Subject: Writing
From: Carson Associates <WECARSON -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 26 Jun 1996 16:48:00 -0400

Hi all -

I'm surprised that the recent posting for "it's vs its" has sparked such a
controversy. I would have thought that correct *is* correct and that only a
"boy, I hate that too" would follow. I'm surprised that any technical
writers would defend misuse.

And, I wonder, if mistakes like this are found, are they not just
automatically edited out? Or, are they just ignored? I would think that a
blatantly misused word would definitely be a no-no. (These are the computer
buttons. Their all pink.)

Do employers on this list review writing samples before hiring a writer? If
so, how do y'all feel about things like misusing words and/or creating a new

If technical writing (and/or on-line documentation) is becoming more
colloquial in an attempt to be more easily understood, are editors letting
mistakes slide? Are there types of documentation wherein editors/employers
would be less likely to worry about mistakes like these?

I would have thought that technical writers would strive to make sure all the
"i's" are dotted and all the "t's" crossed because the technical material is
already difficult enough to begin with.

The responsibility of the technical writer is to make documentation easy to
read and the technical information understandable. But, if a basic reader of
a manual or guide can pick up a grammatical mistake (or an imaginary word),
couldn't the integrity of the documentation be called into question? Because
a basic user puts the confidence in the writer to not make such easy
mistakes, wouldn't the other directions also be challenged? Thoughts?

Gwen from wecarson -at- aol -dot- com (Not to be mistaken for my company, my boss, or
any other being.)

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