Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler

Subject: Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler
From: Pro TechWriter <pro -dot- techwriter -at- gmail -dot- com>
To: Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 2010 16:39:28 -0500

**Disclaimer: I do not speak for the Society for Technical Communication as
a whole, but am offering my opinion only based on my service with STC. The
views expressed here are my opinion only. **

I'd like to address one point here in the second paragraph. As a STC local
chapter board member (2008-2009 and 2009-2010 terms) for membership and
outreach in a medium-size metropolitan area, I have seen our chapter
membership drop from nearly 200 members to about 80 because of the
large increase in dues and unemployment of many of our members. We barely
have any members left, let alone any "riff-raff" hanging out at the local
STC Chapter. :-)

I think that the rationale for certification is to make STC membership more
attractive by providing a certification path as a benefit. I do not believe
that it is intended to penalize people who do not want to get certification.
Many organizations today provide certification to their members and the STC
wants to be "on par" with other organizations such as the IIBA and PMI.

With the economy being what it is and has been the last few years,
organizations are competing for membership dollars and must provide proof
that they are relevant to their members' careers. Certification is one way
that many organizations do this.

Personally, I am not sure whether I would "go" for certification or not. It
would depend on the cost and the perceived value in my local job market.

Take what you like and leave the rest :-)

PT


On Sat, Jul 17, 2010 at 3:38 PM, Rick Stone <rstone75 -at- kc -dot- rr -dot- com> wrote:

> What purpose does certification hold for STC? A tool to prevent
> "uncertified" folks from being promoted? Something to beat folks over
> the head with until they acquiesce and agree that they must become
> certified and therefore "pay their dues"?
>
> Is this certification a hurdle that STC is building so it becomes more
> difficult to join STC? In other words, STC is seeing too many "riff
> raff" or "unqualified" folks applying for membership, so they need to
> stem the flow?
>
> So much of what I see with your Goofus and Gallant (Sorry, Ernest and
> Scribbler) examples is too subjective. Perhaps a project manager really
> wants a Scribbler that turns work around fast because Ernest is too
> worried about trying to work perfectly so the work cannot be produced in
> a timely manner. Perhaps Ernest avoids screenshots like the plague and
> they might actually, I dunno... Be helpful or something! (gasp)
>
> Like Bill, I too see pros and cons for each.
>
> Cheers... Rick :)
>
> Steven Jong wrote:
> > [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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Follow-Ups:

References:
Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Steven Jong
Re: Certification: Ernest and Scribbler: From: Rick Stone

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