Re: HUMOR: I Need Help

Subject: Re: HUMOR: I Need Help
From: Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 13:11:13 -0800 (PST)

"Jeff Hanvey" wrote...

> For this reason, someone coming on list and asking for a template isn't
> avoiding "doing his job." S/he's asking to make life easier. There's simply
> no sense in re-inventing the wheel. I'll bet even Mr. Plato recycles
> templates.

> During the first week of my job (most often on the first day), I always ask
> for the style guide and template for that corporation. Doing that isn't
> avoiding my job - it's ensuring that my work is consistent with the pre-
> existing documents. The idea can be extended to the
> community of writers: if the template exists and works well, why not use it?

You're coalescing two very different behaviors, Jeff. Asking a fellow worker
to forward you the company templates is perfectly fine. Asking a forum of 4000
colleagues to forward you their templates is lame.

Writers should have to do their own work. Template design and development is a
perfectly normal part of writing. Lifting design ideas from other people's
work is perfectly acceptable. But asking a public forum to supply you their
work - that is lame. It is lazy.

> Why is it lame? Because someone is trying to do their job without having
> to re-invent the wheel? <sarcasm>God forbid that we actually cooperate
> with each other and make life easier all around.</satire>

Cooperation is one thing. That is why I gave those two examples. It is one
thing to say "I am doing this and it isn't working, anybody have an ideas." It
is a whole different story to post "I am doing this and it isn't working, could
you send me your document so I can get this done."

You end up with a scenario like this:

1. Joe Newbie gets a template he didn't build.
2. Joe then asks the engineers to write all the "technical stuff" and send it
to him.
3. Joe plugs the "technical stuff" he doesn't understand into a template he
didn't build.
4. The document sucks.
5. Engineers say "Joe, you're a moron!"
6. Joe gets on TECHWR-L..."the engineers don't respect my skills."
7. Andrew replies: "What skills??!?!? The ability get other people to provide
you a pre-chewed way of doing things? The ability to plug content you don't

understand into a template you didn't design? Jeez, I have raccoons in my
back yard that can do that!"

Hey, copy other people's work. I'm cool with that. But sheesh, don't be a total
butthead and ask the world to hand you the answer.

Nobody should be allowed to call themselves a technical writer if they can't
solve the problems that technical writers how to build a template
or explain "technical stuff."

Andrew Plato

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