Re: What does Bugzilla look like in action?

Subject: Re: What does Bugzilla look like in action?
From: Chuck Martin <cm -at- writeforyou -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Aug 2004 11:08:50 -0700

Nora Merhar wrote:

You didn't read what I said. I said nothing about "user assistance" being
unimportant. What I said was that if you are included with the developers,
in the same newsgroup or list or whatever, it would seem a GOOD thing,
something that acknowledges you on a level with the developers, not a
cause for more inferiority complex

Nora Merhar wrote:

I would think it would be NICE, and a goal for most TWs not to be
segregated from the developers, and to have your issues right there and
available to be seen by them.

Uh, no, user assistance is an important and integral part of project
development, not something NICE to have that's tacked on at the end.

Of course I read what you said. Being on the same level with the developers does not mean that my TW-specific issues need to be buried among non-TW issues. Just the opposite, in fact: having a TW-specific forum means that the TW-specific issues are considered equal to those of other developers.

I don't see how the response marginalizes or trivializes the help
developers at all. It seems reasonable enough.

Well, then perhaps we don't need, say, TECHWR-L. We can create one big
mailing list that deals with all areas and issues of product
development, and tech writers can post their questions and issues there.

Well, I certainly wouldn't go to a group of TWs to get information about a
product I was documenting. I'd want to be on that list with the
developers, posting my questions and issues with the possibility that
people who knew the answers would see them! And I'd start a new thread so
I could find it later.

Really? HOw many developers do you know that can tell you how to write macros for FrameMaker? Or to create cutoms markers in FrameMaker? Or even how to set margins in FrameMaker? Or how to export XML from RoboHelp? Or how to organize information? Or how to....?

A TW-specific list isn't about getting information about a product. It's about getting your TW work done. In this case, it's not about how to develop Eclipse applications. It's about how to write Eclipse user assistance. And developers generally are not able to competently write user assistance.

BTW, while we're on the Eclipse issue, there *used* to be a documentation-specific Eclipse newsgroup/list. It's not on the Eclipse news server though. The platform group is, and there have been something on the order of 22,000 posts in that group over approximately the past year.

I think what happened is that too many people posted requests for help on how to develop for Eclipse on the help-dev list, and the moderators/owners got tired of telling them that those posts were off topic. It was easier to shut it down than to maintain a resource that was useful for documentation developers.

Chuck Martin
User Assistance & Experience Engineer
twriter "at" sonic "dot" net

"I see in your eyes the same fear that would take the heart of me.
The day may come when the courage of Men fail, when we forsake our
friends and break all bonds of fellowship. But it is not this day!
This day, we fight!"
- Aragorn

"All you have to decide is what to do with the time that is given you."
- Gandalf


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