Re: Post on the misconceptions about technical writing

Subject: Re: Post on the misconceptions about technical writing
From: "Stuart Burnfield" <slb -at- westnet -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "Techwr-l" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- techwr-l -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 26 Nov 2014 16:20:01 +0800

On the contrary, nearly everything on the list is well worth doing,
just don't OVERDO it.

Style guide: yes.
Documentation plan: very useful.
Single-sourcing: yep, lots of scope here to save time and improve
Meetings: yes, very useful, just prepare well and keep them short and
Get specs: yes, you have to know the technical details of what the
developers/engineers think they're doing and how and why.
Set expectations: of course; you can't leave it till the end to find
out you're delivering the wrong thing or your manager is expecting the
wrong thing.
Join TW hangouts such as techwr-l and tool forums: indispensable.
Use the right tools for the job: of course.
Have confidence in your writerly skills: understand how you add value
to what your organization does, so you can dig in your heels when it
really matters.
Join the TW community: yes, be a contributor: learn, teach, repeat.

I guess Mr Plato's point is that TWs shouldn't take some small
technique that's useful in isolation and do it to a ridiculous,
obsessive extent so that it becomes counterproductive. I thank him for
his valuable insight.

--- Stuart

From: Shawn
To: John G
Date: Tue, 25 Nov 2014 15:49:52 -0800

As I began reading this eleven year old list, I didn't understand the
disparaging comments. I mean, one of the first tasks I took on was to
a rudimentary style guide. I work in a start-up with a new doc
department... so yes, some standards need to be established. In my
experience, all the larger, well established corporations actually
about and enforce strict adherence to the style guide(s).

But I very quickly realized that this list is purely sarcastic... ha
this person condensed down most of the stereotypical ideas that a
whipper-snapper thinks are important in technical writing. In *my*
not a single point is remotely close to true.

Read about how Georgia System Operation Corporation improved teamwork, communication, and efficiency using Doc-To-Help |


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