Re: TECHWR-L conference thread

Subject: Re: TECHWR-L conference thread
From: Karen Walakavage <walakavage -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 13 Apr 2001 07:42:07 -0700 (PDT)

>>>The STC's conference is a clear demonstration of
what is fundamentally flawed in technical
communications today: a complete de-emphasis of
technical issues in favor of management, organization,
and tool issues. (Andrew Plato)

I do agree, and feel that the vast majoirty of
"professional" conferences today are merely an excuse
to drink, have sex and tool around foreign towns on
the company buck. Sure, we may pick up some stuff from
our meetings and "work sessions," but largely...

>>>STC and universities have taught droves of writers
that content is secondary to all these management,
organization, and tool issues. (Andrew again)

It's precisely this soft mindset that makes
conferences ineffective. Interpersonal relations
seminars, management tools and the such are VERY
important in business, but these skills can be taught
in workplace relation seminars; they are nice
supplements to a tech writing conference, but they
should not be the meat and potatoes.

The idea of a TECHWR-L conference is so seductive, it
may even make me open my own stingy wallet. IS A
REVOLUTION AT HAND? It appears that there is a
significant number of people looking for a quality
conference with some worthwhile information exchange.
On a philosphical note, whatever happened to the idea
of challenging oneself with attending an educational
session on something you don't work with daily? It's
one thing to gripe and "share" on problems you have
day-to-day. It's rather another to investigate
software and systems that you don't regularly work
with in order to decide how much you want to get
involved with those matters. Learning experience,
n'est-ce pas? Shouldn't that be a conference's
aforementioned "meat and potatoes?"

Jim Shaeffer notes >>>But, the Call for Proposals just
published in the April 2001 Intercom lists the
following Stems as possibilities for presentations:
Management Professional Development/STC-Related
Theory, Research, Education and Training Tools and
Technology (documentation tools and technology, not
subject matter). Usability and Information Design
Writing and Editing. This choice of Stems would seem
to preclude technically-oriented sessions, wouldn't
it? <<<

It certainly does. Suggestions like Michele Marques'
The ABCs of Medical Communication, Policies and
Procedures Writing, and Issues in Scientific
Communication are valid points which apply to many of
us who take whatever wacko job is available to us.
It's been noted in this thread that our skills apply
to a broad range of industries, and perhaps knowing
about fields of writing outside of software could
benefit us all. The most rewarding job of my life has
been at a dairy, where I learned more about the
production of ice cream and iced tea than any normal
human being should ever know.

However, the idea of a brand-spankin'-new conference
(and the implications in our field) is a rather
daunting task ? just selecting a site is a nightmare.
A very nice idea, but who (or what) will serve as the
organizing committee? We're logical folks. The
organization of THAT is the first matter.

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