Proposal: Technical Communication

According to the official post on Meta, Documentation is sunsetting.

Thus, is it possible and is it needed to return the original proposal name?

Most of the example questions are related to "written" and "monological" forms of technical communication — i. e. to documentation.

up vote 4 down vote accepted

I am smelling more vagueness because, Writers Stack Exchange community are willing to change their site name from 'Writers' to 'Writing'. They already claims this:

We're about the product and the processes to get there, not personal identity. We want novels, poets, and essayists, and we also want scientists (who write papers), marketers (who write, e.g., brochures), software developers (who write technical documents), etc too. By and large we aren't getting those people.

Therefore, if 'Technical Communication' is to be serving purpose of 'Technical Documentation' or even the part of it, then it might conflict with this site.

Therefore, as I mentioned here as well, it is high time that a concrete, clear and concise scope of this site is clarified before it adds more confusions and hassles.

  • Both the site name and the description are locked in and cannot be changed (at least by me). The "Definition" phase is over. I don't see this site as overlapping too much with "Writers." We discussed this at length here. – David Vogel Sep 29 '17 at 22:29

I don't believe so. The original change came about from a potential branding collision with another Stack Exchange product — but upon further reflection and discussion, it was decided that "Technical Communication" better captured the broader expert/professional/academic audience for which this site is targeted. "Technical Communication" is a well established area of study. Without it, the folks who have been asking for sites like "computer-based training" (for example) are going to overlook this site because "I didn't know that's what you meant by Documentation."

Keep in mind that the expanded focus into "Technical Communications" kept this proposal from potentially being closed as a duplicate of "Writers SE" — it was a close call.

There's also the issue of Commitment. A lot of users have already signed up for this site. Once folks have committed to the scope we outlined here, we are not generally comfortable changing out from under them what they signed up for explicitly. I understand we're not exactly changing black to white, but looking at the number of users who have already committed to this subject, we would have at least give further consideration to folks who may have signed up for Technical Communications outside of something we are essentially narrowing down to simply "Documentation".

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    The name change also narrowed scope in another dimension -- not all documentation is technical. People use computer-based training for all sorts of things these days (e.g. Duolingo); is that meant to be included here? – Monica Cellio Aug 15 '17 at 18:02
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    @MonicaCellio "Technical Communications" does not mean only writing about technical topics (Society of Technical Communications) – Robert Cartaino Aug 16 '17 at 0:36
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    @MonicaCellio I had wanted to ask the same question, being disappointed with the loss of Documentation when it happened. I didn't ask because I suspected that Commitment phase had "locked" it in anyway. What I'm hoping to do is help with the on-topic development as the site grows, once launched. CBT and non-technical issues are at the top of my list to watch for. As I've previously mentioned the documentation for the assembling a baby crib or a desk is decidedly not technical, in the common sense, though a couple millennia in the past the screwdriver might have been advanced tech. – Gypsy Spellweaver Aug 17 '17 at 3:03
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    I don't know if this is a good idea or not, or if it would be too 'scope-breaking', but: Would it be possible to expand the name, back to something like Documentation and Technical Communication? – hBy2Py Aug 22 '17 at 2:03

Technical Communication is much more than documentation. Changing the name to documentation will reduce the scope drastically.

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    And on the flip side, documentation is much more than technical topics. "Technical Communication" does not imply to me, and I suspect to most people despite the STC's counter-intuitive scope statement if anybody reads those, that questions about writing instructions for assembling furniture would be welcome here. (Fortunately, all questions about writing documentation, whether for bookcases or for neural networks, are on-topic on Writers.) – Monica Cellio Sep 3 '17 at 19:30
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    I understand where you are coming from, however, since Writers covers most non-technical documentation topics, we need something that focuses on technical ones, and not just documentation but communication as a whole. Technical communication, specifically on the software site would also include user assistance techniques, UX writing, and to an extent curriculum beside documentation. It also covers publishing and documentation engineering methodologies and so on. It is a really broad topic and needs a separate forum. – Sejal Parikh Sep 5 '17 at 19:49
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    I'm not disputing that "communication" is broader than "documentation". I'm just saying that the "technical" in the site name is going to make people think it's only for computer, scientific, etc communication, and not broader instructional topics. With the current name I think you're going to get "stuff that's already on-topic on Writers" + "stuff that's already on-topic on UX" + curriculum design for software products. The sample questions don't show much of what the answers here say this proposal is about. – Monica Cellio Sep 5 '17 at 20:01

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