Re: Author Credit

Subject: Re: Author Credit
From: Doc <dlettvin -at- attbi -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 16 Jul 2002 16:02:30 -0400

On Tue, 16 Jul 2002 14:58:48 -0400, "Sean Brierley" <sbri -at- haestad -dot- com>

>At the companies for which I have worked, Easter Eggs of any kind have
>been frowned upon. Now, I get a kick of them, like anyone would, and
>nothing would give me bigger thrills than putting the developer's home
>phone numbers and cell phone numbers in some secret, Easter-Egg location
>in the online help (okay, lots of things would give me bigger thrills
>;?), but here's the reasons I've been given in the past for company
>action against Easter Eggs:

My goodness Sean, we don't do anything as high tech as that! May I
suggest a little thought along the lines of acrostics and anagrams.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago. I use the ragged right edge of user or
machine name lists as an acrostic. Since I get to sign my work now, I
no longer use it.

>I'm sure there are other reasons. Anyway, one of the things I would face
>in putting names on a software doc would be anyone who was interviewed,
>sent an e-mail about the book, caught a typo, or whatever, would want to
>be put on as a contributing author/editor.

The idea is to be able to take credit internally. The signature should
be invisible to anyone who is not in on the secret.

Another benefit is that you can use it to verify a claim of

For example: A suspicious old b*st*rd like me, having been presented
with the world's greatest manual as part of your portfolio, might be
inclined to view with suspicion your claim to be its author. If you
can point out the signature it would help to substantiate your
statement.(I am, having been dazzled by your verbal pyrotechnics,
already persuaded that you have written such a manual.) ;->

>Indeed, top spots would go to
>people far higher up the food chain than any technical writer, and, in
>turn, those folks would try harder to micromanage their project. Project
>titles, like "Editor in Chief," and "Senior Copyeditor" would be handed
>out as honorary titles and those in the trenches would feel more
>slighted than had their names not appeared at all.

Three little words Sean, "need-to-know." So far as I'm concerned, no
one needs to know but you and those you *choose* to share it with.
>And, before you say it ain't so, Joe, buy me a beer at a conference and
>I'll explain it to yah.

I'll buy you a beer for the sheer joy of spending the time pounding on
the table and talking loudly.

David W Lettvin
South Hamilton, MA

ADMIRATION, n. Our polite recognition of another's resemblance to
-Ambrose Bierce

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