Help revisioned as Communities of Practice?

Subject: Help revisioned as Communities of Practice?
From: Lyda Woods <lyda -at- pacbell -dot- net>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 13:13:38 -0800


Jim Shaeffer mentioned that the term "Help" may not be suitable for user
assistance and I agree. Here are some of my observations:

Macromedia's "Help" files for products such as Flash link product help with
tutorials, knowledge-base data and ubiquitous user surveys.

The DSLReports.com site, created by frustrated DSL users, was born because
none of the actual DSL service sites answered the users or clients' needs
well enough. This site is a grand example of all that user assistance could
be, including consumer alerts, comparative data, and user reports!
(I used to develop help for two different DSL Service Providers - although I
proposed improvements, they were apparently a low priority).

Perhaps the best "help" is provided by other, more experienced users who
aren't biased one way or another towards one particular product in a
category?

Yes, I agree the term "Help" can not quite connote all that meaningful user
assistance can be. Check out Etienne Wenger's book, Communities of Practice
for inspiration!

Lyda Woods
Former Help Author turned English Instructor (again)
I'm always looking for interesting HELP AUTHORING JOBS!! %^)


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