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Top 50 Technical Writers on the Web

I’ve made a list of the top 50 technical writers with a web presence. Some of these you might know, such as Darren Barefoot and Tom Johnson. I have also added some other writers from India, Russia and Israel to reach out to a wider audience. I’m sure there are others that I’ve missed. Let me know and I’ll update the list.

This week’s new additions include Alan Houser, Char James-Tanny, Cheryl Locket-Zubak , Colum McAndrew, Joe Welinske, Michael Hughes, and Paul Mueller.


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Update:

Thanks to everyone who sent in other technical writers that I overlooked. I’ve now added:

Geoffrey Sauer, Addison Berry, Jean Hollis Weber, Jim Campbell, Sarah O’Keefe, Shaun McCance, Shira Stepansky, Svi Ben Elya and Scott Able

Back to the list…

Top 50 Technical Writers

In alphabetical order, here is the list.

1.  Aaron Davis and Scott Nesbitt http://www.dmncommunications.com

2.  Amanda Abelove http://www.abelove.com

3.  Amy Gahran http://contentious.com

4.  Andrew Brooke http://techwriters-world.blogspot.com

5.  Andy Schaub www.andyschaub.wordpress.com

6.  Aneesha Myles Shewani www.linkedin.com

7.  Anindita Basu http://writing-technical.blogspot.com

8.  Anne Gentle http://www.justwriteclick.com

9.  Apoorv Durga http://www.apoorv.info

10.Arden Gatlin www.liveperson.com

11.Avi Aharon: GUI Yourself http://gui-yourself.blogspot.com

12.Barbara Stuhlemmer http://techwriterblogs.com/doku.php

13.Berkun blog http://www.scottberkun.com/blog

14.Bill Albing http://www.keycontent.org

15.Bobbie Jo Morrell www.morrellimage.com

16.Bokardo.com http://bokardo.com

17.Chris Borokowski www.user-advocacy.blogspot.com

18.Dan Mabee http://managetechpubs.wordpress.com

19.Darren Barefoot http://www.darrenbarefoot.com

20.David Farbey http://www.farbey.co.uk (updated url)

21.Dawn L. Brown www.dawnsdesktop.com

22.Dr. Macro http://drmacros-xml-rants.blogspot.com

23.Edward W. Dodds http://edodds.blogs.com/conmergence

24.FastForward http://www.fastforwardblog.com

25.Gordon McLean www.onemanwrites.co.uk

26.Heather Leigh :http://blog.CrazyforWords.com

27.Ivan Walsh, Ireland www.ivanwalsh.com

28.Janet Swisher http://www.janetswisher.com

29.KJ Maas www.kjmaas.com

30.Laura Shaffer Mills www.redwriteblue.com

31.Liz Carver http://www.is-people.org

32.Mark Glinsky www.markglinsky.com

33.Mark Watson www.markwatson.com

34.Matt Anderson http://www.montagecomms.com

35.Mike Brannon www.mikeabrannon.com

36.Mike Unwalla http://www.techscribe.co.uk

37.Paul Pehrson http://blog.paulpehrson.com

38.Paul Stamatiou http://paulstamatiou.com

39.Prakash Rangarajan http://www.cloudtrance.com

40.Robert Wisbey http://www.robertwisbey.com/main.html

41.Robert B. Stepno www.stepno.com/bobres.html

42.Sarah Maddox http://ffeathers.wordpress.com

43.Seth Gottlieb http://www.contenthere.blogspot.com

44.Steve Borsch http://borsch.typepad.com

45.Steven Jong http://stevenjong.net/WordPress

46.Suresh Digital Dreams http://www.techpings.com

47.Susanne Dyrhage www.proz.com/profile/72014

48.Tim McGuinness www.timmcguinness.com

49.Tom Coates http://www.plasticbag.org

50.Tom Johnson www.idratherbewriting.com

New Additions

51. Geoffrey Sauer, EServer Technical Communication Library

Geoffrey Sauer, for his EServer Technical Communication Library at http://tc.eserver.org. Tom Johnson reckons that this is the most popular technical communications site in the world (http://www.idratherbewriting.com/2008/12/02/tceserverorg-the-most-popular-technical-communication-website-in-the-world/

Its readership data at http://tc.eserver.org/about/recent.lasso, shows that it serves 167,000 hits to over 22,700 visitors per day.

52. Addison Berry, Drupal documentation lead: http://rocktreesky.com

53. Jean Hollis Weber, documentation co-lead for OpenOffice.org: http://www.jeanweber.com

54. Jim Campbell, documentation lead for xfce desktop environment: http://j1m.net

55. Sarah O’Keefe, Scriptorium

President of Scriptorium Publishing, setup in 1996 to provide editing and production services to technical writing departments. In 2002, Sarah received her Certified Technical Trainer (CTT+) accreditation from CompTIA. Her presentations at international, national, and regional conferences (including STC, tekom, and WritersUA) have consistently earned high ratings. http://www.scriptorium.com/about/people/sarah-okeefe

56. Shaun McCance, Gnome documentation lead: http://blogs.gnome.org/shaunm

57. Esther Shira Stepansky – Technical writer, Web Site Administrator (Webmaster), and content contributor to http://elephant.org.il.

58. Svi Ben Elya – Founder of Elephant.org.il in Israel http://elephant.org.il

59. Scott Able – The Content Wrangler

“Content management strategist and social media choreographer with strengths in helping organizations improve the way they author, maintain, publish and archive their information assets.”  http://thecontentwrangler.com/about-2/

Update Nov 19th

This week’s updates take up to 66, the year I was born, so that can’t be so bad.

60. Alan Houser – http://www.groupwellesley.com & http://www.linkedin.com/pub/dir/alan/houser

61. Char James-Tanny – www.helpstuff.com & http://www.linkedin.com/in/charjt

62. Cheryl Locket-Zubak  –www.workwrite.com and www.linkedin.com/in/workwrit

63. Colum McAndrew, The RoboColum(n) blog at http://notcolin.wordpress.com

64. Joe Welinske – President of WritersUA www.writersua.com/jwbio.htm

65. Michael Hughes –user-assistance.blogspot.com

66. Paul Mueller – www.useraid.com

Honorable Mention

I’ve also added these three sites as, while they are a great resource. I’m not sure who the editor is. Of maybe there are several people involved. If you know, please tell me and I’ll update.

1.  Svi Ben-Elya and the Elephant organization http://www.elephant.org.il (Thanks Svi!)

2.  DMN http://www.dmncommunications.com/weblog (Aaron Davis and Scott Nesbitt)

3.  Le Blog d’Habib http://elhabib.fakir.free.fr (still trying to find out)

Where did this list come from?

I was preparing a report on freelance technical writers and noticed how hard it was to find technical writing sites run by writers, most were recruitment site.

So, I dug a little deeper and began to find writers here and there. There is nothing scientific in this list. It’s based purely on the websites that came up on Google, Bing and Yahoo.

Other technical writers who may not have websites, such as those involved in the STC, didn’t make the cut. Nothing personal here it’s just that I have no visibility on their contribution to the tech docs industry so it’s hard to gauge their impact.

Add Me!

Let me know who I missed – maybe you should be here – with maybe a few words about your/their role.

I’ll update this list and, fingers crossed, we’ll get it up to 100!

74 thoughts on “Top 50 Technical Writers on the Web

  1. FYI: the blog DMN http://www.dmncommunications.com/weblog is run by Aaron Davis and Scott Nesbitt (the two guys who are first in your alphabetical list).

  2. FYI: the blog DMN http://www.dmncommunications.com/weblog is run by Aaron Davis and Scott Nesbitt (the two guys who are first in your alphabetical list).

  3. […] by admin as general, news Ivan Walsh put together that list. And talk about major ego feed: we’re at the top! OK, that’s only because the list is […]

  4. You might want to check out the AllTop list too: http://tech-writing.alltop.com/

    While you have some in common with the AllTop list, there are several other great sites that are missing from your list.

    And also take a look at the list of technical writer blogs Tom Johnson put together at http://techwriterblogs.com/doku.php

  5. Thanks for doing this research, Ivan, and thanks for including me on your list. There are lots of familiar names here – several people I have met at conferences, several more I have “met” online, and quite a few whose names are new to me – which is great, as I am always pleased to meet new people in our profession.

  6. You might want to check out the AllTop list too: http://tech-writing.alltop.com/

    While you have some in common with the AllTop list, there are several other great sites that are missing from your list.

    And also take a look at the list of technical writer blogs Tom Johnson put together at http://techwriterblogs.com/doku.php

  7. Thanks for doing this research, Ivan, and thanks for including me on your list. There are lots of familiar names here – several people I have met at conferences, several more I have “met” online, and quite a few whose names are new to me – which is great, as I am always pleased to meet new people in our profession.

  8. You might do a search in LinkedIn.com and check whether a given writer's portfolio is also found on the Web.

  9. You might do a search in LinkedIn.com and check whether a given writer's portfolio is also found on the Web.

  10. […] This site lists who they’ve identified as the top 50 technical writers on the web, which I stumbled upon via a link from Scott Nesbitt’s blog.  While this list will certainly provide me with additional documentation resources, I notice a dearth of open-source documentation names in that list.  No Shaun McCance, no Emma Jane Hogbin, no Matthew East, and certainly no one with a name as cool as Milo Casagrande. […]

  11. Thanks for including me on your list!

    Jim Campbell pointed out the lack of open source tech writers on the list. Of course, one reason is that those folks usually do many other things besides documentation, so their blogs don't have the same focus as those of commercial tech writers. However, a few that I know of that seem appropriate to add:

    <ul>
    <li>Jean Hollis Weber, documentation co-lead for OpenOffice.org: http://www.jeanweber.com/</li>
    <li>Shaun McCance, Gnome documentation lead: http://blogs.gnome.org/shaunm/</li>
    <li>Addison Berry, Drupal documentation lead: http://rocktreesky.com/</li>
    <li>Jim Campbell, documentation lead for xfce desktop environment: http://j1m.net/</li>
    </ul>

  12. Thanks David,

    I'm going to update this list as we've had a few more suggestions.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  13. Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for pointing this out. I added them to my RSS list of feeds as well.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  14. Hi Paul,

    That's a good idea. I tend to overlook Linkedin these days (not sure why, tbh) but I'll follow up on this

    Regards,

    Ivan

  15. Thanks for including me on your list!

    Jim Campbell pointed out the lack of open source tech writers on the list. Of course, one reason is that those folks usually do many other things besides documentation, so their blogs don't have the same focus as those of commercial tech writers. However, a few that I know of that seem appropriate to add:

    <ul>
    <li>Jean Hollis Weber, documentation co-lead for OpenOffice.org: http://www.jeanweber.com/</li>
    <li>Shaun McCance, Gnome documentation lead: http://blogs.gnome.org/shaunm/</li>
    <li>Addison Berry, Drupal documentation lead: http://rocktreesky.com/</li>
    <li>Jim Campbell, documentation lead for xfce desktop environment: http://j1m.net/</li>
    </ul>

  16. Thanks Janet,

    This is really great. I'll update this list with these writers.

    Maybe I'll do a few 'pen portraits' as well as there seems quite a bit of interest on how other writers work.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  17. Thanks David,

    I'm going to update this list as we've had a few more suggestions.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  18. Hi Andrea,

    Thanks for pointing this out. I added them to my RSS list of feeds as well.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  19. Hi Paul,

    That's a good idea. I tend to overlook Linkedin these days (not sure why, tbh) but I'll follow up on this

    Regards,

    Ivan

  20. Thanks Janet,

    This is really great. I'll update this list with these writers.

    Maybe I'll do a few 'pen portraits' as well as there seems quite a bit of interest on how other writers work.

    Regards,

    Ivan

  21. Ivan,
    Thanks so much for mentioning Elephant.org.il. We are the professional society for technical and marketing writers in Israel. The organization's founder is Svi Ben Elya, who is still involved and runs our salary surveys, but many technical writers contribute to the various blogs and articles on our site. Each article displays the author's name and photo at the top of each article.

    I am the web site administrator, but many of our writers have been writing for the site for years, so I certainly cannot take credit for the breadth of the content on our site.

    I do not have anything to do with the salary surveys other than being a participant. By the way, right now is a perfect time to start participating, since our current reporting period ends tomorrow. Its free to participate, but you do have to register to the site. You can email me if you have any questions or need help with registering.

    Shira Stepansky
    shira@elephant.org.il
    http://elephant.org.il/
    Selected by The Daily Reviewer as one of the Top 100 technical writing Blogs:
    http://thedailyreviewer.com/top/technical-writi

  22. Ivan,
    Thanks so much for mentioning Elephant.org.il. We are the professional society for technical and marketing writers in Israel. The organization's founder is Svi Ben Elya, who is still involved and runs our salary surveys, but many technical writers contribute to the various blogs and articles on our site. Each article displays the author's name and photo at the top of each article.

    I am the web site administrator, but many of our writers have been writing for the site for years, so I certainly cannot take credit for the breadth of the content on our site.

    I do not have anything to do with the salary surveys other than being a participant. By the way, right now is a perfect time to start participating, since our current reporting period ends tomorrow. Its free to participate, but you do have to register to the site. You can email me if you have any questions or need help with registering.

    Shira Stepansky
    shira@elephant.org.il
    http://elephant.org.il/
    Selected by The Daily Reviewer as one of the Top 100 technical writing Blogs:
    http://thedailyreviewer.com/top/technical-writi

  23. What about Scott Abel at http://thecontentwrangler.com/ – he has a wonderful presence on LinkedIn.

  24. What about Scott Abel at http://thecontentwrangler.com/ – he has a wonderful presence on LinkedIn.

  25. […] the topics on Alltop and I’m sure you’ll find something. Ivan Walsh has also compiled a list of 50 blogs to follow; it includes international […]

  26. Thanks Rhonda,

    Got it. Will add them all this afternoon.

    Ivan

  27. Thanks Rhonda,

    Got it. Will add them all this afternoon.

    Ivan

  28. Cough,cough, hint, hint

  29. Hi Ellis,

    Your cough has been acknowledged…

    Ivan

    PS – gt stuff on your site recently.

    Please let me know if I can provide any more assistance.

    Regards,

    Ivan Walsh
    Director, Klariti Ltd

    Email: ivan@klariti.com

    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ivanwalsh
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ivanwalsh
    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanwalsh
    Ivan: http://www.ivanwalsh.com
    Web: http://www.klariti.com

    ________________________________

  30. Cough,cough, hint, hint

  31. Hi Ellis,

    Your cough has been acknowledged…

    Ivan

    PS – gt stuff on your site recently.

    Please let me know if I can provide any more assistance.

    Regards,

    Ivan Walsh
    Director, Klariti Ltd

    Email: ivan@klariti.com

    Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/ivanwalsh
    Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/ivanwalsh
    Flickr: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanwalsh
    Ivan: http://www.ivanwalsh.com
    Web: http://www.klariti.com

    ________________________________

  32. […] admin as Open Source, technical communication A while back, Ivan Walsh put together a list of the top 50 tech writers on the Web. That list was an interesting mix of people we’d heard of and […]

  33. […] about the Top Open Source technical writers on the Web. This was in response to Ivan Walsh’s Top 50 Technical Writers on the Web, which had a notable lack of any open source technical writers. Karsten Wade—someone I respect […]

  34. Your cough has been acknowledged!

    🙂

  35. Your cough has been acknowledged!

    🙂

  36. So you've identified the Top 50 “most visible” technical writers on the Web because you found writers with their own web sites. I think you can understand what a small subset of all technical writers you have examined. And your list has nothing to do with who are the most able technical writers out there.

  37. So you've identified the Top 50 “most visible” technical writers on the Web because you found writers with their own web sites. I think you can understand what a small subset of all technical writers you have examined. And your list has nothing to do with who are the most able technical writers out there. Actually, I've noticed that some of the most vocal TW bloggers are relatively inexperienced TWs. For instance, I found it amazing that some TWs were fascinated about producing graphics with little or no embedded text, to facilitate internationalization of that graphic. But this is not at all a new idea. The idea of building FrameMaker templates from reusable template pieces (for instance, to correspond to a structured markup scheme) is also not new. The idea of presenting in a table the yes/no properties data about a list of items is not new. The idea of using Simplified English to reduce editorial workload and to facilitate internationalization of text is not new. Etc.

  38. Sadly, the above list is damaged by personal interests. You've allowed people top push their agenda and ignored dozens of people who have been major forces in the technical writing world in favor of people who managed to find this site and comment. A few blaring misses:

    Bill Swallow and Char James-Tanny – former and current list owners of HATT (help authoring tools and techniques list) of about 6,000 people.

    You fell for the “We are the professional society for technical and marketing writers in Israel” and ignored the real, predominant organizations in Israel that have many more members and a much longer history. Techshoret is THE technical writing list of Israel – has been for the last 15 years or so…it has 1,900+ list members (not the 50 or so on elephant). You've ignored STC-Israel, which at its height had 3 times the number in elephant and currently has at least as many if not double.

    What this list is – is a good place for people to sign up and be listed among technical writers – but it is wrong to call this “Top 50 Technical Writers” because, quite simply, you're are accepting people saying they are the top or belong…when something under this title would require real research.

    I've been in the industry for 15+ years (currently an Adobe Community Expert, list owner of Techshoret, moderator for HATT for about 7 years, member of several international lists, CEO of major tech. writing company, one of the first RoboHelp MVPs – David Knopf (also not listed) and Char were the first and second, I was the third named) and wouldn't have the nerve to ask you to list me among the top 50.

    Where is Rick Stone? Peter Grainge?
    Where is David Liske? Mark Levinson of Israel who DOES deserve the honor as opposed to those who have taken the opportunity to list themselves here and ignore the real stars here in Israel and abroad.

    Please – this is a great list – but don't ruin it by calling it “Top 50” unless you are going to do the research and really rate the stars.

  39. Hi Paula,
    You’ve raised some good points here.
    I’ll try to cover it in a longer post.
    Regarding personal interest, well, there are none. I said that this list is not scientific in any way – just my 2 cents.
    I have a question for you, though…
    How would you identify, evaluate, rate, and publish your list of the 50 best?
    In anything.
    50 best movies?
    50 best soccer players?
    50 best cities?
    You seem to know more about this than I do.
    How would you do it?
    Regards,
    Ivan

  40. For each category, there should be a rating system, a tracking system, a value system. The 50 best soccer players might be rated by how many goals they made or how many they prevented, how many times they were recognized as best player or whatever that world allows.

    50 best cities would be hard because that is a matter of opinion so again, you'd need a rating system – lowest crime rates, most schools, most green areas, whatever.

    50 best movies – harder still – money they brought in? Your list, your value system. I just wouldn't allow people who have an interest (I didn't mean your interests, I meant theirs), to write in. Certainly, I would question listing someone whose name you have never heard or seen on a list, of which there are plenty.

    How would I go about it? I'd probably “haunt” major tech. writing lists and pick a few people and then say – help me pick the top 50. I might ask for nominations (off-line) and evaluate them.

    Before I'd list someone…if I was calling this the “TOP” whatever, I'd have a rating system in place. How long have these people been technical writers…and I mean working ones, not unemployed technical writers looking for work.

    Add some objectivity – get the experts you know to help. Char is an amazing asset to the industry. She created and maintains the HAT-Matrix site…David Knopf, as I mentioned – another long time writer who has been helpful on many lists.

    Bill Swallow – creator, founder, amazing asset to our community. All three are currently “freelancers”.

    In Israel alone, you have missed every single top technical writer in the company in favor of the ones who contacted you. David Farbey is great – so is Peter, also of the UK.

    Without meaning to harp on this – the problem lies in the attempt versus results. You attempted to name the top 50 technical writers…without defining how you would go about picking them. I more accurate way would have been to post to as many lists as possible, asking people to nominate their top 10 and explain why. Then you correlate the results.

    If you see, for example, that Char, Dave Liske, Bill Swallow, Ron Miller, etc. etc. appear 50 times while many of the people you have above don't appear or appear once (at their own recommendations, likely), you rank accordingly.

    The posts loses all meaning if you rank some of the people on the list that I see there. They may be nice people…but one of the top 50 technical writers in the world? Have they published a single book on the subject? Are they regularly seen providing answers to questions on lists?

    How would I do it – with a lot more evaluation, a lot more research, a lot more questions, and a preset list of criteria.

  41. Shira, we've had this debate on several forums and still you persist in trying to portray elephant as “the professional society for” whatever in Israel. This is an absurd claim, biased, and inaccurate.

    There are several professional organizations/societies in Israel – most larger and at least as active as elephant. To call yourself “the” anything negates much of what you attempt to do and say.

    Techshoret (http://www.techshoret.com) is a list that has been in place many many years longer and has at least 10 times the number of people (actually closer to 20, is my guess). Techshoret runs the only national conference for technical writers in Israel (this year will be our 4th annual, which followed similar conferences that I and others organized in the past).

    The survey you quote is free to participate (who charges anyone to take part in a survey?), but not free to view the results unless you agree to divulge a lot of personal information (it is not anonymous – you have to tell Svi who much you earn and quite a bit of personal information, etc. etc.). If you don't participate, you can't get the results for free (as opposed to the Techshoret site, which does regularly, free, anonymous surveys and makes them available to everyone.

    STC-Israel has been a long time participant in the technical writing community, although yes, for the last few years, they have been much less active.

    I have never understood the need to put down or ignore other organizations in an attempt to promote your own.

  42. Sadly, the above list is damaged by personal interests. You've allowed people to push their agenda and ignored dozens of people who have been major forces in the technical writing world in favor of people who managed to find this site and comment. A few blaring misses:

    Bill Swallow and Char James-Tanny – former and current list owners of HATT (help authoring tools and techniques list) of about 6,000 people.

    You fell for the “We are the professional society for technical and marketing writers in Israel” and ignored the real, predominant organizations in Israel that have many more members and a much longer history. Techshoret is THE technical writing list of Israel – has been for the last 15 years or so…it has 1,900+ list members (not the 50 or so on elephant). You've ignored STC-Israel, which at its height had 3 times the number in elephant and currently has at least as many if not double.

    What this list is – is a good place for people to sign up and be listed among technical writers – but it is wrong to call this “Top 50 Technical Writers” because, quite simply, you are accepting people saying they are the top or belong…when something under this title would require real research. What have these people done to deserve such high ranking in a field of tens of thousands of people?

    What of Joann Hackos? What of others who have given valuable contributions but didn't happen to catch your blog post or aren't good at SEO?

    I've been in the industry for 15+ years (currently an Adobe Community Expert, list owner of Techshoret, moderator for HATT for about 7 years, member of several international lists, CEO of major tech. writing company, one of the first RoboHelp MVPs – David Knopf (also not listed) and Char were the first and second, I was the third named) and wouldn't have the nerve to ask you to list me among the top 50.

    Where is Rick Stone? Peter Grainge?
    Where is David Liske? Mark Levinson of Israel who DOES deserve the honor as opposed to those who have taken the opportunity to list themselves here and ignore the real stars here in Israel and abroad.

    Please – this is a great list – but don't ruin it by calling it “Top 50” unless you are going to do the research and really rate the stars.

  43. Hi Paula,

    You’ve raised some good points here.

    I’ll try to cover it in a longer post.

    Regarding personal interest, well, there are none. I said that this list is not scientific in any way – just my 2 cents.

    I have a question for you, though…

    How would you identify, evaluate, rate, and publish your list of the 50 best?

    In anything.

    50 best movies?

    50 best soccer players?

    50 best cities?

    You seem to know more about this than I do.

    How would you do it?

    Regards,

    Ivan

  44. For each category, there should be a rating system, a tracking system, a value system. The 50 best soccer players might be rated by how many goals they made or how many they prevented, how many times they were recognized as best player or whatever that world allows.

    50 best cities would be hard because that is a matter of opinion so again, you'd need a rating system – lowest crime rates, most schools, most green areas, whatever.

    50 best movies – harder still – money they brought in? Your list, your value system. I just wouldn't allow people who have an interest (I didn't mean your interests, I meant theirs), to write in. Certainly, I would question listing someone whose name you have never heard or seen on a list, of which there are plenty.

    How would I go about it? I'd probably “haunt” major tech. writing lists and pick a few people and then say – help me pick the top 50. I might ask for nominations (off-line) and evaluate them.

    Before I'd list someone…if I was calling this the “TOP” whatever, I'd have a rating system in place. How long have these people been technical writers…and I mean working ones, not unemployed technical writers looking for work.

    Add some objectivity – get the experts you know to help. Char is an amazing asset to the industry. She created and maintains the HAT-Matrix site…David Knopf, as I mentioned – another long time writer who has been helpful on many lists.

    Bill Swallow – creator, founder, amazing asset to our community. All three are currently “freelancers”.

    In Israel alone, you have missed every single top technical writer in the country in favor of the ones who contacted you. David Farbey is great – so is Peter, also of the UK.

    Without meaning to harp on this – the problem lies in the attempt versus results. You attempted to name the top 50 technical writers…without defining how you would go about picking them. A more accurate way would have been to post to as many lists as possible, asking people to nominate their top 10 and explain why. Then you correlate the results.

    If you see, for example, that Char, Dave Liske, Bill Swallow, Ron Miller, etc. etc. appear 50 times while many of the people you have above don't appear or appear once (at their own recommendations, likely), you rank accordingly.

    The posts loses all meaning if you rank some of the people on the list that I see there. They may be nice people…but one of the top 50 technical writers in the world? Have they published a single book on the subject? Are they regularly seen providing answers to questions on lists?

    How would I do it – with a lot more evaluation, a lot more research, a lot more questions, and a preset list of criteria.

  45. Shira, we've had this debate on several forums and still you persist in trying to portray elephant as “the professional society for” whatever in Israel. This is an absurd claim, biased, and inaccurate.

    There are several professional organizations/societies in Israel – most larger and at least as active as elephant. To call yourself “the” anything negates much of what you attempt to do and say.

    Techshoret (http://www.techshoret.com) is a list that has been in place many many years longer and has at least 10 times the number of people (actually closer to 20, is my guess). Techshoret runs the only national conference for technical writers in Israel (this year will be our 4th annual, which followed similar conferences that I and others organized in the past).

    The survey you quote is free to participate (who charges anyone to take part in a survey?), but not free to view the results unless you agree to divulge a lot of personal information (it is not anonymous – you have to tell Svi who much you earn and quite a bit of personal information, etc. etc.). If you don't participate, you can't get the results for free (as opposed to the Techshoret site, which does regularly, free, anonymous surveys and makes them available to everyone.

    STC-Israel has been a long time participant in the technical writing community, although yes, for the last few years, they have been much less active.

    I have never understood the need to put down or ignore other organizations in an attempt to promote your own.

  46. Ivan:

    Thanks for adding me to your list. I find it flattering, although, myself and a dozen or so of the people on this list (and several that some commenters thought should be included, but weren't) don't even do much technical writing any more. And, we're not going to. We're consultants, strategists, advisors, teachers, trainers, and more. Content is what we care about, technical content, or otherwise. The practices we mastered in the techcomm field are equally valuable outside of techcomm.

    That said, you did a great job at identifying folks on the web associated with technical writing. Please ignore the folks who just can't help but nitpick your efforts (they'll likely be the ones without jobs in the future, anyway). These folks don't get it — it's not about tech writing. No one cares about tech writing. They care about service, about finding answers to problems, and about positive experiences. The organizations we work for care about profit, revenue, expenses, return on investment, and shareholder value. Many techcommers are starting to realize this, including some of the ones on your list.

    So, rejoice! You are helping to help others get noticed on the web and you're creating content that someone may find useful, regardless of whether everyone does or not. Good job! This is what the web is all about.

    Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler
    +1 (760) 550-9321 scottabel@mac.com
    blog: http://www.thecontentwrangler.com
    community: http://thecontentwrangler.ning.com
    twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scottabel
    friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/thecontentwrangler
    facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scottpatrickabel
    businessweek: http://bx.businessweek.com/profile/scott-abel/s

    Intelligent Content 2010
    The Magic Behind Intelligent Content
    Feb. 25-26, 2010 * Palm Springs, CA
    http://www.intelligentcontent2010.com

  47. Ivan, I writer a quarterly column in Intercom magazine—I have those and many more articles online at: http://www.prospringstaffing.com/resources.php

    Regards,

    Jack

  48. Hello Jack,

    Thanks for pointing this out. Your article on Alternate Career Paths for Technical Communicators is very close to what I've been working on this week. You beat me to the punch!

    It’s a great read for technical writers looking for careers that compliment and/or allow them to move into other areas.

    Thinking of transitioning out of technical writing and into a related field? Read Jack Molisani's presentation on alternate career paths before making your move.

    http://www.prospringstaffing.com/Resource/Alter

    I’ll update the list tonight.

    Thanks again,

    Ivan

  49. Ivan:

    Thanks for adding me to your list. I find it flattering, although, myself and a dozen or so of the people on this list (and several that some commenters thought should be included, but weren't) don't even do much technical writing any more. And, we're not going to. We're consultants, strategists, advisors, teachers, trainers, and more. Content is what we care about, technical content, or otherwise. The practices we mastered in the techcomm field are equally valuable outside of techcomm.

    That said, you did a great job at identifying folks on the web associated with technical writing. Please ignore the folks who just can't help but nitpick your efforts (they'll likely be the ones without jobs in the future, anyway). These folks don't get it — it's not about tech writing. No one cares about tech writing. They care about service, about finding answers to problems, and about positive experiences. The organizations we work for care about profit, revenue, expenses, return on investment, and shareholder value. Many techcommers are starting to realize this, including some of the ones on your list.

    So, rejoice! You are helping to help others get noticed on the web and you're creating content that someone may find useful, regardless of whether everyone does or not. Good job! This is what the web is all about.

    Scott Abel, The Content Wrangler
    +1 (760) 550-9321 scottabel@mac.com
    blog: http://www.thecontentwrangler.com
    community: http://thecontentwrangler.ning.com
    twitter: http://www.twitter.com/scottabel
    friendfeed: http://friendfeed.com/thecontentwrangler
    facebook: http://www.facebook.com/scottpatrickabel
    businessweek: http://bx.businessweek.com/profile/scott-abel/s

    Intelligent Content 2010
    The Magic Behind Intelligent Content
    Feb. 25-26, 2010 * Palm Springs, CA
    http://www.intelligentcontent2010.com

  50. Ivan, I writer a quarterly column in Intercom magazine—I have those and many more articles online at: http://www.prospringstaffing.com/resources.php

    Regards,

    Jack

  51. CoolBiz, thanks!

    Jack Molisani
    ProSpring Technical Staffing
    http://www.prospringstaffing.com
    866-302-5774 x201

    Follow me on Twitter: Jack Molisani

  52. Hello Scott,

    First, can I thank you for taking the time to make these comments. I'm sure you're up to your eyes with work – so, it’s real encouraging.

    About no-one cares about technical writing.

    That was a shock to read. When I first read it, I blew me away.

    But I see what you're getting at. The technical writing world is fragmenting.

    1. Technical writers as Assembly Line workers

    These are staying as they are and see themselves as ‘technical writers’, mostly because this is their career, it’s what they trained in, and maybe they are re-signed to this. The window of opportunity is closed / or closing. I see this with people who send me in CVs. After 15 years writing or so of tech docs, its hard to see where else to go. Bit like the guys in the Shawshank Redemption. Not that bad, but y’know…

    2. Technical writers 2.0

    I know the 2.0 thing is a cliché but this is where they’re going. People like Tom Johnson are pushing the boat to see where this field takes us… wikis, rss, collaboration. Whatever. It’s the content that counts.
    No-one cares if it’s a user document or a release note.

    Does it fix the problem?

    Does it make my life easier?

    Does it answer my question?

    Chris Brogan is really clued into this. One sharp puppy.

    3. Technical writers as business people

    This is where people get up, stagger away from the safety of the cubicle, and setup a new business. They’ve cut their teeth in technical writing and now want to go up a gear.

    Jay Z is an example of this.

    Why pidgeon-hole yourself as a rapper. He morphs into the fashion industry. I bet there were endless trolls who wanted him to fail. But he pulled it off.

    And about the snipping. Thanks for the support. Some of the emails would leave you speechless. What’s wrong with these people?

    There’s a saying at home: “nothing hurts more than seeing your friends succeed.”
    Obviously, these are not my friends but some people will work very hard to pull you down.

    Such is life.

    Plato summed it up years ago. “Focus on those running ahead. Ignore those falling behind.”

    I may need to re-think the long-terms goals of the site (or change the slant) but that’s what we’re hear for.

    Thanks again, Scott.

    Regards,
    Ivan
    PS – your Linked profile is very smart. I’m sure it didn’t happen by accident. Guys like you raise the bar. Thx

  53. Glad to oblige. Jack.

  54. Hello Jack,

    Thanks for pointing this out. Your article on Alternate Career Paths for Technical Communicators is very close to what I've been working on this week. You beat me to the punch!

    It’s a great read for technical writers looking for careers that compliment and/or allow them to move into other areas.

    Thinking of transitioning out of technical writing and into a related field? Read Jack Molisani's presentation on alternate career paths before making your move.

    http://www.prospringstaffing.com/Resource/Alter

    I’ll update the list tonight.

    Thanks again,

    Ivan

  55. CoolBiz, thanks!

    Jack Molisani
    ProSpring Technical Staffing
    http://www.prospringstaffing.com
    866-302-5774 x201

    Follow me on Twitter: Jack Molisani

  56. Hello Scott,

    First, can I thank you for taking the time to make these comments. I'm sure you're up to your eyes with work – so, it’s real encouraging.

    About no-one cares about technical writing.

    That was a shock to read. When I first read it, I blew me away.

    But I see what you're getting at. The technical writing world is fragmenting.

    1. Technical writers as Assembly Line workers

    These are staying as they are and see themselves as ‘technical writers’, mostly because this is their career, it’s what they trained in, and maybe they are resigned to this. The window of opportunity is closed / or closing. I see this with people who send me in CVs. After 15 years writing or so of tech docs, its hard to see where else to go. Bit like the guys in the Shawshank Redemption. Not that bad, but y’know…

    2. Technical writers 2.0

    I know the 2.0 thing is a cliché but this is where they’re going. People like Tom Johnson are pushing the boat to see where this field takes us… wikis, rss, collaboration. Whatever. It’s the content that counts.

    (forgive the lame analogy,it's late here)

    No-one cares if it’s a user document or a release note.

    Does it fix the problem?

    Does it make my life easier?

    Does it answer my question?

    Chris Brogan is really clued into this. One sharp puppy.

    3. Technical writers as business people

    This is where people get up, stagger away from the safety of the cubicle, and setup a new business. They’ve cut their teeth in technical writing and now want to go up a gear.

    Jay Z is an example of this.

    Why pidgeon-hole yourself as a rapper. He morphs into the fashion industry. I bet there were endless trolls who wanted him to fail. But he pulled it off.

    And about the snipping. Thanks for the support. Some of the emails would leave you speechless. What’s wrong with these people?

    There’s a saying at home: “nothing hurts more than seeing your friends succeed.”
    Obviously, these are not my friends but some people will work very hard to pull you down.

    Such is life.

    Plato summed it up years ago. “Focus on those running ahead. Ignore those falling behind.”

    I may need to re-think the long-terms goals of the site (or change the slant) but that’s what we’re hear for.

    Thanks again, Scott.

    Regards,
    Ivan
    PS – your Linked profile is very smart. I’m sure it didn’t happen by accident. Guys like you raise the bar. Thx

  57. Glad to oblige. Jack.

  58. BTW, time to rename the page Top 100 Technical Writers on the Web…?

    Jack Molisani
    ProSpring Technical Staffing
    http://www.prospringstaffing.com
    866-302-5774 x201

    Follow me on Twitter: Jack Molisani

  59. BTW, time to rename the page Top 100 Technical Writers on the Web…?

    Jack Molisani
    ProSpring Technical Staffing
    http://www.prospringstaffing.com
    866-302-5774 x201

    Follow me on Twitter: Jack Molisani

  60. Please observe that Scott is replying as a business owner and consultant. Yet most TWs are neither, never were, never will be. I see little acknowledgement by today's promoters of social networks and web deliverables of the very wide range of very new work behaviors and skills being asked of TWs today. Tom Johnson's blog is a great example. I sometimes imagine him as on a never-ending treadmill of tools and ideas, with no means of controlling the requirements that are driving his work. The basic truth is that today's network-centric tech environment has literally exploded most of the previously established categories of work patterns and skills, including those of yesterday's TWs. It is a basic fact that TWs are simply no longer high valued because business owners believe that non-writers can produce “content” having the same “value” to the customer. Content is now a commodity to be produced as cheaply as possible, and the aggregation of content is now an application rather than the work product of a TW. This is all a large business experiment being carried before our eyes.

  61. Please observe that Scott is replying as a business owner and consultant. Yet most TWs are neither, never were, never will be. I see little acknowledgement by today's promoters of social networks and web deliverables of the very wide range of very new work behaviors and skills being asked of TWs today. Tom Johnson's blog is a great example. I sometimes imagine him as on a never-ending treadmill of tools and ideas, with no means of controlling the requirements that are driving his work. The basic truth is that today's network-centric tech environment has literally exploded most of the previously established categories of work patterns and skills, including those of yesterday's TWs. It is a basic fact that TWs are simply no longer high valued because business owners believe that non-writers can produce “content” having the same “value” to the customer. Content is now a commodity to be produced as cheaply as possible, and the aggregation of content is now an application rather than the work product of a TW. This is all a large business experiment being carried before our eyes.

  62. I think Julie Norris at 2moroDocs is a great technical writer and should be listed here. http://www.2morodocs.com/

  63. Thanks Jill for letting me know.

    I’ll add her to the list for sure.

    Fwiw we’re moving to a new site – https://www.ihearttechnicalwriting.com – which is why the posts have stopped for now.

    Lots of tweaking to do over there.

    Bye

    Ivan

  64. Thanks,

    You’ve made some very good points here, especially writing as a commodity.

    I’m going to try to pull this point out and write an article on it in the new year.

    I’m also moving the site to a dedicated technical writing site, https://www.ihearttechnicalwriting.com/, which goes live in Jan.

    I hear what you're saying about Scott by the way, though I do feel that many technical writers are moving away from ‘documentation activities’ and into other fields.

    Some because they want to, others because their options are limited (or close to zero) where they are.

    Next year, I will discuss more career development issues for technical writers on the new site.

    We all know the mechanics of how to do our jobs but building (or re-building) a career in this climate is not so easy.

    Take is easy over xmas.

    Back in Jan 2010!

    Ivan

  65. I think Julie Norris at 2moroDocs is a great technical writer and should be listed here. http://www.2morodocs.com/

  66. Thanks Jill for letting me know.

    I’ll add her to the list for sure.

    Fwiw we’re moving to a new site – https://www.ihearttechnicalwriting.com – which is why the posts have stopped for now.

    Lots of tweaking to do over there.

    Bye

    Ivan

  67. Thanks,

    You’ve made some very good points here, especially writing as a commodity.

    I’m going to try to pull this point out and write an article on it in the new year.

    I’m also moving the site to a dedicated technical writing site, https://www.ihearttechnicalwriting.com/, which goes live in Jan.

    I hear what you're saying about Scott by the way, though I do feel that many technical writers are moving away from ‘documentation activities’ and into other fields.

    Some because they want to, others because their options are limited (or close to zero) where they are.

    Next year, I will discuss more career development issues for technical writers on the new site.

    We all know the mechanics of how to do our jobs but building (or re-building) a career in this climate is not so easy.

    Take is easy over xmas.

    Back in Jan 2010!

    Ivan

  68. Name: Rahul Prabhakar
    Blog Name: When the muse strikes!
    URL: http://2brahulprabhakar.blogspot.com
    Feed: http://2brahulprabhakar.blogspot.com/feeds/post

  69. Name: Rahul Prabhakar
    Blog Name: When the muse strikes!
    URL: http://2brahulprabhakar.blogspot.com
    Feed: http://2brahulprabhakar.blogspot.com/feeds/post

  70. Thanks Rahul,

    I'll add it to our new tech docs site at https://www.ihearttechnicalwriting.com/

    Working on it over xmas thus the delay in getting back. Hope all is well.

    Ivan

Comments are closed.