Minimalist manuals: a misconception

Subject: Minimalist manuals: a misconception
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 18 Sep 2001 08:54:39 -0400

Bruce Byfield reports: <<Generally, it's hard to disagree with the
minimalist philosophy - but it's also hard to see anything special about the
idea. To me, conciseness is a goal in any writing.>>

Ah, but you can't judge a philosophy by its name alone; you have to actually
read what Carroll and others had to say about minimalism. For a few more
details and a particularly important reference to Carroll's work ("ten
misconceptions about..."), have a look at my article on this (and other)
subjects at

For example, minimalism does not say that you have to be short in all cases;
if it's appropriate to go on at some length, that's fine, so long as you
adhere to other minimalist principles (task support, focus on the details
relevant to the reader's needs, learning by exploring or doing, and so on).

--Geoff Hart, FERIC, Pointe-Claire, Quebec
geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
"User's advocate" online monthly at

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