Saturday, July 25, 2009

A difference of "opinion"


My husband is in the Multimedia field. When people ask me what that means, I say, "he gets to do everything: photography, building websites from the ground up, video/video editing, print work, logos, everything design" you name it, if it's in the realm of multimedia design, he gets to play. One of the advantages of working with a team is that he has tech writers with whom he works. These tech writers are professionals who specifically have English or more specified degrees for which they went to school so that they could learn the English language and be masters at it. The funny thing is that he'll come home after building copy for something and it's standard to run it by at least two tech writers. Each writer will have a different opinion on what is correct and what is not correct (a few commas here, a semi colon there, etc), I thought that was funny- especially when you read later.

I profess to be no such master of our language, however I do know that I seldom go around spewing words that I've looked up just to look smart. I use words that come naturally to me, and if they have not become integrated into my vocabulary by some outside source (my family, reading, ongoing education), they are foreign, but I do love to continue learning and I hope that I do not offend, I do my best to use no dramatic errors while writing or speaking.

This is a long-winded introduction to something that happened in the comments box exactly two months ago that sparked a little debate and I thought we should address it and here's why: If we have something negative or constructive to say to others, we should address it privately. It shows class and restraint. We should always think before we speak (or write). We should know what we're talking about if we are going to address a point. Lastly, we should always remember that it's always right to stand up for ourselves-we must stand up for ourselves. This does not mean being rude, but we should not allow ourselves to be run over at all (or any longer for some of us)- and that's not bad manners. We all have things in our lives that we should just let go, but if you can't let it go and it's just eating you up and you've allowed it to affect how you treat others (or that person) by all means, get it out of the way, but do it with respect...like my brother always says "Git R Done"!

So here's what happened- I wrote This post- and the first comment I got was this (verbatim mind you):

Janine-

I've always been interested in etiquette, and was pleased to stumble on your blog a few months back.


I've tried to ignore this, but unfortunately, I can't do so anymore--your egregious spelling/grammatical errors are, to my eyes, just as bad as having bridal shower guests self-address their own thank-you cards.

So I'm choosing to unsubscribe. I know this may make me seem like a jerk, but there's a disconnect here. I can't take someone seriously in this realm if they can't take the time to learn English properly.

If you agree, and want to address to problem, please consider asking someone to take a quick look over your blog-posts before they go up, or even hiring an editor. You'd do the same for a custom-printed wedding invite or a Christmas update letter, wouldn't you?

And here was my response about an hour later (after some thought):

I appreciate that you have the time to go through my posts and find grammatical errors as well as the spelling errors that my spell check (which is not perfect) didn't happen to catch. Since The Pink Teapot is a blog and not a website, it was never intended to be professional. I have never gained profit of any kind, I have had no formal etiquette training (of which I make all my readers well aware), and I am the first to apologize for my shortcomings.

My grammar will never be perfect. My spelling may never be perfect (unless spell check becomes a little more sophisticated) and I may not have the time necessary to edit my posts as I would like because my main dedication is to my family, first and always.



So while I appreciate all forms of communication on this blog as they may help me improve, in the future, should you have a truly constructive criticism, email it to me instead of leaving it with a name only in a comment box.



Good luck in your endeavors and I hope you find another etiquette source that meets your criteria. To avoid offending you in the future, I might suggest that you purchase a professionally edited book.

Janine

This communication was followed by a series of comments by a few of my wonderful readers (a few of whom were truly ticked off), but after I thought about what I wanted to say, I wrote a well thought out response that I thought was neither belligerent or reactive. That's how I'd like to think I live my life, although I know I fall short. For you new-comers, please know that The Pink Teapot will never be perfect, but that my heart will always be in it, and for you stalwarts, thank you for sticking with me even in the summer craze, it will probably always slow down for me in the summer as long as I have children home.

I hope that this communication helps you all in your day-to-day struggles dealing with people who just can't help themselves. We all have people in our lives like that, don't we. Have a fabulous weekend.

15 comments:

Woman Interrupted said...

The dear reader must not have been around the blogsphere much...I cannot find a free proof reader for the life of me!

Chablis said...

Well done and wells said! You're a great example.

Rochelle said...

well said!

Anonymous said...

Well you certinlee handeled that a lot more classily than I would have! I wood have probabley gone and said something sarcastic and snarkey to Miss. You-Don't-Deserve-To-Blog-If-You-Can't-Hire-A-Professional-Editor.

Well done.

Lyme Girl said...

Well said! Good for you! Way to keep your cool!

Training Connection said...

I think you handled it well. That person could have done a better job confronting a situation she did not like. People enjoy anonymously knocking someone out. Her comment essentially said "I follow your blog but your spelling makes it lose all credibility and I go nuts! And if you agree that you need to change- Bow down and tell everyone in the blogosphere that you are sorry!" Well, take a chill pill, maam. I think her wedding guests probably did self address their thank you's since she is obviously very stressed out and could have read and then deleted a lot instead of thinking she would look like a hero.
A hero would have written directly and then only sent praise and a note about the spelling error he or she caught. Be of help instead of criticism. That is what makes people experts! Sorry for my wordiness. We all support you Pink Tea Pot. This is a great blog!

Mirinda said...

Wow. This is my first visit to your blog and what a post! I am impressed you handled yourself so well. I'd say THAT my dear is a great example of proper etiquette. I was fully aware what your blog was about- etiquette NOT English/Grammer 101. And I'll be back!

theafricanqueen said...

Knock 'em outa the park, girlfriend! You go!

Jen said...

I haven't checked your blog in a while, and was instantly interested upon hearing about the Tech Writers that work for your husband.

As a Technical Writer myself, I must say that, well, it gets boring the be gramtically correct all-day-long!

Don't get me wrong, I get irked with myself when I forget an apostrophe or use an an dash rather than an em dash (gasp! I'm a nerd!), but the point of my blog-life is to let go, have fun, share, learn, try, do,...and be a little free!

So, here you have it from a Technical Writer who spends her days editing data sheets and her nights NOT editing her blog!

Jen said...

LOL...can you find the grammar error that I missed in my comment above...see what I mean :)

hint: I was not "grammatically" correct!

Janine said...

Jen,

It's refreshing to remember that we all make mistakes once in a while, even tech writers and that we all take a break from our professional lives!

Üdo Ümami said...

Ooo! You are such a snugglebüg!!! That was PERFECTION. BRAVO!!!! XoxoXO <3 Üdo

Business Communications Training said...

A perfect place to begin would be these Town Hall meetings. Since when was it ever okay for liberal or far right to bust in with shouting. There is a group think that is not thinking at all and it really sickens me that listening- even despite the bull- is showing more intelligence than throwing out accusations before someone is done speaking. We need to remember that as intelligent human beings, we can approach someone we disagree with not by name calling but by providing them an intelligent rebuttal with the proof we have and ask them to answer... POLITELY. That makes that other person look foolish without making us look barbaric. I do not know why these stirred up people think that they are expressing a mood of a nation. Their lack of manners is just as effective as another ghetto riot. And I'm sorry about that, but for those people that overturn buses in their own neighborhood and spread fear in their own country- they do not make things better- they usually make things worse for themselves.
Indeed, keep it classy America. Public education prior to college is still on the house and think most of us know the difference between a debate and fight-fest. Use brain/No brawn.

Julie said...

hahahahaha! That whole comment is killin' me!!!!! I love that she loves etiquette, yet so rudely and self-righteously told you that your grammar is bad. Aaaah, the irony! I love reading your blog because you write just how you talk! Its practically like we're on the phone!

yodafatkitty said...

I have only been reading your blog for about 5 min's, if that, and I have to say that after reading this I was struck by the quote, "nice matters".
You are truly nice. How lucky your friends must be!
Thank-you :)

 
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