Including notification emails in documentation?

Subject: Including notification emails in documentation?
From: "Hart, Geoff" <Geoff-H -at- MTL -dot- FERIC -dot- CA>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 2002 09:09:17 -0400

Wade Courtney reports: <<I write docs for a web-based application that on
occasion will send out notifications via email. I am having a discussion
with the product developer who thinks it would be useful to include a
catalog of the messages in the user guide. There are a lot of notification
messages. BTW, these are purely informational and are not error messages.>>

If the notification messages aren't self-documenting, then they badly need
to be rewritten until they are. Once they make sense to the recipient,
there's no need to repeat them in the documentation--because documentation
is intended to explain the inexplicable, not merely repeat what is obvious.

--Geoff Hart, geoff-h -at- mtl -dot- feric -dot- ca
Forest Engineering Research Institute of Canada
580 boul. St-Jean
Pointe-Claire, Que., H9R 3J9 Canada
"User's advocate" online monthly at
"The skill of writing is to create a context in which other people can
think."--Edwin Schlossberg, designer (1945- )

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