Re: Hostility towards STC

Subject: Re: Hostility towards STC
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 11 Apr 2003 15:14:28 -0700


Mike Bradley wrote:

The ethics thread has revealed considerable hostility towards STC? I have my
own criticism of the organization but I'm not ticked off at it. Why the
juice?


Personal reasons aside, the main reasons why I dislike to the STC are:

- The arrogance of its officials. Too many of them talk as though they speak for all technical writers, although - so far as I can figure - the rate of membership in most areas is only 40-60% of all technical writers, and less than 15% are actively involved. They also seem to spend an inordinate amount of time talking about their role as leaders, and very little doing anything concrete for their alleged constituencies.

- The rampant insecurity shown in its most common dialogues: writers don't get enough respect, developers look down on writers, and so on. In fact, gaining respect is simply a matter of working hard, doing good work, and developing technical competence. Unfortunately, a large chunk of effort goes into expressing the insecurity that should be spent on gaining the respect.

- The insistence that writing expertise alone is necessary. This claim is probably another result of insecurity, but I mention it separately becaue I think it misleads new writers and reduces what little respect technical writers might have as a group. To me, the issue is very simple: call the professional technical writing or technical communication, it's a compound noun; both technical and writing expertise are required by the jog.

- The apparently total lack of any ability to move towards any of its stated goals, or to provide any services for its members. In other words, its complete lack of any behavior that characterizes other professional associations.

Let me add that I am not talking about the average STC members, many of whom seem motivated by genuine charitable or altruistic impulses to give something back to their peers. There are even some STC leaders who seem dedicated and sincere.

However, the general attitude that emanates from the STC is too often as I describe. It's a failed organization, which may be why so many experienced technical writers are either not members, or not active in it.

--
Bruce Byfield bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com 604.421.7177
http://members.axion.net/~bbyfield

"And if you think the pen is mightier than the gun,
I tell you, friend, that you're dreaming
'Cuz the countdown has begun;
We're having fun
Down on Airstrip One."
- Attila the Stockbroker



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Hostility towards STC: From: Mike Bradley

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