RE: clarity of terminology can save lives

Subject: RE: clarity of terminology can save lives
From: Tom Murrell <trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 7 Feb 2003 08:16:54 -0800 (PST)


I don't think you are being overly sensitive. Leaving aside for the moment that the
US is a very litigious place these days and lack of proper warnings in documentation
can for the basis for costly lawsuits, think about the potential dangers to people
in some of the things and activities we document.

Regardless of what someone in an organization might want, I would consider it
unacceptable to be required to remove a legitimate warning from documentation for,
say, marketing reasons. If something poses a health or bodily injury risk and I'm
not allowed to document that fact, well, I can't imagine that I would be willing to
work there.

That said, such a situation has never come up anywhere I have been. I've had
disagreements over how something is documented. (I'm kind of a stickler; if that's
the way it works or that's what you have to do to make it work, then I feel I have
to document it. If you don't want it documented that way, you should consider
redesigning the feature, product, process, whatever.) Still, disagreements get
worked out to everyone's satisfaction. I'm not always right, either. But I would
never put anything in a document I couldn't live with if something bad happened. And
I would feel real bad about something I left out, missed, that caused bodily harm or
death to someone else. That would just not be acceptable to me.

Tom Murrell

--- Samuel -dot- Beard -at- tdcj -dot- state -dot- tx -dot- us wrote:
> Hey All,
> I've been following this thread for a while now, and I feel that
> something needs to be pointed out, if it hasn't already been considered by
> some. Talk of not using an appropriate degree of caution, i.e., warning or
> danger, seems to me to be taking a SERIOUS chance on the legal end of
> things and smacks of irresponsible behavior on the part of companies that
> would do this. That's not to say that it would stop SOME companies, but
> that's another topic.
> What I'm talking about is the potential of a company being sued by
> someone for not adequately labeling something as a serious hazard for fear
> of putting off marketing types or scaring potential customers with the
> appropriate warning. In this day and age, it just seems to me that any
> company doing so would be opening themselves up to a MASSIVE lawsuit and
> settlement.
> What does everyone else think about this? Am I right or just being
> overly sensitive to the legal ramifications?

Tom Murrell
mailto:trmurrell -at- yahoo -dot- com Last Updated 10/28/02
--First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others.
Thomas a Kempis (1380 - 1471), 1420--

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RE: clarity of terminology can save lives: From: Samuel . Beard

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