Talk:Technical writer

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Article on technical communication[edit]

Hmmmm. There is no article on Technical communication (it's a redirect to this page), which is what the STC focuses on. The role of Technical communication/a Technical communicator is a superset of Technical writing/a Technical writer...iFaqeer (Talk to me!) 04:28, Nov 30, 2004 (UTC)

Absolutely right. How's this for a start? Elf | Talk 02:33, 1 Dec 2004 (UTC)

Technical writing vs. professional writing[edit]

So what's the difference between "technical writing" and "professional writing"? I've seen professional writing talked about, but I don't really know what it is. -- Creidieki 21:36, 11 September 2005 (UTC)

A professional writer is one who gets paid for writing. Could be technical writing, travel writing, fiction writing, whatever. Most technical writers are professional writers--even though I do it and enjoy it, I can't imagine anyone doing it only for fun (compared to, say, many unpublished fiction writers). Elf | Talk 04:16, 12 September 2005 (UTC)
LOL. You can't? Is somebody paying you for your work on Wikipedia?? Tell us who! SBHarris 03:51, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

Link to[edit]

I have removed the links to because this site specifically promotes a particular commercial organisation and appears to contain little general information about technical writing per se. If there is such info somewhere on the site then any new link should be directly to that information. -IMOɲ.

Grammar changes[edit]

I changed this: Technical writers are responsible for creating media that are helpful, accurate, comprehensible, and accessible to the intended audience.

To this: Technical writers are responsible for creating media that is helpful, accurate, comprehensible, and accessible to the intended audience. AuroraMae 03:09, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

The latter is correct: since "media" describes a single object, it isn't grammatically appropriate to use "are" to describe it -- even if plurality is assumed. And yes, I realize the irony in affirming a corrected "correction" on the edit side of a Technical writer page when concision is paramount.

Actually - not to be too pedantic - media is the plural of medium and does not describe a single object. It covers more than one avenue of communications and should therefore be used as you would use the word data (the plural of datum). The correct usage is "data are..." and so the correct usage is "media are...".
Examples of different media include print publishing, display-based offline publishing such as CD-ROM and DVD-ROM-based information resources, online publishing such as "help" files, intranets, extranets, "traditional" Web pages including forms, wikis, interactive PDF forms, CBT/interactive video, PDAs, even production approaches such as single-sourcing wherein a single source document may be required to appear in several different media and so must be written exceptionally carefully, and so on. Even writing for content management systems requires skills that differ from those used for print publishing, for example.
However, this article has been hacked about so badly by some pretty clumsy and inconsistent editing that IMHO it's probably not worth the hassle involved in fixing all the errors that have been introduced (no matter how well-meant). AncientBrit (talk) 18:57, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Creating separate articles for 'Technical Writer' and 'Technical Writing'[edit]

What does everyone think about creating a separate page for techical writer and technical writing? The whole 'technical communication'section should have a different title, as a new article is going to be created for that subject. If no one objects, I'm going to change the header and split the articles. AuroraMae 03:23, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I made some changes: I changed 'technical communication' to 'qualifications' and reorganized. I also added a 'methodology' sub-header. The article still needs work, but now its organized better and makes more sense as an article about technical writers.AuroraMae 03:39, 18 August 2006 (UTC)

I think its best to have a separate product page from the skill page in all professions. Often the end user of the product doesn't (or need not) care about the skill required to produce the product. Likewise, staffing professionals and customers of the skill don't care about (or are overwhelmed by) the critical details of the product, which is why they must hire someone with the skill. I added user guides and documentations as the product pages. Oicumayberight 08:39, 5 September 2006 (UTC)

I split the articles; technical writer is its own entity now, as is technical writing.AuroraMae 14:14, 17 September 2006 (UTC)

Good idea. The last version basically defined a technical writer as the guy responsible for upkeep of documentation. That confuses the work product with the work. "A scientist is responsible for keeping up the supply of fresh scientific papers..." SBHarris 18:24, 19 February 2007 (UTC)

Linked articles[edit]

Ideas about Structured writing might be welcome. Also I am a bit surprised (as a technical writer that uses and implements DocBook) to see only a link to DITA. DITA has a clear and bright future in technical documention, but is not so representative of the present situation and needs of many companies that involve technical writers. Just my thought. Franciszek (talk) 09:09, 13 February 2008 (UTC)


Why are there so few citations? One would think that in an article of this nature there would be tons of them - there is no shortage of literature on the subject. Blue Luger (talk) 17:33, 6 May 2010 (UTC)

The problem with most articles related to technical writing and technical communication is that many of us write original content based on our own knowledge and experience, with the defense being that we're professionals. And the thing is, our own knowledge of our field isn't a valid source for Wikipedia articles; the encyclopedia does not publish original research.
The number of articles with this problem is formitable. I was going through this one to see what is required and really, it will almost have to be rewritten. That will mean returning to our old textbooks from college and whatever basic introductory stuff can be found. MezzoMezzo (talk) 03:55, 3 December 2014 (UTC)


I apologize in advance if I am overstepping bounderies by placing this job posting: I thought you were to put it mildy so I deleted it. I apologize in advance if anyone thinks I am overstepping bounderies by doing so.

misc. changes[edit]

To whom it may concern: I made various changes but nothing major. Apparently whoever wrote this is big into API, as there were numerous references to this very small niche of tech writing, including having that as a general tech writing reference. Also having been in the "biz" for 20+ yrs and having met/worked with many tech writers, I can say with great confidence that many tech writers have never even heard of the "Chicago Manual," let alone adhered to it. No offense meant to whoever included it and pardon for any taken.


I think Indexing should link to Subject indexing but I am not sure so I added the disambiguation needed rather than guess. Aureomarginata (talk) 22:17, 20 August 2013 (UTC)

Possible sources[edit]

I've scoped out a few sources, but their acceptability in concordance with WP:IRS might be suspect.

US Dept. of Labor statistics site on occupational outlook
"I'd Rather Be Writing" site Q&A about technical writing careers
Business News Daily article about what technical writing is
Internet Writing Journal article from 1998 about what a technical writer does

Do these sites pass the reliability test according to site policy? We as subject matter experts might be able to independently verify the information within, but that isn't sufficient. MezzoMezzo (talk) 03:59, 3 December 2014 (UTC)