Content = The Chicken, Structure = The Egg, I Am the Walrus, Koo-Koo-Ka Choo (sp?)

Subject: Content = The Chicken, Structure = The Egg, I Am the Walrus, Koo-Koo-Ka Choo (sp?)
From: "Peter Lucas" <peterlucas -at- mediaone -dot- net>
To: "Andrew Plato" <intrepid_es -at- yahoo -dot- com>, "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 13 Jun 2000 10:32:19 -0700

Andrew writes:

> I advocate holistic, natural development of structure. I support
> built by people who understand what it is they are processing. I've seen
> talked to lots of places that don't use any internationally recognized
> and they write great stuff. They work from their intelligence and build a
> system naturally and gradually. They also tear it down and do something
> if it stops working.
> I am talking about PEOPLE, Tim. You are talking about non-living entities.
> put PEOPLE as the primary and most important aspect of all endeavors. I
> no idea where you put them, but apparently it is after your process.

Andrew, every time this discussion of "content vs. structure" boomerangs
back on us (seems like about once a week now), I think you should just reply
with the two paragraphs above. I think it's very honorable that you work so
diligently fighting off the structure crusaders, but I'm afraid that in the
end you won't have much impact on them.

Six years ago I started at the company I work for with no document
structures and hardly any content. The programmers didn't write specs and
weren't expected to. It was my first tech writing job. I was the only tech
writer. I was told, "We need a manual for our software and we need it now."
I didn't have time to sit down and take six months to sketch out structure.
I just fired up the program, started using it, and began writing. Over the
years, I have developed processes, templates, etc., to help maintain
consistency and make it easier for new hires to hit the ground running. But
all of that development of structure has been done while creating content.

All our clients care about is getting help -- any kind of help -- so they
don't have to make that dreaded tech support phone call. They could give a
rats ass that I have templates, etc. Considering they pay my salary, I think
they have a good point!

Keep fighting the good fight!

Peter Lucas
Decade Software Company

p.s. Be careful not to get stale with too many "serious" posts. I really
enjoy your humorous contributions to this list as well.

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