RE: Quote of the Day

Subject: RE: Quote of the Day
From: "Ladonna Weeks" <ladonna -dot- weeks -at- comtrak -dot- com>
To: "'Jim Barrow'" <vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 29 Aug 2007 13:00:15 -0500

The few times I've run into developers with negative attitudes
toward tech writers, I remind them that if it weren't for us,
they would have to write the documentation (as in the old days).
Since many of them would hate writing documentation (even if they
could), that seems to help them see value in our profession.

Ladonna Weeks
ladonna -dot- weeks -at- comtrak -dot- com
cell: 314-210-1652

-----Original Message-----
From: Jim Barrow [mailto:vrfour -at- verizon -dot- net]
Sent: Tuesday, August 28, 2007 9:23 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: Quote of the Day

"Writing is not a profession, but a vocation of unhappiness."
-- Georges Simenon

If I had to boil the following rant down to a simple question, it
would be: How long does it take for a business to treat
technical writing as a respected profession? More specifically,
how long does it take them to stop referring to us as "scribes"?

There are 70 people in our department. Twenty-five of these know
that a portion of their success is due to the documents that the
Tech Pubs department has produced. Forty of these people view
tech writers as people who take documents and "make them pretty"
(dot this, cross that, use a pretty font, etc.). Five of these
people refer to us as "scribes". I can't stand that term. From

"A scribe (or scrivener) is an ancient professional...usually
involv[ing] secretarial and administrative duties such as taking
of dictation." [shudder]

Four of the people who refer to us as scribes are developers who
all but have outright contempt for technical writers. Their
"scribe" comments used to get muttered under their breath. After
a recent all-hands meeting, in which a senior VP referred to us
as scribes, these developers started walking around snapping,
"Hey, tech writer, go scribe; jot that down".

My manager is disgusted and wants to call a meeting. He wants to
spend an hour extolling the virtues of the tech writers., I can't subscribe to this approach.

Personally, I find this demoralizing, especially when I see these
same developers getting praised for a job-well-done after
creating software...using the technical specifications that the
tech writers developed. </rant>

- Jim


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Quote of the Day: From: Jim Barrow

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