Re: For shame, scrivener! Betrayal of the public trust

Subject: Re: For shame, scrivener! Betrayal of the public trust
From: Mike Starr <mike -at- writestarr -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com
Date: Fri, 04 Nov 2011 22:41:27 -0500

I'm not entirely sure technical communicators have a wellspring of public trust... for the most part the public is blissfully unaware of technical communicators.

Having said that, I'd suggest that flawed documentation that results in personal injury would be the greatest betrayal of the public trust by a technical communicator. Physical damage to equipment or corruption of critical data would be the next two items on my list.

Best regards,

Mike Starr WriteStarr Information Services
Technical Writer - Online Help Developer - WordPress Websites
Graphic Designer - Desktop Publisher - Custom Microsoft Word templates
(262) 694-1028 - mike -at- writestarr -dot- com -
President, Working Writers of Wisconsin

On 11/4/2011 10:14 PM, Steven Jong wrote:

An interesting side thread sprung up on plagiarism in technical writing. Everyone who commented knows the difference between reuse and collaboration (good) on the one hand, and plagiarism (bad) on the other. The job candidate who brings someone else's manual as a sample is a plagiarist. So too was whoever produced the text of my Senator's life story on his website, which turned out to be a copy and paste of another candidate's story. (I blame the writer, not the Senator, but in any event it's plagiarism.)

In the context of certification, I originally cited plagiarism as an offense for which one might be decertified. I recommend that you read the Code of Conduct that comes with the certification application package (not STC's Code of Ethics, which is separate) for details. But I'll also ask a general question.

In other certified professions, certain activities—in some cases things that are by no means illegal or immoral—are considered disqualifying, because they directly ruin public trust in that profession. Two examples that come to mind are dating a client (OK for a technical writer, but not for a psychiatrist) and declaring personal bankruptcy (OK for a technical writer or a psychiatrist, but not for a financial planner).

What ruins public trust in a technical communicator?

-- Steve

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