Re: Style Manuals

Subject: Re: Style Manuals
From: Kathy Das gupta <kdasgupt -at- NOTES -dot- CC -dot- BELLCORE -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 3 Feb 1999 11:42:36 -0500

I emerge from lurking to say...

>Oh, garbage, so many of those companies come and go, why should I pay
>to 20-somethings who have too much acne and no social skills. Silicon
>like the rest of California is another country...too much sunshine and
>disasters or something. I've read Wired and can usually never get through
>"technical industry is holier than thou" attitude stuff. You'd think some
>these techies invented the cure for cancer!!

Ouch! I don't see any need to attack the appearance or relative social
skills of a group, or to further perpetuate sterotypes. I have worked with
some Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley types, and don't think your
characterization is fair. Are all tech writers stringent, uptight, and
lacking in personality, a la Tina the Tech Writer? As for Wired, it is
definitely on the edge, and not for your average Joe. But, it certainly is
a window into the technology, language and trends that may become part of
our everyday life. I find it fascinating.

More importantly, the subject is Style Manuals. The fact is, if you are
documenting a Windows-based app, the users are Windows user and are
comfortable with Windows conventions, then why not use a MS Windows-based
Style Manual? It seems to me that it is a disservice to your readers not to
use language, style and conventions that are familiar and correct for their
needs. Similarly, if you are documenting a UNIX app, then perhaps you
follow SUN's conventions and Style Manual.

>I still say that you need to be a good writer before you're a "technical"
writer because a good
>writer can write about anything).

Yes and no. You MUST be a good writer to be a tech writer. But, not all
writers are good tech writers. Technical aptitude is critical. Not everyone
can understand, "translate", and communicate technical information. This is
at the very heart of what we do.

Kathy Das Gupta
Technical Writer
Currently Posted at Bellcore

From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=

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