RE: Quality of source material from Development

Subject: RE: Quality of source material from Development
From: "Jane Carnall" <jane -dot- carnall -at- digitalbridges -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2001 16:28:45 -0000

Salan Sinclair wrote:
> Yes, Andrew, some writers are less technical than
> you are.
> Whether they should *all* be as technical as you are
> is a matter of debate.

Iggy responded:
That's not Andrew's point. His point is that the
writers should be as technical as they need to be.
They don't need to know what Andrew knows, they need
to know what they have to know in order to do their
job, which is NOT just to write manuals, but rather to
understand the industry, technology, its use, and the
product and relay this information as articulately and
as accurately as possible.

Well, if that's what Andrew meant, why didn't he say so? <g> But more to the
point, my *job* is to write the documentation. That's what they pay me to
do. To separate soma from sarx, my *profession* is, exactly as you say: "To
understand the industry, technology, its use, and the product, and relay
this information as articulately and as accurately as possible."

The means by which I do this range from looking at the code, reading the
specs, talking to the developers (and the project management and the
end-users <when I can catch them> and even marketing/sales and PHBs):
whatever's appropriate. Asking moronic questions <stitch> ...but they have
to be the *right* moronic questions... It would be as foolish to pin a
writer down to "You must find everything out by reading the source code" as
it would be to restrict that writer to "You must use only the written
material the development team supply". One of the things I do find faintly
irritating about debates on this list is that sometimes they become
ridiculously polarised. We are, as you said yourself, essentially in the
position of tying all the threads together. I liked a comment John Posada
made, early on in this thread; "Ask questions that the developer wouldn't
think of no matter what they gave you".

Jane Carnall
Most technical writers make their living describing the smile on the face of
a black cat in a dark room in a house that will be built next week.
Apologies for the long additional sig: it is added automatically and outwith
my control.


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RE: Quality of source material from Development: From: Iggy

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