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The Insider's Guide to Technical Writing by Krista Van Laan

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Put the “Technical” in Technical Writing

There was a time, thankfully short-lived, when a school of thought held that tech writers shouldn’t know anything about the technology or product that they wrote about; in other words, they should go in fresh, just as an ignorant user would. These untainted tech writers would then proceed to churn through the menus and buttons on an application and document everything they saw, exactly as they saw it. Or they would go to the developers and ask them to write about the product and then the tech writer would edit and format the content.

There are many problems with this way of thinking. The main problem is that documentation written by a writer who knows nothing offers nothing the users can’t get for themselves—less, ...

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