Re[2]: Sophomoric statements about writers and engineers

Subject: Re[2]: Sophomoric statements about writers and engineers
From: "Arlen P. Walker" <Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 1 May 1995 10:08:00 -0600

No comment was ever made to disrespect technical writers.

Well, I'll accept that no comment was *intended* to "disrespect" tech writers.
But the fact is you both displayed a lack of knowledge about the field while
presenting your comments as complete evaluations of the field. They were neither
complete nor accurate. In Bill's case, he omitted entire continents of the tech
writing world (I'll add accounting to the list previously noted -- there's lots
of tech writing done there and no engineering whatsoever). Bill also omitted any
mention of the fact that if people can't use something, they won't buy it, so no
engineers will be employed to build it. You see, the science of usability grows
logically out of technical communication, and has borrowed heavily from many of
its precepts.

(I've heard Bill's particular argument about *any* two given fields. Accountants
have used it against engineers -- "If there's no one to tell you what your costs
are, you'll never make money and therefore be able to build anything." Marketing
has used it against Engineering. Accountants against Marketing. It goes on and
on, and proves nothing at all. To return to Bill's original formulation, there's
not much doubt that a good product badly documented will sell. It's just that a
good product with good documentation will sell better, perhaps even to the point
of putting the original company out of business. No one's arguing that a company
can't exist without tech writers, just that its competitors who *do* have them
will, in all probability, exist longer.)

I've already addressed the shortcoming of your statement separately. And if you
think I'm flaming either you or Bill, you don't know the meaning of the word.

Have fun,
Chief Managing Director In Charge, Department of Redundancy Department
DNRC 124

Arlen -dot- P -dot- Walker -at- JCI -dot- Com
In God we trust; all others must provide data.

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