RE: Plagiarism vs Fixed Botches

Subject: RE: Plagiarism vs Fixed Botches
From: "Scudder, Beth" <beth_scudder -at- retek -dot- com>
To: "'Andrew Plato'" <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Mar 2000 17:42:51 -0600

Tony Markatos [tonymar -at- hotmail -dot- com] proposed the idea that:
> Reality is "It's 98% done" projects are botched projects -
particuarly,
> botched organization. And, almost without exception, they are
badly botched
> projects. Completing that last "2%" is immesurably hard - harder
than
> starting from scratch! And the person who is able to save a mess
deserves
> the major credit - irregardless if he/she cuts & pastes a
significant amount
> of existing text.

Andrew Plato [intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com] commented on this idea:
Lots of projects are 98% done (or less) and are resounding
successes. Once
again, it is more important to get to market with a product than
putter around
for eons fixing every error.

And my two bits are that:
I think Andrew may have missed Tony's point: when a technical writer
is handed a project and told that it is 98% done, and just needs to be
finished up, it's generally *far* from being 98% done. In fact, it was
(generally) a badly started and badly-carried-out project which needs to
have serious work done on it before a good technical writer will consider it
complete.

<end-of-day diatribe>
As this is a situation that I have personally run into, I completely
agree with Tony (assuming I have not misunderstood you). I was told that the
original "technical writer" (later discovered to be completely lacking in
technical writing experience and credentials) who had worked on the manual I
was handed had nearly finished the job, and that her work should only take a
bit of brushing up to be completed. After spending far too much time
agonizing over the horrible work I had been handed, I discarded the previous
technical writer's work. Then I found the original (possibly even worse)
documentation and a copy of the software in question, reorganized the
manual, and did the whole thing more or less from scratch in less time than
it would have taken me to complete that remaining "2%".

The point that I believe Tony was making was not that a particular
piece of documentation or software was only 98% done when it was pronounced
"finished". Rather, it was my impression that he was pointing out that being
handed a "nearly done" project and then *asked* to finish it frequently
involves far more work than the assigner of said work assumes.

</end-of-day diatribe>

To be honest, I think this has gone rather far afield from the
original plagiarism thread, but it's obviously a topic that got me rather
riled up. Please excuse me if I offended anyone with my ranting.

--Beth Scudder





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