Of course it’s the time of year where we’re checking off lists—gifts to buy, parties to attend, cards to send, colleagues to endorse on LinkedIn. We’re pretty sure that those of us in technical communication have more lists than most, it’s just in our nature. We take after the jolly fat man in that regard, whose lists of naughty and nice have to be well-organized, meta-tagged, and navigable in order to deliver the right stocking stuffers.
Over the years, the pet peeves, bad habits and stereotypes of technical writers have garnered a perverse sort of fame in many quarters. We lament that they just don’t understand us, while pontificating on dangling modifiers, and then wonder why we get rocks in our trick or treat bags, or coal for stocking stuffers. On the other hand, we can fine-tune a presentation, ask a set of common-sense questions, or design a usable mobile help app in the blink of an eye, so we do have our uses, and are worthy of a little recognition, an occasional promotion, and a weekend off from time to time.
The big guy in red has his eye on us technical communicators (and no, we’re not talking about the CIO at the holiday party). He gets us, and he knows the difference between naughty and nice. This week’s poll question should help you gear up for the holiday, and maybe give you a little inspiration for a submission to this year’s Dear Santa, All I Want For Christmas letter writing extravaganza. We want to know what terrible habits of technical writers are cause for coal in the stocking. And be honest, how many of them are you guilty of?
Not too worry, it’s all anonymous and in good fun, so give Santa a hand in organizing this year’s lists with your advice on what constitutes naughty, nefarious, or just plain annoying in the world of technical communication.