• Derp (unregistered)

    Frist comments doesn't always correct predict frist

  • Patrick (unregistered)

    Predict first

  • Patrick (unregistered)

    ...would've been first if it wasn't for the damn captcha!

  • Derp (unregistered) in reply to Patrick

    Proved mine right though.

  • Ex-Consultant (unregistered)

    I bet there was a Highly Paid Consultant looking deep into the boss's eyes, saying: "Offshoring is the way! You must offshore! Repeat after me: Offshore NOW!"

    And the stupid boss did as he was told, because: "The consultant was SO expensive, he MUST be right!!!!!!!"

  • I'm not a robot (unregistered)

    When is 12:00PM? If I had a meeting at 12:00PM i wouldn't know when to show up!

  • Donald Trump (unregistered)

    This scenario has become a thing of the past. Offshoring stops right here and right now!

  • Ex-lurker (unregistered)

    PHBs will spend a pound to save a penny. By the time they realize they have made poor decisions, or more likely it has been pointed to them in some way they can't ignore, they'll almost never admit to a mistake and revert to what should have been a good decision. Usually they rather keep wasting money and fire anybody who complains or calls out their idiocy.

    Off-topic: It's nice to see HTML comments in more articles than Remy's. I hope the other authors include them too.

  • TheCPUWizard (unregistered)

    ....Why doesn't anyone ever consider off-shoring management????? Could be a lot cheaper, and not any worse :)

  • Toby J (unregistered)

    "A mandatory company meeting convened at 12:00PM, with nary a crumb of food in sight."

    With that one short sentence, you have reignited my utter fear of corporate office culture. Never again!

  • Bill (unregistered)

    12PM = Noon. It's defined by international standard.

  • Black coffee, no sugar thanks (unregistered)

    I have worked in a number of companies who have gone off-shore, all without success. In a good number of those, they have had to go back to insourcing. I worked closely with a large outsource operation who would swear blind they did stuff that I could categorically prove they hadn't. Management will only hear what they want to hear ultimately.

  • ceiswyn (unregistered)

    "They could take his notes, add their personal experiences with the products, and compile it all into something useful"

    This. This is what a decent technical writer does. We are not glorified typists, and if I had a pound for every time management assumes that we are and gets bitten badly by the mistake then I wouldn't need to keep trying to install enterprise products to find the steps the development documents miss out!

  • offshorin' (unregistered) in reply to Patrick

    Patrick doesn't always predict correct captcha.

  • Verify installation location. (unregistered)

    "The installer doesn't always guess right about the drive." seems like it was written by a non English speaker. Doesn't always guess right? Really?

  • (nodebb) in reply to Verify installation location.

    "Doesn't always guess right" is perfectly idiomatic, if informal, English, at least on the left side of the Pond. "Right" is an adverb modifying "guess". You could replace it with "correctly" if you wanted to be more formal, or "rightly" if you wanted to sound British.

  • EvilSnack (unregistered)

    Raise your hand if you saw the results of this the moment you read that the documentation department was being outsourced.

  • Pierre Lebeaupin (unregistered)

    For me, tech writers do nothing less than represent the end user* to the engineers, so in fact I'd sooner outsource development than outsource tech writing. But it's better all around if developers and tech writers can interact, e.g. tech writers will do a better job if they can ask developers for info that is unclear from their notes.

    *Note that in the case of an API, the end user is the developer who uses the API; tech writers are particularly important here.

  • Kashim (unregistered)

    When will people learn that hiring someone who has not been speaking [language] since they were born to try to make professional quality documents for people who have been speaking [language] since they were born is just not really the best move? [language] is HARD. So hard that Google has a big team of really talented engineers working to try and make it easier, and anyone with 2 years of school can see that the [language] to [other language] translator has some serious problems. Most people with 30 years of experience (who are 30) speaking [language] don't actually know all of the structures involved, which is why hiring good technical writers is so difficult. I have the greatest respect for people who learn a second language, but in the end there is simply no way to overcome the language barrier fully, and no matter how long I live there, no one will ever hire me to be a technical writer in [other country], not because I couldn't produce documentation that they could read, but rather because they could produce documentation that they could read better.

  • EveryThingAsCode (unregistered)

    Nuff said

  • Don (unregistered)

    I'm going to be "that guy" here. Let the manuals be a mess, and ramp up the support costs. Seriously, management do not tend to listen when they're told "shit is going wrong", especially when the wrong team is constantly fixing it. It's even worse then, because the complaints seem to be totally invalid. Nobody will "remember" the evidence shown and discussion with upper management, all that will be "remembered" is that the engineers raised a concern that was proven wrong because in the end it all worked out.

    Your blood, sweat, hair, and tears will not be taken into account, just that it turned out fine anyway

  • hm (unregistered)

    The installer doesn't always guess right about the drive.

    The installer doesn't always guess correctly about the drive.

  • Kellyanne Conway (unregistered) in reply to Donald Trump

    You tell em Mr. President.

  • operagost (unregistered)

    Isn't offshoring your documentation the LAST area you want to send offshore? I mean, even native English speakers can produce some problems due to the differences between regions (US, CA, UK, AU, NZ).

    And yes, I agree that "The installer doesn't always guess right about the drive" is too informal and doesn't belong in documentation. Personification seems unprofessional, "right" used as an adverb is colloquial, and without seeing it in context I might guess that "about the drive" doesn't really describe the issue in enough detail. Anyway, this is the kind of poor writing that technical writers are supposed to fix, not to make worse.

  • Jerepp (unregistered)

    Did management use terms like 'Yuge' and 'Bigly' and manage based on 'alternative facts'?

  • equilibrium (unregistered)

    can't wait for management to be off-shored!!

  • equilibrium (unregistered) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    It WILL get worse: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manna_(novel)

  • Ross (unregistered) in reply to Ex-lurker

    A grand total of two HTML comments does not excite me terribly.

  • Appalled (unregistered)

    The Engineers should not have said a word. They should have rubber-stamped everything as correct. After all Document writers are Professionals and know the business far better than us Engineers, right?

    As Consumers we constantly see this crap in 50% of the manuals for the appliances we buy. It's nothing new. If Management complains, the answer is "Hey, you guys CHOSE to be second tier when it comes to manuals, live with it"

  • Luigi (unregistered) in reply to Bill

    There doesn't seem to be a true "international standard" regarding the interpretation of "12AM" vs "12PM".

    According to the UK National Physical Laboratory, the terms "12AM" and "12PM" are, at best, ambiguous (see http://www.npl.co.uk/reference/faqs/is-midnight-12-am-or-12-pm-faq-time). In most cases, both terms refer to midnight with the terminology dispute revolving around whether "12AM" refers to the previous midnight, or the next midnight.

    And, before you ask, the UK NPL says: "As the UK's National Measurement Institute, the National Physical Laboratory (NPL) has a vital role to play in maintaining the UK's time scale. The current atomic clock system at NPL is the basis of all UK time, and cutting-edge research is being carried out to improve timekeeping accuracy even further." To me, that makes them one of the standards bodies that would have to know about a "12AM/12PM" "international standard".

  • Ex-lurker (unregistered) in reply to Luigi

    More civilized countries do away with the ambiguity by using 24-hour timestamps (00:00:00 is established as midnight).

    And so does mine, incidentally.

  • Ex-lurker (unregistered) in reply to Ross

    True, but that's still 2 more than every other article not authored by Remy. Besides, it's subject to vary a lot depending on the article.

    And I think the author must feel like he/she could enrich the text with personal anecdotes and thoughts that would be out of place in the article, but it won't happen if the author doesn't feel comfortable sharing them with the audience. If Ellis Morning read this, I wanna tell her it's a decision I enjoy and support.

  • chriss (unregistered) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    "....Why doesn't anyone ever consider off-shoring management????? Could be a lot cheaper, and not any worse :)"

    Actually management seems like something that Indians have natural talent for. They are good at: negotiations, faking work, lying straight up to your face.

  • Kay Chapman (unregistered)

    As a user of some of the products with the offshore tech writing I agree, we need offshore management!

  • Anon (unregistered) in reply to Appalled

    I agree. The engineers should have proofed the documentation for technical correctness, and left the spelling, grammar, and formatting to the new "experts".

    And if I found out that my notes were being cut-and-paste like that, I would start printing my notes, putting them on a wooden desk, and then sending a picture of the notes instead.

  • Ulysses (unregistered)

    The offshore management idea made me lol, but God no: it would only be worse. The average PHB is bad, but imagine if your manager frustrated you as much as your last Hindustani softdev or tech support. Distilled ineptitude, anyone?

    I agree that the illustrated note sounds non-native. The Chinese in fact tend to hammer in 'about' wherever possible.

  • George Gonzalez (unregistered)

    At one company they offshore the testing. We made up a long list of 120-hour tests and sent them off. The offshore testers were so good, they returned the test results in 48 hours! Really.

  • Ulysses (unregistered) in reply to Appalled

    Hey Appalled, have you left the site yet?

  • DCL (unregistered) in reply to Bill

    I thought the international standard was the 24 hour clock so just 12:00 not 12PM.

  • (nodebb)

    All that's missing is the cornification of something obvious, such as consulting company. Yay!

  • gnasher729 (unregistered) in reply to Kashim

    You say that non-native speakers writing documentation for native speakers is bad. But think about it: Non-native speakers writing documentation for non-native speakers is 10 TIMES WORSE. Native speakers have a lot of experience with their language and can figure out what badly mangled English means. Non-native speakers don't have that. They only know how to interpret correct English. For example, while a native speaker just glances over incorrect use of their, there or they're, to a non-native speaker these are three completely different and unrelated words with totally different meanings, and they find it very difficult to figure out what a sentence means if the wrong one is used.

    In addition, a non-native speaker might assume that text written by a technical author would be correct, and copy the incorrect usage that they see. For example, I've seen the word "wierd" so often that I had to ask myself: Am I stupid or is everyone else stupid? Looked it up in the dictionary, turns out everyone else was stupid. But some people might just copy the incorrect usage.

  • Hasse teh Great (unregistered)

    With your new president you will get less offshorers, right?

  • Hasse teh Great (unregistered) in reply to gnasher729

    When you work as translator you only translate to your native language. Programmers/Developers tend to write bad text in any language independent of origin. That is why you have technical writers.

  • Derpface (unregistered)

    As someone that was inflicted with an outsorced indian manager, you don't think it could get any worse, but oh fucking hell it gets worse. By orders of magnitude. The utter ineptitude to get anything done that managers actually do, and the amount of lying to everyone they do gets you deep into a bogmire of red tape and nuclear landmines. It's so fucking bad. Offshore dev and tech writers can at least be summarily ignored, and locked out of anything important. As techs, you do not have the bureaucratic clout to lock the inane offshore manager out of bureaucracy, so it will hit like a fucking nuclear winter once the shit reaches critical mass.

  • Gubbo (unregistered) in reply to DCL

    I learned on the HMS Belfast tour, that to avoid confusion during WWII, the Royal Navy didn't even have a midnight. They went from 23:59 to 00:01. Thus removing the whole problem.

    Ah the things you were allowed do in wartime.

  • Randal L. Schwartz (google)

    At one of my first gigs, a fellow tech-writer had the observation that the manual is the product. If a customer cannot find (or understand) a feature in the documentation, the product DOES NOT HAVE that feature for the customer to use. It was a great way to justify bringing in engineers to the tech writing group (who could be trained as writers), rather than using writers in the tech writing group (who had only a smattering of engineering).

  • The Original Fritz (unregistered)

    Engineers on wages? Your country is fucked up.

  • radarbob (unregistered) in reply to Gubbo

    military midnight: 00:00. Of course using a 24 hr clock. Makes time arithmetic work better, which is typically very important. Now, what the geographical reference point might be can vary wildly. Talking both trans-global and cross service is fraught with potential time misunderstanding. For example a platoon calling for air support in the Afghani mountains would not have the same time perspective as the B-52 crew flying non-stop from the USA.

  • DCL (unregistered) in reply to radarbob

    Switch to UTC. Especially if the interested parties are in different timezones.

  • Commander Profit (unregistered) in reply to TheCPUWizard

    If we offshored management where would all the profits go?

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