Assumption of Knowledge

Subject: Assumption of Knowledge
From: Vince Putman <PUTMV -at- MAIL -dot- SYNTRON -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 13:18:51 CST

To all TechWriters:

Is the author of a document the person who provides the technical
content OR is it the person who edits the grammar and does all the
formatting? Many TECHWR-L posts have stated that the Technical Writer
is the author. This attitude is no doubt coming from the enormous
amount of effort we TechWriters put into the formatting, graphics, and
digging for the missing info. Why then should the content person take
credit as the author?

Should the author be the person who does the original writing(s) and
edits for technical content? This question begs -- what is a
Technical Writer? The title seems to state that the original writing
is done by them. Many writing samples offered by applicants for
Technical Writer positions, are said to be written by them. If this
is true, then it infers that the original writing was also done by
them. If not true then the Technical Writer applicant has assumed
knowledge, i.e. experience they can not offer. The crux of the matter
is the assumption of knowledge -- in other words its pretending to
know something when you do not.

Its a hard pill to swallow, but the article "Handling Uncooperative
Engineers or Programmers" by Jane S. V. Mellin, posted by
<sybilla -at- aol -dot- com> as "Article On Getting Cooperation from Resource
People" is the real world for those Technical Writers who should not
use the title.

As for the those who find this thread of Content vs Grammar
discussions unnecessary and can not understand why so much has been
posted on the subject -- well now you know! We TechWriters need to
cleanup our act and stop assuming. Everyone knows how to divide the
word and our reputation has suffered so much that we now carry excess
baggage into employment interviews. Have you interviewed for a job
lately? Or, have you interviewed a TechWriter lately?



Vince Putman | Avoid polishing the fire truck
putmv -at- mail -dot- syntron -dot- com | while the building burns down!
713-647-7139 Houston, TX | Aka, Eschew Gratuitous Obfuscation


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