors. This forum is not the place to exercise editorial frustration.
- Express political, religious or cultural opinions. Other forums are designed for these kinds of debates, they are not appropriate for professional community.
- Post ads in any form (see above).
- Say anything that you wouldn't want others to find with a search engine, because your emails are archived and indexed. Remember, both emails and forum posts are searchable by major search engines.
- Register using your work address, because people change jobs and it's sometimes impossible to gain access to that email if there's an issue.
TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.