Re: Ethics, morals in documentation?

Subject: Re: Ethics, morals in documentation?
From: Katie Kearns <kkearns -at- cisco -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 05 Apr 2001 10:08:19 -0700

At 12:44 PM 4/5/01 -0400, you wrote:

Of course it matters who uses your documentation, providing that you
consider protecting your product's users from undesirable consquences to be
an important ethical constraint. The most serious ethical issue is when said
use could have undesirable impacts on the users, whether physical or
financial injury or something less tangible such as damage to one's
reputation. The problem you raise is one that has bedeviled scientists and
engineers since the first caveman decided whether to teach the rest of the
clan how to sharpen a flint. ("Sure, this is a pretty cool tool for skinning
antelopes, but heck, couldn't Grog also use it to kill Grund faster?")

I don't agree. The real comparison wouldn't be the engineers or scientists -- it would be the person who wrote the instructions for their Bunsen burner or their glassware.

I don't think it would *really* bother me. As long as what they're doing is legal, it's legal. It's not up to companies to make moral judgements about their customers.

Though I guess it depends on exactly what you're documenting about the interface. I don't think I would want to write "Click here to see a close-up of Miss February's (whatever)". ;)



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