Re: Academic Research in TechComm

Subject: Re: Academic Research in TechComm
From: Bill Swallow <techcommdood -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2005 12:48:14 -0500

> In this case, why bother striving for high quality in tech communication?
> Mediocrity seems king...

No, you need to have a *business plan* for improvements, that's all.
Remember, just about all of us are not tech writers working for the
purpose of creating the best documentation set possible. We are
primarily working to create documentation that works to support a
product or internal resource or process. Our job is to effectively
communicate information.

"Quality" has many definitions, and it's when it's thrown around
undefined that problems arise. Your definition of "quality" may differ
from a engineer's definition, and that may differ from a VP's
definition or a CEO's definition. It's a nuance that's often
overlooked and yet burns to the very core of what we do (communicate
things clearly and effectively).

So don't perceive these comments as support for a "mediocrity is king"
mentality. Rather, they are intended to serve as a reminder to know
your audience and tailor information clearly and effectively for that
audience (in all that you do).

You could propose "I need a $100k CMS to make the docs better" and you
might be shot down without comment. Likewise you could make the same
proposition detailing the positive impact it will have on the
company's bottom line and detail the efficiency that might come out of
using such a system (less writers able to do more, better, faster, for
example), and your proposal might be accepted.

As with any field, you only get so far by doing a good job. You need
to be aware of and account for additional factors to progress.


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RE: Academic Research in TechComm: From: Neumann, Eileen

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