Encompasses computer and technology writing, end-user documentation, code documentation, engineering, the sciences, consumer manuals, and more.

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7
votes
6answers
422 views

Quality of my blog writing [closed]

I came here from Jeff Atwood's blog where he mentions that writing a blog can clear your own internal thought processes and that you should take feedback about your writing so that you can improve. ...
1
vote
2answers
252 views

To translate a novel with Westerner's point of view

I am an Easterner. I have been translating a novel, that is originally written in my native language, into English. During the process, I have also been learning about cultural things, meant to ...
1
vote
1answer
233 views

What are best practices when writing technical descriptions?

Occasionally, in my job as an engineer, I write process descriptions of the technology we are selling. Those are part of commercial offers, intended to win the customer. Those are bundled with ...
5
votes
3answers
2k views

Does reading books help writing skills?

Just what the title says. I decided to improve my writing skills only for blogging purposes (for starters and no, it's not a part of new year's resolution). I am also not really good at writing (i.e. ...
5
votes
2answers
210 views

How can I prevent, or work around, unfortunate hyphenation in critical words?

In technical documentation, sometimes the tool's automatic hyphenation makes a bad break in the middle of a term, like the name of an environment variable or function. In these cases I would rather ...
6
votes
2answers
119 views

Standards for representing user interaction

I am responsible for developing internal IT documentation but have only begun my scratching the surface on technical documentation. Is there a standard or best practice for the following: Example ...
4
votes
2answers
76 views

Should subsection headings sometimes repeat section headings?

In a technical or scientific text, such as a PhD thesis, should headings for (sub)sections be complete and sometimes repeat information from the headings of the levels above, or is it sufficient to ...
25
votes
6answers
2k views

Writing first programming book

I was recently asked if I was interested in writing a book for a pretty reputable publisher, which of course I accepted. I am not a writer by trade, I am a software developer with some technical ...
5
votes
3answers
424 views

Overusing “the” and “I”

I'm not a native English speaker, and I find that my English writing contains too many definite article "the" when writing scientific reports, and too many "I" when writing in informal settings (like ...
3
votes
3answers
656 views

Is there anything like 99designs for text writing?

I'm not a writer, but a technical oriented entrepreneur.. One of the barriers I always run into is that I'm also the lead guy for providing the content for marketing gigs, speaker bio's and website ...
11
votes
2answers
219 views

How do you build good per-book *and* global indexes?

For our SDK, we generate individual documents (PDFs) and one big HTML doc set (CHM file) from the same Docbook source. Each book has an index, and the HTML version has an integrated index that is the ...
2
votes
2answers
208 views

API reference doc: best practices for describing opaque parameters?

The reference documentation for an application programming interface (API) is, in modern systems, usually generated from the code itself automatically. For example, for Java interfaces a typical tool ...
2
votes
1answer
2k views

Mashery vs. Apigee

I was wondering if anyone could lend some advice as to the pros and cons between using Mashery versus Apigee for documenting an API? I have do some evaluating and have about 2 weeks to come up with a ...
8
votes
8answers
2k views

Good Outlining Solutions For OSX?

I write technical non-fiction and find that I cannot write well without first constructing a detailed (10-20 page) outline. Are there any good outlining solutions for OSX? Apps? Templates in Microsoft ...
2
votes
1answer
89 views

Metrics for assessing the persuasiveness of a paper?

Are there any known variables to measure, or questions to ask in survey, in order to asses the persuasiveness of a paper? For example, I'm not sure if omitting a section from my paper might actually ...
1
vote
0answers
116 views

Using the Minto Pyramid

Using the Minto Pyramid, should I order the paragraphs of my paper by going through the rows of the pyramid like this? Thesis > Why > How > Where > A > B > C > D > E Or should I start at the top ...
6
votes
3answers
429 views

In end user documentation, should screenshots come before or after the text that references them?

The end user documentation I'm writing makes use of screenshots (and partial screenshots) to show the user what I'm referring to in procedural instructions for or conceptual explanations of the ...
4
votes
2answers
875 views

What is the best way to learn technical writing?

I have a moderate level of skills in technical writing (TW) having gone through graduation in engineering. I was wondering what would be the best way to sharpen my knowledge. I am also interested in ...
2
votes
2answers
103 views

How to represent dependencies in outlines

The bulk of my writing consists of technical papers, reports, notes, and memos. Because of the mathematical nature of my work I spend a lot of time writing definitions, and it is very important that I ...
13
votes
6answers
2k views

Should one use the legal “shall” in requirements documents and specification documents?

At least in the US, "will" has replaced "shall" in most every context, with the notable exception of the "legal shall". Shall is used instead of will in legal documents to indicate a sense of ...
2
votes
3answers
81 views

Introducing the next sub-section or not?

I am writing my phd dissertation in a technical field and I have a question. When in the same chapter, I finish a section and want to connect it with the next section I am not sure what is better. ...
1
vote
1answer
74 views

Multiple tasks and a step by step tutorial

To my knowledge step-by-step tutorials should have the form of a ladder, where you describe how to get to a place step by step– accomplishing a single task at the end. Is it possible to accomplish ...
0
votes
2answers
58 views

What is the correct word/term that needs to be before the names of the maker of the project?

I am doing a project with one other person, we have finished the project and we are working on a cover page. We are not sure what to write out before our names, we have thought of a couple of ...
4
votes
4answers
199 views

How can I consistently distinguish among tables, fields, and records in a database?

I am describing a database for a scientific publication. The database has many tables, and each table has fields (spreadsheet columns) and records (rows). I spend a lot of time discussing tables and ...
4
votes
1answer
183 views

singular or plural for index entries

I am in the final stages of writing a book and currently I am preparing the index. Are there any rules whether index entries should be listed in singular or plural? Currently I have Markov chains, ...
5
votes
1answer
448 views

How to get a programming book published

So I feel I'm a pretty good programmer in my area of expertise. Whats the process for writing a book about my niche and getting it published?
4
votes
3answers
144 views

How can I express this fragment more clearly and concisely?

For the 'who is this application for' section of an application user guide, I have the following alternatives, I'm not happy with either one. How can I convey both elements more clearly and ...
2
votes
2answers
16k views

Multiple authors in MLA header

I'm writing a group paper and I was wondering whether there's a correct way to list multiple authors at the top of the first page in MLA format. Normally the header would look something like: My Name ...
2
votes
1answer
290 views

In what narrative mode should you explain a process or task?

I want to explain a psychological and behavioural process to someone via email. I start off in first-person and speak to them in second-person, but what do I use when I want to explain a process ...
14
votes
14answers
1k views

Is it okay to call the reader's target audience stupid?

I'm a tech genre author, and have already published one book on Android development. However, this book was focused more on the developer of the apps, than the user. Now I'm working on my second ...
4
votes
5answers
292 views

Using uncommon abbreviations

Something which I see all the time in (popular) science writing is the use of abbreviations to indicate concepts. For (a made up) example: So when we're dealing with Anachronistic Meta Mechanics ...
1
vote
1answer
153 views

combining sentences

I want to say couple of this within one sentence. so my sub sentences would be: We removed the vertical features from the classification process. The removal of vertical features enhances ...
1
vote
3answers
125 views

The Best Title for my Skill Set [closed]

I'm about to branch off into the freelance world. I'm starting an LLC and I'd like some input on what I should title myself as the owner. For example "creative specialist" or "creative technician" or ...
3
votes
1answer
1k views

How to write time duration correctly

Within a user manual, I need to convey the maximum time period allowed as "365 days 23 hours 59 minutes 59 seconds" - are commas expected between each component? Is the word "and" expected before the ...
3
votes
6answers
925 views

Is it overkill to follow style-guides for technical writing?

I currently work for an engineering company as an electrical engineer. A good chunk of my time is spent writing testing reports or instruction documents. Currently my company doesn't have any sort of ...
2
votes
1answer
111 views

How to combine a visual and textual outline

I am a Ph.D. student in engineering, so most of my writing fits into a fairly strict idiom: the IMRaD (Introduction, Methodology, Results, and Discussion). In general, I like to use an outline to help ...
0
votes
1answer
111 views

Should this sentence be included in the Executive Summary?

I found some examples of good and poor example of executive summaries here. Everything seems fine but in one of them, they included this sentence - "All calculations can be found in the ...
0
votes
2answers
126 views

Am I correctly referencing chapters which belong to the same book?

Looking for some help on how to reference chapters in a book inside of a booking I'm helping with. Should I be capitalizing Chapters 3 and 4 and would referring to chapters simply by capitalized ...
3
votes
2answers
2k views

Are contractions antithetical to academic writing?

This question is very specific to academic writing: I used the contraction "don't" instead of "do not" in some of the papers. Some of the reviewers mentioned that "don't" is not a formal style of ...
5
votes
6answers
464 views

Does this feel like natural English?

Although I'm pretty confident in my English, I'm not a native English speaker. I need to write a short introduction for a symposium; I'd like to know if you think this paragraph feels like 'natural' ...
9
votes
13answers
1k views
2
votes
1answer
130 views

What resources will teach me about the state of the art in technical writing?

I've been asked to modernize some technical documentation - user manuals in particular. I have some guidelines, but a lot of free rein to take it in whatever direction I think is worthwhile. Where ...
4
votes
1answer
198 views

Habits and routines for my first tech writing job

A Japanese company has offered me a gig helping translate an Android1 business application + documentation into English. Their staff will do a rough translation, and I will polish it into something ...
5
votes
4answers
321 views

How can a new writer make a realistic estimate of his work rate?

This question relates to my earlier question Habits and routines for my first tech writing job which I was told to split into two parts. My first technical writing / translation gig starts soon. A ...
3
votes
1answer
231 views

Path to publishing a technical book

I'm 21 years old female from South India. I would like to publish a book which concentrates on any one latest computer technology. Now, I have completed my BE- Computer Science and Engineering. I'm ...
3
votes
3answers
212 views

What's the correct vocabulary for a web application tutorial?

I am writing a tutorial on how to use a specific web application and I don't know which verbs to use. Shall I use "click" for buttons? But what if the user doesn't use a mouse? Contrary to "normal" ...
11
votes
4answers
3k views

Writing a programming book: how to present directory structures

What is good/preferred way of presenting directory trees in programming books? My main criteria are following: It should be readable and intuitive It shouldn't take too much page space It ...
2
votes
1answer
226 views

Using Glossary Instead of Footnotes (for translation/transliteration)

I am writing a technical report with keywords which are mainly English. I am using a Glossary at the end, which describes translated keywords. Is it a replacement for footnotes or I should just keep ...
0
votes
1answer
105 views

website to publish article on high-performance cluster computing?

I am writing a tutorial-type article on high-performance cluster computing. It is aimed at researchers and grad students who want to use clusters to answer scientific questions, especially in the life ...
54
votes
13answers
4k views

What's the modern way to handle gender in tech writing?

Back in my day, I was taught to use masculine pronouns. The user chooses a password, and then he types it in the text box. I'm fine with that. but a male coworker insists on using he/she, ...