Re: Editing comments too harsh?

Subject: Re: Editing comments too harsh?
From: "corbettlj (Lori Corbett)" <Corbettlj -at- AOL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 7 Sep 1996 18:34:23 -0400

In a message dated 96-09-06 09:52:59 EDT, vlwilburn -at- CPU -dot- COM (Vanessa Wilburn)

<< In my recent performance review, my manager said there have been
about my editing comments being too harsh. Part of my job requires proof
reading engineers' writing (I am the only tech writer in the company). I
thought that I was being sensitive. Has anyone encountered this problem?
What do you do to *not* tread too heavily on engineer egos? >>

I agree with most of the replies thus far, but would like to add another
to the discussion:

How is your relationship (in general) with your manager?
A few years ago, I received the same comment,
which really was a thinly veiled disguise for "you're about to be
terminated." ... and I was a few months later (when a big
project with many writers was completed).

Quite a few of the writers quit within a few months of my termination!
I have been sought out as an editor and tech writer since then
(even by some of former co-workers on that project). You can come
to your own conclusion.

When corrections of a grammatical only nature, just be direct.
If the meaning is confusing, identify why using the simplest statements
possible. There is nothing more annoying than long comments that
cause the writer even more frustration when reading through them.
I bet this is even more true with engineers whose main focus is definitely
not writing or reading.

Yes, an occasional "good" or "well done" is appreciated by most folks.
And yes, my preferred color is purple, but I do use green on occasion.
When I rewrite a sentence and replace a word choice, I do put a question
mark or write "suggestion" beside it.

AND MOST OF ALL, I don't change just because I like it better. "If it
isn't wrong, don't fix it!" As with every rule, there is an exception. Fix
it only if there is an established style that dictates the change.

Good luck :-)
Lori Corbett
Sr. Technical Writer

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