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red61544

Apparently, I missed the name change for this forum. It used to be Author Hangout where people discussed rules of writing, asked about the direction they wanted their stories to go, and discussed the vagaries of their muses. When did it suddenly become FORUM: POLITICAL ARGUMENTS?

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Not_a_ID

Authors are probably some of the worst offenders on that, it comes with the territory considering they have to create or otherwise imitate "worlds" in which their stories happen.

This means a LOT of "head cannon" centered around the politics of those settings, which typically end up having been extrapolated from the world they know/understand.

So in a way, attacking their politics is attacking their work. But likewise, many authors are going to consider such "discussions" as useful fodder when it comes to plotting out their next works.

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Crumbly Writer

Despite my unloading whenever the topics are raised, I typically avoid mentioning politics, because the discussions go nowhere, with one side insisting something is the absolute truth with the other insisting there's nothing to the story at all, and the entire discussion becomes nothing more than a shouting match to see who's the biggest blowhard.

My problem, is when I do run across these discussions, and see the nonsense being spouted by otherwise intelligent people, I don't pull my punches.

But seriously, why would anyone care about an author's political position? Why are they more knowledgeable about something that doesn't impact them in the slightest, and for which they have no involvement.

Now, if the discussion is research based, such as some recent questions about how the government might handle certain situations, then I fully support those efforts—though again, the blowhards can't keep from turning it into a sludgefest.

As always, your best bet is to jump into each new thread early. Read the first five or six posts, and then get the hell out before the discussions degrade into major feuds of minor nits. No good comes from protracted arguments, as neither side is listening to or considering the ideas of anyone else.

If you want to discuss literary ideas, or how to craft a harem story, then this is your place. But when the discussions branch off topic, then all bets are off and its time to head for the hills.

awnlee jawking

@red61544

There's a handful of regulars who don't have much of an outside life, and use the forum to profess what their imaginary friends tell them. Several people have commented here that it's the same few people dominating the discussions and making the forum seem unwelcoming :(

AJ

Banadin

You should never listen to the political opinion of authors, only that of entertainers, especially those who can juggle while riding a unicycle.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@Not_a_ID

many authors are going to consider such "discussions" as useful fodder when it comes to plotting out their next works.


Keep in mind, too, that being able to rationally discuss and/or argue points without degenerating into simple name calling is also polishing writing skills. It's sort of like when I'm at work. My day job, I am a professional salesman.

I actually enjoy the negotiation process, and I train constantly to become better at my job, helping to overcome objections, find out what the real objection is, and doing what I can to persuade someone to make that purchase. Note that I'm NOT just cold-calling people, they have to come visit me. So they're at least interested, or they wouldn't have shown up in the first place. It's almost disappointing when I present numbers and someone goes, yeah, seems fair to me, and inks up right away, without even a cursory negotiation.

Crumbly Writer

@Banadin

You should never listen to the political opinion of authors, only that of entertainers, especially those who can juggle while riding a unicycle.

Or better yet, talk to authors about literary (or harem permutations), entertainers about the entertainment industry, and reality TV stars about reality TV. Why anyone assumes that people not in the fields believes anything anyone unfamiliar with a field is beyond me. Yet somehow, the best politican we can find is someone who doesn't comprehend how the government works, those chosen to speak out about racial injustice are all white, and we ask the Kardashians to weigh in on everything. We seem to prefer know-nothing experts to checking the facts ourselves. I understand a healthy skepticism, but you can't ask a clown at the local mall what they think the best national energy policy is.

Writers write, and they know writing. Actors act, and they know acting (i.e. lying in public) and the expects in their various fields know those fields, but not anything about the millions of other fields they haven't invested any time in understanding.

Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

Keep in mind, too, that being able to rationally discuss and/or argue points without degenerating into simple name calling is also polishing writing skills. It's sort of like when I'm at work. My day job, I am a professional salesman.

Another twist on this, is that, at least for authors, it's best to not attack a position directly, because that only gets people defensive and they lash out. In fiction, authors often disguise stories, so they can address issues without stirring up readers preconceptions.

Thus Mark Twain discussed racial attitudes while following a boy running away from home, Harper Lee approached similar issues from the framework of young child, following the work he did trying to protect an innocent man in a hostile courtroom.

Thus, it does little to lash out at those who disagree with you (though it's often too easy to do). A better approach is to approach it from a different direction. The original Star Trek did this all the time, with thinly veiled social issues (ex: the alien race with half-white/half-black faces waging a war against those with half-black/half-white faces), yet it got those issues national attention at a time when the entire country was at war with itself over the Vietnam War).

I took a similar approach with my Demonic Issues series, by addressing the issues facing mental illnesses by showing it as a fight behind otherworldly demon, dragons and fairies. But as long as you're not throwing the same old arguments in people's faces, they'll stop and consider those very same issues if the argument comes from an unexpected direction.

Replies:   Keet
Keet

@Crumbly Writer

In fiction, authors often disguise stories

Ah yes, the 'Animal Farm' approach.

PotomacBob

@StarFleet Carl

I am a professional salesman


I don't want to step on anybody's toes, and this is not intended to be critical of the person who used it.
It raises, for me, the use of the word "professional. I was taught (many years ago) that the word "professional" should be reserved for those who are in the "professions," i.e., those with special training such as lawyers, physicians, etc.
But these days, I see lots of uses of "professional," as in a "professional football player" and others. I guess, in that usage, all it means is that "I get paid to do it" or "it's my job."
Is there a right way and wrong way to use "professional," or is this another one of those words where it has lost its former meaning through different uses?

REP

@PotomacBob

I was taught (many years ago) that the word "professional" should be reserved for those who are in the "professions," i.e., those with special training such as lawyers, physicians, etc.


I suspect that whoever gave you that definition of "professional" had a very narrow viewpoint. They were probably inferring "special training" to mean a 4-year college degree. I also suspect that many people at that time used the term "professional" to refer to a much wider range of jobs than those considered to be a professional by the person who gave you that definition.

In fact, most careers require special training in a narrow field of work. Stop and consider the "special training" required by plumbers, electricians, software programmers, accountants, firefighters, and many other careers.

Ernest Bywater
Updated:

@PotomacBob


It raises, for me, the use of the word "professional. I was taught (many years ago) that the word "professional" should be reserved for those who are in the "professions," i.e., those with special training such as lawyers, physicians, etc.


When you look in many of the older dictionaries the word professional is very clearly defined to mean someone who had spent many years learning to do a specific job and the training exceeded that for a normal university / college degree as it required serious post grad education and training, some also had a meaning to do with something you did for the love of it regardless of the pay involved. However, sometime during the 1980s and 1990s the US media started using it to mean anything where you got paid to do it full time, and they really liked applying it to where it was also something someone could do as a hobby but were doing it as their full-time employment. Thus professional football players as against amateur football players etc. This last is how most people see the word is used now, due to common usage.

Also, at one point the word professional was used to mean anyone with a 4 year diploma working in that industry full time. As against a non-professional tradesman or people without a diploma.

Ross at Play

@PotomacBob

professional salesman

I can think of two distinct historical uses for the word.

One was to use 'the professions' as a noun. To me that meant someone working in jobs that not only required specialised university training but were a position of trust. Lawyers and doctors could have licences to practice revoked if they were convicted of some unrelated crime, and that is what set the 'professions' apart from other mere jobs or trades.

The other was to use 'professional' as an adjective and as the opposite of 'amateur'. This was used when someone's primary source of income came from some skill or craft which many others pursued as a hobby, for example, sportsmen and artists.

I would not refer to a salesman as a professional.

StarFleet Carl

@Ross at Play

I would not refer to a salesman as a professional.


A lot of people don't.

They'd also be wrong, just as you are.

What happens with sales is quite simple. It LOOKS easy, so easy that anyone can try it. That happens quite frequently in our industry. And then when those people try it and fail, which most do, they denigrate those in the business because they feel that they should have been able to do it.

Being a professional salesman is not easy. You have to know relationships, you have to know your product, and you have to continually practice your skills to keep up with an ever changing client base as well as the new technology where your customers can reach you.

Note that Hollywood and even the industry itself have painted salesmen as slick hustlers. Those people do exist, those are the ones out for the quick buck. They're the ones who brag a lot, then end up can't make a living when times get tough. You are sort of correct in considering it the opposite of amateur, which is what most people who sell truly are - because they're not serious about their job.

Note that I am differentiating a salesman from a clerk. The lady who works at the fitting room at Wal-Mart is a clerk. (Al Bundy was a clerk.) The lady who helps you with a bespoke dress is (or should be) a salesman. It doesn't matter what industry you're in - you could sell houses, cars, medical equipment, copiers, or oil field equipment and services.

Most people in my field don't enter it by choice. No one graduates from high school or college and says, Now, I want to be a salesman. For me, this was supposed to be my fill in job when I moved to Oklahoma, until something better came along.

I've been doing it now for almost six years. I work with a guy who has been in the field for almost twenty. He basically works his own schedule, he has two or three repeat customers call him every day, and last year he made just over $400,000. I made just shy of $100,000, probably would have hit it if I hadn't had my heart issue. I'm still building my customer base, and I'm not from here, so I don't quite have the local base. We still read and attend seminars on how to improve our skills, we watch training videos, we make sure we stay certified on our products from the manufacturer, so we CAN sell them.

A clerk is not a professional salesman - and most people in our field are clerks.

In keeping with your professional versus amateur - and now to get into whether you consider something a sport or not, (Is it on ESPN? Then it's a sport.) I'm also a semi-professional poker player. By that I mean I practice - a lot - and I play - a lot - and I win a decent amount of money, but typically less than $50,000 per year. The professionals are the guys and gals who do this for a living, practice their skills, and typically have lifetime earnings in the 7 or 8 figure range.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@StarFleet Carl

You entirely missed the point of my post. Your post explained that being a good salesman is both difficult and hard work. I already knew that.

I reserve the use of 'professional' as an adjective for those whose main source of income is from a skill in which others are amateurs. On that basis I agree with you calling yourself a "semi-professional poker player".

I reserve the use of 'profession' as a noun for those fields of work which require lengthy training and a specific qualification.

I agree that being a successful salesman requires a complex skill set, similar to that of a diplomat. It also requires a dedicated approach to the work on par with what I call 'the professions'. There are many who lack the innate abilities needed to become a salesman. I am certainly one of those.

I am not saying your skills and standards are less than those of professionals, but I cannot consider being a salesman to be a profession.

These are from relevant definitions from the Oxford Dictionary:

professional ADJECTIVE
1. Relating to or belonging to a profession.
2. Engaged in a specified activity as one's main paid occupation rather than as an amateur.

profession NOUN

1. A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I reserve the use of 'professional' as an adjective for those whose main source of income is from a skill in which others are amateurs. On that basis I agree with you calling yourself a "semi-professional poker player".

Sorry, Ross, but I've got to disagree. If I were to work full time at my 'hobby', but never earned a dime, that wouldn't make me a professional. Even now, when I try to present a professional product, if I didn't receive any income for it, no one would call me a 'professional'. What's more, anyone would be right to question my use of the term since my sales are so minimal, despite the time, effort and money I pour into it. Regardless of whether I put in Malcolm Gladwell's required 10,000 hours, if I'm still an amateur (i.e. I earn no revenue), I am not a professional, by any accounting!

Nowadays, Malcolm Gladwell's metric is the new determining factor. Someone who works at a job, but never becomes an 'expect' in it, is only doing their job, they aren't professional yet.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

Sorry, Ross, but I've got to disagree.

I assume you misread my post because I agree with all of your explanation:

If I were to work full time at my 'hobby', but never earned a dime, that wouldn't make me a professional. Even now, when I try to present a professional product, if I didn't receive any income for it, no one would call me a 'professional'. What's more, anyone would be right to question my use of the term since my sales are so minimal, despite the time, effort and money I pour into it. Regardless of whether I put in Malcolm Gladwell's required 10,000 hours, if I'm still an amateur (i.e. I earn no revenue), I am not a professional, by any accounting!

To be clear, I don't regard competence and effort as relevant criteria for whether someone is a professional.

I don't want to discuss this anymore. I was only identifying what I think of as two distinct definitions:
1. 'the professions' meaning a limited set of occupations which require specific training and qualifications
2. 'professional' to describe someone who makes their living doing something others do as a hobby or as amateurs

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
robberhands

@Ross at Play

I would not refer to a salesman as a professional.

I also wouldn't use the adjective professional to describe a salesman but for a different reason than you. Adjectives are used to give additional information and since 99.9% of all salesmen are professionals, i.e. they get paid to do their job, the adjective profesional doesn't add anything. For the same reason, I wouldn't write 'professional lawyer' or 'professional mercenary'.

Ross at Play

@robberhands

If only there were jobs available for a 'professional nuisance' ... I'd be a natural.

I think we agree, by the way, that 'professional' makes no sense unless there are some amateurs and some professionals.

Remus2
Updated:

https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/what-profession-ajay-sachdeva-cpea-acsap

They have numerous quotes and citations regarding the definition of 'professional'. None of which align 100%, with more than one exhibiting significant delta from the others.

I personally agree with this one;

According to Alan Bullock & Stephen Trombley, The New Fontana Dictionary of Modern Thought,London: Harper-Collins, 1999, p.689, the definition of A profession arises when any trade or occupation transforms itself through "the development of formal qualifications based upon education, apprenticeship, and examinations, the emergence of regulatory bodies with powers to admit and discipline members, and some degree of monopoly rights"


Other people obviously have their own opinions given the variations in definition.

Replies:   robberhands
robberhands

@Remus2

Your quotation is defining the noun 'profession', not the adjective professional. That's not the same. 'Professional' means to perform an activity 'like a profession'. If only 'true professions' could be handled professionally, the adjective wouldn't be needed at all.

Replies:   Remus2
awnlee jawking

@robberhands

'Professional' is a euphemism for a hit-man. So perhaps a professional salesman shoots the people who refuse to buy anything from him ;)

AJ

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@awnlee jawking

'Professional' is a euphemism for a hit-man. So perhaps a professional salesman shoots the people who refuse to buy anything from him ;)

Careful, AJ, StarFleetCarl owns a lot of big guns. :(

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
StarFleet Carl

@Ross at Play

StarFleetCarl owns a lot of big guns.


And small ones, too. Tough to conceal carry one of my rifles, but my Sig P-238 fits nicely inside a pocket.

I think a part of the problem regarding the whole profession / professional thing relates to old fashioned snobbery, more than anything else. "I am a professional, you are a layman." "I am an engineer, you are tradesman."

I sort of look at it this way. The professional engineer has the knowledge to design the engine, the car, the truck, the building, or whatever, the skilled tradesman has the knowledge to fix whatever it is the engineer designed when it breaks.

And when is it that doctors are going to perform medicine? Aren't you all about tired of them practicing it? If I go to a concert, I don't want to listen to the band practice making music, I want to hear them perform music.

(There is a bit of humor intended in what I'm saying on here, in case it's not totally obvious.)

richardshagrin

Lawyers "practice" law, too. Maybe what makes a professional is that they can sell their "Practice" when they retire.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
Crumbly Writer

@Ross at Play

I assume you misread my post because I agree with all of your explanation:

Sorry, but in the post I responded to, you stated that:

I reserve the use of 'profession' as a noun for those fields of work which require lengthy training and a specific qualification.

In that quotes, you entirely skipped over how the effective determinate was being paid for that effort, rather than merely being an expert in a particular field, and you also denigrated salesmen, although they are also highly trained professionals. However I now realize that was merely an oversight on your part, as you'd already been waging the same war for some time over the terms.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Crumbly Writer

@robberhands

I would not refer to a salesman as a professional.

I also wouldn't use the adjective professional to describe a salesman but for a different reason than you. Adjectives are used to give additional information and since 99.9% of all salesmen are professionals, i.e. they get paid to do their job, the adjective profesional doesn't add anything. For the same reason, I wouldn't write 'professional lawyer' or 'professional mercenary'.

Now that's a much better argument than Ross's convoluted alternating definitions. If there are no amateur salesmen, when why refer to a particular salesman as being a "Professional" in his field.

Great point. It's not so much inaccurate, as simply redundant.

Replies:   Argon
Crumbly Writer

@StarFleet Carl

I think a part of the problem regarding the whole profession / professional thing relates to old fashioned snobbery, more than anything else. "I am a professional, you are a layman." "I am an engineer, you are tradesman."

That's why I unintentionally triggered much of this discussion, when I mentioned how I like to make my published books look more professional than the stories on SOL by adding in graphics, appendices, advanced formatting and well-designed covers. That comment got immediately attacked by those who rightly feel that those extras don't add anything to the basic story. But again, my main issue wasn't that the graphics 'make' the story succeed, but instead that the extras make readers feel better about having to spend more for my books than they do for the typical Amazon Prime novelette.

Ross at Play
Updated:

@Crumbly Writer

I now realize that was merely an oversight on your part

Not quite. I see 'professional' exactly as you do: not an amateur. I see 'the professions' as something quite different: a limited number of occupations requiring specific qualifications, e.g. doctors, lawyers, accountants, and teachers.

Carl may call the second the result of old-fashioned snobbery. I can't argue with that, but it is also the first definition given by the Oxford Dictionary: "A paid occupation, especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification."

awnlee jawking

@StarFleet Carl

I think a part of the problem regarding the whole profession / professional thing relates to old fashioned snobbery, more than anything else.


But come the zombie apocalypse, most professionals will be a dead weight on the survivors ;)

AJ

Replies:   StarFleetCarl
awnlee jawking

@richardshagrin

Lawyers "practice" law, too. Maybe what makes a professional is that they can sell their "Practice" when they retire.


That means the Dread Pirate Roberts couldn't be considered a professional since he gave his practice away when he retired.

AJ

Replies:   AmigaClone
StarFleetCarl

@awnlee jawking

But come the zombie apocalypse, most professionals will be dead.


Fixed that for you...

AmigaClone

@awnlee jawking

These are a group of professional pirate. (Sarcazm alert)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nrj8EZm9ca8

Argon

@Crumbly Writer

If there are no amateur salesmen, when why refer to a particular salesman as being a "Professional" in his field.

Self aggrandizement on the part of those who call themselves "professional"? You get that all the time in computer forums where the guys (mostly) who do movie editing or imaging call themselves pro users as opposed to the poor ignoramuses who do less processor-intensive, but not less qualified work, e.g. a radiologist who scans tomography images for malignant growth but may not be able to cite the geekbench scores of his computer.

Replies:   awnlee jawking
awnlee jawking

@Argon

Self aggrandizement on the part of those who call themselves "professional"?


Not necessarily, IMO. It's obvious that Starfleet Carl has had professional (sorry!) training in sales techniques, something that people who flog knick-knacks on Ebay or self-published books on Amazon won't have.

AJ

Replies:   StarFleet Carl
Remus2

@robberhands

Now you're just nitpicking. But please continue, it's entertaining.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
StarFleet Carl

@awnlee jawking

It's obvious that Starfleet Carl has had professional (sorry!) training in sales techniques, something that people who flog knick-knacks on Ebay or self-published books on Amazon won't have.


Actually, this ties in with something CW mentioned earlier in the thread as well.

Malcolm Gladwell's required 10,000 hours,


We don't see this in the "modern" world much any more, but it boils down to the variation on how things were done before standardized currencies came into effect, and is still done in various places around the world.

It's the art of negotiation at a retail level.

I'm separating this from negotiating at a commercial or political level, because while the skill set of the people involved is mostly the same, typically BOTH (or more) sides involved are good at what they do. In the retail level, a lot of this ability that our grandparents had has simply been lost over time.

You know how, when you have a garage sale, you spend a lot of time putting prices on everything, hoping you're pricing it fairly, and then you still have someone ask you if you'll take 50 cents for that item you've put a $2 tag on? My wife and I have a different approach. We put up signs that read No prices on anything. Make a fair offer, we love to haggle.

It messes with so many peoples minds that it's not funny.

Replies:   Ross at Play
Ross at Play

@StarFleet Carl

My wife and I have a different approach. We put up signs that read No prices on anything. Make a fair offer, we love to haggle.

It messes with so many peoples minds that it's not funny.

In Indonesia repairmen, etc. often tell me "You decide" how much to pay. It sure as hell messes my mind! I'd much rather give the boss what they ask for and, as a generous foreigner, give his workers a couple of dollars each tip.

Replies:   Crumbly Writer
Crumbly Writer

@Remus2

Now you're just nitpicking. But please continue, it's entertaining.

Please, let's not encourage the monkeys to continue picking their nits in public. What someone does with their nits, in the privacy of their bathroom, is no one's business.

Crumbly Writer
Updated:

@Ross at Play


In Indonesia repairmen, etc. often tell me "You decide" how much to pay. It sure as hell messes my mind! I'd much rather give the boss what they ask for and, as a generous foreigner, give his workers a couple of dollars each tip.


That's called 'customer shaming', and is generally frowned on, purely on marketing grounds. If you embarrass your clients into giving you more money (the same way Starbucks does with customers who pay with a credit card), you're only guaranteeing that they'll NEVER call you back (which has never changed any Starbucks' customers' addiction to overpriced coffee!).

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