Re: Oh those tender users

Subject: Re: Oh those tender users
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- att -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 30 Dec 2000 19:50:32 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Saturday, December 30, 2000 7:42 PM
Subject: Re: Oh those tender users

>On 12/30/00 7:18 PM, Bonnie Granat (bgranat -at- att -dot- net) quoted and wrote:
>>>> The freshness of the "non-technical" person can provide him or her
>>>>with an objectivity that more closely mirrors that of the TARGET of all
>>>> our writing - the USER.
>>>This is akin to saying "I am a better writer because I remain ignorant."
>>It's saying that if an end user is a nontechnical person, a nontechnical
>>technical writer is a good test subject for the adequacy of documentation
>>for nontechnical users and specifically, that a nontechnical technical
>>writer is ideal to present technical information to nontechnical users.
>That's exactly what I (and probably most people in this discussion)
>understood the original quote to say. I also happen to think that's
>nonsense, as I said in an earlier message.
>A non-technical tech writer runs the risk of omitting important
>information through ignorance.

A nontechnical technical writer learns about the product and learns what is
important to tell users. You, like Andrew, seem to be suggesting that
nontechnical writers are not capable of learning about the product.

That's a serious risk that I, personally,
>would not accept in myself or a writer working for me. Being
>"non-technical" when writing about technical products is a big
>disadvantage, and no nonsense about "freshness" can cover that up.

I wonder if we aren't misunderstanding each other. I am saying that I don't
need to be a database developer to write about a program that uses a
database, as long as I know what users must know so that they do not ruin
the database in the software. To imply that people who write about
technology must be experts in that technology is silly.

>>I hate to tell you this, but you are a disgusting liar. Nobody implied
>>that the users care about the writer. What the hell are you smoking?
>Ummm... I think you may have posted a private reply to the list. An
>honest mistake, I'm sure, but you may want to watch out for that...

Missed that on the second round of self-censoring. Pointing it out was a
real help.

Bonnie Granat

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