Who knows better?

Subject: Who knows better?
From: Marci Andrews <Marci_Andrews -at- NOVELL -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Nov 1995 12:05:23 -0700

Kris Olberg, replying to a message by John Brinegar, writes:

<What makes you think that a production department
<cannot do the job as well as you? This is exactly why
<I think dilution of job skills is bad; the production people
<have, in many writer's eyes, suddenly become unskilled,
<unnecessary, and not able to do the job as well as the writer.

I can cite one case in which the production department of a large, New
York publishing house was unable to do the job as well as the writer.
In 1991 a friend and I wrote a book on Novell's NetWare v2.2 for
John Wiley & Sons. It had several tables of options to include with
command sequences that could have been set within the margins of the
step lists that included the tables. I fought and lost regarding the layout
we thought would be clearest for the readers. Each table was set
margin-to-margin, with the labels of the option categories set indented
between each set of tables, so that (in my opinion) the information got
lost. (I know this is hard to visualize). Anyway, everybody I ever
talked to agreed it was ugly and made the hierarchy of information

Technical writers today are also designers and layout artists. It goes
with the job. The job has changed, for better or worse.

Marci Andrews
Novell, Inc.
mandrews -at- novell -dot- com

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