Re: IT documentation

Subject: Re: IT documentation
From: "Andrew Plato" <aplato -at- anitian -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 3 Mar 2004 19:06:14 -0800

<Daniel_Hall -at- trendmicro -dot- com> wrote in message news:230941 -at- techwr-l -dot- -dot- -dot-

What struck me is that Chad Dickerson's favorite quote from Ambler is a
version of Strunk and White's "Vigorous writing is concise."

> This is a reason to hire a tech writer, IMO. We (should) excel at
understanding complex
> systems and turning out clear, concise explanations of them, no matter the
environment: agile,
> extreme, traditional...

In my best Luke Skywalker "But I was going to Toshi Station to pick up some
power converters" voice....

Awwwww. But understanding complex systems and turning out concise, practical
documentation is boring and unrewarding. Its so much more entertaining to
obsess over styles, methodologies, winning STC "contests", and petty
personality differences between co-workers. Why should I learn about the
technologies I document when I can blame the SME for failing to send me
information. Why should I just bang out a useful doc when it is so much more
satisfying to nitpick other people's usage and fuss and fidget over the
unsatsfactory tools I must use. Why should I be concise when I blather
endlessly about the needs and wants of those oh-so-dear-and-tender users who
need me to fight their cause! Why spend all day figuring out code when I can
steadfastly demand that there is no way I could ever learn such things.

If all writers turned out concise and useful documentation, you wouldn't
have to convince organizations to hire tech writers. Their value would be

Andrew Plato


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