RE: He said...She said...He said...etc. (Was Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!)

Subject: RE: He said...She said...He said...etc. (Was Re: What's A TW Got To DO To Get A Job Around Here?!)
From: Michele Marques <MarquesM -at- autros -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Feb 2002 11:29:39 -0500

Andrew Plato writes:

> Writing is the "beginning" point of a project. If somebody else writes a
> document and all you do is edit it and clean it up, that is editing - not
> writing. Even rewriting sections does not, in my mind comprise writing
since
> you're still working within somebody else's written infrastructure.

I think this depends on what exactly you are getting from your SMEs.
Sometimes I get something that just needs a major (or minor) edit, and I
agree that in those cases I am an editor, not a writer.

Other times, what I receive from the SME is essentially a brain dump on the
topic. These often consist of lists of information (procedural steps,
descriptions of fields on screen, etc.). Often the "brain dump" includes
both too little and too much information. Too little, in that explanations
are left out, along with a number of details. Too much, in that often
information that is not supposed to be provided to clients is included
(e.g., because it gives away proprietary information about how something
works).

This "brain dump" serves as a starting point for me to learn more about the
topic. I will play with the application (if documenting an application). I
will ask further questions of the SME. Once I have learned enough, I will
determine the appropriate organization and write the documentation.

On the other hand, I do agree with Andrew in that you need to have at least
some degree of expertise or background knowledge in order to make these
decisions. I have seen the results when a writer who does not understand the
topic writes the documentation - often there are explanations that are not
correct or else that are inappropriate to the audience.

- Michele
------------------------------------------------------------------------
Michele Marques
Technical Communicator
Baxter
AUTROS Healthcare Solutions
One Yorkdale Road, Suite 310
Toronto, Ontario M6A 3A1
(416) 784-1100 x139 Facsimile (416) 784-0470
1-800-537-2255 x139
marquesm -at- autros -dot- com

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