Re: Imagine you teach

Subject: Re: Imagine you teach
From: "Jonathan B. Horen" <horen -at- PHOTONET -dot- COM>
Date: Tue, 22 Dec 1998 08:34:50 +0200

David Thompson wrote, asking:

> Imagine you teach tech. writing.
> You have to teach 1 of the following:
> 1. The principles of On Line Help or
> 2. The principles of programming.
> Which would you choose and why?

I'll take Door Number Two, Monty!

A technical writer who lacks a strong technical background will,
ultimately, become so severely dependent upon material (draft documents)
from software engineers, that s/he will be reduced to working as an
Uber-editor and will end-up seeking a misguided sense of identity and
self-worth as a desktop publisher.

Real techwriters are TECHNICAL... real techwriters get DOWN-AND-DIRTY
with the subject matter about which they are writing... real techwriters
write in VI (and leave making it "pretty" to the production staff)...
real techwriters get paid for TECHNICAL content, not for LOOK-AND-FEEL.

Teach 'em VI (or other ASCII editor) and teach 'em HTML. But first,
don't let 'em into ANY technical writing course (or, G-d forbid,
degree-generating program) if they don't have verifiable and
demonstrable hands-on experience in at least one technical subject.

THEN teach 'em Principles of Programming and let 'em loose on the
 (02) 581-3401 [phone]                 PictureVision, Inc.
 (02) 581-3404 [fax]                             POB 45048
 horen -at- photonet -dot- com                 Jerusalem 91450 Israel

 If Karen Carpenter and Mama Cass had only shared that ham
 sandwich, both of them might still be alive today.

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