Re: New TECHWR-L Poll Question
Are you saying that we should all take ownership of anything we may revise,
edit, or review? I can agree with you to some extent. A writer must take
ownership to some degree to create a good product, even if it is a simple
revision. And there is a definite line between something you should have
created from the start and something you did create.
If I have done major revisions, I have no problem with taking ownership with the rider that it is a rewrite of an older version.
In fact, I have done that, and even have a short sample from one of these in my own portfolio.
Ideally, the stuff I use to market myself is stuff I created from the ground up. That is, I did the research, I did the writing, I did the polishing. An extra plus is if I also did the template, though a lot of work I've done has been on a company template.
I think the important thing is to be honest about what parts we did--and did not--create.
By the way, your original story reminds me of a story my mother tells from her years in university.
Seems this bright young student submitted a term paper to one of my mother's English profs, and the prof talked about it in class. He said "I received a term paper that was good enough to get a nine (University of Alberta grades on a nine point scale). I gave it a one. The reason is, I wrote it myself fifteen years ago."
So I guess the warning is this. If you are going to "borrow" someone else's work and claim it as your own, the person who reviews it might recognize their own work and count that against you.
Technical Writer and SAS Programmer
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