RE: craft vs. science

Subject: RE: craft vs. science
From: Phil Levy <PLevy -at- epion -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 15:17:17 -0400

Why is this so:
"You can be documenting how a toaster works, or
you can be polarizing atoms in a vacuum... wild cards
abound. "
The technology in the two products you mention differs, but the "mechanics
behind the process" of documenting these products can be exactly the same. I
would think that you, a scientific tech writer, would agree.

And furthermore, a craft is something a person does alone, implying that
there is no quality control.

-----Original Message-----
From: Goober [mailto:techcommgoober -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Friday, June 21, 2002 2:53 PM
To: Phil Levy; TECHWR-L
Subject: craft vs. science

--- Phil Levy <PLevy -at- epion -dot- com> wrote:
> >the vast differences from company to company and
> >workflow to workflow.
> This may be another topic altogether, but these
> differences are usually
> neither vast nor valid. This is the main reason that
> tech writing is still a
> craft and not an engineering discipline.

Ooohhh... A tantilizingly tasty tidbit for fun Friday
frolicking. *lol*

OK, we see what we do as craft and not science,
apparently. I wonder how true mechanical engineers see
their jobs (I bet craft).

Anyway, no matter what you do, there are wild cards at
play. You can be documenting how a toaster works, or
you can be polarizing atoms in a vacuum... wild cards
abound. It's the nature of the world.

So what?

Well, I see what I do as science. Why? Because I have
a process. If it were craft, I'd be King Workaround,
Lord of the Makeshifts. *lol* All IMO, of course. But
I stick to a tried and true method of writing
documentation, one that's taken me years to perfect.
It's basically common sense wrapped into a workflow,
but if I marketed it I'd have to call it something
other than Information Mapping. *lol*

Anyway, HOW you approach a documentation task can be
applied to multiple projects, but the mechanics behind
the process (not grammar mechanics) are bound to

The differences *can* be perfectly valid (as they are
vast). One company might rely on seat of the pants
documentation because they are too small to do
anything substantial. Other companies might
single-source from a database workflow full of
rigidity in style and structure because they can
afford to do so.

Thoughts on any of this?

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