Re: Fair wage

Subject: Re: Fair wage
From: Ginna Watts <gwatts -at- PIM -dot- BC -dot- CA>
Date: Thu, 13 Mar 1997 16:57:40 -0800

At 02:21 PM 3/13/97 -0600, you wrote:

>I think that is much, much harder to teach a Writer to subclass objects
>or perform step analysis on a circuit than it is to teach an Engineer
>not to end a sentence with a preposition. I believe this because
>whether used correctly or incorrectly, words are something that we have
>all had in common since birth. Performing loop equations, frequency
>response analysis, and so forth, is not. Therefore, the starting point
>for an Engineer in learning to write is closer to the final goal than is
>the starting point for a writer to learn to design.

But you're missing the point....It depends on what's being documented!!

Obviously (at least it's obvious to me), documenting engineering specs for
a highly technical audience requires more subject matter knowledge than
consumer level software. For the latter, you need to be a 'user advocate',
and sometimes it's even better if you don't understand the higher levels.

I document mapping software as well, but I realize that most of our users
could not care less what the software is doing at a higher level. Since I
got to do a bit of production, I find myself in a much better position to
document it. Often I get reams of highly technical jargon, and I have to
remind myself:
All the user in the field cares about is that their batch file works with
this release, and won't fail in the middle of processing a 30 meg sheet.

If it DOES fail, then (and only then) will they turn to the docs. If the
answer to their problem isn't easy to find, then I've failed. I DO
understand Object Oriented programming concepts. I CAN grasp what's
happening in the back ends. I'm smart enough not to care, and get lost in
the technology.

Waiting for the flames....

Ginna Watts - Technical Writer
Pacific International Mapping Corp.
gwatts -at- pim -dot- bc -dot- ca

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