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I can see both sides of the debate here. I for one would love to be
allowed to produce clear, easy to read, usable text designed for the
target audience. I also know that there are people out here calling
themselves Technical Writers who cannot write a clear sentence. I
worked in the same department with one once.
This guy was touted as a thorough professional when I was hired
(thank God I didn't have to work with him) yet he didn't know that
you should settle on a style and then use it. Some parts of the
manual were printed single sided, others double. some were single
column, some two, others three. The graphics callouts had no
particular numbering scheme and Figure 1-2 might be followed
immediately by Figure 1-5 or 3-20. I found over 100 typos and
spelling errors on the first 12 pages. He stated on frequent
occasions that spelling was superfluous and unimportant. Facts were
incorrect. His writing stype was so convoluted as to be
unintelligible, and he seemed to have only the most basic knowledge
of grammar, syntax, etc.
I won't continue. You get the idea. I quit and went to another job
when the powers that be decided to promote him to be my manager. We
had seven writers. When he was promoted all left but him.
My current job is much more pleasant, but has its share of problems.
We are required to *document the software application* rather than
write a manual that will actually help our users do their jobs better
and more easily. At least here some of my suggestions are heeded.
The Post article just calls attention to what we all would like to be
doing if we could, and also to how misunderstood our profession is.