TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: creativity . . . and ethics From:Faith Weber <weber -at- EASI -dot- ENET -dot- DEC -dot- COM> Date:Mon, 28 Jun 1993 10:51:10 PDT
Well, I guess I fall somewhere in the middle. I do avoid trying
to make the unreasonable sound wonderful -- in those cases, which
fortunately are fairly rare, I will first point out what I think
is unreasonable and make suggestions about how it could be improved.
If we have the time and/or resources, we usually discuss that and
come to some kind of agreement. If the "unreasonable" way is the
only possible way to do it, or we can't change it in the near future,
I just document the facts, without trying to make them sound good
I try to point out the features of our software that really *are*
wonderful, because the users may not have the background to realize
the software is wonderful unless we tell them. I also warn them
about ways they can get themselves into trouble, and explain how
they can avoid that.
I guess the point is, I want to give users the information they
need to effectively use our software, and wherever I can
legitimately give them reasons to *like* using it, I do that too.
Part of my job is to help sell our product by emphasizing the good
points of our software, while steering users away from any problems
they might encounter. I don't feel a need to be dishonest or compromise
my ethics to achieve that, though. Luckily, our management
encourages us to point out problem areas in the software and make
suggestions for improvement, so I am spending more and more time
emphasizing the good points, and less documenting "unreasonable"
weber -at- easi -dot- enet -dot- dec -dot- com