Re: Getting input into the style guide

Subject: Re: Getting input into the style guide
From: Bruce Byfield <bbyfield -at- progeny -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 24 May 2001 20:43:47 -0700

Jane Carnall wrote:
> But... I want to get some input into this style guide, at least as far as it
> concerns user manuals. I don't want to end up controlled by a style guide
> that was developed in consultation before this company hired a technical
> writer.
> But... I also don't want to get into an infight. I just have a strong
> feeling that any style guide that simply specifies "Arial" as a font choice
> is not one that paid much attention to what user guides need to look like;
> and if all the documentation I produce is to be formatted in accordance with
> the company style guide, I want some input into what the company style guide
> says!

Some people have suggested that you dismiss the whole issue as trivial
and move on. However, from the concerns you express, I suspect that you
don't care about not-so dainty Arial so much as what input you have into
your work. In other words, your concern isn't about the overt issue so
much as the relations behind it. And, unlike the font issue, your work
relations are extremely important, especially since you're relatively
new on the job. So, it's important to be careful; you want input into
this part of your work, but not, presumably, at the cost of making

I suggest that, before doing anything, you find out more about the style
guide, how it's regarded, and who it's intended for. You may find that
you don't need to do anything at all.

However, if you decide to continue, I suggest that you express your
concerns verbally and think twice about putting them in writing. Your
interest in the style guide may not be welcome by everyone; if it isn't,
then you don't want a paper trail that can be used against you. Anyway,
a quiet word with the right people is often more useful than a more
public document.

All of which sounds remarkably cynical as I read back. But, then, office
politics often are - and you sound as though you're about to enter them.

Bruce Byfield 604.421.7177 bbyfield -at- axionet -dot- com

"You've got the might but you've got no right,
We'll be there, we'll be there, we'll be there."


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