The Grail did me—and our community—a great service in their April 24, 2014 issue by attempting to explicate some of the more complex operating instructions for CSOs. Despite them being openly available to community members, the directives that explain how CSOs (are supposed to) do their work remain poorly understood by many of the people most impacted by them: students. Moreover, the format used by The Grail, where excerpts of the directives are juxtaposed with commentary by Grail editors, is one that I found illuminating, engaging, and wry. And, I have a critique and an offer.
By way of critique, I take exception to the assertion that the directives are “at times . . . deceptive.” Labeling written instructions as “deceptive” either anthropomorphizes them into beings with agency, or implies that the author (me) intended them to have hidden meanings. Well, I reject out of hand the notion that written directives have agency—deceptive or otherwise. So, that leaves me as the author of deception—or, possibly, potentially, perhaps, perchance, our noble Grail editors have missed the mark. I acknowledge that, as The Grail put it, some readers may find the directives “puzzling” or “vague.” That is not unexpected when technical documents are read by people outside the field. However, alleging deception implies an intent that I do not have. My intent is to be open.
My offer: I invite anyone with specific suggestions for the directives to bring them to me. I welcome suggestions in both the realm of how we do our work, as well as how we describe what we do.
Gary “The Grange” Granger
Director of Community Safety