[Rant] Writers: ‘Know Your Stuff’ or Stop Pretending To Be Professionals

It’s not too often that I go on a rant, but these days I often find myself gob-smacked by a general lack of knowledge of good writing principles. Consider this my periodic off-the-rails outpouring of frustration about the state of my profession. Either I’ve had the privilege of a very good education (though my degree is in Creative Writing and Women’s Studies and the term XML wasn’t even coined back then), or my ongoing, self-directed professional development has left me perpetually holding up a bar over which very few can jump. But please, people, if you’re going to present yourselves as senior writers or information designers or content developers and content strategists and content managers – in fact, any work that involves professional writing and/or editing and/or manipulating content – can you at least figure out how to do what the title says? Anyone who has heard me speak knows my position about content strategy: the “under the hood” aspects of content are just as important as the shiny parts that people see. When I talk about “structured content”, I’m not talking outlines, I’m talking structured content – elements and attributes and all that related stuff. If content is the “stuff between the tags”, then the tags “containers” are the controllers of the content. Use them! Know them! If you don’t haven’t figured out how to use stylesheets in...

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