Re: An Editor's Role...To Punish the Writer?

Subject: Re: An Editor's Role...To Punish the Writer?
From: Emily Berk <emily -at- armadillosoft -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 29 Jun 2002 07:51:41 -0700


Guess my skin got thick while I grew up in NY; I value editors who are ruthless but terse with their red pens.

I have worked at places where the blame game was played. E.g., the developer changed the attribute name and didn't notify documentation, so now the manual cites the wrong attribute name, and QA whacks docs. Thing is, QA has truly found a doc bug. They are not blasting me, they are flagging a problem with the docs. QA doesn't know that there's a process issue -- that the developer should have let me know that something changed. QA just knows that there's a misstatement in the docs.

Sometimes the developer does not own up. That's not my problem. I could go into the source code control and prove to every one that the developer made the change. But why bother? We need to change the docs regardless.

My advice, Worzel, is that you accept graciously the work of your editors and don't take the red ink personally.

Turn it around, Worzel. Keep your goal in mind: the goal is to MAKE the manuals clean. If you turned in perfect copy first time every time, those editors would not have jobs.


At 12:01 AM 6/29/02 -0600, "Worzel Gummidge" <worzel_gummidge -at- lycos -dot- com> wrote:
>... I've been at this company for about 5 weeks, and apart from trying my darndest to meet next to impossible deadlines, I've had to deal with something that I've never had to deal with before. Our editors seem to have the attitude of: "We need to punish those naughty writers." And believe me, punish they do. For example, I recently received a document that not only had tons of "slash and burn" comments(and yes, I know my own weaknesses), but the tone was tense and terse. Also, our editors copy our managers, directors, and anyone else they feel should look over the writer's work..."Sigh"
>I was under a complete illusion, that is I thought that editors where here to help and to point out inconsistencies, I was wrong! A writer must turn in a completely clean doc, and if they don't *&$#!!! Never mind that you may have had only a few weeks to write a 700 page manual from scratch.
>Here's what burns in my mind. If all the writers turned in completely clean docs, why have editors?

~ Emily Berk ~
~ On the web at *** Armadillo Associates, Inc. ~
~ Internet and non-internet application development, project ~
~ management, developer relations and extremely-technical technical ~
~ documentation that developers find useful. ~

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