RE: "not technical enough"

Subject: RE: "not technical enough"
From: "Mihail Tsagidis" <tsagge -at- gmx -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 31 Jul 2000 01:41:42 +0200

On Sat, 29 Jul 2000 05:37:53 -0700 (PDT), Tom Murrell wrote:

>> I want to join the discussion for one second and describe my point of
>> view: "I am too _stupid_ to be a programmer and too _intelligent_ to be
>> a user only, so I become a technical writer".
>> ciao, mihail
>Interesting perspective. Not sure it can be successfully used as a
Yes, I did't mean it as a generalization. Only my point of view. Maybe
some others think the same. It's fact, that I could't be a programmer,
but only good enough to be a technical writer (as well as documenting
source code some "chaotic programmers" written)...

>Nor do I feel "too intelligent to be a user only." There are some awfully
>intelligent users out there. One of the things that pains me in the technical
>world in general is that developers, marketers, entrepreneurs, even writers all
>seem to undervalue users. For one thing, where would any of us be without
>users? Apple came out with the first commercially viable personal computers in
>the early '80s, but, like it or not, Microsoft has the users (which, by the
>way, Microsoft treats rather badly, too.)

I think that as the number of new users grow by every day, it's
changing the way how a typical user can be described. Nowadays a
typical user is a user that has not much experience with the computer
or maybe I should say it like this: He has not much idea about the
concepts. He learned to klick on the icon that's all. And that is not
bad, at least. From the point of technical documentation, someone must
write more clearly and more from the point of the totally "I don't know
much about computers" user. And I think many documentation out there is
still written too difficult to understand.

But you are talking about Microsoft, too, and that MS treats its users
'badly'. Maybe, MS produce software that is so much easy to understand
and to handle, that there is no need for (good) documentation! I don't
believe the latter of course.

>They may be ignorant about computers, but most of them will learn.
>Unfortunately, it may be in spite of even the Technical Writers who are
>supposed to be making it easier for them.

I totally aggree with this. When I was writing last time a document for
administrators, how to install a software bundle on a windows nt
machine, i thought of myself as a user that does not understand what a
windows nt machine is. I hope the most administrators will forgive me,
when they read and think "I know this, I know this, I know this...". It
helps much when you have a good TOC and Index, I hope...

I am new in this field. Who is considered to be a "technical writer"


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