Re: Not Technical Enough

Subject: Re: Not Technical Enough
From: Stephen Martin <stpats -at- storm -dot- ca>
Date: Fri, 02 Jun 2000 09:02:14 -0400

After the topic had been wisely moved to email, William Gage wrote:

> I appreciate your attempt to clarify things. You analyzed our
> conversation so adeptly, one would think that you were an English Lit
> major.

Note: I'm hoping this is my last post anywhere on this topic, but I've
moved it back to the list (after having moved off it), because I think
everyone needs to see this. I expect Eric'll find time to tear a strip
off me later.

During my short University career my destination was a B.A.
(Philosophy). But I also began studying psychology/sociology over 20
years ago, had taken a few programming courses, and assembled/ran-QC on
PC's for the past ten years.

My first Tech Writing job came while I was working for an Engineering
Consulting firm for our (Canada's) Department of National Defence as a
Project Administrator (i.e. glorified secretary with some CM/DM
duties). The Tech Writer on the Low Level Air Defence project was off
for back surgery, so I got seconded to review and edit his recently
completed manuals, as well as writing two nooks in the documentation

A bit later, during another slow period on my project, I got farmed out
to create the User's Guide for brand new Graphics Workstation at one of
the Land Software Engineering Centres.

Since then I've worked at Bell Sygma and Revenue Canada, documenting
their Internet/Intranet services, at the Tax Court of Canada, (User
Guide, SysAdmin Guide, and training material for the new client-server
model Appeals Tracking System), various Rapid Design Kits (for example,
a Firewaire kit), etc.

> But alas, I can't speak to Dan's motivations, so I can't tell whether
> I was "blindly reacting" to what seemed to be a pretty clear

As an armchair psychologist, and a past master at "blindly reacting", it
seems pretty much so to my eyes.

> Maybe it's just me, but the polarization between the
> two sides is getting under my skin. We're all
> writers, aren't we? And what matters is the product,

To make an onerous <is that the right word? Have I comitted a mortal
sin?>, comparison, the discussion has become like a group of mainly
masculine humanoids standing around bitching and moaning about the crime
rate, unemployment, or what have you. Sooner or later they'll start
using a specific group as an example, and, more often than not, the
example transmorgifies into a scapegoat.

As the discussion had originally started out, the targeting of ELMs
(English Lit. majors), or OAKs (Objective and Knowledgable), was the
fault of an earlier fellow, but as the fires rage in techwr-l, I think
that somebody could have bought a clue and made a concious decision to
acknowledge that the discusion wasn't limited to ELMs in specific, but
the unexperienced in general.

All in all, folks, I think the whole topic has lost all relevancy for
the list and should find a home elsewhere.


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