Writer's first; Was Re: (no subject heading)

Subject: Writer's first; Was Re: (no subject heading)
From: Robert Justice <rjustice -at- INFORMIX -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 4 Oct 1996 09:25:19 -0500

Excellent points, Mike. I've participated on more than one list catering to
technical writers, and I've often noticed with dismay that many of our own
profession view themselves as techies who happen to write rather than
writers who document technical concepts. This may be due to the old
practice of hiring technical professionals and asking them to write, which,
thankfully, is giving way to the practice of hiring writers who happen to be
adept with technology. It's much easier for a writer to learn technical
concepts than for an engineer to produce lucid, organized prose.

If people don't want to view themselves as writers first, then they should
modify their job title to "writing tech." At least this would visibly
demonstrate that they view quality writing skills as of secondary
importance, a modifier describing the noun, tech, rather than their primary
skill which happens to be applied in a technical context.

Robert Justice

At 02:41 PM 10/4/96 +-100, Mike Bygrave wrote:
>I'm with Sherri on this one - what exactly are we supposed to talk about =
>on this list?

>More and more often it seems as if, as soon as someone starts to talk =
>about use of language (which is, after all, the main tool of our trade, =
>over and above FrameMaker or Word) a couple of cries come in demanding =
>that we stop discussing the matter at hand immediately. More bizarrely, =
>these cries are normally justified on the grounds that "this is a list =
>for TECHNICAL WRITERS". We're then asked (always politely) to keep =
>quiet unless we are discussing matters which are relevant to the list.

>I know that there are lists available for people who want to discuss the =
>nuances of language all day every day, but surely the whole point of =
>this list is to discuss matters of interest to technical authors. I =
>can't comment authoritavely on what every other subscriber to this list =
>does during their days, but while I'm doing my job and writing =
>documentation, the use of correct and clear English appears quite high =
>on my list of priorities. Therefore, what justification is there for =
>trying to suppress this kind of thread?

>Personally, I hope that Sherri doesn't remove herself from the list, =
>because (IMHO) that would be our loss. Perhaps we should try to avoid =
>turning subscribers away by coming down on them when they happen to talk =
>about issues which, I'm sure, many of us are interested in.=20

>Incidentally, for all of you who are trying to stamp out messages which =
>you don't consider to be relevant, consider for a moment the reaction of =
>non-American list members to all of the USA-specific messages that =
>appear here (job enquiries, salary discussions etc.) Do you hear us all =
>complaining that such topics are of no relevance to all Technical =
>Authors and demanding that they be suppressed? Hmmm, perhaps not, =
>because we (like most other subscribers) are in a position to exercise =
>our delete keys.

>Sherri L. Nichols wrote:
>>Please remove my name from this list. I don't have time for this.
>>I responded at some length to a question about the use of "since" =
>>"because" and "which" versus "that".
>>Sanford Carr's response was:
>>>>>TECHNICAL writing. Not grammar, not software, not ...
>>And I said:
>>>>>Yes, of course, Sanford. Good grammar and a solid knowledge of =
>>>>usage has nothing to do with good writing, I forgot.
>>...after which Eric J.Ray pointed out:
>>>>I think his point was TECHNICAL writing.
>>>My previous comments about appropriate topics still stand.
>>>I'll be happy to send you a copy of the what to
>>>post/what not to post message if you'd like.

> Mike Bygrave (bygravem -at- intuitive -dot- co -dot- uk)
>Intuitive Systems Ltd (http://www.intuitive.co.uk)
> 1966 was a great year for English football...
> Cantona was born

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