RE: Meta-Topic On Discussions (delete as appropriate)

Subject: RE: Meta-Topic On Discussions (delete as appropriate)
From: Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- pinnaclewest -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 28 Feb 2003 13:29:10 -0700

Well, I'm one who rarely posts on those types of topics. I check in from time-to-time to see if someone is stating something illuminating or enlightening that I haven't heard before.

As far as subject expertise as a prerequisite I don't see it as an either/or. I really don't understand why this is such a divisive issue and why people feel so passionately about their various sides. I mostly delete the threads but if I have time, I check in from time to time just in case some new ground is covered.

Who was it that stated that all things being equal, an excellent writer with subject matter expertise would do the job better than an excellent writer with no expertise? That is it in a nutshell for me, but in real life, I might get a pretty good writer with a track record of learning difficult subjects or I might find a so-so writer with excellent SME background or I might find two really good writers with no background but who seem to be willing to learn how to learn... I as a hiring manager would have to pick the best solution for my needs.

For the record, my expertise is in computer programming, and the bulk of my career has been in various forms of software documentation, with an emphasis on techies as an audience. However, I've also documented hardware, done marketing doc, and documented business processes. So I've worked both ways, with good SM background and other times having to learn new subjects from scratch. And I prefer the second just because it's more fun. But it's not necessarily better for my client. It takes me more time to learn new stuff.

As far as the meta-side goes, if y'all say something new that changes my mind on the topic, I would be unlikely to post, unless I felt that my posting would *add* something to the thread. Just posting agreements I don't think are generally helpful to the list as a whole. So far though, people have not stated anything new that I have seen.

- subject matter expertise - gotta have it
- subject matter expertise - don't gotta have it
- subject matter expertise - sometimes you gotta have it and sometime you don't
- subject matter expertise - I'm smarter than you
- subject matter expertise - pragmatics... get it if you can because you will be more employable

All the stances are more or less correct and the passion probably based on personal experience. Since mine spans both of the more dynamically opposed camps, I don't feel passionate about it. Whether or not I have SME level knowledge about what I'm writing about, I am glad to have a job. :-)

Rose A. Wilcox
CHQ, 14th Floor
Tranz1 QA/Documentation
Rose -dot- Wilcox -at- PinnacleWest -dot- com
And deep in my heart the answer it was in me
And I made up my mind to find my own destiny


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