Re: An Engineer has infected my young mind!

Subject: Re: An Engineer has infected my young mind!
From: Sybille Sterk <sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net>
To: Christi <christi -at- sageinst -dot- COM>, TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 19 May 2000 11:13:08 +0100

Hi Christi,

Sorry, I've been a bit aggressive here to give Sierra a boost. I agree, I usually get a lot of input from engineers and I do ask them if there is anything they'd like to see in the manual etc. However, as far as the way the presentation of the information goes, I am the expert!

I am usually getting on quite well with the engineers, and most of them are quite happy to let me write the manuals. I also occasionally make suggestions concerning the UI or other things like that... which are received more or less well, depending on the programmer.

Think about it, though, if you are a lone, inexperienced tech writer up against a (probably) older confident engineer who tells you what to do, it is very difficult to do what you think best. There's nothing wrong with a bit of confrontation or saying "stop, no further, this is my business". - It's the same when you try and be your own person rather than your parents' little one... sometimes it needs a bit of aggression before you can talk to one another as adults.

Generally, I think that tech writing is greatly undervalued, especially by programmers who think it's not really necessary, which makes Sierra's position even more difficult.

Hope you see my point.


At 23:35 18/05/00 , Christi wrote:

on 5/18/00 3:26 PM, Sybille Sterk wrote:
> The engineer has no business telling you what to put into the manual. You
> are not telling him what to put into the program, are you?
Whoah. I'm usually all for "we are the tech writer and we know best". But I
think this takes it a bit far. I don't think I've ever written a guide
without some input from the engineer (developer, programmer, whatever title
they like). And yes, actually, I do tell them what to put and not put in the
program. If, that is, I think my input would benefit the user and it's
something the developer hasn't thought of or seen or considered.

I think there is more (or should be more) conversation between the TW and
Eng. and I suspect that both sides will have (at least some) valuable input
to both processes.

Sybille Sterk
Email: sybille -at- wowfabgroovy -dot- net
Web Site:
"This writing business. Pencils and what-not.
Over-rated, if you ask me. Silly stuff. Nothing in it." -- Eeyore

Re: An Engineer has infected my young mind!: From: Christi

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