Proposal: Technical Communication
NOTE: The site name has changed from "Documentation" to "Technical Communication"
I'd like for people to discuss the site description here.
Edit: Already implemented this change:
Documentation: Proposed Q&A site for information developers, technical communicators, writers, programmers, engineers, and others interested or engaged in documentation.
Edit2 (site name changed from "Documentation" to "Technical Communication"):
Since the name of the site has changed, there have been a variety of proposals for changing the description. Here's what I've come up with:
Proposed Q&A site for technical writers, content developers, engineers, scientists, and other professionals involved in the process of creating assets for documentation, education, and presentations of technical subjects.
Edit3 (3/19/17): After waiting for feedback/votes, I have decided to implement the above description.
Documentation is the best of all the not-quite-right options.
I like "Tech Writing," personally, because I think of myself as a "Technical Writer," not a "Documentation Writer" (or "Documentarian" - yikes). But lots of technical communication is not primarily written.
There are two problems I see with "Technical Communication":
There really needs to be an SE community/site focused on the (many, many) problems and issues of documentation. This include writing (style, grammar, structure), tooling (authoring, editing, publishing), and process ("DocOps"). Calling it "documentation" is the best way to communicate that this is the primary focus.
Just a few thoughts, which (after writing them) feel a bit like I'm bikeshedding...
information developers, technical communicators, writers, programmers, engineers, and others
I know a lot of people who write docs for a living. Most of them go by the title "Technical Writers." I don't know any of them who call themselves "information developers." Many are "technical communicators" on their resume but "technical writers" in person.
Also, because of where I live and my resume/background, I get several calls a day from recruiters trying to find people to write docs. 99/100 of these call the job "Technical Writer."
My opinion is that "technical writers" should be the first thing on this list. At the very least "writer" should not be orphaned without the modifier "technical" in front of it ("tech writer" is a thing in particular, and novelists are not likely interested in this SE).
If I had written the description, it would be:
Documentation: Proposed Q&A site about authoring, editing, developing, and publishing technical documentation. This site is for technical writers and related professionals.
NOTE: At the time I'm writing this answer, the site description is currently:
Proposed Q&A site for information developers, technical writers, programmers, and engineers engaged in documentation.
As an outgrowth of discussion in the comment thread here, I propose to revise it to something like (additions emphasized, deletions struck out):
Proposed Q&A site for information developers, technical writers, programmers, scientists and engineers
engaged incomposing content for information-dense media such as documentation, presentations, white papers, reports, books, and journal articles.
I feel that the title of "Documentation" is perfect. It is succsinct and descriptive. It is more inclusive than anything with "writer" in it could ever be.
The description of the site seems well formated and inclusive, including the programmers and engineers (the creators of that which needs documentation). To avoid the trap of thinking that documentation is only written, the description could be slightly modified to:
Documentation: Proposed Q&A site for information developers, technical communicators, writers, programmers, engineers, and others interested or engaged in documentation, in any format.
For the site to succeed it will need to attract a body of experienced people to provide answers to questions, and questions that will interest those experts, and entice them to spend time sharing their knowledge and experience. While the technical aspects of writing might be better dealt with in the Writers SE space, or even the English Languague and Usage SE space, this site will also have to deal with that, especially as it is often applied differently for documentation than for literature and reports.
The site name and description needs to suggest to potential experts, and querants, that this is the place to spend their time and energy. As insight into the importance of the questions, I recommend the SO blog post about Optimizing For Pearls, Not Sand.
With the name change to Technical Communication, the site will need some changes to the site description. After stewing over it for a while, this is my contribution to the possible new version.
Proposed Q&A site for Technical Communicators and information developers, illustrators and editors, including scientists, engineers, researchers, software developers, and others who prepare content for reports, white papers, presentations, drawings, illustrations, instruction manuals, how-to guides, journal articles, specifications, grant proposals, and other supporting documents to communicate complex and technical information more easily.
I realize it is very wordy, and I'm sure there are better minds than mine that can condense that into something useful. I've already trimmed it as far as my skills will take it.
Note: About half of that is based on the entry for Technical Writers in the U.S. Dept. of Labor, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Occupational Outlook Handbook.
Oh, I don't know...What about "TechDocs"? I'm no good at coming up with names. I like the thought of something catchy, though.
I suggest a new name for the group: Information Architecture
"Documentation" is very specific and is quite limited in scope, because it seems to be related to writing. I suggest to open the scope and simply name it "Information Architecture". So a "Documentation" is a result of an "Information Architecture".
Not sure whether it's ironic or hilarious, but the answer to "What should we name it" has been in your description the whole time- Technical Documentation**.
Simply calling it documentation is workable, unless of course you consider that I could be some conservationist who's working on documenting the mating habits of the Cuculidae (Cuckoo bird). How are you going to react to me asking about long & short outlines or how best to keep readers enticed by my documented findings? Personally I'm sure there would be ignorant criticisms and plenty of down-votes, but eventually someone would kindly explain to me that "this site is for documenting "technical stuff". At which point I would likely reply with "well why didn't you call it technical Documentation then?". "Where do I go now?"
I suppose I could submit a new documentation site idea, but I'd likely be told that a site called Documentation already exists. Afterwards I get upset and frustrated and yadda yadda you get the idea. Just be cognizant that documenting and documentation are not byproducts of the technical world, they apply to many things. If your intention is to have technical people discussing "Technical Documentation", then your site name needs to reflect your intent. Just my two cents, before taxes.
Daniel Anderson suggested the name "TechDocs", which isn't a bad idea in the least bit, yet I see he'd received two down votes- Why? Normally I can find the answer in the comment associated with the down-vote, but there are no comments. The point I'd like to make here (since this is a documentation site) is those who down-vote someone's question or comment without providing a logical argument to the contrary, are of no use to the community.
Similar to my last point, Stefan Eike suggested Information Architecture , and like Daniel Anderson's suggestion it was pretty good, yet it too received down-votes (which it shouldn't have). Fortunately a reason was provided this time. Unfortunately that reason is based on ignorance.
(A) Saying "'Documentation" is not an instance of "Information Architecture'" is like saying 'building a car is not an instance of Mechanical Engineering' or 'building spaceships is not an instance of space travel'.
(B) Justifying a statement by providing a link to Wikipedia is about as intelligent as holding up a tabloid and saying "see everyone... it's written right here in Purple crayon!" Wikipedia is opensource content with almost no editing restrictions. Any individual, knowledgeable or ignorant, can write anything they wish in that domain space.
I wrote a quick, yet adequate explanation of Information Architecture the other day. Here's a link for anyone interested: https://ux.stackexchange.com/a/104148/22680