Reviewing <ptui>?

Subject: Reviewing <ptui>?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2001 14:08:59 -0500

Jane Carnall <<... sent a document to a developer... I reformatted,
restructured, corrected, and edited his text. He has returned the document
with a couple of chapters (long ones) unreviewed, saying that he doesn't
have time to review any more of it, and I shouldn't have "made so many

Can you return it to him with a note reading "You shouldn't have made so
many errors"? <g>

<<He's copied this reply to our project manager. I have discussed this
situation with my departmental manager, who pointed out that the developer
is responsible for what he's written and suggested that I should just draw a
line under it.>>

Don't you just love reviewers who try to get you in trouble by complaining
without actually filing a complaint and thus having to take responsibility
for supporting their opinion? I think your departmental manager and the
project manager need to sit down and discuss whether this is acceptable
behavior. At my current employer, doing petty things like that generally
earns you a slap on the wrist. In any event, it's the project manager who
needs to decide whether the reviewer really has time to review the changes;
it's not your call nor your manager's. Similarly, it's the project manager
who must decide what is to be done to resolve the situation, not your
manager. (Though your manager should really represent you in this decision
to make sure you gain the respect you deserve.) Don't get caught in the
middle here.

<<I can't be absolutely certain that the edits I made didn't change the
meaning technically.>>

Which is why we have reviews, and perhaps you're going to need to educate
the project manager about this and the responsibility of the reviewers.

<<I'd like to [reply] with some pithy yet polite comment that suggests that
my edits were *not* trivial, and his refusal to
review has reduced the effectiveness of the documentation. Any offers?>>

How about: "Get on the clue train, idiot!" <g> Really, there's no shortcut
on this one. You're going to have to get the two managers to agree on what's
appropriate and make the call. Let them come up with "pithy"; that's why
they earn the big bucks.

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

"Technical writing... requires understanding the audience, understanding
what activities the user wants to accomplish, and translating the often
idiosyncratic and unplanned design into something that appears to make
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