Re: Anyone Can Write - Just Look At The Job Descriptions

Subject: Re: Anyone Can Write - Just Look At The Job Descriptions
From: Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Sun, 26 Jun 2011 23:20:29 -0400

"...so, you want polished poop?"

Yes. In one instance I heard of they did indeed. The tech writer's job was to edit the output files (RUNOFF output files for the lineprinter -- 30 or more years ago this was) to match a particular formatting specification, and she would get called on the carpet if she suggested any change beyond fixing a typo such as "hte". In particular, she was not to question technical errors, no matter how obvious or serious.

Now why, one might ask, was this idiocy desired?

It was because of the business model:

1. Write the plan exactly according to the specifications.
2. Build to the plan.
3. Deliver the item and get paid.
4. If the customer (the US military) determines the item to be incorrect, get a revised contract with new specifications and return to step 1.

You see, asking questions about the correctness at step 1 or step 2 would short circuit the revenue stream, making it impossible to get paid for re-doing the job three or four times.

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References:
RE: Anyone Can Write - Just Look At The Job Descriptions: From: Stuart Burnfield
Re: Anyone Can Write - Just Look At The Job Descriptions: From: Lauren

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