RE: Style and Procedure Schema?

Subject: RE: Style and Procedure Schema?
From: "Trese, Timothy G." <Timothy -dot- G -dot- Trese -at- SAICSeals -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Wed, 6 Mar 2002 13:05:55 -0500


Thanks for your thoughtful reply:

>But your concept does seem to conflict with that of free
enterprise, something that my country tries to encourage.

I'm a die-hard capitalist. I'm not suggesting an anticompetitive
practice. I think this suggestion would allow cooperation among members
of a certain group (tech writers) to enable greater productivity for
all, increasing our value, individually, to our employers.

>I think that would get pretty boring. By the same token, should the
Chicago Manual of Style get together with Webster's and Britannica agree
on ONE way to present information?

Here, your confusing content with format. I'm only discussing
standardizing format. Your particular procedures and stylistic decisions
are not at issue, and they remain your property to dispose of as you
wish; only difference is they're documented and presented in a standard
way. I suspect, however, that many stylistic and procedural issues are
addressed identically by large swaths of the technical writing
population, and these would probably wind up in the public domain.

>Individuality. Imagination. Andrew Plato. Those are the first "flies
[in the ointment]" that
come to mind.

ROTFLOL. I said flies in the ointment, but I didn't mean gadflies. W/R/T
individuality, read above. W/R/T imagination, I think that both
producing this proposed specification and applying it would require
quite a bit. Imagination and structure are not mutually exclusive; they
frequently complement each other.

>I would only adopt whatever portions I found useful/applicable, and
do so on a case-by-case basis, which is how I make all such decisions
regarding concepts like styles and procedures.

Well said. That would remain your prerogative, and such an approach
would probably suit the vast majority of organizations. This is proposed
as a tool, not a rule.

>To clarify my point, HTML defines how tags work. But it does not tell
how to design Web pages...Tim, if I've mistaken your intentions, please
forgive me, and clarify them
for me.

Hope I've done that. Again, this isn't an attempt to standardize the
CONTENT of your style manual or procedures. It's to organize that
content in a standard way which any writer can use, if you choose to
share it with them.

Tim Trese
Documentation Specialist

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