Genesis of Tina the Tech Writer

Subject: Genesis of Tina the Tech Writer
From: "Eric J. Ray" <ejray -at- RAYCOMM -dot- COM>
Date: Thu, 31 Dec 1998 06:32:55 -0700


Actually, this list was in large part responsible for Tina's
personality, and for the flaming that Scott Adams
referred to in that book. The first tech writer appearance
in Dilbert came in a weekend strip in mid-March (weekend of
the 12th, actually), 1995. No name, but the dialog went like this:

Female Tech Writer: Did you review my draft documentation
Dilbert: Um...I'll get to it soon.
Female Tech Writer: That's what you've been saying since July!
Female Tech Writer: I know. I'm only a lowly technical writer
and you're a big important engineer.
Female Tech Writer: But is it too much to ask for you to glance
at the fruits of my labors?!?!?!
Female Tech Writer: Five lousy minutes is all it would take to validate
my value on this planet! Read it, you fetid pile of compost!
Dilbert: Okay, okay! I'll read it right now.
Dilbert: These pages are blank! You've been bluffing for months!
Female Tech Writer: I think I'll go have a yummy compost
salad with delicious fetid cheese.
Dilbert: I'm going to go look up those words.

That strip provoked some heated discussion (same song, different
year) about lack of respect etc. Someone from this list (I unfortunately
cannot remember who) forwarded the whole thread to Scott
Adams. I received the following nice note from him.
(Note: this is retyped from a printout on my bulletin board
because that was several email systems ago
and I don't want to root through archive CDs to pull that out.)

> Author: ScottAdams -at- aol -dot- com at SMTP
> Date: 3/21/95 9:57 pm
> To: Eric J. Ray at Computer-Center
> Subject: The Flaming of Dilbert
> -------------------Message Contents------------------
> Eric,
> Someone on your list was nice enough to send me the text
> of the debate over my Dilbert cartoon featuring a tech writer.
> It was great reading. I was hoping you would be nice enough
> to post my response to the list.
> My response:
> This was the most negative response I've ever gotten from
> a strip. And probably the most entertaining. Consequently,
> I plan to introduce a tech writer character in the next few
> months who is a composite of some of the more interesting
> personalities I picked up from the list.
> God, I love my job.
> Scott Adams

So, there you have it. And you didn't think that tech writers
made a difference, when we've actually influenced a leading
force in pop culture. ;-)


Eric J. Ray RayComm, Inc. ejray -at- raycomm -dot- com

*Award-winning author of several popular computer books
*Syndicated columnist: Rays on Computing
*Technology Department Editor, _Technical Communication_

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