Re: Re[2]: Who's the author?

Subject: Re: Re[2]: Who's the author?
From: RoseCrowe <ncrowe -at- PRIMENET -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 14 Feb 1995 11:55:43 -0700

On Mon, 13 Feb 1995, Shelly M. LaRock wrote:

[snip about short interviews and explaining what you know
about a manual or product to prove you worked on it...]

I tend to be against having author names or credits in manuals.
I'll tell you why -- to me a good manual is a team effort. As
a writer, I lead that effort, drawing together the work of the
developers, quality assurance folks, management, and sometimes
production people. Also sometimes I work on a team with other
writers. In fact, we currently are working on a team and we
pass our manuals around based on availability.

This leads to a set of problems on who gets credit. Everyone
in the building might have a credit for helping me produce the

As for proving you did the work by having your name on the
manual, I'm afraid that when interviewing I would still
question the writer about what they know rather than take
the name for granted. I've seen too many projects taken
over late in the game by a new writer, who could then
put his/her name on the work and claim the whole thing.
Truly, it's just paper. I could take samples of everything
written in any organziation I've been in and mock up and
authorship/credit page with my name on it!

However, I have had my name on one work, and I belive if
you do work for small software companies it can be done
fairly. If there are only two developers and two writers,
why not?

> Another aspect to having the author's name on a manual is for
> giving credit. I have a textbook right now that is so well
> indexed, I want to send a "Bravo!" letter to whoever wrote it, but
> I have no name, so I'm just sending it to the publishing
> company and hoping they'll pass it on.

I can see this point! I would love to here positives about
my work! (Of course, then there's the job where I merely
did maintenance updates to a badly organized manual and was
not allowed to upgrade the book -- wouldn't want my name on that

> Do any of you ever think the day will come when we actually get
> our names on these things? Or does it pretty much depend on the
> company?

Yes. You can rise to a leadership position in an organization
and dictate that names are to be included on the manuals. I
don't think it will ever be industry-wide though, for the
reasons I have listed above.

Rosie (NorthCrowe)
ncrowe -at- primenet -dot- com
rwilc -at- fast -dot- dot -dot- state -dot- az -dot- us
"Half an hour's meditation is essential except
when you are very busy. Then a full hour is needed."
-St. Francis De Sales

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