Re: Technical writer survey: What should we really call ourselves?

Subject: Re: Technical writer survey: What should we really call ourselves?
From: Edwin Skau <eddy -dot- skau -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Geoffrey Marnell <geoffrey -at- abelard -dot- com -dot- au>
Date: Wed, 12 Aug 2009 14:56:31 +0530

Hi,

Whatever name your company chooses, it needs to describe what the profession
does. For example, code monkey sometimes describes some profiles much better
than software engineer.

Make a list of the tasks you folks perform, and then come up with a term
that covers that range of activities. I've found that "technical writing"
seems to fit quite well, where writing is understood to cover the entire
process of researching a body of information, distilling that information
into contexts determined by a rhetorical situation, structuring that
information and
presenting it in lucid language.

It is a process of turning ideas into words, of endowing knowledge with form
and purpose.

Ed





On Sat, Aug 8, 2009 at 1:37 PM, Geoffrey Marnell <geoffrey -at- abelard -dot- com -dot- au>wrote:

> Hi techwr-lers,
>
> >From the many names we have called ourselves over the years, it is
> apparent
> that technical writers/authors/communicators/etc have not always been
> comfortable with the labels used to describe what we do in our profession.
> Given that we know what we do and, more importantly, are seasoned
> wordsmiths, perhaps we should wipe the slate clean and try to come up with
> a
> name that truly captures what we do, a name that doesn't associate us with
> technical matters (since many of us don't write about things that are
> particularly technical) nor tie us down to writing (since many of us
> communicate in ways other than by writing).
>
> To that end, my organisation is conducting a worldwide survey to gather the
> thoughts of practising technical writers on what name they think is apt for
> our profession. The survey is entirely anonymous and you are all very
> welcome to take part.
>
> The survey can be found at <blocked::
> http://www.abelard.com.au/survey.html>
> http://www.abelard.com.au/survey.html
>
> and a discussion on the names some of us now use can be found at
> <blocked::http://www.abelard.com.au/words-1-3.pdf>
> http://www.abelard.com.au/words-1-3.pdf.
>
> The results of the survey will be available at
> <blocked::http://www.abelard.com.au/survey.html>
> http://www.abelard.com.au/survey.html on 1 November.
>
> And just to lighten things up a little, there is a part of the survey where
> you can suggest a humorous name for our profession: word pusher, meaning
> engineer, technology debaffler, and so on. Go on: have some fun.
>
> Let's put our collective wordsmithery together and see what we can come up
> with.
>
> Cheers
>
> Geoffrey Marnell
> Principal Consultant
> Abelard Consulting Pty Ltd
> T: +61 3 9596 3456
> F: +61 3 9596 3625
> W: <http://www.abelard.com.au/> www.abelard.com.au
>
> ^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^
>
> Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
> Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
> 2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
> http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/
>
> Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
> authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
> once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control!
> http://www.helpandmanual.com/
>
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^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^^

Free Software Documentation Project Web Cast: Covers developing Table of
Contents, Context IDs, and Index, as well as Doc-To-Help
2009 tips, tricks, and best practices.
http://www.doctohelp.com/SuperPages/Webcasts/

Help & Manual 5: The complete help authoring tool for individual
authors and teams. Professional power, intuitive interface. Write
once, publish to 8 formats. Multi-user authoring and version control! http://www.helpandmanual.com/

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References:
Technical writer survey: What should we really call ourselves?: From: Geoffrey Marnell

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