RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken

Subject: RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken
From: Keith Hood <klhra -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Tue, 6 May 2008 11:31:51 -0700 (PDT)

-- Al Geist <al -dot- geist -at- geistassociates -dot- com> wrote:

> Keith Hood wrote:
>
> "Technical writing is not meant to be used in an
> adversarial setting. ... Legal writing is often used
> in an adversarial
> setting. It is supposed to introduce ambiguities and
> uncertainty in the mind of the reader."
>
>
> You've been watching to much television. Having
> written technical, consumer,
> scientific, and legal documents, I can assure you
> that accuracy is the name
> of the game in all of them. While trial or criminal
> lawyers may work to
> create ambiguity and uncertainty in the mind of the
> judge, or minds of the
> jurists, every legal document I've worked on
> stressed just the opposite.

Actually, I haven't had a working television for
almost a year. And my feelings about legal writing
mostly come from having worked for lawyers. I admit
I'm biased. Sue me.

Anyway, what I'm thinking about is the overall purpose
of the writing. While the writer of a legal document
may strive to be accurate and definitive on the points
the document addresses, that accuracy is often in the
service of causing doubt. It's as much for the purpose
of leading someone away from a conclusion as it is for
leading someone toward an understanding.

I still think most legal writing is like working hard
to put a WP smoke shell exactly where you want it -
the purpose isn't to make things clear for you but to
ensure the other guy gets the maximum obscuration.
Your mileage may vary. :-)

I do have to agree on one point - when it comes to the
title by which I'm addressed, I think that labels like
"employed" and "paid on time" are more important.


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References:
RE: Definition of Tech Writer, was STC is broken: From: Al Geist

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