RE: reviewing <ptui>

Subject: RE: reviewing <ptui>
From: "Susan W. Gallagher" <sgallagher -at- kinzan -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 8 Jan 2001 11:43:08 -0800

> Before the holidays, I sent a document to a developer...
> 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
> changes"...
> ...rejects most of the
> editing as
> trivial. (English is not his first language... his text is mostly
> comprehensible, though
> tough going, without them.)
> ... I see no real alternative but to return the
> text in those
> sections to his original...I can't be
> absolutely certain that the edits I made didn't change the meaning
> technically...

This is really a job for a doc manager, but in the absence of one (or
maybe just the absence of a good one???), it's something you have to
learn to do for yourself.

Absolutely positively *do not* return the text to its original version.
Your returning the text to its original form does a severe disservice
to the user and makes your company look foolish and unprofessional as
well. Readability and understandability are as important to technical
documentation as technical accuracy. Truth is, if no one can understand
the doc, it makes no difference whether it's technically accurate or not.

My advise, if your manager will not do it for you, you need to become
a battleaxe in your own right. Stand up for yourself. Refuse to publish
sub-standard documentation. I can't begin to tell you how many times
I've sent coding examples back to engineering at one company or another
because "they do not conform to our documentation standards" or refused
to publish text as it stands for just the same reason.

One of the most telling, and to me, rewarding, performance review
comments I ever received was, "Susan needs to interact with many
different departments. She demands and receives respect from all of

You want pithy? Try, "This is crap and I'm not publishing it."

My two cents.
Sue Gallagher
sgallagher -at- kinzan -dot- com

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