RE: KM=BS (mostly)

Subject: RE: KM=BS (mostly)
From: "Foster, Willow" <WFoster -at- friedmancorp -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 15 Mar 2002 08:54:12 -0600

~> Thought a good techwriter was supposed to know the
~> technology and be some kind of SME that just decided
~> to work doing something else for the time being because
~> they don't feel like coding or designing jet engine
~> components.

Yes, you should know something about the subject you are documenting. It is
our job to tell the reader how <thisproduct> makes their job easier. How can
we do that if we don't understand their needs or how the product fulfills
those needs?

~> According to certain parties, style guides,
~> templates, design practices and other overhead were exactly
~> what a good techwriter or engineer didn't do because if
~> they were it is just a tool to avoid doing the real work.

I think the point that was being made was that style guides and the like,
while they have their place, have a lower priority than writing. They are
there to make life easier. If they take up more time than the actual
writing, they aren't doing what they are meant to do.

~> If the writer's job is to write the document and the engineers
~> job is to build the component, who is this hitherto hidden and
~> unmentioned employee (Gollum?) that documents template creation,
~> best practices, procedures, etc?

Just as there is more to a programmer's job than just writing lines of code,
there is more to techwriting than just writing. However, it's a question of
focus. If a programmer spent too much time worrying whether the code will be
indented just perfectly before typing a line, they waste valuable time. The
indentation comes from writing the code. Style guides and templates come
from issue that arise while writing. Yes, indenting code properly is
important, just as style guides are important. Like I said, it's a question
of focus.


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