RE: Do I have to understand the material?

Subject: RE: Do I have to understand the material?
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 14 Aug 2002 15:21:34 -0400

Andrew makes some good points.

Did I miss the part where he waded in on whether a technical writer
needs a degree in what they are documenting?

In terms of the issue that kicked off this thread, does a tech writer
need an Associate's degree in electronics to document electronics?

Also, does the writer need to be as much an expert as the engineer or
programmer, or can the technical writer do a good job with a less-deep
knowledge? For example, let's say you are writing about software that
models hydraulics. Is it enough to understand how the liquids flow in
the system, the components of the system, and the ways to interact with
the software to get things done. Or, is it required that you have the
equivalent background PhD-level civil-engineering degree of those who
created the software?

As usual, let's assume the motivated, intelligent, learning-type of
writer, not a font-fondler or template twiddler. <LOL!>



Sean Brierley
Software Documentation Specialist
Haestad Methods
203-805-0572 (voice)
203-597-1488 (fax)

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Plato [mailto:gilliankitty -at- yahoo -dot- com]
Sent: Wednesday, August 14, 2002 2:00 PM
Subject: Do I have to understand the material?

As usual we're all nitpicking over detials. So lets make this nice and

ATTENTION: The use of the word "you" in this post does not mean you
personally. I
am directing this at a faceless nobody for rhetorical purposes. If you
chronic "take everything personally and get offended" disease, then
delete this
post immediately.

1. Do I have to understand the material I am documenting.

Yes, if you want to be a good writer. The only way to write authorative
is to have authorative knowledge. <snip>

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