Re: Re. Editor = idiot (now writer = ignoramus)

Subject: Re: Re. Editor = idiot (now writer = ignoramus)
From: "Hofer, Theresa M PL" <HoferTM -at- PO4 -dot- PL -dot- UNISYS -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 Dec 1995 12:45:00 GMT

|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)

Melissa Hunter-Kilmer replied:
|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.

What I've often said is a key part of my job is "asking stupid questions so
the user doesn't have to." Interesting theme emerging here, hm? Maybe
that's part of the reason tech writers sometimes have difficulty getting
respect from our coworkers in other professions -- they don't see the
reasons behind our seeming idiocy/ignorance/stupidity :-).

Theresa Hofer
TMHofer -at- po4 -dot- pl -dot- unisys -dot- com
Unisys Corporation
41100 Plymouth Road
Plymouth, MI 48170
My views are mine, not my employer's

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