Re: What's with the new docs?

Subject: Re: What's with the new docs?
From: Shauna Jeanne Jones <shauna -at- ALOHA -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 22 Jan 1996 00:19:32 -1000

Probably we are getting phased out ... we're barely part of the projects
now! And as companies keep searching for ways to cut costs ... why should
they keep a tech writer around while they're replacing programmers with
cheaper foreign labor? Of course, *someone* has to write the online help
text, and translate the programmers' docs into comprehensible language ...

We are encouraged by the way Steven Wolfram did Mathematica ... he wrote and
published the entire user manual, then made the development team make the
software work the way the manual said it did ... Maybe we should be prepared
to get more involved in the software design end.

BTW, why not *write* a book for Picture Publisher or Designer? We don't know
about PicPub, but Designer has a healthy number of users who might be
eagerly waiting for a book on their favorite illustration program!

But what's really discouraging is finding out how few users *use* the docs.
Their first reaction is to ask someone near them, e.g., a coworker, how to
do what they want to do. Their second reaction is to call the Help Desk (or
some other coworker) and ask them how to do it. They almost *never* bother
checking the manual!

At 09:02 PM 1/21/96 +0000, Jane Bergen wrote:
>So.....fellow tech writers....are we being phased out or what? Is it
>now a market only for third party books? Is anyone else concerned
>about this new non-documentation approach? All you have to do is look
>in any Barnes and Noble, Bookstop, Borders, or other bookstores and
>the shelves are packed with documentation. The catch is that these
>folks aren't employed as tech writers by contract or by permanent
>employment. They write the books and hope some publisher will pick it
>up and then you and I, driven by sheer desperation, will go buy it.
>And so far, I have NOT seen any books in stores on Picture Publisher
>or Designer. Guess from now on, I'll see what books are available and
>then shop for software!!!!

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