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Subject:Value of Techwriters From:marianne lambelet <marianne_lambelet -at- CC -dot- CHIRON -dot- COM> Date:Thu, 1 Jun 1995 11:40:05 PST
Barry West wrote:
The whole point of this long-winded explanation is that Herman is correct.
There is a very good chance that you are not dealing with logic or reason in
your situation. You can bring in mountains of evidence and testimonials, and it
may not make any difference. You have to first understand the mindsets of the
people who are resistant to hiring Tech Writers. Once you know the mindset (and
the resulting agenda), you can work with those mindsets without crashing into
I've run into this mindset also, and wonder what lies behind it. Some people
with a scientific/engineering background seem to fear someone else's writing and
editing, while others are perfectly comfortable with the writer's revisions and
suggestions. A few people actually prefer using their own grammatically
incorrect and confusing writing, afraid (and convinced) that the writer will
change the meaning of the described process. I wonder if this discomfort comes
from a fear of language and of writing. We hear a lot about
math/science-phobia; there's surely an equivalent English-phobia.
When I've run into resistance to editorial suggestions, the author of the
document will often be adamant in his/her refusal (often 'his,' really) to
consider anything but his own text. Often the argument will include a kind of
weight like "I'm the scientist, I know best" (though the science of writing is
my domain!). I've been confused about this stance because, when I think of
math-phobia, for instance, I associate an admission of fear with it ("I couldn't
possibly do that--I'm no good at math"). I'm becoming more convinced as I write
this that this resistance to tech writers/editors may be partly based on
something like 'English-phobia'--also, that the strength of the convictions
about writing/writers compounds the problem. I've been very curious about this
for a while and wonder if anyone else has any thoughts on this.