TC Camp Gazette #20

BREAKING NEWS! . . . again

We asked, you answered.

What was the question? “Do you want the morning workshops at TC Camp in 2015?” And the majority said: “YES!” So we are keeping the workshop for the early morning.Now we have other important questions: “What do you want to learn? What’s important to you? What do you want to get the leading edge on? What topic are you most interested in for your professional growth?”

So take a minute and cast your vote in the TC Camp Workshop Survey.

Why Start TC Camp?

TC Camp Top Story by Liz Fraley, Treasurer, TC Camp

An experiment that worked!

I experienced unconferences in the past through another group I’ve been involved with for years. I had always wondered if it could work for the technical communications community, and, two years ago, we popped up the first unconference for Technical Communications.

The first year was a huge leap of faith and one that paid off for everyone who attended. Based on your feedback and the support, we kept going and now we are already in our third year!

TC Camp’s reputation has grown. For the first time, we have volunteers helping design the day and we’re filing for our 501(c)(3) status so we can take the event to other communities. There’s just no replacement forreal, first-hand, face-to-face, connections with your peers.

I’m so glad so many people have found so much value in camp. As a nonprofit, we hope to continue to give you a highly valuable day that is extremely cost effective — a day you’ll be glad to you gave up a Saturday for

Unresolved Topics

By Michael Hahn

Why do these topics keep coming up?

In the short history of TC Camp, some topics are perennial. Why are the same questions asked?

Some topics are exhausted in a session or two, but others continue to challenge our attendees. In the next few weeks, I’ll look at some of those recurring topics.

Document review process

What do we do after information is created? Document Review is one of the most popular topics. It breaks down into tools, people, and processes. I think part of the continuing discussion of this topic is the mix of strategies.

Not every organization has the personnel to devote to a QA/QC process or the budget for a dedicated set of tools to answer the “who,” “what,” and “when” ofmaking content accurate and interesting. Discussions have centered around routing challenges, whether to use peer review or dedicated editors (or both), and when in the life cycle to review the content, post-author or pre-publication.

Challenges of using standards

The old joke is the great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from. Discussions of standards often center around their value in information production and management, balanced against the tools and techniques needed to work with a standard.

Is it just a vocabulary or a framework or a specific set of rules that must be obeyed? Is the value of using the standard in information exchange (with other organizations or other parts of the same organization), or is it valuable because of the library of tools and techniques that may come with it?

There are many things to consider in choosing to adopt a particular standard, whether it’s DITA, S1000D, or a variety of other available national, international, or industry standards.

The TC Camp 2015 Contest Has Begun!

Want to win a S’mores Maker?

Get social and increase your chance of winning the most coveted prize at the raffle! Every time youpublicize TC Camp in your social media circles, you earn raffle entries for the S’mores Maker!

The winner will be announced at the TC Camp Game Show hour at the end of the day. You must be present to win.

Click to see how to increase your chances of winning the 2015 S’mores Maker!

Camp Extras!

Tips and tricks for TC Camp participants

If you’ve worked in Technical Communications for a while in the Bay Area, you’re likely to see some people you know at TC Camp 2015. But, why take a chance?

TC Camp can be more fun with friends and coworkers. So share TC Camp now. And invite people to join you when registration opens.

TC Camp Saturday 24 January 2015

Join Our Unconference or camp and use the day to talk about everything techcomm. Registration is required. Our last TC Camp had over 180 participants.


  • Date: Saturday, 24 January 2015
  • Time: 8:30 am to 6:00 pm
  • Venue: Hospitality Management building, Mission College, Santa Clara, CA.
    • WiFi will be available, you can twitter, live blog!
  • Register on TicketLeap— choose a workshop or just attend the afternoon unconference
    • Workshop + Unconference + Lunch — $39
    • Workshop + Unconference — $35
    • Unconference + Lunch  — $4
    • Unconference Only  — Free
    • You must bring your TicketLeap ticket!
  • Bring: curiosity, business cards, portable (for notes, blogging, etc)
  • Questions, feedback, coordination? Send an email your camp counselors


This is an approximate schedule of the day’s events:

8:00 AM|Workshop registration, continental breakfast, networking

8:30 AM|Hands-on Workshops

All classes run from 8:30 AM – 10:30 AM. The Ambassador Workshop is free to attend. All other workshops cost $35.00. If you decide you want to attend a different class than the one you signed up for on the day of the event, we will allow you to switch to the new class, as long as there are seats available.

10:15 AM|TC Camp Registration

11:00 AM|TC Camp

  • General Session includes:
    • Overview
    • Session Proposals
    • Voting
    • Lunch (with ticket)
    • Sponsor presentations
    • Expert Panel or Keynote
    • Session Matrix Posted (3 time slots 6 tables, with title, leader and scribe per session)
  • 2:00 PM – Session 1
  • 3:00 PM – Session 2
  • 4:00 PM – Session 3
  • 5:00 PM – Summary of Sessions, Raffle, and Wrap up. Thank you in advance to everyone who volunteers as note takers and session leaders for your notes and summary!
  • 6:00 PM – Finished
Camp organizers invite any help in picking up after the free unconference. Help keep this event free!

TC Camp Gazette #19


Cast your vote for your favorite Workshop topics NOW!

Which ones will make the cut for 2015? It is all up to you so, cast your vote, and let your voice be heard.

From Attendee to Chairman of the Board!

TC Camp Top Story by Scott Prentice, TC Camp President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board

Becoming a Nonprofit

When I first heard about TC Camp, I thought, “Hmm, a techcomm unconference, now that sounds interesting.” It certainly seemed like a good way to spend a Saturday (especially since it was basically free). I had never heard of an unconference before and was interested to find out more about it.

It turned out to be a fun and rather busy day. Lots of great discussions on various subjects, and it seemed like everyone was really engaged. Overall, I was very impressed! TC Camp has something for everyone, from writers to managers to vendors. It seems that everyone has something to offer and something to learn.

This year, Liz Fraley asked me to join the Board of Directors as we take TC Camp to the next level, a true nonprofit event geared toward the education and advancement of the field of Technical Communications. As the new President, CEO, and Chairman of the Board, I look forward to helping to make the upcoming TC Camp even better than it has been in the past. Let’s have another great camp this year!

Why I Attend TC Camp

By Jean Kaplansky, 2013 TC Camp attendee and presenter

Why were you a fan (or at least an attendee) of TC Camp?

I attended the first TC Camp because Liz Fraley invited me to hit the West Coast for some casual technical communication talk with like-minded people. Liz also asked me to teach an introduction to HTML5. How could I say no?

I’ve done presentations with Liz before, and we always have fun with stuff that is usually not fun, unless you go out of your way to make it fun. The point of TC Camp, as Liz explained it, is to bring fun into the technical conversation where everybody gets to have a say and everyone goes home a little smarter than when they arrived. The casual “un”conference approach is a welcome break from the usual work stuff.

What was your favorite part of TC Camp?

S’Mores? My favorite part was not knowing the agenda in advance, which allowed me to spontaneously choose which of the smaller conversations I thought I could contribute to. The big group session at the end of the day, with recaps from each of the smaller groups, provided a larger holistic context for the weekend.

What advice would you give someone attending for the first time?

Don’t be shy! You get back as much as you put in. You’ll really enjoy camp as an active participant.


And the survey says…

Based on the feedback we received, you all value the wrap up and hearing a little bit about all the fantastic sessions from TC Camp. But you want it to be fun, fast, and energized while being informative.

Well, it’s a pretty tall order, but we think we have something very fun for you at the end of the day for TC Camp 2015. Think game show with prizes and contestants and our very own TC Camp Game Show Host!

Camp Extras!

Tips and Tricks for TC Camp Participants

TC Camp is an unconference. As you might guess, an unconference is different from a conference. (Big surprise!) In particular, the participants define and drive the program. So, we get the conference we want.

How can you get the conference you want? Easy! Be an active participant. Suggest topics, facilitate sessions, take notes, and share your questions, answers, and experience. Now is a good time to start thinking about what you want from TC Camp and how you can help TC Camp to provide it.

Trail Mix

“…Then anyone who leaves behind him a written manual, and likewise anyone who receives it, in the belief that such writing will be clear and certain, must be exceedingly simple-minded…”

–Plato in Phaedrus (about 370 BCE)

Help Run TC Camp 2015

As you can see, volunteers are busy planning for TC Camp 2015. On January 24, 2015, we’ll need help setting up, organizing, and managing the event. Plan now to help. Let us know that you’ll help run TC Camp 2015 by emailing

And now for something completely different!

Wait, are those Chicken Nuggets or puppies??? Here are some fun time-wasting images of Dogs who look like something completely different!  Be sure to check out the one that looks like Chewbacca.