100 Rejected Summit Proposals

Rejected Proposals

100 Rejected Summit Proposals

The call for STC Summit proposals is now open. Below are 100 Summit ridiculous proposals that were rejected in the past. They may be helpful as you prepare your own submission.

  1. 100 Mistakes I Made During My First Hour as a Technical Writer
  2. Technical Writer Versus Technical Communicator Versus Technical Author: Who Are We? Who ARE We?
  3. Robohelp Versus Flare: The Final Showdown, This Time the Matter Will Be Settled Physically
  4. Pronoun Linguistical Analysis of Button Labels on Financial Graphic User Interfaces of Romanian Currency Banking Applications
  5. Is Technical Writing Boring? Yes, No, Yes, No
  6. The Jackson Pollock Inspiration Behind the STC.org Home Page
  7. How to Start Petty Grammar Disputes Without [Deeply] Annoying Those Around You
  8. Ping Pong Techniques So You Can Play Like a Developer
  9. Best off-Line Practices for Tech Comm Influencers, Including Party Etiquette, Techniques for Waving, and Superficial Conversation Starters
  10. Choosing the Right Twitter Picture: Twitter Pictures for All Occasions!
  11. Let Bylaws Be Bylaws: The Fascinating History of New York’s Bylaw Practices, Origins, and Future, Including an Inside Look At the Seedy Underbelly of Bylaw Formation
  12. Technical Writing With Your Pet: Incentivizing Animals to Help Out With Usability Testing
  13. Twifficiency, Twindexing, and Twusability: Tweqniques for Twelite Twechnical Twriters
  14. How to Break Out of Technical Writing and into What You Love — Even If It Pays Nothing
  15. Ninja Techniques for Observing [Killing] Users
  16. NINJA!
  17. Tech Writer as Janitor, and Other Depressing Metaphors to Keep in Mind Throughout the Day
  18. Using Sarcasm “Effectively” in the “Work” “Place”
  19. Tomato Throwing Session (for no particular reason)
  20. Un-Leadership Day
  21. Strategies for Solace: Managing All the Alone Time in a Happy Way
  22. Flopping, Bouncing, Cradling: A Study of Hyperbole and Metaphor Used By Application System Engineers (PhD Dissertation)
  23. “Sharepoint Can Do that” — Mantras Technical Writers Need to Master in a Microsoft Shop
  24. Everything I Needed to Know About Tech Writing I Learned in the Hallways of Second Grade (not really)
  25. Fishing and Technical Communication: a History of Nots
  26. Learning to Love Demoralization
  27. An Interface Is Like a Crappy Student Essay: Helps for Teachers Transitioning into Tech Writing
  28. Publishing On the Fly — Literally
  29. Dr. Pepper Versus Root Beer, Let the Forces Rally
  30. Completely-Impossible-But-Fun-to-Explore Hypothetical Ethical Scenarios in the Tech Comm Workplace
  31. The Art of Art, and Other Illustrative Techniques
  32. Technical Writing and Mythological Deities: How Zeus Reclaimed the UI From the Underworld of Hades
  33. Moving Up and Down: Technical Writers Who Are No Longer Technical Writers (Some Are Unemployed and Living in Trailers, Others Are Rich and Living in Soho)
  34. Fulfilling Your Wasted Literary Talent Through Microtweeting
  35. Bringing Back the Use of “Which”: An Anti-Movement Against Restrictive Clauses
  36. Declente, Post-Pluperfect Tenses, and Hyperbolic Supposition: All the Grammar Rules You Should Know But Actually Have No Clue About
  37. If You Give a Technical Writer a Cookie … and Other Slippery Slopes
  38. Technical Writing Horror Stories for Children
  39. The End Is Near: A Manual for the Upcoming Apocalypse, Complete With Notes, Tips, and Cautions
  40. It’s Never too Late to Change Your Name, Join a Motorcycle Gang, Or Learn to Play the Vuvuzela — Special Session By Kathyrn Burton
  41. Three Way Blind Round-Tripping From Robohelp to Twitter to Facebook and Back Again
  42. Sharepointize This!
  43. View Source: An Unexpected Peek Behind the Technology that Powers Airport X-Ray Machines
  44. Restructuring the IT Totem Pole with New Totems
  45. Patience Is a Virtue for the Weak, Aggressive Attitudes Get Results: Tips and Tricks and Really Mean Phrases to Get What You Need/Want
  46. Red Rover, Red Rover: Team Building Techniques for Athletic Technical Communicators
  47. Pedagogical Discourse in Canonical Contexts: A Heuristic Investigation into the Academic Rhetorical Linguistic Meaninglessness to Distract or Impress
  48. If I were a ________________: Tech Writer Spinoffs on Fiddler On the Roof (includes dance and song)
  49. Will It Blend? An Experiment with Thick Manuals (bring yours)
  50. Deep-Fried Quick Reference Guides: Everything Reads Better Deep Fried
  51. Documentation On a Shoestring — the Ultimate Convenience for Walkers and Runners
  52. Name that Persona
  53. Documenting Spumoni: Exploring the Hidden World of Ice Cream’s Most Challenging Flavors
  54. It Was the Worst of Times, It Was the Absolute Worst of Times: Managing Last-Minute Project Manager Requests
  55. Live and Learn, Die and Burn: The End of One Technical Writer’s Career
  56. 15 Ways to Get Around Skimpy Billing Codes and Maneuver Out-of-Scope Budget Issues Through Off-Shoring, Laundering, and Defalcation
  57. Predator Versus Alien: Interacting with Project Developers
  58. Incredible Stunts By Technical Writers Mostly on Drugs
  59. Sitting Pretty: Your Looks Alone Won’t Get You By in Tech Writing
  60. Preserving Documents in Sub-Kelvin Temperatures Through the Next Ice Age
  61. Christmas Lists and Stocking Stuffers for Technical Writers
  62. Jeopardy: The Final Hour, Academics and Descartian Philosophers Test their Knowledge of What Is Real
  63. Technical Writing in the Golden Years: The Final Countdown to the Last Manual
  64. Logging into STC.org: Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Understanding the Sign-in Process and Subsequent Home Page
  65. Deconstructing Tech Comm, for No Reason Other Than We’re Bored
  66. Technical Writing in Hyperbaric Chambers for Those Moments When You Really Need Oxygen
  67. A Panel About Panels: What You Need to Know to Lead a Good Panel Discussion (Panel Format)
  68. Style Guides Across the Ages: From Chaucer to Vonnegut, the Technical Style Guides the Masters Didn’t Use
  69. Of Mice and Pen: A Sad Story About How One Technical Communicator Accidentally Stepped On a Mouse
  70. Let Go, Live in the Moment, and Other Useless Advice for Technical Communicators
  71. Making Sense of ISO 9437395-5.A-12, the New Standard for Federally Regulated Rocket Fuel Cylinder Valves
  72. Paranormal Documentation and Zombie Usability
  73. Project Managers in the Mist: a Mockumentary
  74. Cloning 101 and Time Banishment, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying About Deadlines and Love the Project Plan
  75. The Technical Writing Hypnotist: Subliminal Techniques for Deep Topic Investigation
  76. Forming the Banana Publications Style Guide: A Contrarian Reaction to the Apple Style Guide
  77. Beyond the Bleeding Gut: Innovations that Failed
  78. How to Build a Robust Content Management System Using Common Tools You Probably Have Under Your Sink or in Your Garage
  79. DITA: It’s Magic
  80. The Dirty Little Secrets of Technical Writing Everyone Wants to Know But No One Will Tell You
  81. Disturbing Stories of Seemingly Undisturbed Technical Writers
  82. Little Did I Know … : Reflections on a Career in Technical Writing
  83. Conquering User Hearts, Minds, and Hopes — One Help Topic at a Time
  84. Indexing for Hard-Core Word Nerds: No-Holds-Barred Techniques for Seriously Aggressive Indexers
  85. Country Songs and Anarcho-Punk Music By Technical Writers
  86. Love Affair With Commas: A Guide for the Sick and Twisted (Includes Both Curly and Straight Commas)
  87. Prison UIs for the Criminal Mind: Implementing the Impossible Exit, Infinite Loop, and Other Recursive Workflows
  88. Comma-Lamas: Comma/Lama Breeding Hybrids
  89. Killer Apps for Killers
  90. Don’t Make Me Think Part 2: “Don’t Make Me Move”
  91. Semicolons Are for Sissies, Dashes Are for the Undaring, and Other Useless Punctuation
  92. Adobeization Nation
  93. Exclamation Marks and Humor: The Hot Sauce of Technical Writing
  94. Watch-Learn-Do-Be-Become-Now-Read-Manual-Must: A New Approach to User Education
  95. The Plain Movement: Plain Language, Plain Clothes, Plain Hair, Plain Names — Loving Plain in a Plain Way
  96. The Grammar Thief: Stealing the Best Grammar Out There Everyday
  97. Technical Writers on a Plane: A Thriller with Intrigue, Espionage, and High Speed Documentation Action 30,000 feet in the Air
  98. Documenting the Edges of Outer Space: An Unknown Manual About the Unknown Unknowns (contents still to be determined)
  99. 99 Pages of a Manual on the Wall, and other Party Games Technical Writers Love
  100. Documentation Strategies for the Antisocial Web

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By Tom Johnson

I'm a technical writer working for the 41st Parameter in San Jose, California. I'm interested in topics related to technical writing, such as visual communication, API documentation, information architecture, web publishing, JavaScript, front-end design, content strategy, Jekyll, and more. Feel free to contact me with any questions.

  • http://gryphonmountain.net Ben M

    Tom, I didn’t realize you’d submitted so many proposals over the years. 😉

    #32 is my favorite.

  • Holly Harkness

    I had to close my office door because I was laughing so loud!

    Thanks for the (much needed!) humor!

  • Cindy Pao

    I wish some of these had not been rejected, especially if Leah Guren was the submitter!

    Thank you, Tom. I needed a laugh this morning.

  • Cindy Pao

    But why did you reject #16?

    Ninjas are good with everything!

  • http://twitter.com/techcomfella Justin Brock

    Really? I find it hard to believe that “The Jackson Pollack Inspiration Behind the STC.org Home Page” didn’t make it. They must not have had room in the itinerary for another excellent presentation that year.

  • http://blog.paulpehrson.com Paul Pehrson

    That is too funny!! I loved number 17, and I think you know why.

    I actually think some of these may be good ideas for 2011’s conference. :)

  • http://www.scriptorium.com/blog Sarah O’Keefe

    This is going on my office door.

  • http://www.thegeekwriter.net Mariann Foster

    I love it!!! and just as I was starting to thing about the submitting a proposal for a training conference

  • Stephanie

    @Cindy: Because then they’d have to accept PIRATES! and the inevitable bloodbath that would ensue….

  • http://www.sdicorp.com/Resources/Blog/articleType/AuthorView/authorID/24/lkunz.aspx Larry Kunz

    Anything with “Seedy Underbelly” in the title, I’m there. I’ll also be signing up for #18 and #67. Thanks for a lot of good laughs.

  • Mike Hughes

    Ice breaker for your next chapter meeting. Mix these with the titles of ones that got accepted and see how accurately people can identify which is which.

  • http://tradebookauthor.com John Hedtke

    Outstanding! I’d love to have seen one of my personal faves, though:

    “Serial Commas, Pro or Con? A 2-hour panel discussion by industry experts.”

  • http://savethesemicolon.com rob

    #91 (!!!) I would have attended only to harass the speaker. Nice list!

  • http://hannihaus.com Hänni

    This is one of the funniest posts on technical writing that I’ve ever read (and it really is difficult to make tech writing funny).

    Thanks for the laugh!

    BTW, thanks to #69, I’ll be watching my step … when I actually do unshackle myself from a seated position, that is.

  • http://www.firehead.net CJ

    Tom, you’re a dark horse – who would have known you were hiding such a wicked set of observations about such a soft, gentle field?

    It’s been a while since I’ve laughed so hard – and tech comms is not (normally) funny! Thanks for that.

    I’m coming to you the next time I need to name a project, but not if I need to submit any proposals!

    • http://idratherbewriting.com Tom Johnson

      CJ, I would love to spice up proposal names. The Summit actually has an 8 word limit on titles. That negates pretty much most of my creative titles — unless I hyphenate all the words, which I just might do.

  • http://idratherbewriting.com Tom Johnson

    Thanks for all the comments on this post. If you ever want me to spice up a title, just send it over. :)

    • http://www.firehead.net CJ

      I shudder to think what you’re naming your new baby, then! 😉

  • http://wion.com Destry Wion

    Well done, Tom. I’m actually writing a blog comment.

    Some of these would make great topics, actually, which is why they are so funny.

    My favorites (for different reasons): 6, 11, 20, 82, 91, and 93. And the Sharepoint slamming. :)

  • Becky Williams

    Hysterical! I just couldn’t stop sniggering. It’s a good thing no one asked me to explain what was so funny. They just wouldn’t get it!

    #40 (sorry Kathryn), #23 and #94 Ha!

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  • http://benwoelk.wordpress.com Ben Woelk

    You could have released these over time. They would have given you some great blog content. Oh wait, you already have great blog content!

    Thanks for sharing these. They’ll provide some great “what the heck” working titles for our Spectrum conference.

  • http://www.writestarr.com/ Mike Starr

    Loved this post, Tom. Thanks. Is it too late for me to submit “Bacon and Chocolate: Essential Elements of Technical Communication”?

  • http://pegmulligan.com Peg Mulligan

    This is a masterpiece, Tom. I think you should send out each proposal idea as a tweet and see what kind of response you receive…;-) very clever, fun, and beneath the satire, speaks to some of our profession’s more unique issues.

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