Welcome to techwr-l

Subject: Welcome to techwr-l
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- OKWAY -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
Date: Tue, 9 Mar 1993 11:09:30 CST

Hello and Welcome to techwr-l

I formed this list to provide a forum for any and all technical
writing issues. If anyone has any particular topics to address,
just post and start a thread.

As of this morning we have about 90 subscribers, which includes
quite a variety of people and backgrounds (according to the network

Instead of asking for introductions from everyone, I would just
suggest that you introduce yourself briefly when you post for the
first time.

As for me, I am Eric Ray, the Technical Information Analyst
(read technical writer with a $5 title) at the Oklahoma State
University Computer Center. Additionally, I am working on a MA
in Technical Writing here at OSU, and involved with the local
student chapter of STC (Society for Technical Communication).

I do the Newsletter and all of the in-house user documentation for
our mainframe computer systems (VM/CMS, MVS/TSO, VMS, and ULTRIX).
Needless to say, I am way behind, and it appears that I will be
alone and behind for the forseeable future. As a general rule, my
documentation is interrupt driven--I rewrite or write the
documentation which is furthest out-of-date, or that which will be
needed soon by a class.

Right now the biggest problem I have is in convincing the
powers-that-be that technical documentation will significantly
reduce the user support load here. I am in the User Services group,
and our help desk is swamped (our help desk calls have more than
doubled in the past year, and the staffing has remained the same.)

My feeling is that better and more documentation for the systems
would reduce that load by answering the questions collectively (on
paper) rather than individually (at the help desk). My boss agrees
in principle, but principle doesn't get me much support or help.

Any suggestions? Do any of you have experience with this kind of
situation? Does anyone have any ideas for increasing productivity
without sacrificing quality?

BTW--about 2/3 of our documentation right now is out-dated, unused
because the old format is extremely user-hostile, and generally
a waste of time and paper. The revisions and rewrites improve it,
but they sure take a long time.

ejray -at- okway -dot- okstate -dot- edu

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