Re: Assumption of Knowledge

Subject: Re: Assumption of Knowledge
From: Richard Lippincott <rlippinc -at- BEV -dot- ETN -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 1995 16:13:45 EST

Vince Putman asked:

>Should the author be the person who does the original writing(s) and
>edits for technical content?

This -is- an interesting question, and it starts to draw out the different
definitions of tech writers.

My experience always had been that the original writer and the technical
reviewer were two different people. That's changed a bit as I've moved from
hardware into software documentation.

It used to be, for me, that I was given data on a product. This would be
blueprints, schematics, engineering change orders, and a blank piece of paper
(later, a blank screen). I'd develop a procedure, and the words I'd write
were normally the first words anybody anywhere ever had written on the topic.

I've discovered in my current job that the software engineers are providing
to me, in many cases, drafts of release notes and an expectation that I'll
fit it into the right format. This is a bit confusing to me. They're developers,
I'm the writer. Why are they giving me words? I'd rather have a copy of
the software, and a list of "what's new/what's different." I'll finish the
job from there.

But what's often happening is what Vince describes. The reviewer is the same
person who wrote the original words. Is this normal?

Rick Lippincott
Eaton Semiconductor
Beverly, MA
rlippinc -at- bev -dot- etn -dot- com


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