Re: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')

Subject: Re: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 13:40:42 -0500

Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com> wrote:

>My impression is that, prior to the early Nineties, technical writers
>were far more likely to technologically-oriented than they are now.
>However, I wasn't in the field then, so I can't be sure. Can any
>veterans on the list comment?

I'm really no more of a veteran than you are, Bruce, but I'll comment anyway <g>.

I've run into all sorts of folks who identify themselves as technical writers.

I've seen any number of ex-technicians who couldn't write but who understood the importance of accurately rendered procedures. Mostly they were lost if an assignment required more than procedure writing and they always needed an editor to turn their procedures into English.

I've seen humanities majors who saw tech writing as a way to make a quick buck. They produced stuff that makes Jabberwocky seem sensible.

I've also met lots of people who understood what they were documenting and knew how to document it.

Just because the first two groups call themselves tech writers, that doesn't mean they _are_ tech writers (cf. Abe Lincoln's quip about calling a horse's tail a leg). I'd say they're poseurs who give all of us a bad name in some circles and give some of us good opportunities, in other circles, to fix what they screw up.


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