Tech writers and language usage?

Subject: Tech writers and language usage?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 9 Apr 2001 08:54:45 -0400

Mike <<Read an interesting article in the local paper yesterday about the
growth of tech writing as an industry. The article more or less said that
tech writers are responsible for "poisoning" the American language. The
article also said that tech writers are "wishy-washy" and are "afraid to say
what really needs to be said.">>

"Poisoning" is a bit strong, given the other sources competing so strongly
to poison the language (TV, radio), but much though I hate to admit it, I
often have a lot of sympathy for the remainder of that attitude.

<<The author said that "documentation" is a "ludicrous" way of saying "user

Well, that depends; some documentation does nothing more than document what
is present, and provides little or no advice on use. That being the case,
calling it a "user guide" would be lying and the writers are actually being
honest by calling the drivel "documentation". <g>

<<and also offered other common terms associated with tech writing as being

It would be interesting to hear the author's specific objections. Willing to
provide us with details?

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

"The problem with defending the purity of the English language is that
English is about as pure as a cribhouse whore. We don't just borrow words;
on occasion, English has pursued other languages down alleyways to beat them
unconscious and rifle their pockets for new vocabulary."-- James D. Nicoll


*** Deva(tm) Tools for Dreamweaver and Deva(tm) Search ***
Build Contents, Indexes, and Search for Web Sites and Help Systems
Available 4/30/01 at or info -at- devahelp -dot- com

Sponsored by DigiPub Solutions Corp, producers of PDF 2001 Conference East,
June 4-6, Baltimore, MD. Now covering Acrobat 5. Early registration deadline
April 27.

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as: archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Previous by Author: Making writing gender-neutral (was: Pronouns and portfolios)
Next by Author: Creating inch and metric tutorials (longish)?(Take II)
Previous by Thread: feedback request on job description/salary etc
Next by Thread: Will What's This? Help Composer feed VB tool tip development?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads