Technical Communication Poll: Recurring and Vital Conversations on Technical Writing

Technical Communication Poll -important debatesOver the course of 20 years, TechWhirlers have debated, questioned and conversed more than 450,000 times on a whole host of topics, most of which are actually related to technical writing and technical communication. That’s a lot of conversation, and we are proud to have hosted it since 1993. Since big anniversaries are usually a good time for reflection and recollection, our new technical communication poll asks you, our talkative TechWhirlers to tell us which of those subjects for debate are important and should continue to swirl, here and on the email discussion list.

When we purchased techwr-l from Eric and Deb Ray, we knew that the archives of the discussion list was a treasure trove of knowledge, as well as some often-snarky debate on all kinds of stuff that perhaps only technical writers could care about.  So we didn’t mess with the archives (much), other than to add a more robust search engine to help readers locate specific threads. If you do a search on some of the topics that rank high on your own opinion list, you may be surprised to find out how often, and how far back the discussions go.  And some questions are not only universal, but also eternal. New perspective often answer the same questions, now asked by millenials and Gen Y, whose world view is shaped by digital immersion. It’s one of the things that makes the TechWhirl community so incredibly valuable–old codgers willing to listen to and often advice to newbies just starting out, recent grads and mid-level professionals with new ways of thinking who are looking for validation.  It happens on the discussion list all the time. And happily much of that conversation drives the kind of content we can present in Tech Writer Today.

So after an admittedly cursory search, I grouped some topics together for your perusal and commentary. Next week I’ll present a post on highlights of the big conversations over the last 20 years, but now’s your time to chime in and tell us what’s still important, so vote in this technical communication poll. Feel free to add a comment on any of the topics listed, or to let us know what we might have missed. And you can also run right over to the discussion list, subscribe if you haven’t already, and start a conversation about conversations in tech comm.

What is the most important recurring debate in technical writing over the last 20 years?

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Julio Vazquez

11 years ago

I definitely agree that the discussion of the value of technical writers is probably the most important on the list. If we can’t get a good sense of what we think we bring to the table, then it will be practically impossible for us to communicate that value to a business/company. We’re more than just good grammar and punctuation but, sadly, this is all that some folks seem to hear.

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