Re: Active Ownership

Subject: Re: Active Ownership
From: Chris Kowalchuk <chris -at- BDK -dot- NET>
Date: Wed, 7 Jul 1999 14:56:31 -0400

Indeed, let's be careful what we say about editors. There is also that
high-powered type of editor known as the structural editor, and beyond,
that sort of executive editor, the famed "editor in chief" of newspapers
and other publications. Believe me, those folks are not passive. In an
organization big enough to have writers and editiors in addition to
SMEs, there are a variety of potentially constructive relationships that
could arise. A structural/content editor might (in fact, ought to) be in
charge of the overall writing team. I would expect such a person to have
considerable technical expertise as well, though.

Finally, lest my former coworkers should read this thread, I was rude
enough to them in my original post (some weeks back); I by no means
intended to imply that they were in the business of deliberately
creating unreadable documentation, or that their work was not valuable,
only that it was a type of work that did not fit with my conception of
technical writing. But Andrew's description of their role as editors
rather than writers is probably apt (at least in the context of that
particular job), especially if we divorce it from some of his
elaborations on the nature of "editorhood". Rewriting is a branch of
editing, and that probably describes what they were doing fairly well. I
agree with Andrew (as I did before) that "true" writing is a more
active, creative, synthetic process. A tech writer should probably have
a bit of dirt under the fingernails from time time...

Chris Kowalchuk

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