FWD: Appealing to or introducing Tech Comm "best practices"

Subject: FWD: Appealing to or introducing Tech Comm "best practices"
From: Anonymous Poster <anonfwd -at- raycomm -dot- com>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 22 Oct 1999 11:08:36 -0600 (MDT)


As a technical communicator in the software industry, I rely heavily on
resources such as this listserv, STC and ACM SIGDOC publications, books by
tech writing gurus (JoAnn Hackos, William Horton, Karen Schriver), etc. to
make sure I'm on the right track and not missing out on better ways to
create documentation.

But I keep running into technical communicators who, generally because
they "fell into" the field, have no knowledge of these resources and who seem
to prefer to make up their profession and their documents as they go. While
these folks are plenty smart, mean well, and have expertise to share,
their documents often show a lack of exposure to the "standards" or "best
practices" of the field. (Not that any two tech writers could ever
completely agree on what the standards are, but there is at least some
consensus on some issues.) Also, maybe because these tech writers invented
their work without help from outside sources, they feel great ownership of
their work and can be highly defensive toward suggestions for improvement.

Does anybody out there have thoughts or advice on how to build a good
working relationship with such a colleague, while also encouraging them to
open up to the standards and best practices of the field, as described and
discussed in the major resources of the field (STC and ACM pubs, TECHWR-L,

I don't want to be griping or to start a gripe session here. I do want to
hear others' perspectives and suggestions. For me, this is a difficult,
serious situation, and I welcome input.


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