Re: Programmers as writers

Subject: Re: Programmers as writers
From: "Olive, Eric" <EOlive -at- GLHEC -dot- ORG>
Date: Mon, 21 Jun 1999 17:13:41 -0500

No, don't let programmers write extensive documentation if you can possibly
avoid it. I think most tech writers agree that writing and programming are
different, albeit equally valuable, skills. Sadly, not all programmers
concur. Your biggest hurdle may well be your ability to convince your
programmers that you should take over the spec writing.

I'm told that Seattle firms (I'm in Wisconsin so this info. is second hand)
have a formal "programmer writer" grade for tech writers. As I understand
it, programmer writers are writers who can read and understand code but who
are not necessarily proficient programmers. In my view, your best bet would
be to find a "programmer writer" (you, perhaps?). As discussed in a recent
thread on this listserv, writers who can read code and sling programming
jargon achieve more credibility with programmers. Hardly a surprise. The
trick, of course, is to find these people.

Eric O.
Compuware Corporation

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Peterson Karen [SMTP:Peterson_Karen -at- PRC -dot- COM]
> Sent: Monday, June 21, 1999 4:54 PM
> To: TECHWR-L -at- LISTSERV -dot- OKSTATE -dot- EDU
> Subject: Programmers as writers
> Dear Techwhirlers,
> Our programmers do a lot of documentation, such as functional design
> specs.
> Because these docs go to our client, they must conform to the clients'
> style.
> I just spent quite a while peer reviewing a programmer's doc. Some of my
> edits dealt with style and mechanics, but there were also a lot of content
> issues--the programmer is clearly not trained in writing requirements. I'm
> sure it would have taken far less time all around if I had written this
> doc
> myself.
> Should we "let" programmers write documentation? Should we just make sure
> we
> get involved as editors? I've had a lot of luck with getting the
> programmers
> to come to me with questions, but I don't think our clients should be
> wasting money paying a programmer to write.
> I've searched the archives about this without much luck. What are your
> experiences/opinions?
> Thanks so much,
> Karen
> From ??? -at- ??? Sun Jan 00 00:00:00 0000=
> =

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

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