Re: within vs. in

Subject: Re: within vs. in
From: Janice Gelb <Janice -dot- Gelb -at- Sun -dot- COM>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2008 10:40:18 +1100

Lauren wrote:
>> From: Janice Gelb
>
>> I suppose it depends on where you work. I wouldn't
>> use the word "own" but most of the tech companies with
>> which I've been involved defer to the SME for technical
>> content but are paying the writer for writing expertise
>> so the SME is responsible for making sure that the content
>> is technically accurate and the writer is responsible for
>> writing decisions. It's fairly standard for tech review
>> cover letters to indicate that the tech review should cover
>> technical content rather than the writing itself and that
>> decisions on grammar and wording remain with the writer
>> unless the suggestion is intended for technical clarity.
>> YMMV, of course.
>
> My point is that there is an owner and the owner is not usually the writer
> or the SME. The owner at the highest level is the company and at lower
> levels is a department or department manager. There may be someone who has
> authority to act on the owner's behalf. Is this person the writer or the
> SME? That is a factor that varies.
>
> Usually, the writer has a greater say in the choice of words, but often the
> SME may be a primary consumer for the document, either in training or in
> providing documents to the end-user. In the case of an SME as a primary
> consumer, then the SME is the customer and can direct the content. There
> are also cases where the SME may have a better insight into the style of a
> company's documentation than the writer does, like in cases of contract
> writers.
>
> Without an example of the usage of the terms or any knowledge of the status
> of the SME, it is not really possible to say that the SME is or is not the
> owner or has the license of the owner. But the *owner* should be considered
> when determining the correct term to use. Are there previous documents that
> the current document should match? Is there a style guide? These are
> concerns where there is a document owner who is not the writer.
>

In cases where the "owner" is the corporation
that has hired everyone, my experience is that
they leave the final say with the person for
whose expertise they're paying: engineers to
code and writers to write. If wording does not
affect the technical understanding of the content,
then the writer is usually considered to have the
writing expertise over the engineer.

That might not always be true and everyone has to
judge according to their own situation. However,
I think it's true often enough that my original
comment stands.

-- Janice

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