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I know that there are a lot of tech writers who are guilty of the
sort of thing we're all being accused of in this article, but there
are also a lot of us who are not. I've been a tech writer for
over ten years, but every time I try to streamline documentation,
someone somewhere wants to clutter it right back up.
I currently have a help project that began beautifully. No graphics,
simple, to-the-point instructions when and where they were needed.
Then someone decided we needed deep, philosophical overviews and
technical descriptions of each of these functions. And that these
needed to go *first* Then, someone else noticed that my simple,
to-the-point instructions did not include every possible method for
performing these tasks. So my three-step quick instructions are now
long series of up to six possible series of steps, which you must
scroll through to find the one you like best. Oh, and graphics. Let's
not forget the screen dumps depicting the screens the user accesses
the help from. Can't be without THOSE, can we?
This isn't the first time this has happened, either. As a matter of
fact, this sort of thing happened to me once while contracting to one
of the companies mentioned in the article.
I'm not saying that this is never the technical writer's fault. I
know it frequently is. But I, for one, am NOT taking the fall for
this. I used to love this profession. I don't need some 23 year old
"poet" with a superiority complex to tell me how to do my job. I need
the busybodies to get the hell out of my way and let me do it.
I hate this field sometimes. And this article just makes me feel
worse. How DARE these people force me to create documentation that I
am downright ashamed of, then blame ME for it?
Eric J. Ray ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com
TECHWR-L Listowner http://www.raycomm.com/