February 2011
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Month February 2011

Forbidden Word: An Author Speaks Out!

Ben's Iron IconOur friend, Ben Britten Smith, AKA Panda, wrote to us from Australia to express his preference for certain writing tools. We applaud his passion, but wonder if he could improve his use of understatement:

“Can we please never ever ever use MS Word ever again? It is a terrible program and it makes me angry just opening it up and seeing its horrendously bad UI. I understand that there may be some ebook publishing plugins or something that requires Word, but at least for any projects that I am involved in, I would ask that everyone be using something less gross, like Pages (or just a Google Doc if these people don’t have Macs, (or even a LaTex document and SVN) whatever), and then at the very end, when everything is totally done and dusted, then someone, in a dark room, far away from prying eyes, can crack open the necromantic horror that is MS Word and put it all in at that point. This way all the rest of the team members will be spared the eldritch insanity that comes with using such an abomination of user experience.” -Ben Smith

Ben is not alone. In fact, this may be the most-often and widely expressed concern we’ve received at the Collegium WalrusInkium. We have no intention of shackling WalrusInk authors to inefficient, ugly, or otherwise counterproductive software. Writing is hard enough without imposing tools of such “necromantic horror” and “eldritch insanity” that anger, frustration, and depression are assured. We say to Ben and others who feel as he does, “Fear not!”
-Professor Walrus

Who do you Trust?

An Essay on The Transformation of Trust in a Multivariate Universe

Trust is a cudgel. It’s not meant to be, or at least it isn’t defined as such. But in a world of hidden agendas, hierarchies, and group-think, “trust” has become a keyword for submission, subservience, and general me-too-ism. Here’s how it works in this non-trusting world:

I say to you, “Can I trust you?” This is a signal requiring agreement and not a request for a thoughtful answer. In fact, the slightest hesitation to blurt back “yes,” is an obvious “no.” This is why there are contracts, which become a written form of trust; a very explicit, truth-or-consequences form. Without this sort of explicitness, trust can’t be a yes or no question, so don’t ask!

Losing the Mutuality of Trust

Trust between two people requires a history of shared experiences. It requires mutuality and time. Furthermore, blanket trust isn’t possible and probably not particularly useful except in the closest relationships. Especially in a business relationship, trust needs to have limitations and for good reasons. Let’s start with the basics.