RE: The Real Offense

Subject: RE: The Real Offense
From: "Murrell, Thomas" <TMurrell -at- alldata -dot- net>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 14:15:23 -0500

The real offense is pompous pontificators who think any idiot who bothers to
learn the technology can write about it. It does no good to refer to
writing and presentation principles as "theory-crap." Is the theory of
software design more such "theory-crap?" What about principles of
electrical design? Mechanical design? More crap? (If you get the idea
that I think someone is slingin' it around a bit too thick, you're right.)

I have no interest in defending those who prefer to diddle away their
productive time doing style guides, templates, and facilitating meetings
arguing about serif vs. san-serif fonts. However, there are presentation
values that are important; they can no more be minimized than can readable
grammatical structures or careful rhetorical presentation. There is a time
and place for everything, and the successful Technical Writer will, among
other things, know when it's time to shove paragraphs through the word
processor and when it's time to consider what the final output should look

At the same time, the product of the technical writer must be accurate,
complete, and available when the product it documents is available. I agree
that it is not unreasonable to expect a writer to be willing to learn about
what the writer will be writing. If all you want to do is wordsmith other's
writings, you want an editor's position not a Technical Writer's position.

I would hope that the rhetoric from certain quarters could be toned down and
tuned to a more constructive path. The craft of MY discipline is as
important as the craft of anyone else's discipline, and I'll thank you to
respect that.

Tom Murrell

> From: Andrew Plato[SMTP:intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com]
> I admit that I am a harsh critic of the theory-crap that a lot of writers
> do. I
> also admit to over-generalizing many writers as deliberately trying to do
> this.
Editorial comment: <sarcasm>It's generous of you to admit you might be a tad
over the top. </sarcasm>


> Instead, STC sponsors inane seminars about theories and crap. The STC
> magazine
> contains story after story describing new ways to AVOID writing. "Why
> write,
> when you can worry about fonts, bullets, and other trivial nonsense."
Editorial comment: You don't have to go. I know I don't. And it's a gross
misreading to say that the thrust of the articles is AVOIDING writing, isn't


> Mostly, I find it appalling that some writers will go to extensive
> rhetorical
> lengths to defend their ignorance as if they have a right to be paid and
> admired for stupidity.
Editorial comment: Why do you keep hiring bad writers?

> Anyway...back to work.
> Andrew Plato

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