Fluid Topics Events and Live Webinars

European Academic Colloquium on Technical Communication


Karlsruhe Germany

About the event

The European Academic Colloquium (EAC) addresses all interested parties, researchers, teachers, students and practitioners from technical communication and related fields such as multilingual communication translation, multilingual communication, localization, terminology, or information management.

2023 Theme: The Future of TC: Next Steps in the Digital Transformation

The pandemic has led to significant changes in professionals’ work practices. They need to work from their home office, cooperating online with others. Many tasks are digitalized. These changes affect the field of technical communication in many ways, since communicating about digital and technical services is one of our core tasks.

About the talk

Gaspard Bébié-Valerian, Functional Consultant at Fluid Topics will explore the topic “Docs as Playground”

Abstract Programming culture could be a source of inspiration for tech writers to boost their creativity within their own ecosystems. Docs as playground Code, in its broadest sense, is a conventional process for transferring information to establish communication. It is also a crucial element in the implementation and conceptualization of data architecture, but also in the definition of structured documentation models.

Yet code is not only an instrument of language, it instruments language; it creates and regulates environments. By extension, programming culture incorporates the idea that code is not exclusively performative, that’s to say functional. If its purpose is to execute, accomplish a task or create an object, it can also be a disruptive agent as seen in the hacker culture. The so-called Easter eggs, for example, are an interesting informational object. Considered as a developer’s eccentricity, Easter eggs are usually hidden messages within the source code, they can be jokes, mini-games or even unknown features in a program. With no given recipient, besides perhaps the developers themselves, Easter eggs participate in the idea of a space of freedom used to demonstrate the creativity and cleverness of their author.

This is what creative and digressive practices of code do. In the same way developers compare beautiful code to prose, and ugly code to poetry for its ability to make its issues ambiguous, the scriptable produces the pleasure of the text, the practice of the text in a diffraction of meaning and the suspension of comprehension. Seemingly and for good reason, technical documentation is bound by rules and aims to be reliable and consistent thanks to specifications or schemas, writing rules or even by leveraging taxonomies.

Therefore, the more rigorously documentation is designed, the more likely it is maintained for its authors and solid for its users. Yet, given the marginal practices of coders, to what extent could creative and disruptive practices singularize and enrich the informational objects produced by tech writers? Is it even possible to consider technical documentation as a playground?

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