Re: SME's word

Subject: Re: SME's word
From: "Martin R. Soderstrom" <scribbler1382 -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 30 Jul 2002 13:07:14 -0400

> So, uuuummmmm, just how many separate SMEs do you check?

The point isn't to follow protocol or CYA, the point is to get it right.
Check as many as you have to. (but preferrably more than one)

> This isn't a question of checking sources, it's a question of where you
> draw the line.

You're splitting hairs, but you "draw the line" when you're right. What
that is will depend on your particular case/environment/brainbox.

> You could ask the opinion of every SME in the company, or
> only one SME.

Yes, you could. My opinion was to not ask a certain number, but to get
confirmation of the data.

> Do you get 5 opinions and take the result that has
> the proponents; for example, if there are two opinions split 3:2, do you
> take that with 3 backers?

Personally, in such a situation, I'd call a meeting between the parties, or
at the very least, send an email to all of them and say "okay, who's right?"

> We have about 80 civil engineers on staff,
> many pHDs. as a journalism, would you run each of 1750 topics by each of
> the 80 engineers? I'd argue that such a thing was a horrible waste of
> resources.

Duh....when did I say "check until there's no one left to check". I simply
said get corroboration. Whether you feel that's 2 or 5 or a buh-jillion is
your own cross to bear.

(And I don't think I ever said I was a journalism)

> Here's a thought that'll provoke a response: I'd go as far as to argue
> that the needs for checking sources in technical writing is very
> different from the need in journalism! </gasp>

Argue all you're wrong.

> If it matters, there is a formal QA process here, whereby a second SME
> will get to review the content of any particular section.

If that's the case, why did you bother asking the question in the first

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