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Adam Roberts wrote: "What's the quickest way to gain respect as
a technical writer in a company unused to such strange people?"
Politely assert yourself.
Don't wait for them to come to you with requests. Go to them with
proposals. They will say "no" a lot. Take it in stride, and go put
together the next proposal.
Also, when they propose something foolish, argue calmly against it.
They will usually overpower you. Again, take it in stride, but don't
miss an opportunity later on to politely say "I told you so." Just say
it once and move on.
If this doesn't work, try to remember that you are there to write, not
to be respected.