RE: "not technical enough"

Subject: RE: "not technical enough"
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Sat, 29 Jul 2000 05:37:53 -0700 (PDT)

--- Mihail Tsagidis <tsagge -at- gmx -dot- net> wrote:
> I want to join the discussion for one second and describe my point of
> view: "I am too _stupid_ to be a programmer and too _intelligent_ to be
> a user only, so I become a technical writer".
> ciao, mihail

Interesting perspective. Not sure it can be successfully used as a
generalization. Some of us come from programmer backgrounds. I may not have
been the world's greatest code miester, but I was _not_ "too stupid to be a
programmer." I still do some now and again.

Nor do I feel "too intelligent to be a user only." There are some awfully
intelligent users out there. One of the things that pains me in the technical
world in general is that developers, marketers, entrepreneurs, even writers all
seem to undervalue users. For one thing, where would any of us be without
users? Apple came out with the first commercially viable personal computers in
the early '80s, but, like it or not, Microsoft has the users (which, by the
way, Microsoft treats rather badly, too.)

I think when you think you're smarter than your audience--even if you are--you
risk "writing down" to them. Despite humorous emails depicting customers as
morons who shouldn't be allowed to even open a computer box, let alone plug one
in, they are are audience, and our customers. And they're not as stupid as we
treat them. They may be ignorant about computers, but most of them will learn.
Unfortunately, it may be in spite of even the Technical Writers who are
supposed to be making it easier for them.

Tom Murrell
Senior Technical Writer
Alliance Data Systems
Columbus, Ohio
mailto:trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com

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