RE: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?

Subject: RE: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?
From: "Sean Brierley" <sbrierley -at- Accu-Time -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 23 May 2008 09:21:59 -0400

So, was the proposed definition created by a technical writer or
technical writers, or not?

Is the director of communications a technical writer by trade?

The use of assure in this definition is not mainstream. Ensure would be
better, as you observe. Casual practitioners of the language might not
have the interest to see or understand the difference.

It bothers me, now, that assure is used and that a serial comma is not.
However, in my experience and generalizing from specific experiences,
STC staff are less open to discussion and changing their opinion on such
things than they should be. After all, this director of communications
has been using English since the first grade, right? If you can, get
some elected STC board members to take your position and, failing that,
I'd let it go as the battle is probably not worth the aggravation.
Besides, the whole definition needs a rewrite .... LOL!

Anyway, we all should use a serial comma because it can be useful in
clarifying text and never causes confusion. Leaving out the serial comma
can cause text to be less clear--my spin on the popular example is this:
"For this award, I'd like to thank my parents, George Bush and God."



-----Original Message-----
From: techwr-l-bounces+sbrierley=accu-time -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
[mailto:techwr-l-bounces+sbrierley=accu-time -dot- com -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com] On
Behalf Of Borowik, Kristy
Sent: Friday, May 23, 2008 9:07 AM
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Subject: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical

Yesterday I started a debate amongst the STC board of directors, trying
to get them to change their proposed definition to include the word
"ensure" rather than the word "assure." Merriam Webster clearly states
that the word "assure" "distinctively implies the removal of doubt or
suspense from a person's mind." So how can they possibly use the word in
their definition? A few of the members agree with me. One has changed it
in the survey they sent out yesterday, but this morning I received an
e-mail from the director of communications that makes me think the
discussion is not over. He simply thinks the word means something else.
He said it means "to give likelihood to." Nowhere could I find that
definition. I seriously think he made it up. I'm curious about what you
all think of both the debate and the definition.

My co-worker and I are concerned with the sole mention of equipment. Is
it not leaving out the biggest chunk of technical communicators in the
software field (and others)?

The definition: Develop and design instructional and informational tools
needed to assure safe, easy, proper and complete use of technical goods.
Combines multi-media knowledge and strong communication skills with
technical expertise to educate across the entire spectrum of users'
abilities, technical experience, and visual and auditory capabilities."

Of course it also bothers me that the serial comma is not used in the
second line. But I have yet to do a formal survey to see how many of us
use it and how many don't. I was under the impression that more do than
don't, but I have only my experience with the STC tech editing SIG to go

And then shouldn't technical experience also be plural as the other
items in that series, for logic and parallelism? Oh this STC group just
hurts my head!

Kristy Borowik

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What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?: From: Borowik, Kristy

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