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Re: Anyone Can Write - Just Look At The Job Descriptions
Subject:Re: Anyone Can Write - Just Look At The Job Descriptions From:Peter Neilson <neilson -at- windstream -dot- net> To:techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com Date:Sun, 26 Jun 2011 23:20:29 -0400
"...so, you want polished poop?"
Yes. In one instance I heard of they did indeed. The tech writer's job
was to edit the output files (RUNOFF output files for the lineprinter --
30 or more years ago this was) to match a particular formatting
specification, and she would get called on the carpet if she suggested
any change beyond fixing a typo such as "hte". In particular, she was
not to question technical errors, no matter how obvious or serious.
Now why, one might ask, was this idiocy desired?
It was because of the business model:
1. Write the plan exactly according to the specifications.
2. Build to the plan.
3. Deliver the item and get paid.
4. If the customer (the US military) determines the item to be
incorrect, get a revised contract with new specifications and return to
You see, asking questions about the correctness at step 1 or step 2
would short circuit the revenue stream, making it impossible to get paid
for re-doing the job three or four times.
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