TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
When asked what kind of work I do, I tell them: "I am a Technical
Writer, you know, the kind of guy that writes computer books, you've
seen them, the ones that no one can understand (usually eliciting a
chuckle), well I fix those broken books so that you can understand
This usually brings a sigh of relief followed by a war story or two
about how horrible computer/software manuals are and how it's about time
that someone got out there and fixed them.
>From: Parks, Beverly[SMTP:ParksB -at- EMH1 -dot- HQISEC -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL]
>Sent: Friday, April 24, 1998 8:18 AM
>To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
>Subject: Re: New slant: professionalism
>> From: Jane Bergen [SMTP:janeber -at- CYBERRAMP -dot- NET]
> <snip> How many people have you run
>> into who, when you tell them you're a technical writer, laugh about
>> "those computer manuals that no one can understand"? Those are the
>> legacy of early tech writers who wrote mil specs or who understood
>> the technology but failed as communicators. <snip>
> I'm responding to Jane's post, but my comments are not directed
>at Jane. The comment Jane made above I have heard over and over again
>for years. Frankly, I think it's getting old. Today, when you hear
>someone refer to "those computer manuals that no one can understand" it
>is extremely unlikely that they are referring to the mainframe manuals
>of yore. More likely, they are talking about manuals written within the
>last five or six years. I think it is a cop out to continue to blame
>writer's of old computer manuals for comments being made today.
>perhaps, the comment came from someone who hasn't looked at a computer
>manual for a dozen years.)
>parksb -at- emh1 -dot- hqisec -dot- army -dot- mil = http://www.hqisec.army.mil/cis/
>Visit the Friendly Faces of TECHWR-L:
>Find contractor info at