What effects do you see from the debate on ethics in technical communication in the past decade? Where do you think the profession/discipline will go next, as far as ethical issues are concerned? What are the responsibilities of technical communicators as to the ethics of the documents they help create?

If we look at Katz’s Ethic of Expediency, I clearly see the need for careful evaluation of any text written, specifically when involving humans. This article serves as an excellent reminder of what humans are capable of when humaness gets stripped out of language, out of communication, out of rhetoric. It does take conscious and deliberate effort in the planing and writing process of any document to remember the impact on the audience, the affected, the persons written about. Humaness has to be a fundamental pillar of all of our thinking, and technical writing cannot be excluded from it because it contains the term ‘technical’. I am not sure that I would go as far as Dragga and Voss, in some of the illustrations they adapted for more humaness (e.g. the lumberjack cartoon character seems more trivializing to me than humaninzing) but the point is well taken. And this is what I draw from both articles, a strong and valid reminder advocating a basic humaness in all of our writings. There will naturally be variations among all of us, but a vigilance against the dehumanizing that happened in the Nazi culture must be maintained at all times.


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