All Favorites

How to Mislead Readers with Technical Writing

As the Technical/Content Writer here at Gestalt IT, it’s my job to walk a fine line, creating content that’s both eye-catching and engaging while also providing value to my readers with pieces that remain technically sound and true to the industry. Thankfully, I love it — being on the bleeding edge of the tech space inspires me, and the compelling stories I hear every day from our delegates and sponsors allow me to write things that appeal to both sides of my brain.

Unfortunately, not all writers are built the same. Some can write excellent technical material that’s stodgy and hard to read. Others write clickbait headlines backed by shallow information that readers scoff at.

Blasphemous Technical Writing

I’d like to focus on the latter of the two types of writers I described above. Flashy titles, although usually good to grab clicks, mislead readers into thinking they’re looking at substantive content only to find that the gooey center has, in fact, gone to rot.

Chin-Fah Heoh, storage evangelist, founding member and Chairman of SNIA Malaysia, and writer of the Storage Gaga blog, seems to share a similar view with me regarding misleading technical content. In fact, in one instance, he goes so far as to describe it as blasphemous.

After seeing several headlines regarding the Backblaze 2020 Hard Drive Failure Report, Chin-Fah Heoh writes:

This is so, so, so wrong ! I want to hold back but I can’t hold back no more!

This article from Petapixel appeared in my daily news feed last week. When I saw the title “Seagate performed best in Backblaze’s 2020 Hard Drive Failure Report “, I literally jumped. My immediate thoughts were “This can’t be right“.

Labelling Seagate as the best performer in a Backblaze report not only sounded oxymoronic. It was moronic. For those of us who have the industry experience, we know enough that this cannot be true with just a one fell swoop statement.

You can read all of Heoh’s thoughts in his piece Blasphemous Technical Writing on And, if you’d like to learn how to mislead people through technical writing, perhaps you can take a look at some of the articles he mentions, and start taking notes.

About the author

Zach DeMeyer

Zach is the Technical/Content Writer at Gestalt IT with a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the Colorado School of Mines. A storyteller at heart, he loves being on the cutting edge of new technology and telling the world about it. When he's not working, he enjoys all things outdoors, music, and soccer.