Re: Managing Engineers (long)

Subject: Re: Managing Engineers (long)
From: mpriestl -at- ca -dot- ibm -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 27 Nov 2000 17:04:01 -0500

Ceri Williams writes:
>Similarly the Technical Writer needs to understand enough of the
programming to
>understand how an application works, as this will at times make it easier
>explain to an end user how the application works. However, the Technical
>does not need to understand the full details of how the application works.
>example, a good Technical Writer does not need to know the technical
details of
>how the information is transferred from A to B. Generally it is enough to
>understand that the information *is* transferred from A to B.

What she said. I'm quoting this particular bit because it seems to be the
main bone of contention between Andrew and me. I may have stated too
strongly at various points that the writer doesn't need to know what goes
on in the guts of the app - certainly there are cases where, at least in
general terms, the reader should know what's happening, which means the
writer does too in order to explain it.

For example, in the case of a compiler, having docs that explain exactly
what a compiler does, and what a linker does, are some of the basic
background info that would go into the user's guide. However, the details
of how the tools work would not only be out of place, but potentially
revealing of trade secrets.

Speaking on my own behalf,
Michael Priestley
IBM Toronto Lab

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