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: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- granatedit -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 24 May 2008 12:53:28 -0400

What I meant was looking at how the BLS or other federal government agencies
handles occupation descriptions. That's what the definition is for.

If I agreed with the premise of this endeavor, I'd help you, but my brain
does not recognize "technical communicator" as a meaningful job title.

----------
<begin highly offensive and outlandish "rant">
"It's very nice to meet you, Ben. Tell me, what line of work are you in?"

"I'm a technical communicator, Joe. And you?"

"I'm a financial advisor... now what did you say you did, again?"

"I'm a technical communicator."

"I see. So, what is it exactly that you do?"

"I work as a technical communicator -- I communicate technical things."

"You are a courier for an engineering company? You communicate technical
messages from person to person? <laughs> Is that like 'sanitary engineer'?
Please forgive me, Ben -- I'm really sorry....."

"Not exactly... it's more like what they used to call 'technical writer' a
while back."

"Hah! A 'technical writer'? Why didn't you say so?"

"Well, a bunch of people who snookered a bunch of other people snookered the
government into changing the name of the occupation, and I can't work unless
I use their ! -at- #$%^& lingo."

</end rant>
Bonnie Granat
http://www.GranatEdit.com


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Mike Starr [mailto:mikestarr-techwr-l -at- writestarr -dot- com]
> Sent: Saturday, May 24, 2008 11:07 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?
>
> 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
Re: What do you guys think of STCs new definition for technicalwriter?: From: Mike Starr

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