Mike Lesk is interesting on this. He said to me that if you assume people are idiots they learn to behave to your expectations and if you treat them with the respect they deserve they grow. It was in the context of library index systems and "do you want easy mode" clippy style vs terse but functional.

Many specialist secretary roles in times past were simply underpaid subject matter experts even on a typing pool. Huge amounts of expert knowledge.

The data entry staff at Edinburgh uni notoriously corrected student programs doing cardpunch work.

There's no 'just' in women's work. As the Chinese maoist poster said: "women hold up half the sky".


On Fri, 20 Jan 2023, 10:47 Yeechang Lee, <ylee@columbia.edu> wrote:
Rich Salz says:
> To me, the biggest surprise about Unix history is that the Bell
> patent office secretaries were able to use ed and [nt]roff.

I've similarly heard that Sun secretaries were pretty adept at using Emacs.