Re: HUMOR: I Need Help

Subject: Re: HUMOR: I Need Help
From: Jeff Hanvey <techwriter -at- jewahe -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 19 Feb 2001 14:12:22 -0800 (PST)

-- Andrew Plato <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>

> wrote:

>You're coalescing two very different behaviors, Jeff. Asking a fellow worker

>to forward you the company templates is perfectly fine. Asking a forum of 4000

>colleagues to forward you their templates is lame.

It isn't two behaviors. Both behaviors are about making the job easier and NOT redoing work that's already been done.

>Writers should have to do their own work. Template design and development is a

>perfectly normal part of writing. Lifting design ideas from other people's

>work is perfectly acceptable. But asking a public forum to supply you their

>work - that is lame. It is lazy.

Nope. Wrong again. You're drawing a line that doesn't exist. Using the ideas of others without asking permission is just as wrong as using a template without asking permission.

Template design also isn't necessarily a part of writing. This is why there are project leads who design and control templates which the writers may or may not have input into. Template design is also the domain of the senior or lead technical writers, not the junior or intermediate writers. These groups more often than not are handed a template on their first day.

Perhaps this would make an good poll for the techwr-l site: What level of input do you have into the template design at your company (a) None, (b) little, (c) I make suggestions, (d) I help design it, (e) I design all templates.

>Cooperation is one thing. That is why I gave those two examples. It is one

>thing to say "I am doing this and it isn't working, anybody have an ideas." It

>is a whole different story to post "I am doing this and it isn't working, could

>you send me your document so I can get this done."

That's true. But allowing that person to see other templates might give him the reason his/her tmeplate isn't working.

Again, it's a waste of time to spend time redeveloping templates if others exist. I'm all for anything that will allow me more time researching, writing, and editing the current document.

>You end up with a scenario like this:


>1. Joe Newbie gets a template he didn't build.

>2. Joe then asks the engineers to write all the "technical stuff" and send it

> to him.

Whoa! Now you're following a slippery slope. Just because Joe Newbie didn't build a template doesn't *necessarily* mean he won't do any writing. If Joe does this, he won't last long in the field - and good riddance.

By this logic, even receiving a corporate template (which Joe didn't have any input into) will cause Joe to deliberately avoid writing anything. That is pure bunk.

So far you've not really supported your assertion that "asking for a template is lame."

The fact is that templates are tools every bit as much as FrameMaker is a tool. Any profession will know when to use the right tool for the job - including a good template.

>Hey, copy other people's work. I'm cool with that. But sheesh, don't be a total

>butthead and ask the world to hand you the answer.

What's the difference?


>Nobody should be allowed to call themselves a technical writer if they can't

>solve the problems that technical writers how to build a template

>or explain "technical stuff."

No one has said otherwise. But for goodness sake don't punish the newbie just because s/he needs a place to start.

Jeff Hanvey:

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