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

Subject: Re: Honestly -- when an SME completely REWRITES your text ... GEEZ!
From: Gary Schnabl <gSchnabl -at- LivernoisYards -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 17 Oct 2008 03:01:28 -0400

Downing, David wrote:
> 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.

Probably... Correct, accurate writing from an SME in a less-than-ideal
format is far better than some erroneous, but better-written, pap
authored by a TW.
> - Angry with him for not keeping his place and trying to usurp my role.
> Hey, I'M the writer.

BTW, the 'm' in "I'm" isn't usually capitalized...

"The" in "the writer" writer might imply that some degree of turf on the
part of a writer in the firm or project, when used in that context.
However, when you stated that the SME was completely rewriting
something, that something was probably his pet, unique specialty.

Besides, that component of the document he entirely rewrote was probably
but a few pages long relative to the entire document. So, live with it
and just make his writings conform to the style and format guidelines,
much as in the role of an editor.

SMEs don't necessarily have poorer writing skills than a TW. But they
probably have more important roles in the industry and probably earn far
more than a TW. Some SMEs turn into TWs (or technical editors) later in
their careers or after retirement. If you overplay your hand in your
firm, your SME might eventually become your boss or even your "substitute."
> - 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.

It takes but a few minutes for an SME to decipher and conform to a style
guide. A garden-variety TW will probably not know much really technical
SM in any real amount of detail. A knowledge of styles and formats used
in a company's documentation is hardly rocket science.
> How would you take it -- and has anything like this happened to any of
> you?
Some are way too easily offended. Get a good night's sleep and come back
to work in a better mood.

Gary Schnabl

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

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