RE: Funny Tech Writing

Subject: RE: Funny Tech Writing
From: Lisa MacDonald <lisa -dot- macdonald -at- eu -dot- citrix -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Tue, 17 Sep 2002 11:23:20 +0100

Without wanting to come across as a humourless curmudgeon, I didn't really
find this manual to be that funny. Parts of it were sort of "cute" but it
seemed a bit overkill as there was a joke following almost every procedure.
I think that humour can have a place in tech writing, but the fact is that
humour is subjective and can lose a lot in translation or when read by other
English speaking countries (what Americans think is humorous may not
necessarily be seen as such by the British, for example). I thought the
writing was a bit contrived - sort of like when CEOs send messages
company-wide, try to be "cool" and use phrases like "you guys rock!".

On the other hand, I do think that humour can be a great way to encourage
people to actually read the manual (or even read it all the way through). In
this respect, I think the Timex guide succeeds as a lot of people on this
list did read through the whole thing. Hmm maybe I am just a humourless
curmudgeon. ;)


l i s a . m a c d o n a l d
technical author
Citrix Systems (R&D) Ltd
Venture House, Cambourne Business Park
Cambridge, CB3 6DW, UK
tel: +44 (0)1954 283616
email: lisa -dot- macdonald -at- eu -dot- citrix -dot- com
"The good thing about being on tour is getting to go overseas to places like
Canada." -Britney Spears

-----Original Message-----

Subject: Re: RE: Funny Tech Writing
From: John Cornellier <t_w -at- cornellier -dot- com>
Date: Mon, 16 Sep 2002 10:17:28 +0200
X-Message-Number: 4

But "the received wisdom" (textbooks, techw-l archives) is that you should
avoid humour in manuals.

Surely for this product, the benefit of the style justifies extra expense on
translation, risk (?) of over-familiarity, etc.


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