Re: ADMIN: Why the Listowner's Such a Jerk, Again

Subject: Re: ADMIN: Why the Listowner's Such a Jerk, Again
From: Stan Xhiao <mrlukeplease -at- HOTMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Sat, 19 Dec 1998 06:49:43 PST

At the risk of posting a "me too" message, I'd like to thank Mike for
clearly stating one of my concerns about TECHWR-L.

While many posts deal with the issues of how to be a good writer (tools
to use, fine points of grammar, and so on) there are relatively few
posts about how to write well.

>From techwr-l -at- listserv -dot- okstate -dot- edu Fri Dec 18 22:37:52 1998
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>Date: Thu, 17 Dec 1998 10:15:57 -0500
>Reply-To: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
>Sender: "Technical Writers List; for all Technical Communication
> <TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU>
>From: "Huber, Mike" <mrhuber -at- SOFTWARE -dot- ROCKWELL -dot- COM>
>Subject: Re: ADMIN: Why the Listowner's Such a Jerk, Again
>Comments: To: bzako -at- raymarkx -dot- com
>I think I said something similar last week in a thread about degrees:
>problem is BAD DOCUMENTATION. Not lack of degrees, not the lack of
>standards, not the occasional typo, not that someone wrote
>when it should have been "workaround", not that Word is a pile of
>that would have been laughed off the market if any other company had
>to release it, not that HTML isn't pretty enough for our fine art (hey,
>a minute - I do use HTML for actual fine art - see
>BAD DOCUMENTATION is where the reader can't get the information he or
>needs, because it isn't there, or isn't expressed clearly, or because
>document isn't organized.
>We need to focus more, here and in other places where people who write
>documentation gather, like the STC. If we want more respect, or more
>we have to write more good documentation and less bad documentation.
>We need to get past being self-important professionals, past our
delight at
>making a living by writing, past our fine methodologies and spiffy
>templates, past being right or wrong about grammar, and just plain
>good documentation. We do that by thinking about the poor bastard who
has to
>make the thing we are writing about work, who can't yell down the hall
>the engineer who designed it. All the other stuff may help, but when
>think about it, the reader is going to suffer much more if Anon fails
>resolve the question of balancing the politics of the junior engineer's
>position and expertise than if the other writer chooses wrongly between
>SQL" and "an SQL".
>mike -dot- huber -at- software -dot- rockwell -dot- com
>nax -at- execpc -dot- com
>>Bryan Zako wrote:
>> The manuals I use on a day-to-day basis (possibly written by the same
>> >authors of the email I've been getting all morning), are in
>> general poorly written. Content is all over the place, information is
>> missing, etc...there seems to be a genuine lack of understanding by
>> IT tech writers on how to put together a manual (I include MicroSoft
>> as well as other large software corps-- I hope I am not one of these,
>> but who can say).
>> I thought that others would share my concerns over the
>> alarming state of documentation in the industry. That everyone would
>> talking about it and trying to find solutions. I thought I would get
>> other IT writers in the industry, the ones who are putting these docs
>> together and who know they could do better. What they did wrong, how
>would do
>> it better next
>> time, etc...
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