Certification: Ernest and Scribbler

Subject: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler
From: Steven Jong <SteveFJong -at- comcast -dot- net>
To: TECHWR-L Digest <TECHWR-L -at- LISTS -dot- TECHWR-L -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 17 Jul 2010 13:15:42 -0400

[What follows is at heart a request for comments on one aspect of certification of technical communicators. I hope it entertains you and that you respond, but at the same time I really want feedback, and really will incorporate it into what we're doing. So it's fun with a purpose -- Steve]

As STC works on implementing certification, it's helpful to keep in mind the profile of a practitioner who should get certified and one who shouldn't. Doc managers can tell you who sits atop their ladder and who languishes at the bottom. There are characteristics of hIgh and low performers. We want to certify on attributes associated with high performers. But what are they?

Remember Goofus and Gallant, the characters from _Highlights for Children_ ? 60 years ago they set examples of good and bad behavior. I'm trying to imagine a pair of writers, Ernest and Scribbler, and see if they can show us the way. Here are some examples that come to mind. Do you have any others?

-- Steve

Ernest:

Takes extra time to use variables for product and company names; keeps source files clean; uses styles or templates
Copyedits (at least) all input
Works to a plan
Follows the style guide even if it's not very good
Reports status
Selects, captures, and crops screens wherever appropriate
Explains what every menu selection does
Takes time off for professional development

Scribbler:

Gets the work done fast and minimally; doesn't waste time fondling fonts
Copies and pastes input--why monkey with what the SME said?
Gets work done and turned around ASAP
Improves on the style guide
Is too busy writing to tell people about it
Throws in screenshots wherever possible
Shows where every menu selection goes
Is good at the job and doesn't need to change
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