Re: The ethics of tech writing

Subject: Re: The ethics of tech writing
From: TechWhirl Admin <admin -at- techwhirl -dot- com>
To: Techwr-l <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 3 Jun 2013 20:11:35 -0400

Folks,

Unless you can convince me that there's a way to debate ethics in technical
writing without your personal value judgements getting involved, this
particular thread needs to stop. Kind of a shame since it really is a
worthwhile topic, one that I would encourage you all to blog about (or
consider a column for TechWhirl). However, as we've seen, it's far too
easy for people to make judgements and ad hominem attacks where no offense
was intended or inferred.

I encourage you to read a post thoroughly before replying, and to stop
before you hit send--it there's a question about whether it's appropriate,
just DON'T post it. Better yet, reread the rules
http://www.techwr-l.com/rules-expectations.html

Thanks,

Connie Giordano
List Moderator/TechWhirl Editor

On Mon, Jun 3, 2013 at 5:52 PM, Porrello, Leonard <lporrello -at- illumina -dot- com>wrote:

> Please see comments in-line below.
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: Gene Kim-Eng [mailto:techwr -at- genek -dot- com]
> Sent: Monday, June 03, 2013 2:33 PM
> To: Porrello, Leonard
> Cc: Dan Goldstein; techwr-l -at- techwr-l -dot- com
> Subject: Re: The ethics of tech writing
>
> >Well, for one thing, it wasn't the topic of the thread it got started in.
>
> Which is why I changed the Subject of the thread.
>
> >For another, I've got too many things in my own work history for me to
> talk about anything more than what I won't do anymore.
>
> It's too bad that you feel this way. Your posts to the list are generally
> excellent. Aristotle says that wisdom comes from experience, and you
> apparently have a lot of experience (and wisdom) to share.
>
> >And finally, it doesn't seem to me that this tangent does much to advance
> a discussion of how to leverage technical writing to its best effect?
>
> First, you're begging the question. A discussion about the ethics of tech
> writing in a thread with a subject line of "The ethics of tech writing" can
> hardly be called a "tangent". Nevertheless, imagine if tech writers were
> more or less united in rejecting work to support products (or processes)
> that are morally repugnant. How would that change the way the world looks?
> What would happen if the guy who writes the manufacturing process
> documentation for the dangerous clothing factory in India says, "I can
> continue working here only if we take measures to ensure that our workers
> around the globe are safe"? I'll tell you what will happen, he'll be shown
> the door. But what if the next person that the company hires says the same
> thing? And the same with the person after that? What if the next person
> they interview asks, "Does this company ensure that best safety practices
> are followed in the overseas factories in which my documentation will be
> used?" What if the developers of the Ap
> ple iPad (for example) see the example set by the tech writers, and the
> entire iPad development team says, "we can't continue working on this
> product until Apple demonstrates that its Chinese manufacturers are
> respecting their workers"?
>
>
> On 6/3/2013 2:19 PM, Porrello, Leonard wrote:
> >
> > Gene, I appreciate your interest in keeping TECHWRL-L limited to the
> banal (as well as your aversion to killing people and clubbing baby seals),
> but there is more to tech writing than label design. Tech writers play a
> very unique role in facilitating the use and proliferation of technology.
> Why would you object to a discussion about how to leverage our role to its
> best effect?
>
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