Re: Programmers as writers?

Subject: Re: Programmers as writers?
From: cpwinter -at- rahul -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 6 Dec 2002 21:24:25 -0800

On 3 Dec 2002, at 14:35, Andrew Brooke wrote:

> On 19 Nov 2002, at 19:23, Mike Stockman wrote:
> "I would expect most good programmers to also be good at writing."
> Huh - what planet do you live on?
> :-)
> Seriously, I would hate to generalize about programmers (or any other
> group) either positively or negatively about their writing ability. But I
> recently gave a talk about writing documentation for developers (which I do
> full time) and tried to make the point, somewhat tongue-in-cheek, that
> programmers are from another planet. They are concerned about (and good at)
> code, objects, modules, classes, functions, etc. As tech writers, we are
> concerned about language, content, words, documents, clarity, presentation,
> etc.
> The two professions are therefore very different - to expect or assume
> that programmers (even "good" ones) would be good at programming is
> nonsense. I review their raw documents (which I have to repair) almost
> daily - most of them are in pretty sad shape. That's not their fault -
> it's just that they are paid to be programmers, and not writers. That's my
> job.

Yes, there are differences between the profession of programming and
the profession of technical writing. But I stand by my opinion that the
essential operations -- stringing code statements together to make a
program, and stringing sentences together to make a text -- are quite

Also, the fact that the programmers you work with turn out inferior
documents, when documentation is not their primary responsibility (and
may not be a formal responsibility at all) says little about their innate
ability to write.


Check out SnagIt - The Screen Capture Standard!
Download a free 30-day trial from
Find out what all the other tech writers, including Dan, already know!

Order RoboHelp X3 in December and receive $100 mail in rebate, FREE WebHelp
Merge Module and the new RoboPDF - add powerful PDF output functionality
to RoboHelp X3. Order online today at

You are currently subscribed to techwr-l as:
archive -at- raycomm -dot- com
To unsubscribe send a blank email to leave-techwr-l-obscured -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Send administrative questions to ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.

Programmers as writers?: From: Andrew Brooke

Previous by Author: Re: Remember secretaries? (was RE: Proof that content is more important than style)
Next by Author: RE: Remember secretaries? (was RE: Proof that content is more important than style)
Previous by Thread: Re: Programmers as writers?
Next by Thread: RE: Programmers as writers?

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads