RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken

Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
From: "Lauren" <lauren -at- writeco -dot- net>
To: "'Dan Goldstein'" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>, <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 2 May 2008 12:24:25 -0700

Alright. I compared and contrasted business writing and technical writing
and stated that the two writing classes are different. I gave my examples
of differences with generalizations about the differences of each class and
mentioned that the risks of a failed technical document were lower than the
risk of a failed business document. So I argued that technical writing and
business writing were different.

There are now specific cases of high-risk technical documents with comments
that suggest all work comes down to the accuracy of the document. I
mentioned that failed technical documentation can be supplemented by
training or a re-write. Now with this latest discussion, I am led to
believe that there is no quality control and no options for training in the
event of a failed document or for re-writing after somebody has reviewed the
technical document, so that document must be perfect when the writer
releases it. Yes, that is high-risk.

My understanding and assumption from experience was that technical
documentation has a review process for accuracy and that the final product
of technical writing does not have a great financial risk associated with
it. Business writing, once it is finalized and released, still has the
variable of acceptance and that variable has a great financial risk that
cannot be corrected with quality control.

So, since technical writing must be perfect when the technical writer
releases it and there are no mechanisms in place to assure accuracy,
technical documents are high-risk. Business documents that are designed to
attract millions of dollars of funding for businesses and projects are
low-risk by comparison. Therefore, my argument that technical writing and
business writing are different is wrong. Why yes, I am sarcastic.

My argument is untouched by any claims of high-risk technical documents. I
still believe that the processes that go into producing technical documents
mitigate the risks of the documents. So that the end result of technical
writing is low-risk, although business documents contain risks that exceed
the scope of mitigation, so those documents have a higher risk. If a
technical writer is producing a document that can risk failure after its
release, then maybe that writer should not be writing.

Lauren

> -----Original Message-----
> From: techwr-l-bounces+lauren=writeco -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> [mailto:techwr-l-bounces+lauren=writeco -dot- net -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> ] On Behalf Of Dan Goldstein
> Sent: Friday, May 02, 2008 10:48 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
>
> The risks of an unsuccessful technical document in my
> industry (medical
> devices) are pretty darn high.
>
> I'll bet the same goes for the pharma and aviation tech writers on
> TECHWR-L. Can I get an "Amen"?

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Follow-Ups:

References:
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Dan Goldstein

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