The Problem with STC

Subject: The Problem with STC
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 9 Dec 2000 10:12:31 -0800 (PST)

Like a lot of people, I too was once a member of STC. I terminated my
membership about 3 years ago. Honestly, I think STC leads many writers down the
wrong paths in technical writing. Many of the forums and meetings perpetuate
the "one-off mentality." They support writers who are forever doing tasks that
are one-step removed from actually producing documents.

My other big complaint with STC is their complete lack of technical knowledge.
They sponsor big meetings on how to map information and develop a documentation
plan - but have you ever see an STC sponsored event on systems networking,
object oriented programming, scientific writing?

I also really disliked the sales factor in every meeting. Many STC meetings
were nothing more than ego-showcases for individual consultants or extended
sales pitches from recruiting agencies. I went to one meeting where the
individual in charge of the meeting (about how to develop on-line help) would
interrupt people every 5 minutes and say things like "well, at So-and-So where
I work, we have a this system that has the benefits and it only costs x
dollars. Call me today to set up a meeting." I paid $3.00 to listen to some
sales guy tell me how great his consulting firm is? Screw that.

I find STC very "old school" tech pubs. They are centered on this notion of the
big, hierarchical tech pubs department. A place where things are done slowly
and deliberately. Where change is considered a "problem" and consistency is a
religion. That is perhaps the model in a lot of older, bureaucratic eastern
companies. Out here on the west coast, that model is usually rejected.

I am also really pissed at STC because of this seminar last year. They asked me
to speak at some convention. I agreed and developed a presentation on
independent contracting. When I showed up at the seminar - I was required to
PAY to get into the seminar. I told them I was a speaker. That didn't matter,
speakers still had to pay. That was pretty low. Making speakers PAY to speak at
a seminar. Pathetic. It reminds me of these phony news programs they have on
radio where you pay the station to have a story done about your company.

Like Bruce, my salary has nearly tripled since I left STC. Perhaps that is just
coincidence. I think they are really more of a social club than a professional

Andrew Plato

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