I and a more-senior co-worker are both contributors to shared content. This content is internal facing and is used to distribute information between teams. We are two of many contributors to this area. Though it is not a formal requirement of my job, I am interested in sharing our team's knowledge and improving the information therein.

Some of the information is not well-organized and reads more like notes than well thought out sentences.

I have some experience in technical writing/ content management and believe I have valid suggestions for improvement to content others have created. How can I best offer suggestions for improvement to my more-senior co-worker? What if they refuse the suggestions?

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    You're asking this as a people-process question, but something worth thinking about is that if you've have software people around, there might be some familiarity with version control systems, especially the way they can support not only rolling back changes, but proposing a set of changes which will have to be approved or adapted before going into the default view. For software projects these often come to encompass documentation as well as code. Of course you have to start with a general conversation about the idea of opening the information up to change suggestions. Dec 17, 2019 at 21:37
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    Do you have some reason to believe that your coworker will not welcome your changes? Someone volunteering to improve documentation, in my experience, is usually something that everyone appreciates. If you're asking the question, though, perhaps there is some backstory about why you're afraid your organization won't welcome the help. Dec 17, 2019 at 21:39
  • @ChrisStratton The content here is not documentation, code or anything as formal as that. Much of the content is higher level than that, or points to that kind of content. To put it in an analogy, the content I'm talking about serves as a central place to hold and/or point to any knowledge our teams have. It is a people-process question as my first goal is to keep/improve relationships with co-workers and secondarily improve the shared content. Dec 17, 2019 at 21:42
  • @JustinCave I am one of the more junior members of my team, and I am concerned with not appearing too big for my britches. Much of my suggestions have to do with style/formatting rather than the ideas themselves. Dec 17, 2019 at 21:45
  • @user27432 - links are textual documents too, what you are describing sounds a lot like a project wiki. And in some means of presenting information that are well suited to collaboration, so are formatting markup codes. If your organization decides it wants to maintain these things in a manner suited to collaboration there are tools to support that. Even modern web-based document editors have more primitive form of change tracking and sidebar collaborator comments. And if your organization wants to route things through a person without any tooling, that's an option too. Dec 17, 2019 at 21:45

1 Answer 1


Speaking as a cranky senior guy who thinks he can write but probably can't, I'd say the primary requirement of editing is that technical precision not be lost.

The diplomatic approach that would work for me is: (1) prepare a list of issues, and (2) suggest that you're perfectly willing to do the editing if the senior person is 'too busy on important stuff', and (3) present the rewrite as a variant that can be accepted or not.

The key point, I think, is that you have to establish your credibility in the first instance. After that you can just edit. I may be cranky but I recognize competence when I see it.

(I wrote this as personal anecdote but I believe that it may have general applicability).

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