Re: More on Validating documentation

Subject: Re: More on Validating documentation
From: kcronin -at- daleen -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 25 Mar 2002 12:53:03 -0700


Bruce and Dick argued thus:

Bruce:
>>But, on the whole, developers are a closed community of introverts. By
>>comparison, writers are extroverts.

Dick:
>Uh, I don't think so. Some of us (maybe some of the most successful of
>us, maybe the ones you know and like) are extraverts. I suspect that the
>majority of tech writers fall on the introvert side of the median.



I'm with Dick on this, and I think it identifies one of the roots of this
age-old problem.

<BEGIN SWEEPING GENERALIZATION>
Many writers are drawn to the written word as a "safer" medium of
expression than actual spoken exchanges between actual live humans. And
the same could be said of many developers, whose mastery of code exceeds
their social skills. Put these two introverted species together and the
probability of a communications impasse increases exponentially.
</END SWEEPING GENERALIZATION>

But to climb back on my soapbox, an even bigger contributor to the problem
is when the entire corporate culture supports the notion of developers
being supreme beings, who need not stoop to accommodate mere wordsmiths.
Companies like that are a drag, believe me!

Incidentally, I'm an extrovert (this is no doubt a surprise to some of
you), and for the most part have found this trait to be a MAJOR asset in
trying to communicate with developers. Through humor, schmoozing, and
strategically-asked questions that demonstrate I've done my homework, I've
been able to defrost all of the developers I've interviewed. The biggest
challenge is getting them to actually meet with me. One I get them pinned
down for the interview, I'm able to get what I want.

Then, while the tranquilizer dart is wearing off, I tag the developer's
ear, so I can set him free back into the wilderness when the interview is
over. (Oops - had a Andy Richter fantasy - sorry!)



-Keith Cronin
________________________

I'm probably part of the problem. Hell, I'm probably part of MOST
problems.

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