RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question

Subject: RE: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
From: "Michele Marques" <marquesm -at- autros -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 6 Mar 2001 10:11:26 -0500

Bill Swallow writes:

> Anyhow, I'm now going to vent similar frustrations
> about technical knowledge tests.
> 1) They don't measure aptitude. Just because someone
> doesn't know what reciprocal compensation or a FAT
> table is doesn't mean they can't write about it.

If the person is good at learning about technology to the required degree,
then previous knowledge of the particular topic (e.g., a FAT table) is not a
requirement (assuming that there are SMEs around who can explain the topic
and have the time to do so).

But some people don't fully understand the technology when it is explained
(perhaps they don't know what questions to ask of someone who does not
explain well) and it shows in their writing. I have had to re-write
documents written by such people; even if the document has no factual
errors, it may be missing steps, not explain things in sufficient detail,
and is sometimes filled with meaningless fluff (e.g., on every screen with a
"delete" button, writing: click the "delete" button to delete a record).

In a company that has the resources to provide adequate training on the
technical issues, a technical test might not be necessary, but if the
company needs people with the existing knowledge, then I don't see the
problem with technical testing. The alternative, is to test whether the
person CAN write about the technical topic without pre-existing knowledge,
which would be a technical writing test using that topic.

Michele Marques
Technical Writer,
Autros Healthcare Solutions
marquesm -at- autros -dot- com


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