RE: Minimalist or low-level?

Subject: RE: Minimalist or low-level?
From: "Steve Hudson" <cruddy -at- optushome -dot- com -dot- au>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 5 Mar 2002 22:26:41 +1100

> I guess no one uses print docs anymore, but if you are scattering
all over the place they had beeter be meaningful.

PDF is very common Brad. Most hyperlinks I see and use go something like
"For more information on <plucking a chicken>, see {page <53>}. Is this
'meaningful' when provided in context?

> Poor documentation is defined as saying something one time in one way in

If that's your opinion, you're welcome to it. Unfortunately it flies in the
face of many modern techniques. Old-school is say it a hundred times, each
time differently. New school is say everything the same way and kill
redundancies. Quite frankly, I cut a 300+ page manual down to <150 pages and
increased its information content by following the opposite of your advice.

> Most docs these days are searched help-file style

Lets change that to read "most online docs". Even then - have you heard of
an index? I use them regularly. Now if we narrow the search results to docs
over 50 pages in size... ahhh... indexes. Let alone the online paradigm,
search does not beat a good navigation system.

> As a user, I have never found myself annoyed by too much explanation. This
is particularly true of subjects requiring technical documentation.

Goodness me - try getting some real help out of MS Word's F1 system. Too
much explanation and no details.

> Really what should be done is to charge all tech support calls back to the
tech writers budget. It isn't just that the tech calls cost money, it's that
each one is a failure of the product.

Now this is silly. To take a maxima, lets say le softy team developed a
scrappy product. You documented it as scrappy. Yet people are contacting
tech support to make it less scrappy (eg - 90% of MS Word's feedback email).
How do you possibly believe this is the poor writer's fault?

You send one weird message ole boy.

Steve Hudson - Word Heretic, Sydney, Australia
For Questions regarding MS-Word please use the MS news servers or a mailing
list in preference to heretic -at- tdfa -dot- com -dot- Ideally, post to and send me an email to go answer it.

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Re: Minimalist or low-level?: From: Brad Jensen

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