RE: Structure vs. Substance?

Subject: RE: Structure vs. Substance?
From: Dan Emory <danemory -at- primenet -dot- com>
To: Mike Stockman <stockman -at- jagunet -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 12 Jun 2000 13:37:24 -0700

At 03:50 PM 6/12/00 -0400, Mike Stockman wrote:

Sorry, I'm going to have to disagree with you here. Most documentation
flaws I've encountered were directly due to lack of the necessary

On the "bad" projects where I've either worked or been called in to fix,
the writers were often woefully uninformed about the product.
Being "woefully uninformed" is a whole lot different from lack of necessary
information. Which is it? Was the information not there, or was it
there but the writers didn't know how to acquire and interpret it?
Worse yet,
they were uninterested in playing with the product, becoming users,
trying to set it up and make it work as intended, or anything you might
assume they'd need to do. Instead, they were more interested in having
information spoon-fed to them by functional specs, developers, and other
"expert" sources.
So what do you do if the product being documented is the Stealth
Bomber or an Air Defense System? Start a war and put
the writers in the plane or the air defense bunker?

You have a very narrow view of the tech writing profession if
you think it consists only of writing user manuals for software GUIs.

| Nullius in Verba |
Dan Emory, Dan Emory & Associates
FrameMaker/FrameMaker+SGML Document Design & Database Publishing
Voice/Fax: 949-722-8971 E-Mail: danemory -at- primenet -dot- com
10044 Adams Ave. #208, Huntington Beach, CA 92646
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