Re: Educating Rita

Subject: Re: Educating Rita
From: Dawn-Marie Oliver <Dawn-Marie -at- CONCUR -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 3 May 1999 11:13:35 -0700

> I've see plenty writers stick their nose issues where they
weren't invited only
> to then wonder why the engineers don't respect them. How would
you like it if
> an engineer told you how to format a document, what fonts to
use, or the
> "correct way" to write. You'd be pissed.

I've not only had them do this very thing (grammar corrections,
etc.), but
I've had them become LIVID when I didn't make the corrections they

I don't get pissed when an engineer comments on these things. I may
frustrated if it's excessive, but I always at least listen. To me,
that's part
of building mutual respect.

If an engineer doesn't take a suggestion of mine, 9 times out of
10, I say "Oh well". That 10th time, not taking the suggestion
often takes up
such a great amount of time documenting that I can convince the team
the UI change is more effective.

> Furthermore, this issue beckons the misguided notion that tech
writers are
> "advocates" for the user. I do not feel technical communication
has anything
> to do with being a "advocate" for the user. This is something a
lot of tech
> writers use to distract themselves from their primary task -
production of
> documentation.

But if the documentation is not usable by the audience it is
produced for,
what is the point? To continue your pizza example, "producing
might result in a pizza that had uncooked dough, frozen sauce,
ungrated cheese,
and unsliced pepperoni. It's all there (good information), it's up
to the
consumer to find their own way. (But I ordered a fully-assembled
and cooked
pizza to be delivered HOT to my door; why do I have to do what I've
paid for?)


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