RE: ADMIN: Re: OT How do I unsubscribe?

Subject: RE: ADMIN: Re: OT How do I unsubscribe?
From: Chuck Martin <CMartin -at- serena -dot- com>
To: TECHWR-L <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 24 Jan 2000 16:17:19 -0800

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Jo Francis Byrd [mailto:jbyrd -at- byrdwrites -dot- com]
> Sent: Monday, January 24, 2000 12:29 PM
> Subject: Re: ADMIN: Re: OT How do I unsubscribe?
> Your point, Eric, illustrates one of my pet theories about
> technical writers,
> especially those of us who write directions for a living -
> and do it very well.
> We're the worst in the world when it comes to reading
> directions. I HATE having
> to resort to the directions, do it only when I can't figure
> it out otherwise (and
> grumble the entire time).

I agree with the irony.

But as a technical communicator, I take 2 approaches when I need to perform
a new task:
1. Try to understand how to do what I need to do from the interface.
2. If #1 fails, read the docs.

Often I do #2 anyway just to see how it is done. It is a useful education

For me, rather than hating directions, I have high expectations of
directions (and interfaces) and get quite frustrated when I come across
either clumsy design or poor directions. Typically I find both together.

But in this case, while unsubscribing isn't something that can be intuited,
the directions for unsubscribing are in many places, including where people
go to subscribe. It *cannot* be because the directions were either
unavailable, difficult to access, or poorly written.

Technical communicators should not be the ones who hate reading directions.
Rather, we should be the ones who turn to them first, for any use, to see
what works and what doesn't so we can apply what we learn to our own work.

Chuck Martin
Sr. Technical Writer, SERENA Software

"People who use business software might despise it, but they are getting
paid to tolerate it....Most people who are paid to use a tool feel
constrained not to complain about that tool, but it doesn't stop them from
feeling frustrated and unhappy about it."
- "The Inmates are Running the Asylum"
Alan Cooper

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