RE: Best Practice for reviewing documents

Subject: RE: Best Practice for reviewing documents
From: "Joe Malin" <jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com>
To: "Lucero, Peggy" <plucero -at- atsva -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Dec 2005 10:06:48 -0800

My experience is that each writer is responsible for spelling, grammar,
etc. Editors are great to have, but technical writers should not rely on
having one. In a process that uses an editor, the editor should have
first pass on the final document, followed by the subject matter experts

If a SME comes back with a real problem, then the writer should fix it,
review it with the editor, and then review it with the SME.

SMEs have the final say, followed by the writer, followed last by the
editor. That is generally the ranking of the subject knowledge level. I
would rather have a document that is accurate but not grammatically
perfect than have one that's a model of writing but factually wrong.

For some reason, I think my preference is *opposite* to the general
attitude in the profession. I do not know why. Is it, perhaps, the
background of writers and editors? I come from an engineering
background, not a writing background. As a *reader/customer*, I'd be
vastly more frustrated with instructions that didn't match the product.
True, "badly written" manuals exist, but with work I can usually figure
out what to do. A manual that's *missing* information or has the *wrong*
information is at best annoying, and at worst dangerous.

Joe Malin
Technical Writer
jmalin -at- tuvox -dot- com
The views expressed in this document are those of the sender, and do not
necessarily reflect those of TuVox, Inc.

-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+jmalin=tuvox -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Lucero, Peggy
Sent: Tuesday, December 20, 2005 5:01 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Best Practice for reviewing documents

I have numerous technical documents that are mostly written by the team
member responsible for and working daily within subject area of said
After the developer finishes his writing/delivering content, document
then needs to go through peer review and then be reviewed by the client.
Each of these reviews is likely to result in
changes/deletions/additions/recommendations, etc. all done in WORD with
tracking changes on.
In the highly technical documents my part is mainly as an
editor/overseer for spelling, grammar, sentence structure, punctuation,
layout, format, etc.
Question is this-
during the review process, how many times should I be reviewing the
document and making editorial changes? I have been advised that the'
subject matter expert' for these documents, the team lead for
operations, needs to make his review of documents after peer/client
reviews to accept their changes/additions/deletions/recommendations as
only he is in a position to judge the technical accuracy. Of course, I
am the only person on this team in the position to judge the spelling,
grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, layout, format, etc.
Boss says that after the client reviews document and makes their
recommendations document should not be changed. This bothers me as I
don't believe the client is in the best position to judge the spelling,
grammar, sentence structure, punctuation, layout, format, etc.
Just living and learning here, and hoping others can make suggestions on
how best to handle this. Also, I am allowing 5 days, typically, for the
peer review and 5 days for the client review. Is that appropriate?


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