Re: Desperately seeking employment (and why)

Subject: Re: Desperately seeking employment (and why)
From: Cam Whetstone <camw -at- ROCKETMAIL -dot- COM>
Date: Wed, 14 Jul 1999 06:18:41 -0700

---Mike Stockman <stockman -at- JAGUNET -dot- COM> wrote:
> It's possible that technical knowledge has gone down while writing and
> organizational skills have gone up... I think that we haven't lost
> much tech. knowledge compared to the huge gains in readability, but
> that's a matter of opinion.

I have seen us go from vacuum tube technology through transistors and
m/lsi, to IC's,, and then to distributed processing. The technial
knowledge needed to write theory has declined in the process. Then we
added software writing and the 'technical' content dropped further.
It brought in the concept of the SME to provide andy technical
information. It is different. As for gains in readability, I think
they went the other way. Microsoft manuals are an example of too many
words, and poor organization. All the information is there--somewhere.
> I think you're viewing the distant past years as if they're the "good
> old days," and you need to get more realistic. Bad old manuals sucked
> in different ways than the bad new manuals suck, and there were good
> ones then, and there are good ones now. Try to let yourself see them;
> you'll enjoy this field much more.
It is true that old and new manuals sucked, and probably for different
(and sometimes the same) reasons. There were good ones then and now.
It is not the female techwriter responsible nor is it the
non-technical writer. It is the non-writer writer that produces the

You can't blame the 'technical' writers for bad manuals or good ones.
It is a function of the individual involved. Some are better than
others. Some of the worst writers I ever met thought they were the
best. They used more words than necessary, and larger words than
necessary. My basic rule is if it can be misinterpreted, it will be.

Within the profession called Technical Writing we hae a lot of good
and a lot of bad technical writers. We have some who we cannot tell
if they are good or bad becaus3e they never do anything. You can't
lump any group together (i.e., non-technical writers, women writers,
etc.) and call them bad unless the group is the group of bad writers!


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