Re: Do I have to understand the material?

Subject: Re: Do I have to understand the material?
From: "Paul Strasser" <paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 16 Aug 2002 10:54:45 -0600


"Doc" <doc -at- vertext -dot- org> wrote in message news:...
>
> Okay Paul, I admit to hyperbolizing a bit to make my point.
>
> But the basic premise is to keep the user in mind. I am not espousing the
> "ignorance is good" point of view, I am not against knowing how to code.
> What I am railing against is confusing documenting with communication.
> Admittedly my main thrust concerned user guides for software since that is
> the area with which I am most familiar....

In the spirit of Friday (and with the weird thought in mind, suggested by
another post, of nudists prancing around geysers...) I will say that I agree
with Doc.

Even in my "briefing notes" example it was critical that I knew who the
audience was. In fact, the first questions I posed when the subdistrict
naturalist asked me to write something was, "Who's going to use them, and
why?" His answer provided me with the basis for the level of detail needed,
writing style (stuffy, academic, chatty, etc.), and method of presentation I
used. Know thy audience.

My example was unusual, in that the subdistrict naturalist approached me not
as a writer, but as an SME. If he had asked a writer who was ignorant of
the subject matter to try writing a briefing note the result would have
sucked - unless I was peppered with zillions of questions from the writer,
then given the opportunity to edit and rewrite. The better choice was to
let a person who was both the SME and a Tech Writer give it a whack.

So I guess I was writing a user's guide to Interpreting Grand Geyser for
Visitors. And you needed both a writer and SME - and I wore both hats.

(And yes, I too have wondered what language geysers speak - because you have
to interpret them...)

Paul Strasser
Windsor Technologies, Inc.
2569 Park Lane, Suite 200
Lafayette, Colorado 80026
Phone: 303-926-1982
FAX: 303-926-1510
E-mail: paul -dot- strasser -at- windsor-tech -dot- com



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References:
RE: "cleaning" a Word style?: From: John Posada

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