Re: I'm taking my marbles and going home...

Subject: Re: I'm taking my marbles and going home...
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 11:04:14 -0700

Martin R. Soderstrom wrote:

That's nonsense. What you need is an understanding of how programmer's
=think=. Sure, you're going to need some basic understanding of
technologies and practices, but no where near the depth to which an actual
programmer would. In fact, that can be a hindrance.

I'm curious.

What good is knowing how a programmer thinks if you don't know what a programmer does? That is, after all, what API documentation is about.

Similarly, while you don't need to be a hotshot programmer, how could you possibly work if you didn't have at least the fundamental knowledge of how to read code? How would you know that the information you were producing was accurate - accurate enough, at least, that you wouldn't be wasting everyone's time when the documents went in for review, or asking the reviewers to do your work for you? Most of all, how would you stand the paralyzing boredom of working for week after week on something that you don't understand? Working that way sounds as bad as being one of Milton's daughters, who read Greek and Hebrew to him without understanding the languages.

Finally, how can too much knowledge be a hindrance? You don't write API documentation for clerical staff. However,even if you did,surely one of the basic requirements of technical writing is having the understanding or empathy with your audience to include what its members need for the information to be comprehensible.

I suppose what I'm saying is simply that I don't work that way. Am I missing something?

Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177

"A story untold could be the one that kills you."
- Pat Conroy, "Beach Music"

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