Re: Being an Expert (was:I'm taking my marbles and going home...)

Subject: Re: Being an Expert (was:I'm taking my marbles and going home...)
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 08:57:35 +0200

>The SMEs decide what is accurate and what isn't.

Not when I'm writing the manual. As has been pointed out, the writer is
responsible for the contents, not the SMEs. Sure, you can try to shift he
blame if there is a problem, but the damage to the company has already
been done.

So I try to verify the SMEs' information to the extent possible, given
time and resource contraints, and I do occasionally find errors in their
information. Also, sometimes I _think_ I find errors and it turns out
that I just misunderstood them. Hadn't I done so, I would have put
incorrect information in the manual.

>I think we (Tech Writers) are hired to create professional manuals from
>the talent available in the company.

I agree with you but I believe that getting a manual to be professional
means double-checking the information and excercising your own judgement.
And to do that, you need to have a reasonable amount of expertise (the
definition of "reasonable" varying with the particular job at hand).

(Gee, I seem to be a Platonist after all :-)

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:

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Being an Expert (was:I'm taking my marbles and going home...): From: tom -dot- green -at- iwon -dot- com

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