Patronizing - and it was RE: Out of Work Tech Writers

Subject: Patronizing - and it was RE: Out of Work Tech Writers
From: "Sean O'Donoghue-Hayes (EAA)" <Sean.O'Donoghue-Hayes -at- ericsson -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 20 Jun 2002 10:47:29 +1000

Hi guys, (term used in this context to allude to both sexes.....)

Whilst all the out of work stuff is fascinating, and scary, as even having a
job at the moment doesn't mean we all will at the end of the week, or

one thing that Dick and Suzanne commented on, not exactly in agreement, was
the fact that the way he spoke was considered "most condescending and

I sometimes get that I am being patronizing when I describe to someone how
to do something, as I tend to describe each step in clear
"technical-writerese detail". Such as (1) careful with the hot water, (2)
now you add the coffee....

and also notice that I tend to make comments on the environment and
potential risks/dangers in the environment. (okay so I am also a parent and
this is a known cause of this heightened awareness!).

For example, "careful that jug will topple" (as it just looks too tall, and
unbalanced)....knowing that in a manual I would probably have a warning not
to use that type of jug, or not place it in a certain spot........and a few
minutes later, as everyone has ignored to RTFM, or in this case LTTTW
(Listen To The Technical Writer), the incident occurs.

Has anyone else noticed this?

Is this just a trait of people who are, or want to be, technical writers?

Or a conditioned reflex that develops over time from doing a job where we
are "constantly" expected to explain in simple terms exactly what people
should do - whether the task be simple or complex?

Over to you all for some thoughts.

regards and thanks,

~insert a clever sig here~

~actually I'll use this one I stole from a Dilbert newsletter:
At my bookstore a customer returned three of Shakespeare's books because,
"The DARN things are in the form of PLAYS!"~

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