Why I hate press releases and polls


It's about the filters.

When I read a blog post like ApacheCon 2008: inspiration, I can feel the author's way of thinking, even though I don't know him. Obviously liked the event and people, and maybe too enthusiastic to mention the inevitable negative aspects of their overall experience. An unfiltered report allows me to see through the plain words.

Most people don't use mental filters when writing on their own blog, or if they do it is usually obvious. Ideas flow freely from their mind to mine, with only my reading filter in between.

Press releases are a different story: the original author of the idea often has to filter it down so that the PR people understand it (not that they're dumb, but they're often not subject matter experts either), and said PR people too often apply some form of "make sure we look good" or even "smoke and mirrors are fine" filters, common stuff in this type of writing.

That's two or three filters more in the flow of ideas. Way too much.

Polls are even worse: if you were to ask me what word processor I use, with the choice between MagicTextWizard, OpenTextGenius or Other, I would reply Other, of course.

But am I really using the Other word processor? Not at all, my real answer is that I hate all word processors equally, and will use durable formats for any important writing: plain text, HTML, TeX if I have to. Editing with vi if needed, or anything that provides a full-screen view with no noisy menus.

Filters again - the poll's limited set of answers is forcing my answer into a dumbed-down checkbox.

I hope this explains better why a press release about a dumbed-down poll will not make me too enthusiastic...grassroots PR is the best PR in my opinon, so press releases which sound like that will make me much happier.