Re: New slant: professionalism

Subject: Re: New slant: professionalism
From: "Parks, Beverly" <ParksB -at- EMH1 -dot- HQISEC -dot- ARMY -dot- MIL>
Date: Fri, 24 Apr 1998 10:24:47 -0700

Yes, but the broken books you are fixing were written by your
contemporaries, not colleagues of long ago. The manuals that
*supposedly* are to blame for the "computer manuals nobody can
understand" are probably no longer in print and don't need to be--the
equipment they documented is retired in a museum or scrap heap somwhere.

Beverly Parks
parksb -at- emh1 -dot- hqisec -dot- army -dot- mil =
Visit the Friendly Faces of TECHWR-L:

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roger Mallett [SMTP:roger -at- CSICAL -dot- COM]
> Fun topic.
> 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
> them."
> 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]
> >
> >> 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
> >the
> >writer's of old computer manuals for comments being made today.
> >(Unless,
> >perhaps, the comment came from someone who hasn't looked at a
> computer
> >manual for a dozen years.)

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