Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technicalwriter?

Subject: Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technicalwriter?
From: Mike Starr <mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: Bonnie Granat <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 10:07:01 -0500

Responses inline below...

Mike
--
Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - Technical Illustrator
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - MS Office Expert
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com - http://www.writestarr.com

Bonnie Granat wrote:
> Mike,
>
> You are right. Sorry about that. Here are some quick (very quick) reactions:
>
> I still don't like the "that are clear..." The definition should describe
> what is done, not the ideal quality of the result.

While I agree in theory with your point here, this is ultimately a marketing piece as well and including "that are clear..." points to a value that a professional communicator adds.
>
> I don't like "deliverables" -- the reader of this may not be familiar with
> the word and "documents" is better, I think.

I wrestled with this one as well. However I deliberately used "deliverables" even though it's not a fully mainstream term for two reasons:

1. much of what we create are not what's typically thought of a document. The general public (the audience for this definition) would tend to think of documents as something that is printed/printable. Deliverables encompasses non-print "documents" as well.

2. Even though "deliverables" isn't fully mainstream, most readers should be able to grasp the concept because the term points in the direction of what it means.

>
> How about "...work in business, industry, and government..."
>
> No need for "around the world," which these days goes without saying.

Another thing I wrestled with but as this definition is targeted at being promoted by STC, I included "around the world" as a nod to the many STC members who are not in the US but who have felt slighted by what they see as a US-centric focus of STC.

>
> Comma is mandatory before "including."

You're right... my mistake.

>
> I don't like "...a variety of methods, tools, and technologies including
> writing, illustration, graphic design, photography, video, and sound" for
> some reason, and it may be the "methods, tools, and technologies" that
> bothers me. Perhaps it's that at least one method, tool, and technology
> should be used in the list that follows "including." I don't think that "
> "...a variety of methods, tools, and technologies" adds anything helpful to
> the sentence. Is writing a method or a tool or a technology? I don't think
> it's either! Same for all the others; one could ask the question about tool,
> too. Is video a tool? A method?

I'd welcome suggestions for an improvement on the sentence but that was the best I could come up with; writing may not necessarily be a method, tool or technology but one of the things that got me started on this was that the original definition proposed by STC *did not* include any reference at all to writing. As far as strict, literalist interpretations of the terminology goes, you're right... they're not exact fits but it was the best I could come up with to include some reference to the ways we go about doing what we do.

>
> I think that the definition needs to include something about the purpose of
> the work that such a person does. I've seen excellent definitions of
> technical communication online and elsewhere that address this. If I tried
> to come up with my own statement, I know I would consult those first. ; )

Don't know if I agree... I think the first two sentences, read together, express that concept. However, if you can suggest an improvement, I'd certainly welcome it.

>
> Your version is definitely an improvement, Mike, but you know me -- picky,
> picky, picky.
>
> If I were seriously involved in drafting a definition, I would study
> existing definitions of other occupations that are used by the publication
> or entity in question and approach the task after analyzing other
> definitions for their elements, content, and so forth.

I think the original definition as proposed by STC did a little too much studying of existing definitions and as a result ended up sounding like corporate-speak gobbledy gook. My objective was to come up with something that explains as well as possible what we do without lapsing into buzzword bingo. I regret using the term "deliverables" because of that but didn't feel "documents" completely captured the concept of what sort of things we create.

>
> Bonnie Granat
> http://www.GranatEdit.com
>
>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Mike Starr [mailto:mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com]
>> Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2008 9:31 AM
>> To: Bonnie Granat
>> Cc: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
>> Subject: Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition
>> for technicalwriter?
>>
>> Ah, you replied to my message but didn't comment on my
>> rewrite of what Sean started. You commented on Sean's
>> original. I think my rewrite handles most of your concerns.
>> My rewrite was:
>>
>> Technical communicators create a variety of print and online
>> documents that are clear, concise, comprehensive, accurate,
>> correct, accessible, and professional. Typical deliverables
>> include manuals, online documentation, proposals, policies
>> and procedures, and websites. Technical communicators work in
>> all types of businesses and industries around the world and
>> use a variety of methods, tools, and technologies including
>> writing, illustration, graphic design, photography, video, and sound.
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Follow-Ups:

References:
What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?: From: Borowik, Kristy
Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technical writer?: From: Mike Starr
RE: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technicalwriter?: From: Bonnie Granat
Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technicalwriter?: From: Mike Starr
RE: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technicalwriter?: From: Bonnie Granat

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