Re. Editor = idiot (now writer = ignoramus)

Subject: Re. Editor = idiot (now writer = ignoramus)
From: Melissa Hunter-Kilmer <mhunterk -at- BNA -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 09:50:11 EST

On Tue, 5 Dec 1995, Geoff Hart <geoff-h -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA> wrote:

> As an editor, I often explain my job as follows: "I'm a
> _professional_ idiot. That is, my job is to misunderstand
> any writing (and fix it) before your readers trip over the
> problem." (TM 1995 Geoff Hart)

When I explain what I do to those who know little of
technical writing, I tell them that part of my job is trying
to "preserve my ignorance." That is, I try to remember what
it was like not to know anything about the application,
procedure, etc. that I'm documenting. If I can do that,
then I can produce a doc that will serve its purpose -- and
its users.

"Preserving my ignorance" is my unofficial trademark. And
it's spreading -- I've noticed that trainers in my
department have started to use the phrase! ():-) (smiley of
tech writer with ignorance preserved in empty head)

Melissa Hunter-Kilmer
mhunterk -at- bna -dot- com
(standard disclaimer)

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