Re: Newbie Information

Subject: Re: Newbie Information
From: Deborah Ray <debray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 29 Apr 1998 11:21:44 -0600

At 07:54 AM 4/29/98 -0400, you wrote:
>
>I propose to do a kind of FAQ just for newbie questions. Our Techwr-l site
>has a FAQ, but what it does is list a question or topic and then display a
>page with a bunch of responses from the list.

Actually, if you notice, many of the topic summaries are NOT just
a collection of postings; I have a part-time helper who has sorted
through TECHWR-L archives and summarized several common topics discussed.
By providing summaries taken from archived info, the summaries reflect
all sides of an issue and include voices from all who participated in
the TECHWR-L discussion. Other summaries, like the two I added yesterday,
were excellent summaries provided by TECHWR-Lers. In particular, I
added Debbie Stewart's summary on disaster recovery plans and Rowena
Hart's summary on repetitive stress injury prevention. These provided
excellent summaries of the information they received from TECHWR-Lers.

(Plus, using the archive approach or publishing particularly comprehensive
TECHWR-L postings, I don't have to bug TECHWR-Lers to provide me with
information they've already taken the time to post--I already have it
available.)



If we were to add the common
>newbie questions we'd promptly double the list of topics. As Eric pointed
>out to me, it's a formidable task to put together a FAQ specifically for
>newbies, and almost as great a task for the webmaster to juggle all those
>separate topics.

Juggling the separate topics is not a big deal; a bigger issue is
keeping the information up to date. Plus, what might be excellent
newbie information for one person might not meet the needs of another.


It seems to me that a single downloadable document would be
>preferable. I'm willing to put it together and keep it on the Simply Written
>website for download, if you'll help me by reviewing it and giving me some
>help with the topics and answers. I'd be obliged if some of you could pick a
>topic or two or three and just write me a note about it.

I think your downloadable document has a lot of potential. Are you
saying, then, that each newbie info category would be information
provided by one person? Or will you collect information from people
then summarize it?


Add topics if you
>think they're warranted. And yes, I know in advance there each of these has
>at least two separate camps that should be heard.
>
>The topics I see right now are:
>
>What is the definition of a technical communicator?
>What operating systems and tools should I know?
>Degrees: Do I need one, and in what subject? How do I find a program?
>Resumes: Writing them, distributing them. What to include?
>What are the general areas in which TC's work?
>Locating a local STC chapter
>Agencies and how to deal with them
>Ongoing training
>Calculating rates for contractors
>Glossary of terms (our TLAs...Three Letter Acronyms)
>Bibiography of technical communications information

These are excellent topics to begin with. Actually, my part-time
helper is currently working on summaries for resume-related
topics, such as formats, info to include, cover letters, etc.
These summaries should be available on the site toward the
end of next week or so.


>
>I'll collect comments for a few weeks, then let the list know when the doc
>is ready for review. It'll be PDF'd on our site. I'll specify that some of
>the comments are from Simply Written's experience, while specific list
>comments will be noted as being such.

Good luck with this project, Tim. If possible, when you get it completed,
I'd like to link to it from the TECHWR-L site.

Deborah




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