Proposal: Documentation

When a proposal nears the end of its Definition phase, the Community Team does a final evaluation to see if the proposal is ready to move forward — and the early consensus seems to be in favor of allowing this proposal to continue…

however, the title of the proposed site is problematic.

Long story short, we already have a project in its early stages called "Documentation", so having a site called Documentation and a product called Documentation is apt to cause a lot of confusion.

We need another name (and hopefully a corresponding URL) that will help disambiguate which site/feature you are talking about… and to minimize the possibility that an incoming user browsing or searching for a reputed feature might end up completely somewhere else.

We are looking for a title that is highly descriptive of the subject of this site. We're not looking for a "clever"-naming debate; it's too toxic.

Please posts your suggestions/recommendations below so we can pass this thing and get it moving forward. Thank you.

I actually hate to see the "Documentation" moniker lost, it seems so appropriate to the proposed community. Technical Communication, while seeming to fit the job title/job description of many professionals likely to join, just seems so stuffy and "Eighties-ish." I'm reasonably certain that I'd have failed to even "look" at that proposal because it's not what I do. Documentation is part of what I have to deal with, and important to my clients and the final product. Yet it's a minimal segment of my "work" effort and time, and TC just doesn't "gel" for me. I'll post a name if ruminations find it. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 18 at 2:49
@GypsySpellweaver unfortunately, the name is taken so our choice is to either come up with a suitable replacement or forgo creating the site at all. – Robert Cartaino Feb 18 at 2:52
Yeah, I got that. :( [[ Acceptance .ne. Happiness ]] I hope someone, maybe even me, can produce a more "community-friendly" name. BTW, what's the deadline, and afterwords, how long will there be to modify the "site description" to comfortably match the new name? Discussion of that was a long one here. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 18 at 3:11
Well, that's too bad, but I'm happy to see this moving to the next stage! – David Vogel Feb 20 at 23:48
Robert, please see my new discussion post on this proposal, if you haven't already. – Brian Mar 7 at 15:09
up vote 13 down vote accepted

Title: Technical Communication

URL: techcomm .stackexchange .com

I was fond of "Documentation", but this covers everything a technical writer and technical communicator does. The URL is a well-known abbreviation for this subject, and it's the name of the career and what the curriculum was called when I studied in this space.

Gonna have to offer my support, and thoughts, for 'Technical Communication.' 'Writer' seems to limiting under current trends to leverage other media and formats than the written word - YouTube/Videos, Flash-based demonstrations, etc. I have also found a couple sites, probably connected, Society for Technical Communication, and Technical Communication Body of Knowledge. The US Dept of Labor even gives it as an AKA for Technical Writer in the Occupational Outlook Handbook. – Gypsy Spellweaver Feb 22 at 6:03
+1 I totally agree that "Documentation" would interfere with "Stack Overflow Documentation", thus leading to confusion. "Documentation", and "Technical Communication" are names that are very easily interchangeable. Moreover, after reading the linked Wikipedia article, I am positive that "Technical Communication" is the name that we really need for the site, since it would provide a broader scope that would better encompass some key topics such as technical illustration and patents, among other strongly related topics. We really need this site! Let's go for it! :-) – Cebri Mar 3 at 14:33
After reviewing the example questions on the front page of the proposal, as a scientist/engineer (chemical) I think Technical Communication is actually a very poor name for the site. The example questions all seem focused on code/software documentation, and technical communication is much broader, also encompassing communication of scientific and engineering results and data. I don't have a good alternative suggestion at the moment, unfortunately, but if I think of one I'll post it. – Brian Mar 6 at 20:25
@hBy2Py If I have understood the proposal correctly, your reaction to the name vs. the bulk of the questions on the front page actually cements my support for that name. The proposed site should encompass the communication of scientific and engineering results and data, as well as a users' manual for a toaster, and a video for assembling a baby crib. The proposed questions on the front page reflect the backgrounds of the askers. The purpose of those questions is to define the guidelines of the site. Please post samples of questions from your field which you think belong here as well. – Gypsy Spellweaver Mar 7 at 2:22
@GypsySpellweaver Ah, ok -- as long as that's the intended scope, then I fully support it also. I will put some thought into a few scientific questions and post as you suggest! – Brian Mar 7 at 2:26
@GypsySpellweaver Three questions posted: here, here, and here. Should be able to come up with two more.... – Brian Mar 7 at 3:52
@cebri According to my boss, who is a certified patent agent (he passed the patent bar a while ago and is very knowledgeable), patents are legal documents with technical content, as opposed to technical documents with legal content. I think patents should actually be off-topic here. Technical illustration I'm completely on board with, though. – Brian Mar 7 at 4:10
Also, @GypsySpellweaver, it seems that your position is not universally held. My suggested edit to the site description got a pretty quick early downvote. – Brian Mar 7 at 4:15
@Brian Thanks for your feedback. I was expecting a reply along these lines because patents are a tricky topic. I do agree that the legal side of a patent (intellectual property, prior art, claims, etc.) would be off-topic. In fact, we already have Ask Patents for those topics. That said, I still think that questions about the detailed description (or specification) and the drawings of a patent would be on-topic, since their purpose is solely to describe a system. Let me know what you think. Also, any feedback from your boss would be helpful. Cheers. – Cebri Mar 7 at 11:54
@Cebri It seems solidly like a gray area to me. Is probably something that won't ever be fully resolved, leading to some questions being acceptable both on Ask Patents and TechComm. – Brian Mar 8 at 19:16

Proposed name: Content Design

Proposed URL:

I used the wiki for Technical Writer as inspiration. Content Designer seems to be an alternative title for a part of the professionals that are the audience of the site.

FYI, the standard of our site-creation process is to match the name of the site to the URL... unless... there is a very well-established industry abbreviation that is easily recognizable. – Robert Cartaino Feb 17 at 23:10

Title: Documentation Operations
Subdomain: docops

The term has been used to describe a specifically Agile process of creating, maintaining and deploying documentation, but I think it could also apply to documentation tasks as a whole.


User Assistance

Represents one-third of the usability experience: UI, UX, UA.

Sounds too much like the site is offering assistance to users. – Gypsy Spellweaver Mar 6 at 1:24

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