Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?

Subject: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?
From: Bill Bledsoe <Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- CMS-STL -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 20 Mar 1997 17:40:02 -0600

Gang,

Not to toot the St. Louis Chapter's own horn or anything... but this
dumbing down thing was the very topic of our "holiday gathering" this
year. We were treated to a really great presentation by Region 6
Director/Sponsor Jamie Conklin, which we have conveniently placed on our
St. Louis Chapter Web Site <http://www.stc.org/region6/stl> with
Jamie's permission of course!

Basically, don't buy the dumbing down thing. This is effective
communication gang. Is it fair to say that VB Programming is the
"dumbing down" of software development? There area lot of purists
that say in fact yes, but if you ask your manager, they'll say it is
just
a more effective way to develop what we want.

Essentially, clear language tranfers to any audience, technical or
not. While I may agree that little smiley icons everywhere might turn
your
super-techie's stomach, this is not what you're proposing.

Tell this particular s/w engineer to get on with it... and let you do
the job you're there to do: Make your company's communications more
effective.

I do encourage you all to take a look at the presentation though... I
think you'll find it interesting.

Jane Bergen wrote:
>
> Oh, boy...you've hit a hot button here. I think all of us have come
up
> against this, most usually from engineers, but not always. They
think that
> simple language is "dumbing down" (as one engineer called it).
Sometimes
> they say I'm "doing the tech writer thing" (marketing types love
this
> accusation....then they rewrite it with fragmented sentences). I've
been
> swimming up this stream for about four years now.
>
> My solution has been to go to the bookstore and buy a couple books
on clear
> writing for business documents (be sure it says "Business" in the
> title...otherwise it won't work) and keep them on my desk. When a
dispute
> comes up, I find an example to support my position. This is a last
resort
> of course, but so far it's working. I'm finding fewer and fewer
pockets of
> resistance. I also have been fairly successful at explaining WHY
passive
> voice doesn't work... or WHY a sentence should not be a single
paragraph.
> You just have to arm yourself and then wear them down. Just
remember to
> keep the conversation as objective as possible and smile and be as
pleasant
> as possible when you discuss it.
>

cheers!
--
************************************************************
Bill Bledsoe
Senior Technical Writer - CMS
St. Louis, MO
Bill -dot- Bledsoe -at- cms-stl -dot- com or intlidox -at- anet-stl -dot- com

"I'm out on a limb where the fun begins"
Adrian Belew/The Bears - "Fear is Never Boring"
*************************************************************
If Bill Said it, Bill Said it... Not CMS. Got it?
*************************************************************

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