Letter to the Editor
The Carnegie Mellon community can easily recognize that readme’s recent publication was unacceptable. What people might not realize was that the problem was long in the making. Two years ago, while I was executive officer of The Tartan (a position now called publisher) I worked to rebuild it after a similar incident. That year, many people strove to build in new layers of accountability and oversight and professionalized the incredible copy and layout teams that bring you The Tartan every week. During this time period, readme faltered. No longer the clever newsletter I remembered from my first years, the quality decreased and soon readme began to miss issues.
I realized that readme’s problems resembled those of the old Tartan: poor staffing, inadequate training, and unclear oversight. So I offered to help. For no charge, The Tartan would have copy edited and laid out every readme issue while leaving readme complete control over content. The only change I requested was that The Tartan’s publisher be able to stop an issue if he/she was concerned it was too offensive, in order to sit down with the readme editorial staff and discuss it.
Reflecting the irreverence of its articles, readme thought it didn’t need to take its problems seriously. This offensive issue did not reflect a single lapse of judgment; this was a carefully planned course of action and a refusal to treat the Carnegie Mellon community with the respect it deserves.
Carnegie Mellon ’04