FAQ
Hi all,

Can anyone here volunteer to write about Perl for http://perl.about.com/ ?
It's been suffering from a lot of neglect, and my application for a writer
there was rejected (see below).

Regards,

Shlomi Fish

---------- Forwarded Message ----------

Subject: RE: Guide Application for [Perl]
Date: Tuesday 24 May 2011, 18:01:03
From: jmola@about.com
To: shlomif@shlomifish.org, shlomif@gmail.com


Shlomi,

While we thank you for taking the time to apply to be an About.com Guide, we
have decided not to accept your application for entry into Prep. A few common
reasons why your application was not accepted include:

* We are looking for someone with more professional writing experience.
* We are looking for someone with more writing experience in the topic.
* We are looking for someone with different qualifications.
* The writing in the writing sample was not up to our standards or had
typographical errors.

If you feel that you did not represent yourself to your best advantage in your
application and you wish to apply again, you are more than welcome to do so at
http://beaguide.about.com. In addition, you may also be interested in
applying to be a writer for ConsumerSearch, a member of the About, Inc. group
of companies looking for writers to join their teams. If so, we encourage you
to apply via the following link:

* Consumer Search: http://www.consumersearch.com/www/jobs.html.

Thanks again for your application,

About.com Recruitment and Training Team

-----------------------------------------
--
-----------------------------------------------------------------
Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
First stop for Perl beginners - http://perl-begin.org/

Knuth is not God! Unless you confuse him with Dijkstra.

Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .

Search Discussions

  • Shlomi Fish at May 24, 2011 at 7:57 pm
    Hi all,

    Can anyone here volunteer to write about Perl for http://perl.about.com/ ?
    It's been suffering from a lot of neglect, and my application for a writer
    there was rejected (see below).

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    ---------- Forwarded Message ----------

    Subject: RE: Guide Application for [Perl]
    Date: Tuesday 24 May 2011, 18:01:03
    From: jmola@about.com
    To: shlomif@shlomifish.org, shlomif@gmail.com


    Shlomi,

    While we thank you for taking the time to apply to be an About.com Guide, we
    have decided not to accept your application for entry into Prep. A few common
    reasons why your application was not accepted include:

    * We are looking for someone with more professional writing experience.
    * We are looking for someone with more writing experience in the topic.
    * We are looking for someone with different qualifications.
    * The writing in the writing sample was not up to our standards or had
    typographical errors.

    If you feel that you did not represent yourself to your best advantage in your
    application and you wish to apply again, you are more than welcome to do so at
    http://beaguide.about.com. In addition, you may also be interested in
    applying to be a writer for ConsumerSearch, a member of the About, Inc. group
    of companies looking for writers to join their teams. If so, we encourage you
    to apply via the following link:

    * Consumer Search: http://www.consumersearch.com/www/jobs.html.

    Thanks again for your application,

    About.com Recruitment and Training Team

    -----------------------------------------
    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    First stop for Perl beginners - http://perl-begin.org/

    Knuth is not God! Unless you confuse him with Dijkstra.

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    My Favourite FOSS - http://www.shlomifish.org/open-source/favourite/

    Mastering 'cat' is almost as difficult as herding cats.
    -- http://www.shlomifish.org/humour/bits/Mastering-Cat/

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
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    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    Best Introductory Programming Language - http://shlom.in/intro-lang

    * Backward compatibility is your worst enemy.
    * Backward compatibility is your users' best friend.

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
  • Shlomi Fish at May 31, 2011 at 11:29 am
    Hi all,
    On Tuesday 24 May 2011 22:57:27 Shlomi Fish wrote:
    Hi all,

    Can anyone here volunteer to write about Perl for http://perl.about.com/ ?
    It's been suffering from a lot of neglect, and my application for a writer
    there was rejected (see below).
    Someone asked me (in private - :-( ) what my writing sample looked like, and
    since this was a form submission and it was a long time ago, I don't recall
    exactly, but I think they were these:

    * http://www.shlomifish.org/lecture/Perl/Newbies/

    * http://perl-begin.org/

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish
    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    ---------- Forwarded Message ----------

    Subject: RE: Guide Application for [Perl]
    Date: Tuesday 24 May 2011, 18:01:03
    From: jmola@about.com
    To: shlomif@shlomifish.org, shlomif@gmail.com


    Shlomi,

    While we thank you for taking the time to apply to be an About.com Guide,
    we have decided not to accept your application for entry into Prep. A few
    common reasons why your application was not accepted include:

    * We are looking for someone with more professional writing experience.
    * We are looking for someone with more writing experience in the topic.
    * We are looking for someone with different qualifications.
    * The writing in the writing sample was not up to our standards or had
    typographical errors.

    If you feel that you did not represent yourself to your best advantage in
    your application and you wish to apply again, you are more than welcome to
    do so at http://beaguide.about.com. In addition, you may also be
    interested in applying to be a writer for ConsumerSearch, a member of the
    About, Inc. group of companies looking for writers to join their teams.
    If so, we encourage you to apply via the following link:

    * Consumer Search: http://www.consumersearch.com/www/jobs.html.

    Thanks again for your application,

    About.com Recruitment and Training Team

    -----------------------------------------
    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    First stop for Perl beginners - http://perl-begin.org/

    In Soviet Russia, XSLT codes you. Badly!

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
  • Joel Limardo at May 31, 2011 at 4:15 pm
    I was the one who asked for your writing sample. I wanted to see if there
    was something fairly obvious in your writing that would cause a rejection.
    After looking at the links you provided, I'm sad to say that I agree with
    About.com.

    Technical writing and knowledge are as distinct as analyzing and creating
    films. The latter is the more rigorous and (perhaps) rewarding activity, but
    it is best to not completely discount the fore as oftentimes this
    perspective can prove to be insightful. The Internet is fairly new, but
    successful entities adhere to the same quality requirements/standards of
    their in-print predecessors that have served them well in the past. In this
    paradigm, editors are typically responsible for sending out the horrid
    rejection letters you can receive. Oftentimes the standard can be to send
    out stock letters full of niceties and emotional fluff when what they meant
    to say was that your usage was poor, grammar questionable, and thinking
    appeared muddled. I found all three of these in your writing samples.

    Examples:
    - Usage: "Programming the Way You Would Love"..if I'm not mistaken this is
    an example of future perfect tense, generally a poor choice for a section
    title.

    -Usage #2: "Perl code is very succinct and can be written very quickly..."
    The use of the word 'very' should be avoided. You should even add a note in
    your draft revision process that asks if you really need ANY use of the
    word. Why? Because it tends to be VERY overused.

    - Grammar #1: "This is useful to automate such web sites..." Remove the
    'such' and the meaning becomes clear.

    - Usage #3: "Perl was introduced in 1987 (4 years before Linux itself), when
    the author, Larry Wall, released version 1.000 of it..." The addition of 'of
    it' is needless and verbose.

    - Usage #4: "The reason for its creation was that Wall was unhappy by the
    functionality..." This is awkward and muddled. This can be better written
    as, "Mr. Wall, tired of the inefficiencies in many Unix utilities, sought to
    create a 'better mousetrap' sporting the very best features awk, sed, ..."
    Absent any other evidence the reader is typically correct in assuming that
    muddled writing is a sign of muddled thinking. In the Perl community we know
    better -- you may be simply bad at writing, but the average reader will not
    be armed with this knowledge.

    There are many more examples but I've made my point. Every time you write
    for any form of publication you should be cognizant that the reader is
    simultaneously analyzing the writing and reading it as well. They are
    reading the content, but their minds are also analyzing the piece for
    veracity, succinctness, structure, brevity, and other aspects. You can
    summarize these in questions: 'is this person telling me the truth?'; 'did
    the author use the right word for that?'; 'is this person going to waste my
    time?'; 'am I going to have to reread this ten times to understand it?';
    'where in the hell is the point?'; etc. A good writer asks these questions
    during a draft; the best writers ask them before even sitting down to write.

    My recommendation is that you sit down and write a piece specifically for
    publication in a print magazine (they are better about providing examples of
    what they expect to see) and use that as a writing sample instead. Revise
    your piece at least three times before submitting it to anyone. I do not
    suggest that you find someone else to write these pieces for you. I think
    you should do this and then try again.


    On Tue, May 31, 2011 at 6:29 AM, Shlomi Fish wrote:

    Hi all,
    On Tuesday 24 May 2011 22:57:27 Shlomi Fish wrote:
    Hi all,

    Can anyone here volunteer to write about Perl for http://perl.about.com/?
    It's been suffering from a lot of neglect, and my application for a writer
    there was rejected (see below).
    Someone asked me (in private - :-( ) what my writing sample looked like,
    and
    since this was a form submission and it was a long time ago, I don't recall
    exactly, but I think they were these:

    * http://www.shlomifish.org/lecture/Perl/Newbies/

    * http://perl-begin.org/

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish
    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    ---------- Forwarded Message ----------

    Subject: RE: Guide Application for [Perl]
    Date: Tuesday 24 May 2011, 18:01:03
    From: jmola@about.com
    To: shlomif@shlomifish.org, shlomif@gmail.com


    Shlomi,

    While we thank you for taking the time to apply to be an About.com Guide,
    we have decided not to accept your application for entry into Prep. A few
    common reasons why your application was not accepted include:

    * We are looking for someone with more professional writing experience.
    * We are looking for someone with more writing experience in the topic.
    * We are looking for someone with different qualifications.
    * The writing in the writing sample was not up to our standards or had
    typographical errors.

    If you feel that you did not represent yourself to your best advantage in
    your application and you wish to apply again, you are more than welcome to
    do so at http://beaguide.about.com. In addition, you may also be
    interested in applying to be a writer for ConsumerSearch, a member of the
    About, Inc. group of companies looking for writers to join their teams.
    If so, we encourage you to apply via the following link:

    * Consumer Search: http://www.consumersearch.com/www/jobs.html.

    Thanks again for your application,

    About.com Recruitment and Training Team

    -----------------------------------------
    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    First stop for Perl beginners - http://perl-begin.org/

    In Soviet Russia, XSLT codes you. Badly!

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .


    --
    Sincerely,


    Joel Limardo
    Chief Software Engineer
    ForwardPhase Technologies, LLC
    401 N. Michigan Avenue
    Suite 1200-10
    Chicago, IL 60611
    www.forwardphase.com
    joel.limardo@forwardphase.com
    LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/in/joellimardo
    Twitter: http://twitter.com/joellimardo
    Ph : 312-985-7777
  • Shlomi Fish at Sep 10, 2011 at 10:33 am
    Hello Joel,

    sorry for the late response.

    On Tue, 31 May 2011 11:15:08 -0500
    Joel Limardo wrote:
    I was the one who asked for your writing sample. I wanted to see if there
    was something fairly obvious in your writing that would cause a rejection.
    After looking at the links you provided, I'm sad to say that I agree with
    About.com.
    Well, in my letter I asked if anyone would be willing to volunteer for
    maintaining the Perl section of About.com, due to the fact that my
    application was rejected. The fact that my application was rejected was a
    given and I assumed there was little or nothing I could do about it. Telling me
    why my writing is lacking, is besides the point of finding someone to maintain
    the Perl section on About.com, and I didn't request that input.

    Thanks for passing your commentary on my writing, but it's not going to help
    with the issue I raised.

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    Interview with Ben Collins-Sussman - http://shlom.in/sussman

    Had I not been already insane, I would have long ago driven myself mad.
    — The Enemy and how I Helped to Fight It

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .
  • Joel Limardo at Sep 10, 2011 at 3:14 pm
    I was trying to say that you should try again. I suppose I could have
    summarized that in a single statement and then have gone into the details
    about how your writing examples. My aim was just to give you a picture of
    what someone sitting on the editor's side of the desk might say.

    Effective written communication is either going to be a platform for success
    for an IT professional or a constant impediment.

    I know all this stuff about writing because at one point I was going to be a
    professional writer. In H.S. I only had two concentrations -- English and
    Computer Science. By 4th year it was basically all English because my school
    ran out of CS classes for me to take! I took Basic, Pascal, all the typing
    courses I could find and even some computing concepts class that put me to
    sleep as I remember it. With no other options I elected to concentrate on my
    other skill, English. It was either that or not graduate.

    When I hit college I was, naturally, a declared English major in the first
    year. In my mind there was nothing that could stop me from being a published
    author. Then reality set in. I realized that there were very few jobs for
    someone with an English degree outside of teaching and mid-second year I
    found college impossible to afford. I left for the workforce and
    menial-job-drudgery that spanned everything from opening boxes of books for
    a well-known book distributor to digging up death benefit files in a huge
    storage room for a petroleum company. In short, work sucked.

    Then one day the powers that be realized I had a knack for computers and I
    got an assignment providing grunt-work support for a team of IT consultants.
    They were making some trading system in PowerBuilder as I remember it. Their
    lead guy sat right next to me and took me under his wing. He basically
    prepared me for my entire undergraduate career, walking me through which
    classes would be the most difficult and spoon feeding me tips on what to
    focus on. I remember quitting that job and marching right into college two
    weeks later. Four years after that and plenty of college loans later I had a
    degree in computer science.

    Now that I've gotten my brief history out of the way you might be wondering
    what is the point? By themselves my communication skills did not count for
    much. I couldn't use them to secure a good job sans anything else. However,
    once I had studied computer science, good communication skills have proved
    to be INVALUABLE. It has gotten me jobs; kept me in jobs; and put me in a
    position of helping clients choose solutions.

    People cannot know what you are capable of if you cannot communicate it to
    them effectively. The same goes for Perl and that is why this post is good
    for an advocacy group. Effective communication in the form of writing is
    critical and more important than any other skill if you want to convince
    people to use some form of technology. It is like the difference between
    'Bada-pa-pa-paaaa...I'm lovin it' for McDonalds and 'Please come and eat
    some of our burgers and fries...' Good writing makes all the difference.



    On Sat, Sep 10, 2011 at 5:33 AM, Shlomi Fish wrote:

    Hello Joel,

    sorry for the late response.

    On Tue, 31 May 2011 11:15:08 -0500
    Joel Limardo wrote:
    I was the one who asked for your writing sample. I wanted to see if there
    was something fairly obvious in your writing that would cause a
    rejection.
    After looking at the links you provided, I'm sad to say that I agree with
    About.com.
    Well, in my letter I asked if anyone would be willing to volunteer for
    maintaining the Perl section of About.com, due to the fact that my
    application was rejected. The fact that my application was rejected was a
    given and I assumed there was little or nothing I could do about it.
    Telling me
    why my writing is lacking, is besides the point of finding someone to
    maintain
    the Perl section on About.com, and I didn't request that input.

    Thanks for passing your commentary on my writing, but it's not going to
    help
    with the issue I raised.

    Regards,

    Shlomi Fish

    --
    -----------------------------------------------------------------
    Shlomi Fish http://www.shlomifish.org/
    Interview with Ben Collins-Sussman - http://shlom.in/sussman

    Had I not been already insane, I would have long ago driven myself mad.
    — The Enemy and how I Helped to Fight It

    Please reply to list if it's a mailing list post - http://shlom.in/reply .

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