RE: OT--"obvious" writing

Subject: RE: OT--"obvious" writing
From: David Downing <DavidDowning -at- users -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 12 Jan 2001 10:31:32 -0500

<< "I don't see why we need to document what is
obvious already."

Has anyone else on this list ever run into someone
that arrogant?>>

A bit belatedly, I'd like to respond to this. I'm not sure the problem is
always arrogance. The real problem may be that some people just cannot or
will not understand that what's obvious to them isn't obvious to someone
else -- and that there may be legitimate reasons it isn't obvious to someone

I, for one, get extremely burned up when somebody makes an ambiguous or
otherwise unclear statement and then gets mad at me for wanting
clarification -- or assumes I really know what they mean and am pretending
not to just to be argumentative.

To bring this back to technical writing, I'd say that's one of the ongoing
duties of the technical writer -- to anticipate what isn't going to be
obvious to the end user, although it may seem obvious to the developers.

And to be fair to the programmers, technical writers can lose sight of what
isn't obvious to the end users if they become too familiar with a product.
I find myself having to stop and think about this all the time.

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