What do you tech writers do?

Subject: What do you tech writers do?
From: "K. John Russell" <jrussell -at- COMMSOFT -dot- NET>
Date: Mon, 19 May 1997 15:41:49 -0400

Hi all,

I'd like to conduct a survey of the types of documentation that technical writers typically work on. I'd also like to ask a general question. I will share the results with the group.

Do you write:

End User Software Manuals
End User Hardware Manuals
Programmer Manuals
Systems Administration Manuals
Windows (or other) Online Help
HTML Documents (web site or other)
Internal Systems Manuals
Internal Systems Diagrams
Marketing Materials
Other (please indicate)

Why are technical writer called "technical" writers? (Instead of, say, documenter [or some other wholly bogus name].)

Background Info:
My company believes that technical writers are called "technical" writers because they deal with technical content. By this logic, technical writers do not write end user manuals. (Our trainers are writing the end user docs, and it shows.)

I, on the other hand, believe that what makes technical writers "technical" is the processes, methodologies, and tools they must understand and use in order to produce high quality books.

Their view emphasizes the "what" (content). Mine, while not ignoring the what, emphasizes the "how". Do you agree? Disagree? Or what?

Thanks! I really appreciate it!

John Russell
jrussell -at- commsoft -dot- net
Technical Writer
Commsoft, Inc.
Albany, New York

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