Good Day Mulholland,

Sorry, in my opinion the plan is not in the best interest of the customers.
There is far more to "writing documentation" than knowing the application
being developed.

Will the documentation be print (or Acrobat files), or online help? Each
format has a different structure and requires a different form of authoring.
While print (or Acrobat) form follows a book format of typically related
information that includes transitions between paragraphs, sections, and
chapters; online help follows a different (individual topic) format.
Typically online help topics follow a pattern of overview, drilling down to
specific topics that further explain, describe the interface and option, and
offer specific procedures. However, such a process does not describe higher
level processes that might include several options (dialogs or tabs).

If you really must follow such a process because of costs (although
typically tech writers are paid half of what developers earn), remember you
will be taking development time from your staff. I would also recommend an
initial development edit that would review the structure and basic types of
content of your documentation. The second edit would focus upon language.


     Denise L. Moss-Fritch

-----Original Message-----
[ at] On
Behalf Of mulholland4
Sent: Wednesday, October 10, 2007 12:55 PM
To: framers at
Subject: radical revamping of techpubs

I would like to see what the group thinks of this scenario for writing
documentation within a company?

1. Remove all existing tech writing staff from techpubs.
2. Replace these with software developers and specialists who know the
software inside out and get them to write all of the documentation. These
would now be known as Developer-techwriters. (It should be noted that none
of these people has English as a first language, despite this being the
primary market for the documentation.)
3. Hire editing staff to edit only the language and grammar of the documents
written by the software specialists.

The reasoning behind this scenario is; that this saves money as the
developers know the software, and it is really cheap to get university
students to come in and edit.

I won't make comments on this just now as i'm sure there are many of us who
just want to run screaming!


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