Subjectively edited to the Nth degree

 

My writing at my day job gets subjectively edited to the Nth degree. Words that are perfectly fine to use are removed and replaced with synonyms that also work but make no real difference. Strange capitalization's are used too. For instance... "user" should NEVER be capitalized unless it is at the beginning of a sentence. Here... it seems to be always capitalized. There are words when used in a title that should be capitalized but then referred to as a function and should not be capitalized, that's TW 101. However here, it's all capitalized. There are words that get capitalized, I take note, when they come up again, I do as it was changed last time (even if I do disagree), and then it gets changed to lowercase now. Pretty much anything I attempt is changed at this point and is altered in an edit. Which means it is not my writing. It's this need to change everything subjectively as another wants it. 

Most places have style guides for Tech Writing but what I'm learning here is that style just changes on a whim. There are assumptions made that "technically" changes the sentences that the programmers created to sentences that may have a nice sounding summary but are not what the programmer actually did. I'm not a mind reader. TW isn't supposed to be about making assumptions and guessing someone else's style all day long. However... that is exactly what it feels like I'm doing now. 

Again... all writing, art, etc... is subjective. For instance, I'm not a fan of Stephen King's writing but I love Neal Stephenson's. I know plenty of people who are the exact opposite of me. In this case, nothing I do seems to be subjectively good enough for the Senior Tech Writer doing the editing. It's frustrating and more than a little annoying. If what I wrote is understandable (and it is because I understood the meaning of it), then I would think some sort of subjective restraint should be exercised. The product is a technical product and the people dealing with it are technical people. The audience therefore deserves a level of technical meaning that they understand. Being in the IT field for over 20+ years gives me a certain level of ability to relate. I don't agree with the majority of edits being done to my words (or even to quite a bit of the words that the developers put forth) but alas... I'm not the last say. 

Speak of the devil... One just came through. It has to do with logging out a session when a new session is established. This is technically how it is done. The old session will "logout". My word was just edited and replaced with: "remove" an old session. This is technically incorrect. No session is removed. You can ask any technical person about this and they will understand "logout" or even "invalidate" but the session is not "removed". The session is logged out and ceases to exist or take space. It's below the level of the technical audience to make this change. But hey... I don't have the final say here. 

HA!!! Another one... Today, a release note started "Fixed so and so issue." This was fine. This has been used before. It was re-edited to say "Resolved so and so issue." Okay? So are we now using "Resolved" in place of "Fixed"? Not so fast! I just got an older one, already modified by the person who is editing me and it starts out "Fixed so and so issue." I left it. Because fixed and resolved both work. This does however prove once again that I'm being needlessly and subjectively edited. This person has some strange "need" to edit everything I do no matter if it fits the non-existent style guide being used or not. 

This one makes me laugh... JSON is capitalized. Go to almost any site and see that. Here, it's being edited to show as Json... That's just wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Wrong. Same for NETCONF... Here, I was edited to Netconf... Wrong... 

Again... "docker files" was edited to "Docker files "and that is incorrect. Their own website clearly states that even used as a heading, "docker files" is all lower case. A 30 second Google search would have shown as much. But no... Let's just edit it so it is wrong and make me look bad. 

When it comes to single or double quotation marks, I use double because that is the overall preferred use for quotations when calling something out. Especially in the United States. Since this is a US company, you would think... nope... My double quotations get edited to the unsightly single quotations. 

The release note says: "Added new functionality to prevent a user from being deleted if it is the current active user in the session." (This is easy to understand, the current active user will not be deleted if they are in a session). This was edited to: "Added new functionality to check and prevent deletion if user is the current active user in the session." In the edited version, tell me... What "deletion" is being prevented? There is nothing specifying that this was implemented so that the current user does not get deleted. The edited version could mean or point to the deletion of anything. It's a bad edit, a bad release note, and I have no say in changing it. 

This is rich!!! I removed a typo and the edit placed the typo back in. Then another one that a developer wrote just fine was edited to capitalize words that are not titles, just functions and functions are not capitalized. 

The Senior Tech Writer lied to the manager and said I didn't do the backports on a ticket when in fact I did, and the content reviewer had signed off on them. A good manager would check the tickets before coming at the employee but this dude is all under the Senior Tech Writers spell. I even asked the Senior if I should go back and change the linking used to match the linking type used in the master ticket and she said "NO". Then she complains about it. So fucking stupid. 

After talking to "Real Tech Writers" I now know that the Senior Tech Writer is not a good mentor nor a real Tech Writer. Peer review should allow for the proposed edits, to which the Tech Writer can accept those edits or reject them. Making edits outright with no recourse is not done anywhere professional. Basically, the Senior Tech Writer just wants to edit everyone's work, do the reviews others send in, and not have to learn anything technical or do any writing of her own. Pure fucking BS. 

The above type of edits happen all day long. I really feel like the Senior Tech Writer never wanted someone else here to share this position and therefore goes out of the way to touch and change anything and everything I do. That of course looks bad on me from people that don't see the subjectivity difference.

Then you have the lack of training. It's basically dumping you in the deep end of the pool and saying, "sink or swim." Training is letting you make mistakes, even if you asked questions, and then talking down to you. Simple stuff I have no clue to ask about, has never been relayed to me. I'm somehow just expected to know it. At my old job, the guy came down from New York for a week and I learned more about process for that job, in that week, than I have learned here in a year and half. And, those guys were always available to help. Here... Ask Google. So you go waste an hour on Google and then they come back and say, oh try this. WTFH??? If you knew that, why the hell didn't you say something earlier??? I'm so fucking over this shit. I would NEVER train someone the way I've been "trained" here. The Senior Tech Writer runs off to call the manager at the slightest thing. It's like... YOU should have trained me here. How the fucking hell was I to know??? 

I really like this company, I really like my main boss, and I really like learning this new technology (I thought our last group project was fun whereas the Senior Tech Writer kept threatening to resign), but... I don't see a way forward under the current subjective editing. I find it has become oppressively subjective at this point and for a bit I was even questioning my own ability. However, I started running certain things by my wife, who is also a developer and I found that what I was writing made sense to the audience it is intended. The same for other Tech Writers in the industry. I've made (slight) mention (testing the waters) of this to my boss and another person higher up but the person who shares this title has been "in the club" a long time and that right there gives that person full validation. It would be like a Private questioning a General. A totally valid argument holds no water under those circumstances. Since the manager is new, he does what she wants, period and end of story. So there is no recourse here. 

If I have to look for something else (which seems to be the only outcome left to me), then that's what I have to do. It sucks that one person's subjectivity and lower level of technical ability is the only bad thing forcing me to make this decision. When you read another persons writing, if it makes sense, the words work, even if it is not exactly how you would do it, then you should show some restraint. Now if all you want to do is keep the keys to the kingdom, make sure you have all the good projects, and force someone else out... well then... I guess this is how you do it. 



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