Re: What does it mean to be technical?

Subject: Re: What does it mean to be technical?
From: Jan Henning <henning -at- r-l -dot- de>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2003 19:12:03 +0200

A basic understanding of your PC &
operating system can help you identify a difference between a bug in
what you're documenting and problems with your own PC.

Undoutedly. But the discussion was about being able to your own hardware maintenance.

Of course you need to know how PCs work from a user's point of view - how software is installed, what memory is and is used for, how files are stored on a hard disk, how they are accessed, what a path is etc. - if you want to document the spreadsheet application from the example. But that is because these issues are related to what you describe. The power supply simply is not.

It's good to
know with absolute certainty that the fire shooting out of the back of
your PC's power supply can in no way be caused by the spreadsheet.

Sure. But it is not necessary for a good writer. If you are a good writer, you document what you know and not what you guess. (if you can help it at all.) So, as there is no obvious connection between the flames coming out of your PC and the spreadsheet, you would not write something like that in the manual without consulting the SME first.

If a writer should have this knowledge him or herself, they would also need to know about plate tektonics (Maybe the earthquake was caused by a division-by-zero error?), psychology (Is my boss angry at me because I formatted these cells wrong?) and so on and so forth.

Writers who put inferred but not verified (by testing or consulting an SME) information in their documents ar, in general, bad writers no matter how much they know.

Jan Henning

Jan Henning
Am Schlossberg 14, D-82547 Eurasburg, Germany

Phone: +49 700 0200 0700, Fax: +49 8179 9307-12
E-Mail: henning -at- r-l -dot- de, Web:


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RE: What does it mean to be technical?: From: Victoria Nuttle

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