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From the Editor: Ask Questions, Share Opinions, Gain Insight
2007, Q1 (July 12, 2007)
By Meredith Kinder, Carolina Communiqué Managing Editor

Meredith Kinder
Meredith Kinder


As the last days of winter slowly faded, I collected articles for this issue of Carolina Communiqué. I spoke with contributing authors and read drafts of their prose, working with them as they tossed around ideas. Then, as I reviewed the articles as a whole this week, I noticed they they all carry a common theme. They raise and address questions related to our profession. It was almost as though the authors had burning questions in their heads about the efficiency, or the legitimacy, or the worthiness, or the purpose of something we deal with on a daily basis. Even if they did so unintentionally, they used the opportunity to write the article as a way to address those questions:
  • Michael Harvey questions whether or not technical communication is a "calling"
  • Sue Kocher questions whether or not consistency is boring to our audiences
  • Bill Albing questions the worthiness of word processors, especially Microsoft Word
  • Andrea Wenger questions our use of relative pronouns
  • Ron Garrison questions how far we've come to achieve a paperless office
  • Ann-Marie Grissino questions our use of established versus new software
The authors don't just ask questions to which they already know the answers. They ask questions that they have theories about, and they share those theories. But more importantly, the authors challenge us to think about the topic and form our own opinions.

So what do I make of our authors raising so many questions? Are they rebels? Are they troublemakers? On the contrary, I think it shows a tremendous level of dedication and commitment to understanding and improving what we do. Our chapter members don't just accept techniques and theories in our field for what they are. They examine them, picking them apart to the inth degree. They try to understand the how's and why's. I believe that this results in a great learning process and a self-education that is valuable for growing skills as a technical communicator.

Roy Greenhilt once said, "I dream of the day when I learn to stop asking questions for which I will regret learning the answers." Well, I don't forsee that day coming any time soon. I think that the day we stop asking questions will be the day we stop learning.

I hope you enjoy this issue and walk away thinking about the questions that it raises. I hope that it helps you develop opinions and theories that will help you grow as a technical communicator.

Meredith can be reached at meredith dot kinder at sas dot com End of article.

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