Re: How are technical writers perceived?

Subject: Re: How are technical writers perceived?
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- editors-writers -dot- info>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 16 Mar 2002 21:17:57 -0500




----- Original Message -----
From: "Andrew Plato" <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>


>Yawn...another day, another rant.

Is this appropriate to say to another poster?


>
> I think you're putting the horse before the cart.

I said in my post quite clearly in two instances that technical knowledge of
the product and its interaction with other technologies is needed.

I clearly stated the following:

"Again, while the technical writer must fully and completely understand his
or her immediate subject and its relationship to other technology, that
knowledge is what is being conveyed to the reader, and an inability to
convey that information well makes all that technical knowledge...well,
truly laughable."



You cannot write clearly
> about something you do not understand.

I said in my post quite clearly in two instances that technical knowledge of
the product and its interaction with other technologies is needed. I said in
my post quite clearly in two instances that technical knowledge of the
product and its interaction with other technologies is needed.


Therefore, technical knowledge must
> exist before the writer can hope to communicate effectively. The more you
know
> about something, the better equipped you are to communicate about it.

I said in my post quite clearly in two instances that technical knowledge of
the product and its interaction with other technologies is needed:

"Therefore, I submit that while thorough and complete knowledge of the
immediate subject about which one is writing is crucial, the more important
skill for a technical writer is the ability to write clearly and logically."


>>
> > A technical writer is primarily a writer, not a technical expert.
>
> A technical writer is primarily two things...technical and a writer. To
lack in
> either area is a lacking as a whole.


I said in my post quite clearly that technical knowledge of the product and
its interaction with other technologies is needed.

I said: "Therefore, I submit that while thorough and complete knowledge of
the
immediate subject about which one is writing is crucial, the more important
skill for a technical writer is the ability to write clearly and logically."



>
> > I further submit that those who would seek to make nontechnical writers
feel
> > inadequate as technical writers are those who probably shouldn't be in
the
> > business.
> >
> > Why? Because they are the chief reason you and I and the rest of the
> > literate world laugh.
>


> People laugh at docs for many reasons. It is usually because the
information
> presented does not make sense. And that is because the person behind the
word
> processor or single-source engine did not have the intelligence or
experience
> to realize that the information they were publishing was nonsensical.

Obviously, I believe otherwise -- that people laugh at the lousy writing.
People get *angry* at missing information -- they don't *laugh* at that.


>
> The other reason people laugh at docs is because they are worthless.
Worthless
> docs come from ignorant minds and poor content management. A perfect
example of
> this would be a recent product document I read. Exquisite template, clear
> English, world class single-source techniques used....but they forgot to
> mention that in order for the product to be useful, you have to connect it
to a
> mirror port on a switch. DOH! The doc is worthless. It failed to
communicate a
> critical nibble of information, leaving me the reader to fill in the
blanks.

I said in my post quite clearly in two instances that technical knowledge of
the product and its interaction with other technologies is needed.

I said: "Therefore, I submit that while thorough and complete knowledge of
the
immediate subject about which one is writing is crucial, the more important
skill for a technical writer is the ability to write clearly and logically."


>
> For all the "clear and concise" writing work put into the document, the
> document was worthless because it communicated incomplete information.
>


I said in my post quite clearly that technical knowledge of the product and
its interaction with other technologies is needed.

For your convenience, I reproduce the relevant paragraphs again below.


First instance:
"Therefore, I submit that while thorough and complete knowledge of the
immediate subject about which one is writing is crucial, the more important
skill for a technical writer is the ability to write clearly and logically."


Second instance:
"Again, while the technical writer must fully and completely understand his
or her immediate subject and its relationship to other technology, that
knowledge is what is being conveyed to the reader, and an inability to
convey that information well makes all that technical knowledge...well,
truly laughable."






Bonnie Granat
http://www.editors-writers.info





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Re: How are technical writers perceived?: From: Andrew Plato

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