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Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

(OP)
I used to have a job where clear, concise and accurate technical writing was valued, but my world has changed.  I am now routinely asked to water down my reports past meaningless and trite into the realm of disinformation and outright fiction.  I used to collect various phrases I had read in the reports of others of examples of both good and bad writing.  I now find it necessary to write statements, conclusions and recommendations that are bland and obtuse enough to make it through the committee of non-technical editors and Clients with less than beneficent motivations.

So I offer this as my contribution to the category of meaningless conclusion.  Plagerize at will.  I no longer care.  Any other contributions welcome.

A complex set of circumstances and the construction history of the project have resulted in defined problematic areas, culminating in leaks.  Although there are a variety of moisture sources, satisfactory results to mitigate the water infiltration can be achieved through an integrated approach to remedial design and strategic selection of repair techniques.  This may require additional probing and experimentation with repair methodology to determine the best course of action and one that brings the highest value to the table.  Moving forward, future maintenance costs will be largely dependent on appropriate routine upkeep and repair methods selected to mitigate the challenging issues.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

That is truly awful! Start looking for another job before your soul is lost forever.

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

You would fit well into writing government publications.

Mike McCann
MMC Engineering
Motto:  KISS
Motivation:  Don't ask

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

I know that this does not quite meet you original challenge, but I like it anyway, if for no other reason than the fact that the following paragraph contains 60 words, NONE of which were used more than ONCE:

Now, since I actually thought it up all by myself, without any direct help from other people here at my humble place of gainful employment and besides, this may ultimately turn out to be a really great note scamming, no make that spamming, scheme for me, but more likely in the end only light or frivolous entertainment will pour forth.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.org/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

wot, no mention of "low hanging fruit" ...

now why i always smile quietly to myself whenever anyone says this is because i remember some joke about tarzan and red-painted elephant balls ...

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

When I worked for the Department of Redundancy Department, we used to test the writing out by how many words it took to make eyeballs glaze. It can be very competitive when a group of people try to outdo each other with the Grandpa Simpson routine. My favorite started out with

"You must understand the design process..."

That would get me to 500 words before the subject of the writing was even mentioned.

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Quote (Me):

Solution of the full three-dimensional equation set is too cumbersome for hand calculations.  Furthermore, classical free-body diagrams cannot easily account for factors such as friction in each of the joints, elasticity in the joints and binding – all of which may change as a function of wear.  Simplifications can be made to the free-body diagram set to reduce the problem to a series of planar systems, however solving these simplified equations does not yield a solution that accounts for the magnitude of the problem.  For these reasons it is recommended that rigid-body FEA analysis of the system be performed.  Such an analysis can accommodate all of the factors listed above, and can easily be modified to investigate a wide range of potential cases.

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

And from the "I don't believe someone is paying me to write a report about this" file.

Quote:

It is evident from visual observation that the pipe in question is pitched against the desired direction of flow.  No measurement of the actual pitch was taken.  Deputy Superintendent XXX speculates that due to this uphill pitch water is trapped in the pipe during sub-freezing weather, and that the resultant freezing caused the pipe to burst.  We feel that this sequence is a reasonable explanation for the burst pipe, and no evidence to the contrary was apparent on either date.

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

I wish I still had the owners manual from my 1965 Honda 305 Superhawk.  This was back in the era when they were translating the Japanese, word-for-word, directly into English, resulting in almost totally unreadable, let alone comprehensible, 'prose' winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.org/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

While not a written example (see attached video), still something that should bring a smile to your face.

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.org/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

casseopeia,

   The late Richard Mitchell, the Underground Grammarian had an interesting theory about bad writing.  The bad writers mean exactly what they say.  

   Read Less Than Words Can Say.

   Here is the best example in the book...

Quote (LTWCS):


Project WEY--Washington Environmental Yard (1972) is a manifestation of the intercommunal, process-oriented, interage, interdisciplinary type of change vehicle toward an environmental ethic from the school-village level to a pan-perspective. The urban focus of the project as the medium has been inestimably vital since it is generally speaking the message. Situated near the central downtown area of the city of Berkeley and a mere block from civic center, Washington Elementary School courts the thousands of daily onlookers/passersby (20,000 autos!) traveling on a busy boulevard with easy access to the physical transformation and social interactions (at a distance to close-up)--a virtual open space laboratory. It has served evocatively as a catalyst for values confrontation, even through a soft mode of visual/physical data exchange system. Since 1971, the dramatic changes have represented a process tool for the development of environmental/educational value encounters on-site/off-site, indoors/outdoors and numerous other bipolar entities and dyads. The clients represent a mirror of the macro-world just as the children and parents of the school reflect more than thirty different ethnic groups--as one of numerous dimensions of diversity.

               JHG

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

(OP)
John,

Great clip.  I will look for a way to work magneto reluctance and sinusoidal repleneration into my next report.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Don Watson's "Weasel Words" is a great book and website http://www.weaselwords.com.au/index3.htm on examples of appalling English, jargon, buzzwords and other "weapons of mass disinformation" as employed by business, government, journalists, consultants (whom he refers to as "Plague Rats"!), etc. There's enough material there to keep you amused / horrified for weeks!

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

I feel dumber having read this thread...

:(

At least you can change your reports.  When I write up a technical report, it goes through committee, and any changes that need to be made are done by our technical publicist, who by the way barely knows what a bolt is...


I'm going to look for some of the garbage that has been sent out, and post a portion as well as my original submission...

Cabbages, knickers, It hasn't got A BEAK!

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

As a sort of side note, this might be of interest considering the topic of this thread.  Granted, it may not help us in our professional endeavors, but who knows, maybe it will be an inspiration:

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/05/19/plain-writing-act-to-take_n_864336.html

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.org/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

(OP)
sbozy25,

Consider yourself lucky that they make the edits.  I have to make their inane changes to my report myself.  This is explained by the HR people, with whom I have taken up this issue, as a 'learning' opportunity for me.

I had a simple cover letter come back to me for editing because I had not put "Mr." in front of the client's name.  I complained that it was grossly inefficient to have a technical production person taking time away from billable work to make these kinds of edits, to turn the Mr. into a black Mr.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Damn, Cass.....
Yes, I too see lots of examples of bad writing. Sadly, the richest mine of all is the one I create myself. (See my FAQs or examples).
Still, I don't use "serendipidous" "organic" "facilitate" etc., but I still do all right.

 

JMW
www.ViscoAnalyser.com

 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

(OP)
My report went out yesterday.  The edits consisted mainly of adding periods at the ends of incomplete sentences and Germanic-style random capitalization; "Images:  Appendix A, CAPITAL PEE hotos 14 through 21 and CAPITAL ESS ketch 4 PERIOD"

The paragraph at the top is at the end of the report, under the laughable heading "Conclusions."  The comment I got back was "good ending."  I don't think it was meant sarcastically.

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

In plain language...crappy design, shoddy construction, leaks like a sieve, will be a continuing maintenance headache.

I'm sure you are right about lack of sarcasm.  They wouldn't understand that concept.

 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

My biggest irritation is with a specific client.  My e-mails are screened regularly, and I have been scolded many times for not addressing him correctly.  They have even re-forwarded my e-mail to him with an appology full of gramarical and spelling errors saying sorry to him, and then correcting my e-mail and cc'ing me....

He is a Phd engineer in Germany.  I'm expected to start every e-mail with: Dear Dr. XXXXX

I hate using "Dear" when writing an e-mail, so I usually just type "Dr. XXXX"  I have been told that it is insulting to him sending this way.


Here is a snipit from the last scold:

"Dear Doctor XXX (name was spelled wrong... lol) please except our deapest appologizes for our engineers enupt email.  He has only been with the company just under a year and is not used to the proper analytical writing skill's that are required for his job, rest ashured it will not happen again as he has been warned several times and have pledged to stop making this mundane mistake."

Then they added the "Dear" to my e-mail and sent out....

I was mortified... I tried to point out all their errors, and ended up getting a verbal warning for "questioning a superiror's entillect" (that is how it was written...)

My boss and I laughed till we were blue in the face.

Cabbages, knickers, It hasn't got A BEAK!

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Oh... Oh... I forgot my favorite...


I refuse to give this one up.  Even though I'm a born and raised US citizen, I picked up many European habits growing up.

tyres
colour
various others, but these 2 pop to mind first.

I love to use these spellings because they come walking down with a smug face like they are the know it all.  I have shown them the dictionary several times indicating that I am just as correct as they are.  They actually think the dictionary is incorrect!

Cabbages, knickers, It hasn't got A BEAK!

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Speaking of the 'Queens English', you can have just as much fun and never have to 'misspell' a word (I worked 14 years for the American division of a British company).  Just start using terms like 'car park', 'pavement', 'bonnet', 'boot', 'drug', etc. the way they do in the UK.  But just in case your emails are going the other direction, may I suggest that you avoid words like 'napkin' and 'fanny' as you might insult someone depending on the gender of the your readers winky smile

John R. Baker, P.E.
Product 'Evangelist'
Product Design Solutions
Siemens PLM Software Inc.
Industry Sector
Cypress, CA
http://www.siemens.com/plm
http://www.plmworld.org/museum/

To an Engineer, the glass is twice as big as it needs to be.
 

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

(OP)
sbozy25, you win!  What children!  BTW, my first and second grade instructors were British citizens and I still cling to spelling 'errors' like 'grey' instead of 'gray',   'centre' instead of 'center',  and referring to a corporation in the plural.  I also routinely get tripped up on z's and s's in words like 'consise.'

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Um, I doubt anyone would get too offended by napkin.

When used to refer to a babies butt covering it's almost always abbreviated as 'nappy'.

Of course, send that to the wrong person in the US and all hell could break loose.

Kind of like when a Brit tells a Yank they're going out side to smoke a fag.

As to Fanny, yes, a fanny-pack for instance is something quite different in the UK.

Posting guidelines FAQ731-376: Eng-Tips.com Forum Policies http://eng-tips.com/market.cfm? (probably not aimed specifically at you)
What is Engineering anyway: FAQ1088-1484: In layman terms, what is "engineering"?

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Cass,

Not sure that is something I really wanted to win. ha-ha

I must have had a primary school instructor from the UK.  I cannot for the life of me remember when or how I picked the alternative spellings up, but I have used them as long as I can remember.

I had an instructor in college who got me to call shock absorbers "dash pots," it took me forever to shake that one...

Cabbages, knickers, It hasn't got A BEAK!

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Our current documentation 'standard' requires us to write 12 pages of dross when one page would do.  It is basically a user guide but a very simple one.  All you need to do is switch on, wait for a window to appear and press start or shutdown.

But management don't feel the users are getting value for money and it doesn't look [i]official[/o] so instead of a one page memo on headed notepaper, we have copyrights, signoff sheets, purpose of document, contents page, list of abbreviations, pages intentionally left blank etc.  

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

MintJulep Posts of May 18.
The first is fine if it was a textbook or preface to a long report- hopefully hardly anyone would need to read that part.

The second is a bit verbose and mundane but it wasn't verbose then it would be a reasonable short statement for non-technical people. This part of the pipe was very obviously uphill so it trapped water when under shutdown. The temperatures were below freezing so it froze and burst the pipe.     

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

Nothing in this thread will beat Ye Olde Turbo Encabulator.   

Hydrology, Drainage Analysis, Flood Studies, and Complex Stormwater Litigation for Atlanta and the South East - http://www.campbellcivil.com

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

(OP)
My brother, an environmental engineer in Chicago, was having some trouble with a Client asking him to review tenant contracts.  My brother kept trying to remind him that he was an engineer,  not an attorney.  So he sent me an email asking me to write a paragraph that essentially said, We're not lawyers, dabnabit!   So I sent this;

'We here at Dingleball Environmental Engineering have a multi-talented staff with amazing skills, only a fraction of which we use during our normal course of work.  In fact, we routinely brag about our amazing skills in our marketing collateral that we send to Clients such as yourself.  As much as we would like to believe all of our glorious claims, we are not so delusional as to think that we can offer legal advice right along side that of the engineering advice for which we have been contracted.  We suggest that you call one of those overpriced legal firms located in the fancy high rise buildings in the Loop to review paragraphs (insert you applicable reverence here).  We'll stick to what we know.'

"Gorgeous hair is the best revenge."  Ivana Trump

RE: Samples of Your Pointless and Trite Technical Writing

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