RE: Writing Skills - Importance Of?

Subject: RE: Writing Skills - Importance Of?
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 4 Feb 2000 15:39:00 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Anthony Markatos [mailto:tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com]
> Sent: Thursday, February 03, 2000 11:34 AM
> Subject: Writing Skills - Importance Of?
> Chuck Martin wrote:
> <coarse bluntness>
> No matter how well organized the project, no matter how well
> identified the
> tasks, if the writing is crappy, the documentation will suck./coarse
> bluntness>

> Tony Markatos responds:
> Chuck, have you actually see this happen? In fifteen years
> of technical
> communications experience, I have never seen nor heard of a
> well organized
> (in terms of both the deliverable and project management)
> tech comm project
> that fell apart because of poor writing technique. I have
> seen PLENTY of
> the opposite.
I never said that the project would fall apart, I said the documentation
will suck.

That, I have seen. The companies shall remain nameless, but I have seen
well-managed projects that turned out crappy docs because the writing was so
horrible, from dense, user-unfriendly reference-oriented information to bad
grammar that obscured the meaning and the message.

Just because technical writers (I like "technical communicators" better)
have to do much more than write, it doesn't mean that writing skills can
take a back seat when producing high-quality documentation.

Chuck Martin
Sr. Technical Writer, SERENA Software

"People who use business software might despise it, but they are getting
paid to tolerate it....Most people who are paid to use a tool feel
constrained not to complain about that tool, but it doesn't stop them from
feeling frustrated and unhappy about it."
- "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Alan Cooper

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