Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?

Subject: Re: Do techies really know what other techies need?
From: "Kristine J. Olberg" <kjolberg -at- IX -dot- NETCOM -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 21 Mar 1997 14:01:57 -0600

Sorry if my response sounds a little combative, but I get really sick and
tired of programmers who know it all.

Here are some arguments:
- You were hired to write the stuff; the programmer was hired to PROGRAM
the stuff.
- If he could produce good material, why did they hire you?
- Do you change everything based on input from one person?

Megalomaniacs like this guy rarely make good technical writers. They make
too many assumptions about what EVERYBODY needs. (Here's their mentality:
"EVERYBODY" thinks just like them. And if they don't, they should.)

Regards...Kris
----------------------------------
kris -at- olberg -dot- com
kolberg -at- actamed -dot- com

----------
> From: Sella Rush <SellaR -at- APPTECHSYS -dot- COM>
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Do techies really know what other techies need?
> Date: Thursday, March 20, 1997 3:30 PM
>
> I have this problem...
>
> Most of my work involves writing technical stuff--manuals, informational
> brochures, tech overviews--for technical people (our product is a
> database engine that programmers use to create applications from). I've
> gotten a good response from my attempts to translate complex material,
> but I *do* tend to tone things down a bit. After all, no matter how
> expert a person is, they will always prefer to read (i.e., actually will
> read) something that is clearly written and doesn't make them have to
> decipher what it is we're trying to tell them.
>
> My problem is that the programmer I work most closely with despises all
> my tries at making text more accessible. (I really don't think it's all
> my problem because he's the only one that complains--but he's the
> important one). His stock response is "they're programmers, they'll
> understand what I'm saying." He also hates anything that might sound
> like a sell--and simpler language sounds like a sell to him (I think
> because it tends to clearly show cause and effect and tries to build
> from one sentence to anther to a overal point--techniques common to
> persuasive writing. Now, to a certain extent he's right in that
> technical info shouldn't be broken down to it's lowest level, and
> sometimes this is a fine line. But I'm sick and tired of having all my
> suggestions discounted because he's a techie and knows what techies want
> and what they don't want is a lot of clear writing that might insult
> their intelligence.
>
> So, does anyone have any clever techniques for dealing with this
> argument? BTW--he really does *not* appreciate discussions about good
> writing technique.
>
> Thanks in advance!
> ++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
> Sella Rush
> Applied Technical Systems, Inc. (ATS)
> Bremerton, Washington USA
> Developers of the CCM Database
>
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