RE: Theory vs. Practice (was: What's a TW etc...)

Subject: RE: Theory vs. Practice (was: What's a TW etc...)
From: Donald -dot- H -dot- White -at- pmusa -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 27 Feb 2002 13:50:31 -0500

What was the question? Is it that, in order to write about Unix applications
the tech writer must first be a master Unix programmer/engineer? If a
purported tech writer obtains information from and coordinates drafts with
subject matter experts, then that person is no real technical writer?

I see adverts all of the time for technical writers; advertisements that
make it clear the employer wishes to obtain someone completely proficient in
the programming and engineering of a particular language or tool set. Well,
I'm not such an expert. I believe that the ability to perform research and
analysis on a scale similar to that we attach to systems analysts is
essential to this field, but we are writers first and foremost. We have to
be able to learn the intricacies of our subject, through materials and
individuals, and communicate that in a form readily accessible by our
potential (or planned) audience.

Of course, every project or assignment involves a "learning curve."
Otherwise, we'd just provide pro-forma documents based upon our portfolios
(?), wherein we simply change the terms or nouns to "fit" the current task.

Don White
Technical Writer
dwhite -at- venturipartners -dot- com

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Byfield [SMTP:bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, February 27, 2002 1:44 PM
Subject: Re: Theory vs. Practice (was: What's a TW etc...)

MichaelHuggins -at- aol -dot- com wrote:

>No doubt there are people like that in the writing field as well as
in every other field, but I'm not sure what the comments above have to do
with the recent thread. No one has claimed that anyone should attempt to
write "without a reasonable understanding" of their subject, nor did anyone
advocate "coasting." As I pointed out before, half the posts here seem to
consist of so-called rebuttals to claims that were never made to begin with.
I suppose that depends on how you define "reasonable understanding."
>From the context of my last post, I would have thought that my definition
was reasonably clear.

However, in case it wasn't, I meant: enough knowledge that you're
not not dependent on SMEs to tell you if what you've written is complete or
technically accurate.

Conversely, if you are heavily dependent on SMEs for this
information and make no effort to correct that dependency, that's coasting.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

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