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I couldn't agree more. I have been a tech writer/pubs manager for 27
years and we are STILL fighting the same battles. Namely, SME's
inability or unwillingness to review doc, talk to writers etc.
Management's unwillingness to change that particular behavior (like
making doc review part of the SME's performance appraisal, for example)
and deadlines that do NOT include even adequate time for doc development
much less time for superior docs.
Granted, my current employer is the worst by far in this arena but the
hi-tech (ok, Gene, read software development) just does NOT seem to get
I have to admit, I am tired of explaining this one. You can only go to
the well so many times. When it's dry, it's dry.
From: techwr-l-bounces+ccondo=c-cor -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+ccondo=c-cor -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On Behalf
Of Al Geist
Sent: Thursday, August 16, 2007 1:54 PM
To: 'Chris Borokowski'; 'TECHWR-L'
Subject: RE: Guess what: we suck!
Chris Borokowski wrote:
"I don't think the solution is to stop hiring technical writers, but
maybe it is to raise the bar on technical writer standards and the
struggle to get information from SMEs. Technical writing can clearly be
improved. Most manuals I read are somewhere from awful to mediocre. I
can't blame the profession, because that's like saying that all humans
are bad because some litter, maim, smoke menthols and cheat."
I don't smoke or cheat, but I've been to maim (I really like the ocean)
I littered once before a cuff off the back of the head made me realize
errors of my ways.....
Okay, seriously, Chris has a point. It is unbelievable how many manuals
border on the mediocre. More importantly, it's unbelievable how many
managers praise those same manuals as being better than their
It shows me that few managers actually read the drivel, most only worry
about having the "Documentation complete" checkbox checked at the end of
project. I can't place all the blame on them. A large part must be
sales and their impossible promises to customers...."sure we can have a
1,000 page Service Manual completed in two weeks."
And I'm not whining.......
Technical Writing, Help, Marketing Collateral, Web Design and Award
E-mail: mailto:al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com
URL: http://www.geistassociates.com (Online portfolio and resume)
URL: http://www.geistimages.com (Fine art photographic prints for home
office and beautiful note cards for all occasions.)
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