Improving colleagues' writing skills

Subject: Improving colleagues' writing skills
From: Lean Ni Chuilleanain <lnc -at- nua -dot- ie>
To: techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com
Date: Fri, 03 Dec 1999 17:41:54 +0000

Hi -

There's been talk recently on this list about the importance of editing and proofreading in making sure that documentation conveys a good impression.

Like most of us, I often edit other people's documents as well as producing my own - usually because I've seen an early version and begged to be allowed to proofread it before it goes near a client (like the other week, when a draft functional spec promised "pubic information items"...).

Obviously I can't check everything, so I frequently find myself writhing at some horrible example of inconsistency, inaccuracy or just plain grammatical ignorance which has slipped through the net (if there even is a net). Sometimes I grit my teeth and ignore it. Sometimes I email the person responsible and suggest, as tactfully as I can, that it might be better to change it, just in case there are any more people like me out there.

I'm concerned that so much error-ridden copy is being produced in the company, and I want to find an effective way to persuade people that they need to take more care in their writing. I know that the more I whine, the less likely certain people are to listen. There are those who believe that attention to such details is a waste of money, and there are others who clearly feel that I'm being neurotic, not to mention nosy, when I point out a mistake.

There's a huge gulf between those who care passionately about consistency and accuracy in writing and those who simply don't understand what the fuss is about. Perhaps I'm hypersensitive...

To what extent is it any of my business how well my colleagues write?

I've searched the archives and I can't find any discussion of this issue. Apologies if it's all you talked about in 1997 :-)

beannacht,
Lean Ni Chuilleanain

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Lean Ni Chuilleanain <lnc -at- nua -dot- ie>
NUA Ltd: New Thinking for the Digital Age: http://www.nua.ie/
t: +353-1-2187600 f: +353-1-283-9988
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