RE: Honestly -- when an SME completely REWRITES your text ... GEEZ!

Subject: RE: Honestly -- when an SME completely REWRITES your text ... GEEZ!
From: "Dan Goldstein" <DGoldstein -at- riverainmedical -dot- com>
To: <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 2008 10:24:39 -0400

Hi David,

That's an easy one:

1. No, don't be angry.

2. As long as he didn't say anything mean about your dog, don't be
insulted, either.

3. Yes, be grateful -- not only for his attempt to be helpful, but also
for any new content he might have provided.

4. Assuming that your departmental style is broadly supported (i.e.,
you're not the only one who follows it), rewrite his piece to match the
departmental style. Alternatively, revise *your* piece to include any
content he might have added. Make sure everyone knows that he helped you

5. Be gracious: "Thanks for helping me out with that one. I tweaked a
few things just to keep it similar to our other documentation. Here's a
new draft -- please let me know if there's anything missing or

6. Yes, it's happened to me -- more times than I can count.

7. Is your furniture still on Craigslist? :-)

Happy Thursday,


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Downing, David
> Sent: Thursday, October 16, 2008 10:00 AM
> To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Honestly -- when an SME completely REWRITES your
> text ... GEEZ!
> The other day, I held a document review meeting, and one of
> the SMEs told me I needed to rewrite the description of a
> particular function to clarify it. Okay, fair enough. I
> rewrite the passages (and made various other revisions from
> the meeting) and sent out the revised text to everyone. I got
> an email back from this particular SME this morning in which
> he completely rewrite the function description for me. I'm
> not sure whether to be
> - Grateful to him for trying to be helpful.
> - Angry with him for not keeping his place and trying to
> usurp my role. Hey, I'M the writer.
> - Insulted, because he's decided I can't write. Rather than
> telling me the passage heeds further clarification, he's
> thrown up his hands and just said, "Looks like I need to
> write this for him."
> One thing's for sure -- what he wrote does NOT conform to our
> departmental style.
> How would you take it -- and has anything like this happened
> to any of you?
> (And I'm going to check the "To" filed in this email very
> carefully before sending it. I've made the mistake several
> times recently of sending messages to the list that were
> meant for someone else. It would be just my luck, that I
> would send this message meant for the list to the SME by
> mistake.)

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Honestly -- when an SME completely REWRITES your text ... GEEZ!: From: Downing, David

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