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Thursday, July 31, 2008

Pet Peeve

I write a lot. It's a big part of my job. I write informational websites and training materials and well, basically a lot of user-centered tech writing. Before I leave today, I have to submit two articles for publication, publish two web pages, and edit a bug summary for distribution at a meeting at 3pm. Usually, I'm not the final arbiter of what gets said. Other people get to read what I wrote and either approve it or give me feedback to make it better.

Here's what doesn't make it better: If you read something and give me the feedback of "That sentence doesn't really work for me" or "This is confusing." Why? Of course it's confusing! I'm trying to distill a big concept or summarize some complicated information as efficiently as possible. I sat there for quite some time thinking hard about the best way I could think of to say it. If it's confusing or if it's unclear, then feel free to suggest a better way. Trust me, I'll be more than happy to take that and use it. Really. At the point that you're reading it, my brainpower about how to make it better is all used up, so saying to just do it better is in no way helping. And if you can't be bothered to put your brain to rewording it to illustrate your point, then STFU!

'k bye.


  • When I send docs out for review to more than one person, I include a cover page listing the recipients and including a one- or two-sentence summary of what the document is. That's expected. What I include that isn't expected is the line, "If you find a problem, please suggest a solution. Deadlines may be such that I cannot submit the document for a second review. Thanks!"

    Then, if I get criticism that doesn't include a solution, I try to fix it, but take it for granted that if the reviewer didn't care enough to tell me why something was wrong, then it's probably not worth altering.

    By Blogger Mr. Bill, at 4:21 PM  

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