RE: craft vs. science

Subject: RE: craft vs. science
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 21 Jun 2002 15:50:15 -0400

Hey, I'm crafty.

And, yes, the process is sort of scientific, until you toss in the
variables, deadlines, resources, flaky software, and judgement of
document (online and printed) design . . ..

I'd say, there's an art, if not a craft, to the science of technical
writing. If you disagree, try writing a 600-page software manual, using
section numbers, lots of numbered lists, TOC, IX, in MS Word, and then
port it to online help via RoboHelp . . . you'll see that craftiness and
workarounds and intelligent application of your skills become a



Sean Brierley
Software Documentation Specialist
Haestad Methods
203-805-0572 (voice)
203-597-1488 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Phil Levy [mailto:PLevy -at- epion -dot- com]

This makes no sense:
"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
behind the process" of documenting these products can be exactly the
same. I
would think that you, a scientific tech writer, would agree.

-----Original Message-----
From: Goober [mailto:techcommgoober -at- yahoo -dot- com]
--- 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*
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.
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

<snip>structure because they can
afford to do so.

Thoughts on any of this?

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