Technical editing vs. technical writing (was: playing with marbles, or some such thing)

Subject: Technical editing vs. technical writing (was: playing with marbles, or some such thing)
From: "Doug Grossman" <Doug -dot- Grossman -at- sas -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Aug 2002 14:31:14 -0400


Andrew,

This time, I'm neither arguing your point, nor playing devil's advocate.......but I *am* curious.

In my company, we have a separate "Technical Editing" department, separate from both "Publications" (who document our core software products in a static way for external folks) and from the technical writers in "Client Services" (who document customized solutions in a dynamic sort of way for external customers). I happen to be in this last group. My guess would be that the technical editors fondle fonts the most, "pubs" probably hardly at all, and my group is somewhere in the middle.

My question is this: Would you change all, some, or none of what you said, if one called themselves a technical *editor," as opposed to a technical *writer*? My question arises from the fact that they can both exist within the same organization, and that there is a distinct difference between them.

Thanks,
Doug Grossman

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Plato [mailto:gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Subject: Re: Re(2): I'm taking my marbles and going home...

Martin, it is absolutely, 10000000% impossible for a human being to write an
authoritative document about a complex technology or programming language without
*some* in-depth knowledge of the topic. In many cases, a good writer must have a
considerably more in-depth and broader knowledge than the SME since they must
integrate these complex concepts with many other disciplines. And the only way
you can do that with ANY degree of success is if you have taken the time to learn
and digest the technology.

<snip>

If you want ownership of your work, you have to have ownership of the knowledge.
Otherwise, you're just editing other people's text, and that isn't writing.

Andrew Plato

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