Re: Bitterness toward technical writers

Subject: Re: Bitterness toward technical writers
From: "Gerry Barnes-Hampton" <ghampton -at- fox -dot- uq -dot- net -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 6 Jan 2001 00:04:08 +1000


That's life. I just move to the next contract as quickly as possible when
that happens. I'm too old for that stuff after all these years of Tech
Writing. IMHO it indicates a newbie manager who is not going to allow me to
do what I do best, so I don't extend the contract. Life's simpler that way.

Geraldine Barnes-Hampton
Technical Writer, Explain IT
Brisbane, Australia
ghampton -at- uq -dot- net -dot- au

----- Original Message -----
From: Le Vie, DonaldX S <donaldx -dot- s -dot- le -dot- vie -at- intel -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Monday, January 08, 2001 11:24 PM
Subject: RE: Bitterness toward technical writers

> Melanie asked:
> >>Is it really common for tech writers to argue about design with
> non-designers? Or is this an apocryphal theory?<<
> In the past, I simply pointed to the style guide and didn't engage anyone
> outside of the technical communications department about fonts or any
> design issues. We had a process in place that allowed everyone to submit
> requests for changes, additions, deletions to the style guide every year.
> That practice prevented many useless peeing contests.
> One former manager of mine at Motorola (an engineer) once asked me to sit
> down with the division's Golden Child and go over line-by-line my
> corrections to his white paper that he thought was just perfect. Turns
> his biggest pain points were my punctuation changes (he didn't complain
> about the content changes). I told her no, that was a waste of his time
> mine and that instead, I would refer him to the style guide that explains
> the changes.
> Last summer, when I was interviewing for some contract work, a division
> engineering manager asked me "What do you see as one of the most
> problems with documentation?" I gave him my most eloquent response about
> paucity of usable content in user documentation, and he interrupted with:
> "But what about the font problems you have when you go from a Unix
> environment to a PC environment? You know, when you use some fonts with
> fancy design and others that don't?"
> I asked him: "You mean serif and non-serifed fonts, like Helvetica and
> Roman?"
> "Yeah, that's it," he replied
> "First of all, that's a system issue, not a documentation one."
> EXACTLY why we don't need to try to waste time debating such issues. In
> fact, I've never had to go to an engineer to debate his choice of timer
> signals or register definitions. Technical folks often see the world as
> one engineering challenge after another, and easily solved with an
> engineering/technical solution.
> Donn Le Vie

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