RE: TECHWR-L considered harmful

Subject: RE: TECHWR-L considered harmful
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Nov 2007 11:02:51 -0800

Oooo... Controversy du jour.

> From: neilson -at- windstream -dot- net
> Occasionally someone who should have been doing something
> else is assigned the task of writing or revising the
> documentation. The somewhat less clueless of these people
> will discover TECHWR-L and ask our subscribing multitude
> for help. We writers, being generous (as well as easily
> distracted from our appointed projects) leap to the rescue.

I wouldn't call participation in the forum "rescue." I think of TechWr-L as
more of a community of professionals freely sharing expertise. Referring to
people as "clueless" because they have an unwanted writing assignment and
they don't know what do with it seems a little rude to me.

> Are we actually doing the right thing? Or are we merely
> creating more of those annoying people who believe they are
> tech writers but are mostly worthless?
> --Peter Neilson

This reminds me of the employees of some of my clients.

* There are people in a job,
* they are the only ones doing the job,
* they believe that nobody else can do the job because nobody else does it,
although it is a simple job,
* and they resist efforts to share knowledge about their job because they
don't want anybody else doing that job.

Resisting the sharing of knowledge is not a disruptive act because the one
who shares the knowledge is not the cause of "annoying people who believe"
they have the knowledge that was shared and "are mostly worthless." People
who become annoying when they get a little bit of know-how are independently
annoying and, whether they get their knowledge from a forum or from
somewhere else is irrelevant, they will find whatever they need. The forum
does not cause this behavior.

Being annoyed by people who claim to have expertise when they do not is a
problem for the person who is annoyed, but the source of that perceived
nuisance is not a "worthless" person. Taking the attitude that we should
not share because some people will seem annoying with a little bit of
knowledge is not helpful for a forum. The purpose of the forum is to share

I enjoy participating in the forum because I can share what I know and
consequently remind myself that I do occasionally know things, although I do
meet people who have know clue about what I do. I like learning new things.
I love writing. And I like seeing things from the perspective of a new
person when somebody asks a question about something that I do know, but the
question is from a viewpoint that I have not considered. So I think that
the forum is both rewarding and helpful.



Create HTML or Microsoft Word content and convert to Help file formats or
printed documentation. Features include support for Windows Vista & 2007
Microsoft Office, team authoring, plus more.

True single source, conditional content, PDF export, modular help.
Help & Manual is the most powerful authoring tool for technical
documentation. Boost your productivity!

You are currently subscribed to TECHWR-L as archive -at- web -dot- techwr-l -dot- com -dot-

To unsubscribe send a blank email to
techwr-l-unsubscribe -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
or visit

To subscribe, send a blank email to techwr-l-join -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com

Send administrative questions to admin -at- techwr-l -dot- com -dot- Visit for more resources and info.


TECHWR-L considered harmful: From: neilson

Previous by Author: RE: not "powerup"
Next by Author: RE: Usability Professionals and Technical Communicators
Previous by Thread: Re: TECHWR-L considered harmful
Next by Thread: RE: TECHWR-L considered harmful

What this post helpful? Share it with friends and colleagues:

Sponsored Ads