Subject: Rewriting
From: Sandy McDonnell <sandy_mcdonnell -at- cmsinc -dot- com>
To: "'techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com'" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 08:48:47 -0500

Someone asked:

Do TW contractors do a lot reorganization and rewrite of existing (poor
quality) documentation? Is this the most common task performed (vs original

First, let me say I am not a contractor. However, in my current job many of
the docs were in terrible shape. I spent a tremendous amount of time
rewriting as much as I could get away with. There was also plenty of
original writing in there. Sometimes a "writer" does a job very badly --
sometime for long periods of time -- and as the new writer, you can either
let it go or rewrite it. In my case it was a matter of wanting the docs to
be useful, and also of pride. My name was now the one associated with ALL
documents for the product in question and I was simply unwilling to let
anyone think that my work was at that poor quality level. And, as a new user
of the product, I was frustrated beyond belief trying to use the old docs.

So, it depends on the job, the company, the level of writing being done at
that job and a hundred other things. It is a good exercise in terms of being
forced to work with really unusable material. It also helps you bond with
the developers. Often if someone is writing that poorly, they aren't
bothering to interview the SMEs well. In my case, the developers were
thrilled that someone was taking the time to make the docs accurate and

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