Re: Silently screaming

Subject: Re: Silently screaming
From: Chris Kowalchuk <chris -at- bdk -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 16:44:05 -0500

Let's stop screaming and be critical for a moment.

Are the essays well organized? Did she cite her sources properly? Has
she demonstrated the ability to do focussed research, organize her
material, coherently present her arguments? I don't care what the topic
is, that's what good writing is about. I know some people on this list
don't think technical writing has much to do with writing at all, but I
say if she has done all those things well, then she can be a good tech
writer if she wants to, and her essays, on whatever topic, should
demonstrate that (or not). If they don't, she won't be a good tech
writer either.

I went from writing essays on John Stuart Mill and 19th Century
Liberalism to documenting vacuum chambers and electronic control
systems, and did a pretty good job at both, thank you very much. Sure I
had to look at a few samples and templates to get a feel for a typical
format for the technical documentation, but the essential problem for
either task is the same:

Can you trust your sources?
Do you know how to assess the quality of your source and test any
assumptions?
Can you take your findings and present them in a way that makes sense,
and is useful to others?

Now, if her essays don't demonstrate those skills, then please continue
screaming. But if they do, then give her a chance.

Chris Kowalchuk





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