Mailing List Etiquette
A “Typical” Mailing List Thread
By Randy Woodward
(Permission to distribute intact with author attribution.)
Wide-eyed Newbie: Hi. I’m a new trainer and I am using a video in tomorrow’s session. I’m wondering about the lights. Should I leave them on, dim them, or turn them off completely? Could someone on the list give me some quick advice on this? Thanks!
Expert #1: What on earth are you using video for? No learning of any value can come from video!
Expert #2: First, you need to define, “what is light?”
Expert #3: How can you define light? You just know what it is.
Expert #2: Everything can be defined. We can’t pursue the issue any further unless we establish exactly what you mean by light.
Expert #3: OK, I define light as “light.” The absence of darkness.
Expert #2: If that’s the definition, you must now define darkness.
Expert #3: Darkness is the absence of light.
Expert #2: That’s no answer!
Expert #3: That’s my definition. Now lets discuss light.
Expert #2: We can’t continue until you answer in terms that I’m willing to acknowledge, “what is light.” Why are you avoiding the issue?
Expert #3: I’m not! Definitions aren’t the issue. Light is the issue, blockhead.
Expert #2: I’m not going to read a single word you write until you define light and dark. Are you ignorant or just afraid to? (Experts #2 and #3 then go off on a long thread of personal insults, but it doesn’t matter because everyone else stopped reading them three messages ago.)
Huckster #1: I thoroughly cover the use of lighting in my book “Everything I Know About Video Training.” I won’t go into it here, but copies are available from my web site.
Expert #4: You can’t adjust the lights until you’ve done an exhaustive needs analysis of the situation. Start by interviewing every employee, manager, and customer of your organization, the lighting manufacturer, VCR manufacturer, the video producer…
Huckster #2: You need an expert. For a reasonable consulting fee, I will stand in your classroom and adjust the lights for you.
Free User: I have the text of Dr. Noted Trainingguru’s 1972 article on adjusting lights for filmstrips in the “files” section of my web site. This should be applicable. Feel free to download and distribute.
Expert #1: THAT’S A COPYRIGHT VIOLATION!
Free User: Copyright, schmopyright. I can do whatever I want as long as I don’t make money from it. (And so is born another long thread of unrelated discussion).
Wide-eyed Newbie: Uhm, yeah. Should I dim the lights or not?
Expert #1: I think you’re asking the wrong question. The correct question is: “Is it even possible to adjust the lights so they will be 100% perfectly comfortable for everyone in the room?” Of course it isn’t. Therefore, even trying is a waste of time.
Huckster #3: I have an in-house workshop, “Adjusting lights 101.” For a reasonable fee plus travel and expenses, I will come to your facility and train up to 12 people.
Expert #5: Are you sure the lights want to be changed? Have you considered waiting to see if the lights try to adjust themselves?
Huckster #4: Why use a boring, old-fashioned video? For a reasonable fee, we’ll custom produce a web-based training solution for whatever training problem you may be addressing.
Expert #1: No learning of any value can come from web-based training!
Wide-eyed Newbie: Sorry I brought it up. I think I’ll go ask the janitor.
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