Re: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
How does your experience as a technical writer affect your perception of the documentation you use?
After thinking for a moment, I had to answer "I have much less confidence in the quality."
In no particular order, my reasons for this response were:
- Too many manuals are rushed. As a result, many are incomplete and have had no technical edit. Many never do, even after several revisions.
- At some companies, information is not included for marketing reasons (that is, because it would make the company or product look bad if it was mentioned).
- I've come across too many bad writers, both when cleaning up after them on a job and when trying to hire one (Granted, I'm a perfectionist, and have been known to flagellate my own incompetencies more than anyone else's, but I would rather mark a batch of first year composition essays than wade through a pile of tech-writing essays - although doing either requires large doses of Orwell or Jane Austen to restore my mental state and prose style).
- Most writers seem far more concerned with job titles, being respected by SMEs or scrambling for positions in the local STC than in learning their subject matter.
- Groucho Marx said he wouldn't want to belong to a club that would have him as a member. In the same spirit, I wouldn't trust any profession in which I could be actively engaged.
Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com
"My bonnie moorhen lies over the main,
And it will be summer ere he comes again,
But when he comes back again, some folk can ken,
I'll drink a health to my bonny moorhen."
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