Re: Applying On-Line

Subject: Re: Applying On-Line
From: "Sharon Burton-Hardin" <sharon -at- anthrobytes -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 29 Jan 2002 09:58:11 -0800

I totally disagree that tech writers do not need to use styles in Word and
that the same can be accomplished in other ways.

A tech writer that does not use styles is creating an unmaintainable
document. Since time is money to me - an outsourcing company - I have to pay
a writer for every hour s/he works on the doc. If the client wants to change
the look of the 400 page document 3 days before we ship and you have not
used styles, we have a crisis. A major crisis. Without styles, you are going
to spend that 3 days hand fixing every paragraph in that document and expect
me to pay you for it, which I won't. Using styles, it is a pretty fast
change and I will pay you for it.

When you hand that same project to another writer, I also have to pay
him/her to fix the mess you made, because we cannot start changing the doc
to reflect the new version until we have a structured doc that can be
reliably changed. That makes me cranky.

I am clear to all my writers that you use styles, regardless of the tool.
Not doing that after I told you what is expected will get me to speak
sharply. When you continue to not use styles after I speak sharply, I fire
you (the other thing I ALWAYS fire people for is lying). I cannot afford to
have you waste your time creating an unmaintainable document, regardless of
the tool. I am uninterested in how lovely your document is if no one can
maintain it.

It shows a clear technical understanding of the technology we use to make a
living, regardless of the tool. That is part of TECHNICAL writing.

My thoughts and my opinion.


Sharon Burton-Hardin
Anthrobytes Consulting
Vice-president, Programs of the Inland Empire chapter of the STC

----- Original Message -----
From: <kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Sent: Tuesday, 29 January, 2002 9:37 AM
Subject: RE: Applying On-Line

| Gotta disagree. You're talking about ONE of the "proper" ways to use Word.
| It is ENTIRELY possible to create attractive, professional documents
| without ANY use of styles. Here Word differs from some other software, in
| that it allows you to accomplish the same task in a variety of ways.
| I work in Word all day long. FYI, I use styles, having learned Frame
| first. But I also see hundreds of documents created in Word each year, and
| I'd estimate that 80-90% of these very professional-looking docs do NOT
| use styles. I'm talking about 200-page RFPs that were written by
| professional writers. The reality is most people do NOT use Word styles,
| even among the pros. You do. So do I. That's nice. But there's more than
| one way to skin a cat in Word.
| I think most of us would agree that a good tech writer's resume should be
| flawless, attractive, and demonstrate an awareness of good writing and
| layout. But how they accomplish that is secondary, unless specific
| techniques (ie use of Word styles) are an actual (and clearly stated) job
| requirement.

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