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.
Keep 'em coming; I'm still compiling a *big* list of doozies! :)
I wonder if, when you publish them, anyone on this list will recognize
THEIR OWN WRITING!
Although I am in no way besmirching _any_ reputations....who hasn't known
someone who _thought_ they were good, and even managed to convince others
to think they were good, or to successfully conceal from others that they were,
in fact, not?
A Director of Customer Support who was once my direct supervisor (I was
managing the doc. department), never cracked any covers on the documents I
wrote and/or edited, wouldn't have been qualified to judge even if she had, and
solicited no official external audit or user questionnaire, or any other
objective judge of my writing. Nevertheless, she believed I was doing a good
job (well, I did meet my impossible deadlines every time, but what's the point
of meeting a deadline if the document is unusable anyway?). Although I kept
attempting to initiate formal usability procedures, we were never supported on
this, and all we had were Document Problem Reports (DPRs) that users could
mail in. Consequently, I had nothing to support my feeling that I (and
consequently my writers) were actually doing a good job.
Which brings me to the positing of a new thread: how do you judge/get feedback
or otherwise confirm that you are not living in a dream world and are not
one of those writers who's words are getting onto Sally's list, as we speak?
(Got any GIS examples? I used to write for a few Geographic Information
Systems companies...If so, please email me _privately_. ;-0)
This isn't just a usability testing question, is it?
Or to place the same issue in a different perspective: how do you convince
someone in authority/supervisory capacity --one who isn't necessarily equipped
to judge for themselves--that your writing is good? Is the onus on the manager
to initiate reviews for the purposes of performance appraisal (as opposed to
pre-release document reviews for editing and technical accuracy)? Is the best
way to make sure you have some appreciative user fan mail or usability test
Anyone ever been put in that position? Just curious--I am not now, nor have
ever been (or hope to be!) in this position myself!