Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer

Subject: Re: Culture, or What it means to be a Technical Writer
From: K R Wolfe <keith -at- MERGE -dot- COM>
Date: Fri, 8 May 1998 15:30:09 -0500

>The customer does not buy an engineer, they buy a product. The buy a product
>because they want to do something. If we bridge a gap, it is the gap between
>the user's task and their tool (our product). The engineer, of course, is
>trying to bridge exactly the same gap. We are co-creators, with engineers,
>in providing the user with a tool fit for their task.
>
>We do not stand between the engineer and the user, we stand shoulder to
>shoulder with the engineer, facing the user.
>
>---
>Mark Baker
>Manager, Corporate Communications



If everyone faced the user as engineers, why do we need writers?

I work side by side with engineers every day, as I'm sure most TWs do. The
engineer tells the writer how/what/where/why etc. If we let all engineers,
and only engineers, write all manuals, a lot of people will be confused.
Not because engineers can't write, but most engineers can't write in a way
the end user can understand. This is where we, as Tech Writers, come in.
The tool we provide users with is the manual.

The world is not made of engineers. The world is made by engineers. The
world is made of many types, including consumers.

Joe Blow User might not know a cog from a widgit, but he does know he wants
to make this database work, or that scanner scan. My point is that
engineers create applications/products/whatever. We create documentation
for the end user abouth those products. We translate, create, format,
edit, [insert favorite jargon/buzz-word here] for specifically that
purpose. We do work together... but to what end? The user.

kw




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