Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers

Subject: Re: Non-technical, Technical Writers
From: Lisa Higgins <lisarea -at- LUCENT -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 6 May 1998 13:24:22 +0000

So then, Andrew Plato <aplato -at- anitian -dot- com> is all like:

> I am amazed at how many of you drifted this discussion off topic as quickly
> as possible. I think that says something right there.
> If you want to continue those topics, take them to another thread
> please.

Whoa, whoa, whoa there, Pumpkin Pie. Just because you start a thread
doesn't mean you own it.

> The question was: when faced with someone who has misrepresented themselves
> as a technical person, what do you do? How do you handle a person who
> clearly cannot deal with the technology yet are supposed to write about that
> technology? Do you help them? Fire them? Stick them in an editors
> position? What is the answer to solving the problem of non-technical,
> technical writers?

They lied? Duh. Fire them, if you have the option. Then sit back and
try to figure out what you did to deserve this. Are you asking for
too much? Are you not compensating sufficiently? Are you not asking
the right question.

There are a lot of big stupid tech writers out there, just like there
are a lot of big stupid programmers and big stupid underwear models
and big stupid college professors. My best advice is this: Do not
hire all of those big stupid guys! They are not very good at stuff!

> There have been countless discussions on this group about the "definition of
> a technical writer". In my opinion, the definition of a technical writer is
> wholly summarized in the job title "technical writer": a person who is
> technical and writes documents. Period, end of discussion.

Is NOT, you big bossy! I think it means someone who writes technical
stuff, not necessarily someone who IS technical.

I don't know what you mean, anyway, by "technical." Are you looking
for someone who has existing knowledge of the field they're working
in? Or are you looking for someone who can pick up and communicate
technical concepts? I for one like to switch vertical industries
every now and again, just to keep from getting too bored.

Either way, it seems easy enough to me: Quiz applicants in the
interview. Find out if they can intelligently discuss the subjects
you want them to be versed in.

Badda bing, badda boom.

Lisa Higgins.
lisarea -at- lucent -dot- com

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