RE: Have to know Programming to be able to write about it? -- NO

Subject: RE: Have to know Programming to be able to write about it? -- NO
From: John Posada <JPosada -at- book -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 27 Feb 2003 11:44:47 -0500


>The expert is often the worst person to write
>about their subject, because they no longer
>see it with the naivete of the new user.
>Hence the manuals that leave out crucial steps
>because "tsk, everyone _knows_ you're supposed
>to do X before Y". Remember all those unusable
>manuals in the early days of computers? Written
>by computer experts, not communication experts.

No...a bad WRITER is the worst person to write about subjects. A good writer
not only knows the subject, but knows how to write for the user and if the
writer knows the user is "Igor, the 3rd shift NOC operator who's on his
first week and the sirens went off", then that expert will write at that
level. A good writer can write down...an uninformed writer cannot write up.

A good writer who does not know the subject might (more on this in a moment)
write well for users who do not know the subject, because to that user, the
writer is the expert...he knows more than the user, who knows little.
However, that writer cannot write the same subject for the user who knows
the subject very well. That writer will continue to create acceptable
material for an entry level reader, but cannot write extraordinary material
for an expert level reader, and I want to write extraordinary material .

About good writer writing for readers who don't have knowledge...maybe they
more then the expert need the services of a knowledgeable writer. Picture a
good writer who does not know the subject, writes a piece on draining an
MSMQ. The non-expert writer will interview a SME, the SME will give the
process, and the unknowledgeable writer writes it. Cool.

However, only the expert writer will be able to include instructions on what
do to if the Q cannot be drained. Is it a security or permissions issue? A
syntax issue? A sharing issue? A communications issue to the MSMQ?

John Posada
Senior Technical Writer
Barnes&Noble.com
jposada -at- book -dot- com
NY: 212-414-6656
Dayton: 732-438-3372
"Alright, nobody move! I've got a dragon here, and I'm not afraid to use it"
---------- Donkey

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