Re: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?

Subject: Re: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?
From: "Bonnie Granat" <bgranat -at- lynx -dot- dac -dot- neu -dot- edu>
To: "Ed Gregory" <edgregory -at- home -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 23 Dec 1999 02:23:13 -0500

-----Original Message-----
From: Ed Gregory <edgregory -at- home -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wednesday, December 22, 1999 2:36 PM
Subject: Re: Baseline Skillset for Technical Writers?

>Megan Rock said:
>> I must humbly admit that I am the type of woman who would rather take the
>> danged thing apart, figure out what the pieces are, see if I can fix it,
>> then, if I can't, throw it away and buy a new one. I'll do the same
>> with just about any appliance that conks out on me. But maybe that...
> Let me know where you throw these "broken" things.
> Your story reminded me of my brother's purchase of a "dead" Honda
>motorbike for $50 many years ago, and also of an important principle in
>technical communications.
> It seems that a man we knew accepted this little Honda in partial
>payment for some work he had done. He filled the fuel tank and headed down
>his driveway. Alas, his previous experience was with an old Cushman
>motorbike. For those of you who don't know, the Cushman had a two-cycle
>engine which runs on a mixture of gasoline and oil. The Honda's four-cycle
>engine didn't do well with this cocktail.
> The result: the little Honda "died" in a cloud of blue smoke.
> Now, considering himself somewhat of a mechanic, the guy tried
>everything he knew to try--everything EXCEPT running straight gasoline
>without the added oil. This was the one thing he KNEW FOR CERTAIN about
> My brother watched in amusement, then offered to take this "dead" Honda
>off the guy's hands. By this point, the guy was exasperated and more than
>happy to hand the project off to someone else.
> My brother took the bike home in the back of a friend's truck. He
>cleaned the motorbike's spark plug, fuel lines, and tank. With fresh, clean
>gasoline in its tank, this $50 Honda provided my brother with years of
>motorbiking. The funny thing is that, had he been asked for advice, my
>brother just might have told the man what was wrong.

What you say your brother did seems rather cruel. I would hope technical
writers would not emulate such selfishness when it comes to helping one
another out.

Bonnie Granta

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