RE: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking

Subject: RE: Sloppy writing, sloppy thinking
From: Lyn Worthen <Lyn -dot- Worthen -at- caselle -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 28 May 2003 10:00:07 -0600

-----Original Message-----
From: Andrew Plato
Sent: Wednesday, May 28, 2003 9:36 AM

> It isn't that documents are "completely wrong," they're
> just not wholly accurate. Actually, what I see a lot more
> of these days is poorly focused documents.

...<snip description>...

No arguments here.

...<snip craftsmanship vs guruhood comment>...

> You are correct - technical writing craft demands both
> tech and writing skills. A deficiency in one, is a
> deficiency as a whole.

Very much in agreement on this. I particluarly like the idea of technical
writing as a "craft," as that suggests that serious craftsmen
(craftspeople?) must continually refine their skills to stay at the top of
their craft.

> However, tech skills are still more valuable in the marketplace.

This is where I think the disagreement really centers: what -does- the
marketplace actually want/value? Because "the marketplace" is such a huge
beast, and each of us views it from our own perspective/experience, I think
we're doomed to endlessly argue the question - unless we can call a truce
and accept the fact that some parts of the marketplace place more value on
tech skills, others weight the communication skills more highly, and still
others will accept nothing less than the perfect blending of the two.

I've seen material written by people who knew the technology inside&out, but
who couldn't explain their way out of a paper bag (I'm sure many of us have
rewritten plenty of this - I know I have). I've also seen material that
very clearly explained every point, but failed to cover -enough- points to
make the material worth the time it took to read it.

If we're going to be -technical writers-, I think at some point we're going
to have to accept the fact that we need to have skills in both aspects of
the job.

To repeat (because I think this summed it up quite nicely):

> [The] technical writing craft demands both
> tech and writing skills. A deficiency in one,
> is a deficiency as a whole.



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