RE: craft vs. science vs. art

Subject: RE: craft vs. science vs. art
From: "Dick Margulis " <margulis -at- mail -dot- fiam -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jun 2002 11:44:14 -0400

Phil Levy <PLevy -at- epion -dot- com> wrote:

>Just a minute, Dick. I think you agree with me: you say that the writer is
>given a template, which implies repeatability and replaceable parts.


I think I still disagree with you, even if you think I agree with you ;-) A template implies, to me, some consistency of style and organization, not repeatability and replaceable parts.

> And the
>whole concept of a template is a god one

You didn't think I was going to let that typo pass unnoticed did you ;-)

>as long as the template is very
>detailed. But regarding process: if the writer does the job all by him or
>herself there is no quality control until the end, when it's too late.

Both quality control and quality assurance are really in the hands of the writer. If I am qualified to do the job (good at the craft), then I am more qualified than anyone else to know what the quality of my work is. If I am given to producing slipshod work (lousy at the craft), why on earth would you not fire my butt? On the other hand, if you ask me to relinquish control to a process, then you are treating me as a fungible resource, and I have no incentive to take responsibility for the quality of my output. The work I turn out is just so much hamburger meat to you, and you'll irradiate it at the end of the process. Is that what you want?

>is what I mean by a process: more than one person working on the same

Sure, more than one person works on it. The SME provides information. The writer produces a draft. Perhaps the SME and an editor and fact-checker (QA) and a proofreader and a production specialist get into the act, too, before the final version goes out the door. As I said, you've got to have some sort of process; I'm not averse to that idea. I'm averse to the idea that the act of writing is subject to process control.

As I said in the paragraph you replied to:

>>If you get past, "here's the due date; here's the
>>template; here's who to send it to for review," you
>>are micromanaging; and that can be counterproductive.


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