Re: Article: "Living Documentation"
Excuses, excuses, excuses. "We didn't get access and therefore we couldn't do
good work." Bah. Its a writer's responsibility to get the information they
need, by hook or by crook.
This is *not* an excuse, and shows again that disconnect between your world and our world. I have repeatedly requested access - but the code is so tightly controlled in our environment during development that only the programmers and a few high-level managers. My supervisor doesn't even have access to the code.
Live in the real world a few day, Plato, and you'll get a major surprise.
And this is exactly the type of bashing inherent in your attitude - I'm just a hack because I have to work within the system to do my job. I can't force the change, although I do make recommendations, and am *very* vocal about things that aren't working, and questioning why things are the way they are. I feel very strongly that my job is to be an advocate for my user group - and that things have to make sense to them. Our organization is very programming-centered, and things are coded in such a way to make their jobs and lives easier, not the users, who are paying us a boatload of money to use our software. We're slowly making inroads into the attitude, and things are changing for the better.
There are going to be errors in our documentation. We are dealing with a legacy system, as well as one of the inept writers you are so frequently fond of bringing up (this writer was so bad, she refused to learn to use FrameMaker efficiently, and our docs were a mishmash of Word and Frame stuff. The customer support group would frequently tell users not to refer to the documents because they were just plain wrong. Yes, that was her fault, because she didn't want to learn the system. It was also the company's fault for allowing the situation to go on for so long that documentation was just a joke - when the company got sued because someone used to documentation with a resulting *huge* cash loss due to incorrect interest calculations (these are banks), the documentation and Q/A team was immediately reorganized).
But I take great pride in my job, and am constantly questioning *everything,* constantly working to improve it to be usable - with a receptive manager who has already done a tremendous amount of work improving the docs, we are turning things around. We work hard to stay on top of development, and do not produce crappy documentation. The problem is that chasing down updates leaves us little time to update those things that rarely change (that is actually my current project, fleshing out many of the older docs, especially our reports).
That's why I take offense at your generalizations - it lumps everyone together into the bad, and that does no one any good - and, more importantly, does nothing to improve the view of others towards technical writers. If you are so disdainful, and you're labeling yourself as a writer, then that attitude will be transferred to those outside the profession. And that's why I am vocal about disagreeing with you.
jewahe -at- lycos -dot- co -dot- uk
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- Re: Article: "Living Documentation", Bruce Byfield
Re: Article: "Living Documentation": From: Andrew Plato
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