Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?

Subject: Re: Fw: Why do we put so many warnings in our manuals?
From: letoured -at- together -dot- net
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 01 Aug 2002 01:59:32 -0400

In <200207311339 -dot- 17zXrl7KW3Nl3sj0 -at- runyon -dot- mail -dot- mindspring -dot- net>, on 07/31/02
at 11:33 AM, "Richard G. Combs" <richard -dot- combs -at- voyanttech -dot- com> said:

>letoured wrote:

>> You posted a link to a humor page -- with the point being what?

>To give us a good laugh while offering us some perspective. Thank, you
>Janice, I had a good laugh. But then, I'm not as humorless and self-righteous
>as the more "caring" and "sensitive" members of society.

>letoured then tried to slip one by us with:

Do you have a problem? -- It looks like it!

>> We sometimes think warnings are over done and stupid. -- But think about
>it --
>> use the classic 'hair dryer do not put in water' warning as an example;
>> are manufactured for sale around the world to people of differing
>> and life experiences. The warnings are aimed at the worst-case.

>The warnings are for the American market. They're in English, for crying out
>loud. I'll bet dollars to doughnuts that, if the hair dryer *is* sold around
>the world, you won't find translated versions of those warnings in very many
>(if any) places.

Thank you for that information. I didn't know that. I really didn't know they
were only needed for Americans. -- The next time I'm working with GE, Voith,
etc. I'll be sure to pass your comments on. It ought to save time for
everyone. -- I mean, gee, I really didn't like struggling with warnings and
cautions that were going into documents that would be used in India, Korea,
etc. -- Why even the japs ought to happy with this one. They can now remove
that stuff from the JIS. I'll need your phone number though. They might want
to talk with you.

>Then, letoured appealed to our emotions with a heartbreaking little fable:

I'm glad you started with that -- You see, I've been working on creative stuff
(after 20 some years writing heavy duty technical materials), and sometimes I
get just carried away and use writers devices. I can't help it. They just seem
to slip into non-technical things I'm working on. In this case I set you (the
reader) up and you fell for it.

>> Put yourself in this example; There are still places in the US where
>people do
>> not have electricity, or generate it on their own for food preservation
>> little more. <snip>
>> Its not really unbelievable that one wouldn't know the danger now is
>t. --
>> BTW, I just described what could take place here in the 21th century a
>> miles or so from Philadelphia.

>It *could*, I guess. For perspective, see the warning at Janice's link
>( that begins "Advisory:
>There is an Extremely Small but Nonzero Chance That..."

>For additional perspective, consider that, according to US government data,
>in 1993, 97.3% of households _living in poverty_ had at least one color TV
>(see Am I jumping
>to a conclusion to assume that a large portion of the remaining 2.7% *chose*
>not to have a TV and were nonetheless familiar with electricity?

>This kind of argument, like the "precautionary principle" in vogue among
>environmentalists, prompts me to ask: At what point do you _stop_ imposing
>huge costs and draconian regulations and restrictions on all of us in order
>to avoid some vanishingly small risk of a bad outcome? Ever? I suppose not,
>if you're sufficiently "caring" and "sensitive" -- and self-righteously


Ah. Now I see. You really don't know where people in the US have no or limited
electricity, nor do you know why. -- I said nothing of poverty or
environmentalists or regulations -- yet you thought you had me -- that you had
the reasons.

It was a set up. All good writers do it. They lead you and you think you know
where its going -- then the writer confuses you but taking it some where else.
In this case I'm tired and you need to learn here, so I'll just give you a
clue. Start by finding out who lives, say 100 miles or so from Philadelphia.
Then try looking at say, northern Maine. Maybe you want to take few courses
the humanities. -- I mean I even told you to "think" somewhere near
Philadelphia, and you still didn't get it. So...

letoured -at- together -dot- net

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