Re: Tech Writer as Webmaster (kinda long)

Subject: Re: Tech Writer as Webmaster (kinda long)
From: LaVonna Funkhouser <lffunkhouser -at- HALNET -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 29 Jul 1996 11:47:51 +0000

re: tech writer as webmaster article

I was interviewed for this article (no joke) by Mr. Carr, but he
later informed me that he didn't use any of my quote. (I think
I was the first to be interviewed, and he refined his questions
for the later interviewees.) Oh well, I'll have to find my 15
min. of fame elsewhere. I haven't seen the article, but from the
header to his e-mail, I know he interviewed some really bright
folks. I just looked, and I don't see the article in the online

> I bet the author was a tech writer, what do you think? <G>

Yes, I think he is, or at least his wife is. He said she met me
briefly at the Seattle STC conference.

re: the term, "webmaster"

On to the real stuff, Bev Parks wrote this regarding "webmaster":

> I don't think "webmaster" is a term that can be correctly applied to a
> person who writes HTML. (Although a webmaster may also do mark-up.) A
> webmaster, at least as I've been led to believe, is the system
> administrator of a Web server, and does not necessarily have anything to
> do with creating Web pages.

Good point, but I don't 100% agree.

I call myself the webmaster of the COREComm site. I'm responsible
for putting the pages out there, their organization, and their
content. I design the forms, test them, and try to make sure they
work. If you cannot see a page correctly, you should tell me
because I'd be the one who screwed up. However, I'm not the one
who runs the server at all. I'm not a sys admin by any means. I
didn't even have to know CGI to make it all work.

On the other hand, I know the term is used in multiple ways. Here
are some stories from the intranet side of things:

I help run an internal web (intranet) for my primary client. They
consider me one of the "content webmasters" (there are about 3 of
us right now). Another couple of persons are doing the "technical
webmaster" chores, but they are in the process of hiring someone to
officially fill this role. (If you know someone who is interested,
send me private email.) The "technical webmaster" is responsible
for server software, etc.

For now, adding the adjectives "technical" and "content" are working
OK for us, but we know that when they actually label some person
(the new hire) as the grand pooba "Webmaster," our users might
get confuseds by the old adjective labels.

Another techwr-ler, Bob Sidman, mentioned a title to me that might
actually work better. He plays a similar role for his intranet
that I do, but instead of calling himself a "content webmaster,"
he calls himself an "editor." (He told me that all the files
for the intranet have to be submitted through him.) Those who
don't want to be labeled as a "webmaster" might try some title
with "editor" in it.

(BTW, Bob Sidman, Ray Dembek, and I are attempting to put together
a session for next year's STC conf in Toronto. Wish us luck!)

> Steve Evanina[SMTP:Steve -dot- Evanina -at- SCIATL -dot- COM] wrote:
> >>
> Have any of u see the July 8 issue of Webweek?
> An article suggests we (Tech Writers) are ideal cantidates for
> webmaster positions.
> The title of the article is, "Technical Writers in High Demand as
> Webmasters."
> The author claims that we are ideally suited for this work because
> of our on-line help authoring skills.
> I think our collective demand, and overall worth (read higher
> salaries) is about to take a jump.

To the extent that "webmaster" can also mean "content webmaster," I
believe that technical writers make excellent webmasters.

By the way, I think the HTML Writer's Guild periodically debates the
meaning of the term "webmaster," so if you are interested, you might
do some research there.

(...and you guys thought I'd left the list! You can't get
rid of me that easily; I was lurking in the mist.)

LaVonna F. Funkhouser lffunkhouser -at- halnet -dot- com
COREComm Webmaster

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