RE: ghost town

Subject: RE: ghost town
From: "Hannah Drake" <hannah -at- formulatrix -dot- com>
To: "'Tony Chung'" <tonyc -at- tonychung -dot- ca>, "'McLauchlan, Kevin'" <Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 12 Feb 2014 17:44:53 -0500

See below

Before this thread goes do far off the rails to be considered TechWr-L CHAT,
I do have a question that I'd like to discuss:

Are Technical Writers valid anymore? Before you get out your flamethrowers,
hear me out:

How many of you still research and write all your own document content?
>> Both myself and my team create original content on a frequent basis.

How much of your work involves rewriting material supplied to you by
developers (hardware and/or software)?
>>None. They show us how to do things and we document it.

How much of your work involves setting up your own user simulations and
documenting the best case scenarios on behalf of your users?
>>I advocate constantly for usability (which is why I'm not a part-time
product manager), but very little user testing takes place; if it does, I
grab people from different departments who know nothing about the product
and have them use my instructions and I watch and see where they run into
problems and so on and so forth.

How much of your time is spent messing with the tools and processes to
design a better, more efficient process?
>>Isn't the idea below the essence of Madcap Contributor? Maybe you should
try it if your team uses Flare. Contributor is a free trial, and then can be
used for free (which doesn't include some things, but still works).

I ask this because I have never been a core technical writer. I'm a
programmer who knows how to write English. Sadly, where I would really enjoy
building and implementing documentation systems that make it easier for
developers to supply core content and writers to fix the content so that
it's useable, there isn't much of that type of work around, except as a
short term external contractor.

I honestly see a need for this type of role in most companies, but can't
seem to meet the people who recognize that as a need.

So what thoughts have you on my interpretation of the writing "ghost town"
being made up of fewer writers and more systems specialists?

-Tony

On Wednesday, February 12, 2014, McLauchlan, Kevin <
Kevin -dot- McLauchlan -at- safenet-inc -dot- com> wrote:

> Do I have to ask another really dumb question, to stir up some life in
> here?
>
>
>
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Follow-Ups:

References:
ghost town: From: McLauchlan, Kevin
Re: ghost town: From: Tony Chung

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