Re: sharing templates

Subject: Re: sharing templates
From: David Orr <dorr -at- ORRNET -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 20 Feb 2001 15:14:14 -0600

Andrew Plato wrote:

>"David Orr" wrote..
> Tell me again why I should give this template away?

>You shouldn't. You should use it in your business to make money. Just
>anybody who develops a template should use it to make their lives easier.
>Naturally, if you want to give it away for free that is your prerogative.
But I
>would probably fire any employee who handed out company assets like that.

>My original point was that it is lame to ask a forum of 4000 strangers to
>you a template for free. Go get it yourself or build your own.

I was being facetious. I agree with you totally.

>However, the template is merely the beginning. It doesn't matter how
>the template - the content is still what truly matters.

>Also, templates are not commandments from God. They need to be tweaked and
>fixed as necessary. Any place that locks up the templates and doesn't
>writers to make changes or tweaks is asking for trouble. Templates like
>process should be seen as guidelines, not the Word of God.

We've found that having a well-defined template allows writers to focus on
content rather than format. Our writers can always tweak a document for
project needs; but, even so, most of the document adheres to the standard
For example, a writer may decide to add icons in the margins, or overhead
markers in an instructor's guide. If a writer comes up with a particularly
good innovation, we add it to the template.

As for saying "that may all be well and good, but the content is still the
most important thing," I consider that argument a setting up and knocking
down of a straw man. No good technical writer ignores the importance of
content or format.

M. David Orr
Orr & Associates Corporation

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