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You are correct Mike, the audience, material, and the writer/editor make that
determination. I have seen humor used very well in some applications. I myself
tried using it in a warning statement: "Do not look into the laser with your one
good eye". The safety guy shot it right down. Not funny he said.
If you were asked by a new technical writer if it would be OK to add humor to
the manual they were working on, would it not raise a flag?
I understand you would not condemn the use of humor, but I bet you would take a
long hard look at the type, placement, and appropriateness of the humor being
What is funny to most of the world will always offend some overly sensitive
individual. Like the use of "John Bigbootie" and "Sue Primpalot" it is going to
offend someone (I would be willing to bet).
Therefore I contend that it is better (and safer) to just stay away from using
humor in technical writing. Save the use of humor for marketing.
Have a great week Mike.
> From: Mike Adams <Mike_Adams -at- summithq -dot- com>
> To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
> Subject: RE: Humor in technical writing
> Date: Thu, 28 Sep 2000 12:59:30 -0400
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> Sounds like an excellent Darwin Awards entry. I'm a senior tech writer and I
> won't condemn humor in a tech manual. The audience, material, and the
> writer/editor make that determination.