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

Subject: RE: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')
From: "Gillespie, Stephen (Contractor)" <Stephen -dot- Gillespie -at- Persnet -dot- Navy -dot- Mil>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 4 Mar 2002 13:55:55 -0500

thank you, Bruce - some good points, but I need to add that although (IMO)
more likely, the inclusion of 'Academia' in Andrew's indictment is equally
'fishy' ... The MA writing program that I completed was also soft on
technology required, and like you, I've been (trying to) catching up
('course, this was back before Al Gore invented the Internet!). But I
wouldn't lay this on tech comm ed/training AT LARGE without some empirical
evidence, e.g. maybe a survey/research of the US college curricula for all
(genuine) 'technology' classes required.

Anyway, I like your analogy. Maybe STC is trying to sell the 'sizzle'
(rather than the beef), but I don't believe they forget the burger is what
we all want.
Steve G.

-----Original Message-----
From: Bruce Byfield [mailto:bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com]
Sent: Monday, March 04, 2002 12:42 PM
To: Andrew Plato
Cc: TECHWR-L; Stephen -dot- Gillespie -at- Persnet -dot- Navy -dot- Mil
Subject: Re: The Big Lie (was 'Are You a Writer?')

Stephen -dot- Gillespie -at- Persnet -dot- Navy -dot- Mil wrote:

>>I've been a member of STC for many years, and I surely have not gotten
>>message that Andrew ascribes (to STC).
Maybe it's a red herring to get into the question of how much the STC
does (or doesn't) encourage non-technical technical writing. As Andrew
Plato points out, universities and colleges also encourage the attitude
he's talking about. What really matters is the attitude itself.

However, I wonder whether the main reason for it isn't the influx of
Arts majors into the field. As an Arts major myself, I can testify that
the science requirements for a bachelor's degree are largely a joke; you
can take real courses, but most people opt for the "Biology for English
Department Idiots" and "Basic Computers for History Nerds" courses that
are designed to take the sting out venturing outside your major (I admit
that I did so myself). To say the least, this kind of academic
background doesn't prepare you to deal with technology. Personally, I
often feel that I'm still playing catch-up.

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?

>>'The Big Lie,' if I understand him correctly, that all you need are
>>skills and tool skills, is really (IMO) a half-truth.
Reading this comment sparked an analogy: thinking that all you need are
language and tool skills could be comparable to being a marketing expert
who believes that, once you understand marketing techniques, you can
promote anything.

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

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