In volume 10, issue 389, I had responded to two answers to some
questions I'd submitted previously about REN's.
When Tad Cook left me still wondering something, I wrote,
DT> That question has been slid on past throughout this discussion under
DT> the assumption that everyone must already know.
but I still didn't know; and when Julian Macassey said,
JM> I think I covered this in an earlier posting, but then I could have
JM> glossed over it.
I responded that maybe he did cover it earlier, but when something is
stated in a way a non-techie cannot follow or is to be found so deep
in a technical discussion that a non-techie will have given up reading
it before getting to that part, it will reach only the other techies.
DT> All you experts, please be tolerant if we ask for a re-explanation of
DT> something in more common terms or if we don't realize that a question
DT> is equivalent to one posed previously in thick jargon.
Later in that same issue, Isaac Rabinovitch wrote,
IR> My lack of experience in the telecom world leaves me without the
IR> vocabulary to follow many of the interesting and important discussions
IR> in this conference. Could somebody post a lexicon for the benefit of
IR> folks like me?
Pat Townson replied:
PT> It would seem to me [that Isaac and David] have similar complaints,
PT> and the answer for both may be to obtain copies of the glossary files
PT> in the Telecom Archives. Look for the file entitled
Providing definitions of the words and expansions of the acronyms
cannot guarantee that everyone will understand the complete idea. In
the questions I asked that led up to that submission and in the
earlier articles that lost me, the problems were the concepts and
assumptions, not the words or acronyms. I knew the words but the
phrasing was ambiguous to my untrained eyes. As a result, I couldn't
understand the answers as they were given. When I asked again, people
repeated the same murky language. That didn't help.
Finally (in one case very deep in other things I still couldn't
follow) the answers arrived: (1) the frequency of a voltage meant the
frequency at which the current is alternated; (2) REN's measure the
line load for a device to detect an incoming ring signal, not the line
load for its ringer to give out a sound, and therefore shutting the
sounding mechanism off doesn't remove the device's REN load; (3) the
REN limit of 5.0 per line is not a law and some lines can bear 6 or 7
REN's before ringer volume begins to weaken. Even at that, #1 and #2
came in only when I guessed them, asked whether that was what the
writers meant, and was told yes.
Pat's answer (pun unintended, but what the hell) applies to Isaac's
problem but not really to mine. Both in TELECOM Digest and in comp.
dcom.telecom, this forum is presented as a written medium. If we
don't comprehend something, we can reread it until we've seen all the
words a dozen times. If we still don't understand it, then the words
need to be *replaced*, not repeated as if this were a spoken medium
and perhaps we simply didn't hear you clearly the first time.
So when someone doesn't follow the engineering or telephony jargon and
asks for a re-explanation, it does no good to reuse the same type of
phrasing that didn't get the point across the first time, nor does it
help to fill the response with so much additional technical language
that the answer, no matter how easy to read by itself, is drowned out
by the new flood of jargon. At least please answer the question first
(in different terms!) and *then* add the other highly technical
thoughts that it brought to mind and which you'd like to say now.
In the future, I'll try to make my requests for explanations multiple
choice instead of essay if I can and, when I need something restated,
to emphasize that I need it rephrased, not repeated.
PT> The Telecom Archives are FTP accessible at lcs.mit.edu, using
PT> anonymous login.
... or, for those of us without FTP access, through the BITFTP mail
server at Princeton.
David Tamkin P. O. Box 7002 Des Plaines IL 60018-7002 +1 708 518 6769
MCI Mail: 426-1818 CIS: 73720,1570 GEnie: D.W.TAMKIN +1 312 693 0591